COVID-19 Information & Resources for Canada's Music Industry

Posted on
May 25, 2020

COVID-19 Information & Resources for Canada's Music Industry

As the music community comes together during the novel COVID-19 pandemic, we hope to keep you informed of developments as they roll out. Artists, performers, and musicians are without income, and the entrepreneurs and companies that work to promote, support, and elevate Canadian music are all seeing their livelihoods in jeopardy. Please review the information below in case it may be of assistance. We are staying abreast of the situation as it pertains to the music industry across Canada, and implore everyone to stay as safe as possible through this stressful and uncertain time.


CEWS Extended to December

The Prime Minister announced yesterday (July 13) that the wage subsidy program (CEWS) will be extended until December 2020. Originally slated to expire in August, the government believes the four month extension will help stabilize businesses as Canada begins to recover economically and charts a course towards a rebuild. More specific details on the extension are expected before the end of the week. 

CEWS subsidizes 75% of an employee's salary, up to a maximum of $847 per week, for companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This has been one of the most high-profile and certainly heavily accessed relief measures rolled out by the federal government since the pandemic took hold. As of July 6, 2020 CEWS had paid out approximately $18 billion to over 250,000 companies. The recent fiscal snapshot estimated the total cost of the program as $82.3 billion for the fiscal year 2020-21. The government has not said if this figure reflects the extension to December 2020.


Extension Announced to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

This morning, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the extension of CERB by eight weeks, underscoring that even as provinces and territories gradually reopen their economies, many Canadians are still not finding jobs or cannot return to work. The PM added that in the coming weeks, his government will look at international best practices and will monitor the economy to determine if any additional changes need to be made in the program.

By the first week of July and through the summer, millions of Canadians were set to come to the end of their 16-week eligibility for benefits under CERB. With this extension those who have been directly impacted by COVID-19 can continue to claim $2,000 a month in taxable incoming for a maximum of 24 weeks between March 15 and October 3, making the maximum allowable benefit $12,000 through the program.


Today the Government of Canada announced that as of Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need:

  • A business operating account at a participating financial institution;
  • A Canada Revenue Agency business number;
  • A 2018 or 2019 tax return; and
  • Eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.

Eligible businesses will qualify for financing of up to $40,000, with 25 per cent of this being forgivable based on the current terms of CEBA loans. Businesses can contact their primary financial institution for more information or to apply directly for CEBA. More information on the expanded CEBA can be found on the program’s website.


Click here for more information on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan


  • Airline Cancellation Policies: A comprehensive guide by Forbes can be found here.
  • Alberta Music has shared information for Albertans and Canadians alike on how to prepare for COVID-19 in the arts sector. Get more information here.
  • Bandzoogle has put together this handy blog: How musicians can ask fans for support during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Canada's Banks: Contact your bank to find out how they have committed to support businesses and individuals through these difficult time. To help provide some stability for businesses through this time of uncertainty, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer requirement, releasing more than $300 billion of additional lending capacity for Canadian financial institutions.
  • Canada Business App: Download the app to find tailored supports to address your specific needs and questions about COVID-19.
  • Canada Council for the Arts: Information about CCA's cancellation policy can be found here
  • The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM): has sent an open letter to federal and provincial ministries overseeing culture, social security and employment.
  • Canadian Live Music Association's Request for relief to the Canadian government can be found here.
  • Canada Public Health has info about the situation available here.
  • CAPACOA is asking you to track cancellations affecting the Canadian live performance sector here.
  • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce have put together a pandemic prepardness guide to help prepare businesses in the days and weeks to come. 
  • Event Safety Alliance: Preparing your organization for COVID-19. More information can be found here.
  • FACTOR: Information about FACTOR's cancellation policy can be found here.
  • Government of Canada Trade Commissioner Service: Resources for Canadian businesses can be found here.
  • Music BC has provided information and resources on their website and is encouraging company and artists to reach out with any questions or concerns regarding Music BC's programs.
  • Manitoba Music will be providing information and resources, including support efforts. Keep an eye on their updates here. They have also announced the launch of of an emergency financial relief fund for Manitoba's artists and industry workers. Find out more here
  • Music Managers Forum Canada has an incredibly thorough resource page that is being constantly updated here. MMF will also be hosting a weekly Friday series of online sessions that allow our community to come together and discuss current topics and share information and experience with each other.
  • MusicOntario will be reposting all sorts of things on our socials/to our stories - have a peek there for various updates, interesting content from the community, streaming events, and other tidbits to help pass the time.
  • Ontario Creates: COVID-19 Response Plan
  • PRS Foundation: Advice for overseas activities or performances. More information here.
  • Radio Starmaker: The Board of the Radio Starmaker Fund wants to inform all stakeholders that any previous tour dates that were approved and were to take place between February 15th and August 31st of this year will be fully funded if they were canceled as a result of the coronavirus. All you will need to do when filling out final paperwork is indicate the reason for the cancellation was coronavirus – no other proof will be necessary. This same policy will also be in effect with regard to tour dates approved by the Board for Round 74. We are currently examining the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the implications it may have on future touring. Currently, when we open our next round we are considering a moratorium on requests for tour funding for all performances from April 1st to May 31st of this year given the very high likelihood of cancellation. We will be monitoring this situation over the next few weeks and making a final determination on or before April 10th when we plan to open the next round of funding. In the meantime, we wanted everyone to know this is a possibility as tour plans are made this year.
  • SaskMusic will be launching an emergency relief fund for music industry professionals impacted by lost income due to COVID-19. More information can be found here.
  • Spotify: The Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project has been created to amplify the efforts of organizations that focus on helping those most in need, beginning with the Unison Benevolent Fund, PRS Foundation, MusiCares and Help Musicians. For more information click here
  • SOCAN has announced a $2-million enhanced emergency program. More details here. They have also announced the new Encore! Program. Details here
  • Toronto Arts Council/Toronto Arts Foundation launches TOArtist COVID Relief Fund.
  • Unison Benevolent Fund has information about how they can help here, or you can call 1-855-986-4766 for inquiries to help you deal with the financial or emotional impact of coronavirus. Unison has also announced the launch of the COVID-19 Relief Program. 
  • Worldwide Independent Network has a list of resources for the indie music community across the work here.
  • World Health Organization:

Please note that CIMA's offices are closed, and we will be working remotely until the proper health officials advise that it is wise to return. We are working to understand what that means for upcoming programs and events, and we will keep you posted via our various social platforms.

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