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.

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JUNE 1 UPDATE:

Today the government of Ontario announced that it is enacting a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees who have been temporarily laid off because of COVID-19 on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the outbreak. This will ensure businesses aren’t forced to terminate employees after their 13 weeks of temporary layoffs have expired. Learn More

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MAY 28 UPDATE

The Government of Canada has launched a two-week consultation on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The goal of this consultation is to inform potential changes to the CEWS to maximize employment and meet the needs of businesses and workers. The Department of Finance is seeking to hear from businesses of all sizes, labour representatives, not-for-profits and charities.

The consultation portal will be open until June 5, 2020.

There are two options for sharing your input, a survey or more in-depth email submission. They’ve also laid out a series of questions to consider.

More details on how to participate in this consultation here.

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MAY 25 UPDATE:

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance now open for applications

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that applications are now being accepted for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. Over the course of the program, property owners will reduce rent by at least 75 per cent for the months of April and May (retroactive), and June, for their small business tenants. Applying for CECRA makes financial sense for property owners, as their success depends on the success of their tenants.

Canadian Chamber and the Government of Canada team up with accounting profession to provide free advice to small to medium-sized business, not-for-profits and charities to navigate uncertainty

Small to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations and charities will now have direct access to a network of qualified business advisors to help guide them courtesy of a new, government-funded program from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The program, called the Business Resilience Service (BRS), is run through the Canadian Chamber’s Canadian Business Resilience Network in collaboration with EY and with support from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and Imagine Canada. The BRS will provide options for any vulnerable small to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country from professional services firms. The program, delivered to organizations free of charge, will:

  • Provide guidance on program options and eligibility
  • Rapidly direct businesses – including enterprises involving Indigenous peoples, women and diverse groups – to the most appropriate support organizations
  • Help organizations make decisions to support recovery plans
  • Provide real time insights and feedback to policymakers

The BRS program, coordinated by EY, will be provided for four weeks from Monday, May 25, and will involve support from approximately 125 business advisors from across the accounting profession. Organizations can access the BRS seven days a week by calling 1-866-989-1080.

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MAY 19 UPDATE:

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses.

The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll. To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come. The government will continue to work on solutions to help business owners and entrepreneurs who operate through their personal bank account, as opposed to a business account, or have yet to file a tax return, such as newly created businesses.

Support for Women Entrepreneurs through WES


On Saturday, Minister Ng announced that the Government of Canada will provide $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). This money will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients and will help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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MAY 8 UPDATE:


The Canadian Federal Government has announced Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations: next steps to support the industry impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. You can find the press release here.

  • The goal of the Fund is to protect jobs and support business continuity for organisations whose viability has been negatively affected. It is designed to complement the other federal government measures in response to COVID-19, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.
  • The Prime Minister just announced that the wage subsidy program will be extended beyond June. This may help organisations that did not qualify for the CEWS to now access the program as we enter the peak season for productions and presentations. You can apply to the CEWS here.
  • $198.3 million will be allocated to the arts and culture sector through existing funding programs at Canadian Heritage.
  • $55 million will be distributed through Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) in order to help artistic organisations that support artists.
  • We will use a two-phased approach to speed up the distribution of funds:
    • Phase 1 is for funding recipients who are projecting a significant financial impact as a result of the pandemic:
      • A formula-based top-up will be provided to existing recipients through Canadian Heritage’s arts and culture programs, which include the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, Canada Arts Training Fund, and Building Communities through Arts and Heritage Program. To simplify the process, current recipients of targeted programs will only need to fill out an attestation. Once this document has been received and reviewed, funding fill flow shortly thereafter. Clients will be able to apply for up to 25% of recently approved funding. The minimum amount awarded will be $5,000.
      • Like Canadian Heritage, the CCA will use a formula-based approach to deliver the funds. Clients will be able to apply for up to 25% of recently approved funding.
      • If your organisation receives funding from more than one participating department or agency, you may only request funding from one of these organisations for support from the Emergency Support Fund. Canadian Heritage and the CCA will coordinate their funding responses to avoid double funding.
    • Phase 2 will provide temporary support to other organisations, which include those in the arts and culture that do not currently receive funding from Canadian Heritage, the CCA, and our other participating organisations. Further details on Phase 2 will be announced in the coming weeks.

Here are the links to helpful documents on our Emergency Fund:
News release
Backgrounder
FAQ

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Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 in a variety of ways, and who might not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

Further changes have been made to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Minister Steven Guilbeault tweeted the following update: "Creators who are receiving royalty payments from prior copyrighted works are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, provided that they meet other requirements." Read the full news release here.

Who is Eligible?

To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the government will be changing the eligibility rules to:

  • Creators who are receiving royalty payments from prior copyrighted works are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, provided that they meet other requirements.
  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.

Further details and information on how to apply can be found here.

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

OTHER RESOURCES & INFORMATION:

  • 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: https://www.who.int/

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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