Category Archives: Updates

Musical Instruments on Airlines

Through the lobbying efforts of the CFM, Bill C-49: The Transportation Modernization Act contains language mandating ALL Canadian airlines to implement a fair policy for musicians flying with their instruments.  The Bill has been passed through the House and is now before Senate. Once passed by Senate, we hope it will align Canadian regulations with those the already in place in the United States.

We anticipate this Bill to move quickly and receive Royal Ascent by this summer.  Thereafter, Transport Canada will be tasked with establishing the regulations, a process we expect will take most of the rest of the year.  We have already held discussions with Transport Canada to ensure CFM is involved in the regulatory process. If all goes according to plan, we might see Canadian airlines implementing musical instrument friendly policy by early 2019.

CATSA has prepared an informational pamphlet (available through the office) with regard to the security screening process. If you are concerned about taking instruments through security, the best suggestion is to ask for a private screening room. The security process will take longer, but, musicians with fragile instruments will be closer during the search process which might alleviate some anxiety of the searching of fragile musical instruments.

If you have any questions please, email Allistair Elliott, International Representative,

For more information please visit us at | CFM on Twitter|CFM on Facebook.


Here’s to Your Health!!!

As professional musicians, we all realize the importance of being in good physical shape to perform to the highest standards; not unlike professional athletes. To that end, the Canadian Federation of Musicians has struck a deal with GoodLife Fitness that affords us a discount on membership of more than 35%. A benefit of the Corporate Membership Program is the ability to add up to four eligible family members to your Corporate Membership.

The enrolment is available online and requires you to enter your AFM ID Number. This ID Number can be found in your AFM Portal and is a different member number than the one assigned by the Local. If you do not know your AFM ID Number or need to update your membership to active status, please contact the office.

To register online, go to and select Canadian Federation of Musicians in the dropdown menu, then enter your AFM membership number. Follow the prompts, pay the fee and you’re in.

The annual Corporate Membership rate for us is $449.00 plus applicable taxes, per member, per year; or the bi-weekly payment will be $24.00 plus tax. Your membership gives you access to all 280+ GoodLife Fitness Clubs across the country, including the 50+ Énergie Cardio Clubs in Quebec.

For a complete list of club locations and amenities visit

Here’s to your health!!!


Happy Birthday to You, We’re 80 Years Old!!!

   We first affiliated with the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) on January 3rd, 1938 as the Calgary Musicians’ Protective Association. At the time, our jurisdiction was: North to, but not including Red Deer; East to Drumheller; South to the International Boundary and West to Field, BC. We had a membership of around 125.

   In 1940, casual/freelance engagement scales were $6 for the Leader and $4 for each sidemusician. That was the same for the Stampede, Horse Races, General Theatre Productions and General Band Engagements. Our highest scales were $15/Leader and $8/sidemusician at the Palliser Hotel and $55/week/Leader and $35/week/sidemusician for the Banff Springs Hotel and the Chateau Lake Louise. CBC was under a National scale and we had no collective agreements.

   On April 1, 1972 we officially became the Calgary Musicians Association. Scales had risen to $27/Leader and $18/sidemusician for freelance engagements; Symphony from $6/musician to $16; Local Theatre Productions to $17/musician. The Stampede Grandstand Attractions scales were $50/Leader and $25/musician for 9 performances; Seasonal Resorts including the Banff Springs, Chateau Lake Louise and Waterton Park rose to $150/week for the Leader and $100/week for each sidemusician. CBC and Local Broadcasts were now lumped together at $24/Leader and $12/musician for a 30-minute broadcast and Recorded Soundtracks were $40/leader and $20/ musician per hour. Master tapes were under an International scale. We had approximately 1000 members and our jurisdiction had expanded to include Red Deer south to the US border and from the Saskatchewan border to the Columbia River Valley.

   By the late 70’s, Calgary was booming at less than half of the population we now have. There were more than a dozen hotels that offered six-day employment for musicians; some of them had 2 or 3 rooms operating weekly as well. This environment attracted many travelling groups from across Canada. There were only a handful of free standing live music clubs at the time. It all came to a halt in the mid-80’s when the liquor laws in Alberta changed reducing the size and capacity of bars. That’s when the hotels got out of the business and the industry took a big hit. We had two collective agreements; one with the Calgary Philharmonic and the other with the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.

   Next, we saw the rise of ‘neighbourhood pubs’ and other stand-alone clubs that still exist today as the main source of employment for freelance bands and musicians. Even though the rooms have become smaller and the budgets for live music reduced, the Association continues to fight for fair wages and working conditions for the members. Our membership numbers aren’t near what they were during the heyday, but since that time, we’ve made in roads with local theatre organizations and we’ve also increased the number of our collective agreements to six, with more to come as the members organize.

   This brief abridged history is missing many details that undoubtedly the older members could provide, so take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the music industry in Calgary the next time you’re swapping stories of the road.

Happy 80th and Congratulations for your on-going support for the one organization dedicated solely to assisting you as musicians and providing the understanding, support and respect that you deserve! Keep the faith and spread the word!!!


Cliff Hails – RIP

Cliff Hails, the beloved husband of Margaret for 67 years, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2018. He is survived by his wife Margaret, his son John Hails (wife Susan Priel) and daughter Janet Hails (husband Mike May). He is also survived by his younger sister Lydia Wilson of Oakham, UK., his cousin Dave and Cis Willis in California and various nieces and nephews. Cliff was predeceased by his father, John and mother, Lydia and his mischievous older brother, Hedley. Cliff, a Musician, was born in 1929 in Willington, Durham, UK. His love of music began at 5 years old when he requested a mouth organ for Christmas. Before joining the R.H.R. Black Watch at 18, he played the bugle in the Boys Brigade and the accordion in a Hawaiian group in the factory where he worked. He played flute and piccolo for six years while serving the Black Watch. Cliff was stationed in Berlin and travelled around the world with the band and came back from South Africa to marry Margaret on July 1, 1950, whom he met when he was 17. Margaret encouraged Cliff's love of music by cancelling their honeymoon to allow him to buy a tenor saxophone. In 1952, he became a flautist with the Birmingham and Coventry theatre orchestras. He played for the Cunard Steamship Liners on the "Saxonia" travelling between Liverpool and New York. At age 26, with Margaret pregnant with their son John, Cliff decided to immigrate to Canada for the betterment of his family. He joined the RCAF band in Edmonton then later to the Canadian Army band, which began his family's cross country adventure from Halifax, followed by teaching at the School of Music in Victoria. In 1966 Cliff was surprised by the arrival of his daughter Janet; his pride a joy. He decided to settle in Calgary where he became an integral part of the music scene. Cliff worked for the Calgary Board of Education repairing musical instruments and sharing his love of music with the children. During his six decades in Canada, Cliff played freelance with Calgary Symphony, Calgary Stampede, Neil Gow and the Five Nights, and finally with the Cappy Smart Fire Band. He never lost his love for playing music, which he shared equally with his love of his family, cars and travel. Many memorable cross country car holidays are fondly remembered by Margaret, John and Janet. We invite you to an informal Celebration of Life on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at the Southern Pioneers Memorial Building (3625 4 St SW, Calgary, Alberta). In lieu of flowers, donations in Cliff's name are gratefully accepted by the National Music Centre's youth educational programs at: To view and share photos, condolences and stories of Cliff please visit

Calling All Violinists and Cellists


Compete for your chance to be paired with a legendary violin or cello!

The bank consists of more than 20 magnificent instruments: violins, cellos and bows created by master instrument makers including Stradivarius, Gagliano and Pressenda.

  • Value: A three-year loan of a rare instrument
  • How to qualify: Apply to the Canada Council
  • Deadline: April 2, 2018
  • For further information: please refer to the guidelines

Please share this information through your networks.


Sarah Brown

Program Officer

Prizes, Canada Council for the Arts

1-800-263-5588 | 613-566-4414

ext. 6004


Breakout West

Dear Members:

In early December, the West Coast Music Alliance (WCMA) sent out a notice that it will start accepting submissions on January 8th, for performance opportunities at its annual festival: BreakOut West (BOW), an event which features an industry conference, an opening day concert and various live performances in public venues. 

WCMA/BOW remains on the AFM's International Unfair List for the reasons detailed below.  All members are notified now, that they are not to apply for, nor, accept any performance at BOW 2018.

Since May of last year, the union has been reporting its attempts at negotiating a successor agreement with the WCMA.  Unfortunately, the WCMA continues to refuse to bargain. Without a collective agreement in place, you, the musicians, on which the Festival is based, are not guaranteed reasonable fees and pension.  Additionally, there is no language preventing the WCMA or broadcasters from recording, broadcasting or otherwise exploiting your performances without proper remuneration.  

Despite receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in combined subsidies from government grants and corporate sponsors, WCMA have stated that musicians should not consider Breakout West a gig; they should consider it a 'networking opportunity' - however sound/stage crew receive guarantees.  Ticketed events, in public venues, are not showcases, they are gigs - if the sound person receives a guarantee, so should you!

The CFM is affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), and we have simply asked the WCMA to meet the CLC's national push for "$15/hr and Fairness”, based on a 4-hour minimum call, which would see musicians earn at minimum $60 (each) for their performance, noting that certain headline musicians performing the concert portion of the festival are paid high guarantees. 

All Canadians deserve to be paid for their work and this must include professional musicians.  This is a simple matter of social justice and WCMA's continued reluctance to meet this minimum standard is unacceptable.  We continue to ask, as should you: Where is all that money going? Musicians have to eat, like everyone else.


Vice President from Canada


Calgary Community String Orchestra

Do you know of a beginner or intermediate adult string player who would love to play in an ensemble?

The Calgary Community String Orchestra will begin its next session on Tuesday, January 9.

WHO: beginner to intermediate ADULT string players who have taken lessons for at least one year.

WHAT:   The Calgary Community String Orchestra

WHEN: Tuesdays 7:30 - 9:30

             Beginning January 9

             Concert: 8pm Tuesday, March 13

WHERE: Rehearsals: St Mathew's United Church - 2035 – 26A ST SW

               March 6 dress rehearsal and March 13 concert: Temple B'nai Tikvah - 900 47th Avenue SW  

REGISTRATION: register on our website:

REHEARSAL INFORMATION: The first hour of each rehearsal is spent in sectionals and the second hour we rehearse as an orchestra. Anne Scott leads the cello sectionals and Diane Valentine works with our violinists. We are also regularly joined Rob Penner who coaches our violinists and John Thompson, who coaches our violas.

The coaching sessions provide wonderful support to those who require a little extra help learning orchestral parts or who are inexperienced in an ensemble

COACHES: In addition to Anne and Diane, we often invite guest coaches to join us. Our guest coaches have included John Thompson, Tom Megee, Heather Heron- Mykyte, Sanja Suplevska, Rob Penner, Steve Lubiarz, Shirley Wright, Eileen Kosasih, Mary Jane Vandekerehove, Barbara Smith, Jeff Faragher and Jason Erhardt.

CCSO is a unique and wonderful opportunity for adult students. We strive to create a supportive and positive environment. There are no auditions. Everyone is welcome. For more info click here.

Thank you!

Anne Scott and Diane Valentine



Opera in the 21st Century – Banff Centre

Opera in the 21st Century

Program dates: June 15 – July 11, 2018

Application deadline – Opera singers, directors, conductors, and pianists: January 10, 2018

Application deadline – Dancers, chamber and orchestra musicians: January 24, 2018

Apply online:

Opera in the 21st Century is a one-of-a-kind performance-based collaborative training experience for emerging opera professionals that truly challenges the conventions of opera performance, production, and design. Open to singers, musicians, dancers, conductors and stage directors, this is truly a unique opportunity to work with diverse artists in a multi-disciplinary program.

Applications for dancers and musicians can be found here.