Category Archives: Updates

The Music Performance Trust Fund’s Music Family Scholarship

The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) invites young adults who have grown up in a musical family to tell us their story! Applicants must be a child of a professional musician, and pursuing further education after high school. The program is open to qualified students who meet all the minimum qualifications. Open to all students in the United States and Canada. Scholarships will be awarded based on the successful completion of this application form; the strength of the applicant’s essay; and the representation by the applicant that all answers are true. Please complete all items in the application and essay page/s within.

Scholarship Overview

Scholarship Application

The Show Must Be Paused

On June 2, 2020, the Calgary Musicians Association will be participating in the #TheShowMustBePaused Music Industry Blackout Tuesday, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Canadian Federation of Musicians and the Calgary Musicians Association stand with our black, indigenous, and people of colour members, staff and community-at-large against racial inequity, racial violence, and racist actions of all kinds.

https://www.theshowmustbepaused.com/

Not What I Meant By ‘Going Viral’

Not What I Meant By ‘Going Viral’ by Alan Willaert, AFM International Vice President from Canada

In 1927, a movie called The Jazz Singer was released. As the first “talkie,” it sounded the death knell for live music work in theatres throughout North America. The phasing out of radio orchestras resulted in a large number of musicians being unemployed. However, 2020 will be infamous in history as a virus now identified as COVID-19 effectively shut down an entire entertainment industry in an extremely sudden and devastating manner. This is not what we hoped for when using the term “going viral.”

On March 13, the Canadian Office (CFM) instituted reduced hours, a rotating but skeletal staff, and proceeded to provide services on a work-from-home basis. On that same March 13, work kicked into overdrive as the true extent of the damage became apparent, and action had to be taken quickly to mitigate the toll taken by a total work stoppage.

A letter from the CFM went out immediately to all levels of government because in the initial Federal response workers not normally eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) were off the radar—meaning 98% of Canadian musicians were excluded. The letter stressed the following points:

  • A waiver of the one-week waiting
    period for EI.
  • Expanding the benefit to include “gig economy,” or freelance workers.
  • Funding for symphony, theatre, and arts organizations to allow them to maintain payroll.
  • Assistance to stimulate and revitalize the industry once the crisis had passed.

Videoconferencing had begun almost immediately with other entertainment unions. CFM was an active participant, and signed on to a joint letter to government, along with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA) and others. We also asked Canadian locals to track, as much as possible, the lost work suffered by their respective memberships. While this was clearly a monumental task, we were able to create a combined spreadsheet, updated weekly, in the event the government was insistent upon having backup data as the only justification for compensation.

Michael Murray, executive director of Local 149 (Toronto, ON), was instrumental in the creation and administration of an online petition containing several recommendations to the government for response to the crisis. A joint letter from CFM and Local 149 was sent to Heritage Minister Guilbeault on March 26. In short, the recommendations were:

  • Ensure that all musicians would be eligible for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
  • Implement Live Arts Labour Tax Credits and Live Arts Labour Rebates.
  • Consider allowing arts and cultural industry companies, including small, medium, and large for-profit, not-for-profit, and charitable companies, to have access to the Business Development Bank’s working capital loans and that these loans are fully forgivable.
  • Consider providing significant targeted funds of at least $50 million to CBC/Radio-Canada to be put towards the wages, production, broadcast, and streaming of live performance studio recordings, within the bounds of public health guidance both during full COVID-19 restrictions and at a time of recovery.
  • Grant a reprieve on the remittance of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
  • Consider a contribution to each of the AFC, Fondation des Artistes and its affiliated funds, and Unison Benevolent Fund to support their Emergency Financial Assistance Programs at this time of high demand.
  • Consider advocating to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for visa extensions and provide refunds on visa fees.
  • Consider the payout of all grants and subsidies from the Department of Heritage and waive the requirement for completed activity for those who have provided cancellation fees to musicians and other artists.

Rosalyn Dennett, who is an Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) staff member at the Canadian Office, has been instrumental in posting updates for available subsidies, as well as all things COVID-19, in our social media outlets. In addition, she has created a one-stop centre for all information in the Canadian section of the AFM website, located at www.cfmusicians.org/resources.

The CFM was also asked to participate in a task force, spearheaded by the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA). This has proven useful because the employers of the entertainment industry are also shut down, and they have many of the same concerns as the musicians whom they employ. A united voice to government, on behalf of the industry as a whole, is far more likely to be a credible barometer, wherever our objectives are not contrary.

We are also participating in a separate coalition of entertainment unions, specifically IATSE, CAEA, AFM, and Associated Designers of Canada (ADC). Again, as one voice, we are in the process of creating a letter to government to identify long-term issues, and make suggestions for the industry to re-energize, once clearance to return to work is given. These issues are:

  • Income earning thresholds should be implemented to allow live performance workers/artists to generate a reasonable level of “gig” income while still in receipt of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) support.
  • Seasonal and contractor workers/artists who would have generated income from live performance work in the spring and fall of 2020 but for the health crisis should be entitled to the CERB.
  • The duration of the CERB for live performance workers/artists needs to be extended to at least until the end of 2020 given the fact that the recovery of the live performance industry to its pre-health crisis norm will take at least that long.
  • Live performance employers should be able to claim the 75% wage subsidy for all regular full-time, part-time, contract, and/or seasonal workers/artists.
  • Live performance employers should be able to claim the 75% wage subsidy for all workers/artists irrespective of whether those workers/artists are engaged as traditional “employees” or in a self-employed capacity.
  • The duration of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for live performance employers needs to be extended to at least until the end of 2020 given the fact that the recovery of the live performance industry to its pre-health crisis norm will take at least that long.

In addition to the foregoing, we propose the following additional support initiatives for the federal government’s consideration to assist the arts and culture industry in its health crisis recovery:

  1. Specific Arts and Culture Emergency Economic Support
  • Increase funding allocations to the Canada Arts Council and various provincial arts bodies that will allow those bodies to utilize their expertise to allocate additional funds to arts and culture organizations to assist them in attracting live audience attendees—using an organization’s previous years’ ticket sales averages as the eligibility criteria for funding amounts (i.e. providing organizations funding equal to 50% of the average of the previous five years’ ticket sales so that the organization can attract audiences with reduced ticket prices).
  • It is our understanding that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy does not include municipally/provincially run venues if they are owned by a provincial and or municipal entity. We therefore ask for the inclusion of municipally/provincially run venues in the CEWS or commitment of separate funds earmarked exclusively to assist in the recovery for municipally and provincially run venues.
  • Amend the Income Tax Act on a temporary basis so that live performance ticket purchases are treated as charitable donations for tax purposes for 2020 and 2021.
  • Devise and implement federal tax credit incentives for live performance organizations similar to the types of provincial tax incentive policies that have given rise to record-setting levels of film and television production across Canada.
  • Identify and implement longer-term financial assistance initiatives that recognize the recovery of the live performance industry will take much longer than any other industry.
  1. National Marketing Campaign to Rediscover and Support the Arts
  • Work with all arts and culture stakeholders to design, implement, and fund a national marketing campaign aimed at encouraging Canadians to return to the various arts and culture venues as patrons and audiences.
  • As part of any marketing campaign, allocate funding to provincial and municipal organizations to enable them to use their expertise to design and implement more focused localized campaigns collaboratively with stakeholders.
  1. Safe Return for Workers and Audiences
  • Work with all arts and culture stakeholders and all levels of provincial and municipal government to design and implement appropriate public health protocols that will provide an environment for the safe return of workers/artists and audiences to the various arts and culture venues.

As you can see, we continue to be involved in many initiatives in an ongoing effort to ease the stresses imposed on our members because of this worldwide phenomenon. But, make no mistake—musicians would have not been included in the CERB without the persistence of the CFM and our sister unions to ensure that “gig economy” artists would be covered, and that any incidental revenue they had because of students, royalties, or other small amounts of income would not render them ineligible. When I pressed him for answers during the CMPA videoconference, Minister Guilbeault stated emphatically that he had heard our message “loud and clear,” and that adjustments would be made to accommodate our freelance players.

While none of us can predict what the short-term future is of the COVID-19 fiasco, please be aware that your union is doing everything it can, along with our partners, to ensure our members are included in all government subsidies, and to provide a positive transition into the world post-virus. For now, please embrace safe practices and distancing, that you and your families remain safe and healthy.

 

AFM Musicians’ Relief Fund

The Musicians’ Relief Fund helps union musicians who work gig to gig and are confronting extraordinary financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that you must meet ALL of the following five requirements to apply for financial assistance:

  1. You must currently be a member in good standing of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.
  2. You must be primarily engaged as a freelance musician.
  3. You must not be receiving post-COVID-19 lockdown payments of any sort from a musical employer, which payments flow from an agreement between an employer and AFM or one of its locals.
  4. You must reside and work in the United States or Canada.
  5. You have lost work due to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

 

Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and must be received by November 15, 2020. Payment amount is subject to availability of funds. Initial payments will not exceed $300 but may be revised upward if additional funding permits.

Application Form: https://www.afm.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Musicians-Relief-Fund-Application.pdf

Jigsaw Casting is seeking professional Musicians or Singers

Jigsaw Casting is seeking professional Musicians or Singers ACROSS CANADA to send a song to Self-Isolating Canadians during COVID-19!

Let’s brighten the spirits of people across Canada who could use a lift, by performing VIRTUAL solos just for them, from your own home, in accordance with physical distancing. Open to any talented professional musician or singer who can accompany themselves with a guitar, violin, bagpipes, cello, fiddle, keyboards, recorded bed track, or another instrument. If you have the ability to record yourself dedicating and playing an original song to someone who really needs it, let’s team up to give Canadians a musical boost! Each musical artist will be required to dedicate and perform a different song or piece for 2-3 different people.

Musicians can perform an original song that they have the copyright to or play classical pieces that are in the public domain. In order to qualify, you will need to have lost your job as a musician or lost gigs due to COVID-19 and currently be physically distancing. All recorded dedications must be done from the interior or exterior of your own home.

Musicians will be compensated $900.00. per track performed. Selected musicians will be required to do 2 - 3 songs/videos. Chosen musicians could also receive significant national exposure. Musicians must be members of CFM (Canadian Federation of Musicians) or ACTRA (or willing to join CFM at own expense) They must also be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents to apply. No previous acting experience is required.

To apply, please make a video. Here are the instructions:

1. Please introduce yourself, giving your name and your location.

2. Tell us why you think it’s important to give Canadians a musical boost during COVID-19.

3. In keeping with your own musical style, sing/play an original or public domain song for us, accompanying yourself on an instrument if required.

4. Lastly, give us a quick video tour of your indoor and outdoor space(s) where you could record yourself dedicating and performing your musical solos.

You can film this on your cell phone. Please keep it under 3 minutes long, then apply online with your video to: https://musicians2.castingcrane.com/

To be considered for this campaign. You must meet and be available for the following dates:

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT: May 20, 2020 at 9am.

SHOOT: May 22 to June 15, 2020 (filming yourself from home).

 

 

The Music Performance Trust Fund

The Music Performance Trust Fund will soon be accepting applications and now has 3 separate FUNDS available for access:

  1. Regular Funding: these applications are made through the Sec-Treasurer (S.T.) and are deducted from the Local’s allocation.
    • You can apply for events such as Communities, Education, and Medical Facilities.
    • All of these are at 50% co-sponsorship.  
  1. MusicianFest: This program is for single musicians who perform in Seniors’ facilities. These applications are made through the S.T. and are fully funded by MPTF. MPTF also requests a letter or email from the facility authorizing the performance and how the seniors would view the performance.

        https://musicpf.org/musicianfest/

  1. Educational Initiative Program: You must submit a proposal first before being approved. Send proposals to the S.T. for processing. Please note that this MPTF fully funded program has limited resources and your proposal should include the following:
    • MISSION
    • NUMBER OF CONCERTS & A LIST OF CONFIRMED DATES
    • AGE GROUP TARGET
    • ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS
    • NUMBER OF MUSICIANS
    • TYPE OF MUSIC
    • COST DETAILS (MUSICIANS, CARTAGE, ETC)
    • APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO WILL EXPERIENCE THE MUSIC
    • GOAL: WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO ACCOMPLISH FROM THIS PERFORMANCE?

 https://musicpf.org/music-in-schools/

*Important - MPTF needs promotional photos of your performances for their website and Facebook page.

**Contact the office for further information on the process info@calgarymusicians.org

 

 

 

 

P2 Visa Processing Update

The AFM Canada office is closed indefinitely. Emails are checked regularly, but if you don't see an answer to your question, please follow up.

If you are inquiring about a P2 visa, see below for some general information.

  1. The CFM won't be able to process new P2 applications until the office can reopen. The building, however, will remain open and able to accept delivery from UPS, Canada Post, FedEx and other carriers. Be advised that it's currently uncertain when U.S. venues will reopen and begin hosting music events again, so any application you file represents a risk, as USCIS does not provide refunds or date-transfers (see #3 below).
  1. If the Canadian office received your visa application prior to March 23, it has likely been processed, and a petition is with USCIS. As of March 24, USCIS was still approving petitions within the normal 45-day timeframe. Email Jill Leger if you would like a status update, and she will do her best to provide you with the latest information. jleger@afm.org
  1. If your work in the US has been cancelled, kindly be advised that USCIS unfortunately does not offer refunds, nor does it let applicants apply an existing visa to a later time period. If your work has been rescheduled beyond the original visa-validity period, you'll need to apply for a new visa with all the usual fees. In some cases, AFM Canada may be able to waive the AFM fee and when the time comes, can discuss if you qualify.
  1. Until the border re-opens to non-essential traffic, Canadian musicians will not be able to enter and work in the U.S., even if they have a valid visa. Wait until the border reopens before travelling, and please take all recommended precautions.
  1. AFM is lobbying governments on behalf of musicians suffering financial hits due to the global pandemic. If your gigs have been cancelled, please let your Local know. Your voice and experiences can help build a stronger case. info@calgarymusicians.org

Benevolent Fund Summary

  • The Stan Brown Benevolent Fund originated when the Association introduced an annual showcase called ‘Musicalgary’. It was an initiative from the early 90’s that helped to promote the musical talents and diversity of the membership. To make sure that any excess revenue was put to good use, the Health & Welfare Fund was born. As a service to the membership, it offers interest free loans to members who find themselves in financial difficulty. Former CMA President, Stan Brown was appointed chairman of the first committee and after his passing in June of 2012, the fund was renamed in his honour. Interest free loans are accessible by making an application to Chairman Dick Worton at dworton@telusplanet.net or 403-239-7807. Applications are strictly confidential.
  • The Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians is a charitable trust fund that provides financial aid to disabled members. It was started in 1951 with a $10,000 personal contribution from then AFM President James C. Petrillo in memory of his late son. This fund is not intended to replace health insurance or provide general loans but does supply modest amounts of assistance to qualified applicants on an emergency basis. For more info, contact the office.
  • Over the years many of our members have turned to the Actors’ Fund of Canada, which has been in existence since 1958. Now over 60 years after those visionary actors put $5 into a pot, the Fund they created disburses over $500,000 annually to camera-operators, grips, stage-hands, actors, directors, make-up artists, location managers, dancers, carpenters, musicians – in short, to members of all the many and various trades and professions that make up the entertainment industry. actorsfund.ca
  • The newest initiative, the Unison Benevolent Fund, is now operational. The Fund is an assistance program created and administered for the music community, by the music community. Unison is designed to provide discreet relief to music industry personnel in times of personal hardship and crisis. unisonfund.ca

Open Letter to the Federal and Provincial Ministries of Labour, Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada

March 13, 2020

Open Letter to the Federal and Provincial Ministries of Labour, Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada

The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) is the Canadian Office of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), which is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of musicians. There are 25 Canadian locals, representing more than 17,000 musicians, working in all aspects of the entertainment industry, from symphonies to theatres, television to advertising, motion picture soundtracks to rock concerts and everything in between.

The arrival of the COVID-19 virus in Canada has created the need for emergency measures, from the closure of offices and implementation of work-from-home policies, to the restrictions on large gatherings to the outright cancellation of music events such as the Junos, concerts, theatrical performances, orchestral performances and touring. While the CFM understands these necessary and unprecedented steps, they have created a devastating loss of planned work and needed revenue for not only the musicians involved, but for the organizations who have engaged them and now suddenly find themselves without ticket sales. That is revenue that cannot be recouped, and indeed, may have a long-term effect on the viability of those organizations and musicians, and subsequently the industry as a whole.

In order for the industry and those individuals to survive this crisis, there must be appropriate support from all levels of government for musicians working in traditional employment arrangements as well as the precarious “gig economy” freelance players.

The CFM is requesting that government adopt emergency measures in this exceptional situation, to provide security to counteract this critical loss of revenue, through whatever means necessary. These steps may include a waiver of the one-week waiting period for EI benefits (in the case where the musicians are entitled), to expanding the benefit to include freelance workers who provide their services as self-employed contractors, to ensuring that compensation is made available for musicians who have had gigs or tours cancelled for both lost revenue and other expenses, such as the hundreds of dollars, or thousands paid to USCIS as petition fees for P2 visas for US entry.

Consideration must be made as well for proper funding to help musicians and symphony/theatre organizations recover, as well as assistance to stimulate and revitalize the industry once the virus has been contained and/or eradicated.

The CFM is undertaking to gather data in order to demonstrate the loss in financial terms, because of this crisis, and will be sharing that data when available. The CFM also welcomes any questions or dialogue which government feels prudent during these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

Alan Willaert

AFM Vice-President from Canada

2020 Richard Cowie Memorial Scholarship Award

JazzYYC and the Calgary Musicians Association are offering a $1000.00 scholarship to an individual who is a professional performing jazz musician. This scholarship is to be used to further the applicant’s studies in jazz (i.e. tuition fees, private lesson fees, workshop fees etc.).

The applicant’s proposal will:

  • present in a clear and concise manner, the applicant’s artistic vision.
  • show leadership in the Calgary jazz community.
  • show some originality of concept.
  • outline how the funds will be used, including a complete budget that includes the Calgary Musicians Association/JazzYYC scholarship funds as part of the overall funds needed for the project and a timeline for when the funds will be used. A written report that includes the actual expenditures will be required at the completion of the project.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS; May 15th, 2020

All submissions must include the following:

  • contact information.
  • a short personal biography, including your artistic vision.
  • a description of the planned use of the funds, including a timeline for the usage.
  • a complete budget for the project, which includes the use of the scholarship funds.
  • a copy (CD/Album), link or .mp3 of your most recent representative work (please label the case cover for CD/Album submissions).

Mail, email or drop submissions to:

Calgary Musicians Association

#5 - 606 Meredith Rd NE, Calgary, AB T2E 5A8

info@calgarymusicians.org

The successful applicant will be announced on or before June 5th, 2020.

A performance by the winner will be sponsored and scheduled with JazzYYC.