Category Archives: Updates

Collective bargaining is good for everyone

By Hassan Yussuff, as published in the Globe and Mail.  December 23, 2019

The holidays aren’t solely about gift-giving and spreading good cheer. Many workers find themselves having to walk a picket line around this time of year.

Everywhere you look these days, teachers, public transit workers, railway and refinery workers seem to be involved in some kind of job action as contracts expire and end-of-year negotiations fail.

It can be frustrating for those affected and may even seem unfair that workers disadvantage the public in pursuit of better working conditions and better wages.

But make no mistake, collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helps ensure workers are getting their fair share. This is especially true when we consistently see certain governments, shareholders and corporate CEOs squeezing workers in order to improve their own bottom lines. “Without the right to pursue workplace goals collectively, workers may be left essentially powerless in dealing with their employer or influencing their employment conditions,” reads a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling upholding the right of RCMP officers to unionize.

Unsurprising that some employers, private interest groups and opinion shapers insist on back-to-work legislation whenever a group of workers flexes collective muscle. But the reality is that work stoppages are a rarity—with almost all collective agreements in Canada reached and renewed without a strike or lockout.

In fact, strikes and lockouts happen far less frequently today than in the past. Days lost to work stoppages in federal private-sector, where CN Rail workers recently struck for several days, are well below levels reached earlier this decade. For instance, in 2019, monthly work stoppages recently dipped to a low of 13 for the entire country. This is well below 2017 and 2018 averages.

Collective bargaining is functioning exactly as intended. Workers leverage their collective strength in order to influence the terms and conditions of their employment. Their efforts to stand up for themselves will often have a ripple effect, improving conditions for non-unionized workers in related industries as well as for the people they serve. When teachers oppose larger class sizes and rail engineers insist on safety improvements, the public directly benefits, too.

The significantly low unemployment rate is also contributing to renewed confidence among workers. More discouraged workers and those overcoming barriers to employment have been able to find work. The number of underemployed workers, like part-timers who prefer but can’t find full-time hours, have ebbed.

This is long overdue. For a decade, young people have been graduating into a high unemployment job market with limited prospects. Women and newcomers to Canada have struggled with a shortage of decent jobs.  While joblessness remains far too high in oil-producing provinces and the Atlantic region (in Alberta, it hovers at a shocking 20% for males under the age of 25), there are gains elsewhere. In Ontario, Quebec and BC, the improving job market has allowed wages to tick up – finally. Since mid-year, wage growth has begun to pick up, averaging over 4%.

During the last ten years of sluggish growth, high unemployment and weak wage gains, typical workers in Canada have seen very little improvement in their wages, adjusted for inflation. Flat earnings are partly responsible for the fact that debt as a share of household disposable income has doubled in the past 25 years. Furthermore, fewer workers even belong to a union at all which often translates in lower earnings and fewer benefits and little recourse to improve matters. Compounded with the rise of the gig economy and with more companies outsourcing work, it’s that much harder for workers to unionize as we are seeing at corporations like IBM and Amazon.

In the meantime, Canada’s top corporate CEOs were paid nearly 200 times what the average worker made in 2017. In 2018, quarterly operating profits reached a post-recession high. Workers have spent the ‘recovery’ simply fighting to hold onto what they have.

It’s not just unions that welcome a stronger labour market and decent wage gains. The Bank of Canada also thinks it’s a good idea. Because inflation remains well under control, it has hesitated to raise interest rates. That’s a good strategy because it helps reduce inequality and strengthens the ability of households to cope with debt, food and shelter costs.

We must all recognize that even when work stoppages do happen, they are simply evidence that the collective bargaining process is working. Despite occasional work-to-rule and walk-outs, this is actually a very good thing because it ensures workers still have a say – as they should.

Hassan Yussuff is the president of the Canadian Labour Congress. Follow him on Twitter @Hassan_Yussuff


CFM Announces Major Breakthrough Affecting Travelling Musicians

Air Passenger Protection Regulations Amendments Include Mandatory Acceptance Of Musical Instruments

TORONTO, May 29, 2019 - The Canadian Federation of Musicians announce a successful outcome in its efforts to affect much needed changes to Canada's Air Policy  with regard to the transportation of musical instruments on Canadian air carriers. Effective July 15, 2019, Air Passenger Protection Regulations within the Canadian Transportation Act will include language that ensures that all air carriers must accept musical instruments unless security or safety is an issue. These amendments will include clear and predictable terms and conditions with regard to musical instruments as well as the obligation to carry and accept an instrument.  Airlines will also be required to offer an alternative to musicians travelling with instruments should a change in aircraft cause an instrument not to fit.

"Over the years, we've seen far too many professional musicians have very expensive and often irreplaceable tools of their trade broken or destroyed during air travel,"  explains Alan Willaert, Vice-President from Canada, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. "We have worked closely with the Government of Canada and all Canadian air carriers on this issue since 2014 and are delighted to see these demands become regulation.  We are grateful to The Honourable Minister Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport who has been supportive from the very beginning; the officials at Transport Canada, who have worked tirelessly with us; and the Canadian Transportation Agency".

CFM will issue a Canadian Flying Guide over the coming weeks to further assist musicians flying with instruments.  Each airline will also have clear guidelines published as part of their Tariff.  Under the Obligation to Carry amendments, all commercial airline carriers must accept musical instruments as checked or carry-on baggage, unless it is contrary to general terms and conditions in the carrier's tariff with respect to the weight or dimension of baggage or because of safety or security. The Canadian Federation of Musicians looks forward to working with Transport Canada and air carriers to help make these positive changes as seamless as possible.

The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) is the Canadian National Office of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM). We are made up of 200 local offices across North America, collectively representing 80,000 professional musicians, 17,000 of whom live and work in Canada.  Proudly celebrating 40 remarkable years of service, CFM is uniquely positioned to address Canadian issues and provides vital resources for Canadian musicians, at any stage in their careers.

For more information please visit us at @CFM on Twitter׀ Facebook | Instagram     #makespace4mycase   #haveinstrumentwilltravel

2019 Richard Cowie Memorial Scholarship Award

The 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.


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 CD or CDR of your most recent representative work (please label the case cover on the spine) or links to your most recent works, if applying by email.

Email, mail or drop submissions to:

Calgary Musicians Association

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

The successful applicant will be announced on June 16th, 2019.

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





42 Canadian music community groups commit to fostering safe and respectful workspaces

Coalition of Canadian music organizations sign Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct, announce training & education resources will be available through Unison Benevolent Fund

March 16, 2019, London, ON: A coalition of Canadian music community groups has joined in solidarity and is working towards environments free of harassment, discrimination, violence, and bullying for the music community.

Today the coalition announced that 42 music groups have formally signed on to the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct. By signing on to the Code, the organizations are acknowledging their responsibility to build safe, respectful workplaces, and are committing to improving and implementing policies to keep the music community safe.

As a first step, members of the coalition have formed an Education, Training and Safe Support Committee, which is working to provide each member of the Canadian music community with the appropriate resources and training to identify, confront and prevent harassment, bullying and violence in any workplace. Unison Benevolent Fund has volunteered to host a suite of educational and training resources through its website at no cost. These resources will be made available to the music community at a later date.

Today’s announcement was made at Allies in Action, an event focused on initiatives undertaken or underway to create safer spaces as the Canadian music community gathers in London, Ontario for the 2019 JUNO Awards.

Because of the uniqueness of the music business and the spaces in which musicians and music workers often operate, the coalition has added the following music-specific preamble to the existing Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct:

“We, the Canadian music community signatories, support the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct. We recognize that in the music industry, the terms work, workplace and work-related, are extremely broad and can include any physical or virtual spaces at any time.”

You can read the full Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct at

Additional organizations that would like to sign on to the Code can register online. Once the form has been completed, new signatories should email a high resolution company logo to with your organization’s name and “Becoming Code signatory” in the subject line.

Music industry groups that have signed on to the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct are:

Across the Board 50/50 by 2020

ACTRA RACS (Recording Artists’ Collecting Society)

AFM Local 1000 (American Federation of Musicians)

Calgary Musicians Association

Canadian Conference of Musicians

Canadian Country Music Association

Canadian Federation of Musicians

Canadian Live Music Association

Canadian Music Publishers Association

Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA)

Canadian Private Copying Collective

CCMC Music Gallery

CONNECT Music Licensing

Creative BC

Cultural Industries Ontario North (CION)

Edmonton Musicians Association, AFM Local 390

Film & Entertainment Industries, City of Toronto

Folk Music Ontario

Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec

Gypsy Soul Entertainment

Island Musicians Association (IMA)

Manitoba Music

Music BC Industry Association

Music Canada

Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (MusicNL)

Music Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Music·Musique NB

Musicians Association Local 276 CFM (Canadian Federation of Musicians)

Musicians' Association of Ottawa-Gatineau

Musicians' Rights Organization Canada (MROC)


Regina Musicians Association


Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)

Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.)


The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences

Toronto Musicians' Association, AFM Local 149

Unison Benevolent Fund

Vancouver Musicians Association, Local 145 of AFM

WCMA (Western Canadian Music Alliance)

Women in Music Canada

- 30 -

 Supporting quotes

"The Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct addresses the distinct circumstances of music professionals, and the unique ways in which we work. Unison exists as a resource for the Canadian music community during times of crisis, and we look forward to investing in more proactive solutions that prioritize the safety of music workers. On behalf of the Unison Board of Directors, we would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the Education, Training, and Safe Support Committee for putting such a vital program together. We’re proud to partner with them to further serve the Canadian music community."

- Amanda Power, Executive Director, Unison Benevolent Fund

“As organizations, CARAS and Music Canada deeply value respect, inclusiveness and excellence. Both organizations believe everyone working in this beautiful and complex music community deserves to feel safe and supported. To achieve this, we’re working on national initiatives like the Allies in Action event, as well as local CARAS partnerships in our host cities with groups like Anova in London and Good Night Out in Vancouver to make JUNO Awards events safe for everyone.

Signing the Code is a way for Canadian music community groups to affirm our dedication to our shared values, and to reinforce those values with action. Through the work of the Education, Training and Safe Support Committee, I’m very pleased that we will be able to offer all members of the Canadian music community the resources to help make all of our workplaces safer.”

- Jackie Dean, Chief Operating Officer, CARAS, The JUNO Awards, MusiCounts

Chief Financial Officer, Music Canada 

“Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM), as the union for professional musicians, is committed to representing and protecting its membership in all facets of their career. Signing the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct represents the music community’s shared action towards creating a healthy culture with zero tolerance to all forms of harassment. Working to ensure health and safety in the workplace for our membership is one of the union’s many functions. We will continue to pledge our resources, support and expertise and proudly sign on behalf of our over 17,000 active Canadian members.”

- Liana White, Executive Director, Canadian Federation of Musicians

"The Code is a community statement and commitment that each signatory organization and company takes their own measures to discourage and address harassment in their workplaces. It acknowledges that music industry workplaces are often non-standard workplaces, known as extended workplaces, and include studios, venues, bars, green rooms, and tour buses, among others. If we collectively are motivated to meet the commitments in the Code, it will help musicians and all workers across the industry feel safer and more enabled to collaborate, create great music, and ensure that there is a professional platform to share the work of the world’s best artists.”                                                       

- Michael Adam Murray, Executive Director,

Toronto Musicians Association (TMA), local 149

“Canada’s live music industry is doing its part to ensure that every live music space is a safe place through our recently launched Raising the Bar program. Raising the Bar addresses safer spaces, harm reduction and event safety at live music events – be they indoors or out, and will work to complement both the ethos and practical implications of the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct. We are all in this together, and we are vigorously working to supplant systemic issues with positive change.”

- Erin Benjamin, Canadian Live Music Association President & CEO

"The Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct is a wonderful initiative that provides a uniform set of standards to ensure the safety and success of of our colleagues throughout the industry.”

- Samantha Slattery, Founder, Women in Music Canada

“It is important that we have all signed on to the Code as a community but now it is even more important that we look at ways to proactively change the way we do business.”

- Margaret McGuffin, Executive Director, Canadian Music Publishers Association

For more information:

Victoria Lord, VLPR Inc.








Calgary’s YYC Music Awards 2019 Submissions Now Open!

Recognizing the talent and achievements of Calgary's music community, the YYC MUSIC AWARDS shines the spotlight on artists from one of Canada's most vibrant and eclectic scenes. Hosting their 4th annual gala on September 22, 2019 at The Palace Theatre (219 8 Ave SW), the YYCMA's have open submissions to Calgary's homegrown talent beginning March 1st and ending on June 5, 2019.

This year's 2019 awards will honour members of the Calgary music community in 23 categories (listed below).

Awards application can be submitted at the following link:

Please note submission requirements:

The album or single must have been commercially released between March 1st, 2018 and February 28th, 2019 to be eligible. Singles may not be part of a collection previously nominated.

Full Details on category description and eligibility can be read here.

2019 YYC Music Awards Categories:

Recording Awards:
Artists may only submit to one of the following categories:

- Alternative Recording of the Year
- Blues/Jazz Recording of the Year
- Classical Recording of the Year

- Contemporary Inspirational Recording of the Year
- Country Recording of the Year

- EDM Recording of the Year
- Folk Recording of the Year

- Jazz Recording of the Year
- Metal Recording of the Year
- Pop Recording of the Year

- R & B / Soul Recording of the Year

- Rap Recording of the Year
- Rock Recording of the Year
- World Music Recording of the Year

Artistic/Industry Awards:
Artists may submit to more than one of these categories:

- Female Artist of the Year
- Group of the Year
- Industry Person of the Year
- Male Artist of the Year
- Music Video of the Year
- People's Choice Award
- Single of the Year
- Songwriter of the Year
- Zackariah and The Prophets Memorial Award

2018 YYCMA Winners -

The YYC MUSIC AWARDS is also accepting volunteer applications leading up to, and for the gala, along with membership for the Calgary Music Selection Committee (CMSC), who are voting members.

For more info: 
Sponsorship Inquiries:   
The YYC MUSIC AWARDS celebrates the artists that embrace Calgary as home; entertaining and supporting its arts and culture. The award event was founded by music industry professionals, with backgrounds in artist management, booking agents, media as well as recording studio production/engineering.


Tax Workshop – Last Chance to Sign-up

"Tax Tips For Musicians" 

When: March 13th at 12:00 p.m.

Where: Farm Business Consultants

150-3015 5th Avenue N.E. Calgary, AB T2A 6T8

Lunch provided. 

Here is an outline of the presentation "Tax Tips For Musicians" :

*  Who we are

*  Tax planning

*  Tax Tips for Musicians

*  Importance of GOOD record keeping

* When to Incorporate

*  The benefits of doing so

*  Records and Audits

*  CRA and Audit Triggers to avoid

*  If CRA selects you

*  Dealing with the Audit

*  FBC and our 4 Pillars


“Tax Tips For Musicians”

Tax Workshop:

"Tax Tips For Musicians" 

When: March 13th at 12:00 p.m.

Where: Farm Business Consultants

150-3015 5th Avenue N.E.

Calgary, AB T2A 6T8

Lunch provided. 

Here is an outline of the presentation "Tax Tips For Musicians" :

*  Who we are

*  Tax planning

*  Tax Tips for Musicians

*  Importance of GOOD record keeping

* When to Incorporate

*  The benefits of doing so

*  Records and Audits

*  CRA and Audit Triggers to avoid

*  If CRA selects you

*  Dealing with the Audit

*  FBC and our 4 Pillars

FBC is Canada’s small business tax specialist. We take a non-traditional approach to accounting; specializing in tax planning, tax consultation, tax preparation and providing peace of mind with our exclusive audit representation. We serve you at your place of business, saving you time and money.

FBC has been helping small businesses save on their taxes since 1952. We have over 20,000 satisfied Members across Canada who trust us and our commitment to Canadian small businesses. Our Tax Specialists help Members with today’s ever-changing tax laws providing their expertise, experience, ongoing consultation, and using our proprietary tax software. We guarantee all of our work with an exclusive tax audit representation guarantee. Last year we helped our Members save over $27 million through tax planning, tax deductions and tax credits.

In addition to our tax services, we offer other ancillary services. FBC has an excellent bookkeeping and payroll service, we come to your home or place of business either monthly or quarterly to take care of all your bookkeeping. We also provide direction for succession planning, estate planning, investing and di-vesting, and health care benefit programs for you.



CMA Members in the News

Best of Calgary Nominations

Best Local Music Act - Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and The Flat Whites (Russell Broom, Chris Byrne, Spencer Cheyne)

Alberta Country Music Awards

Group/Duo of the Year – Nice Horse

Video of the Year – Nice Horse

Musician of the Year - Mitch Jay

JUNO Nominations

Album of the Year - Jann Arden - These Are the Days

Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year - Kobra And the Lotus - Prevail II

Adult Contemporary Album of the Year - Jann Arden - These Are the Days

The following are CMA members who performed on JUNO nominated recordings: 

Brett Kissel (Country Album of the Year): Matty McKay, Ben Bradley, Justin Kudding, Spencer Cheyne.
Brian Doerksen (Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year): Spencer Cheyne, Chris Byrne, Mike Little, Russell Broom.

2019 Maple Blues Lifetime Achievement Award

Ellen McIlwaine


Banff Centre Summer Music Programs

The Banff Centre’s world-renowned Summer Music Programs for 2019 are open for applications, with deadlines throughout January 2019.

Artistic Directors Steven Schick and Claire Chase will lead two residency programs unique among other summer educational music festivals.

Ensemble Evolution and EQ: Evolution of the String Quartet will combine a rigorous pre-professional training program with a festival atmosphere for young musicians and emerging arts leaders, with emphasis on the participants creating their own new work.

Ensemble Evolution: This three-week program explores the evolving range of ensemble playing in the 21st century. Participants will work closely with internationally recognized performers, composers, improvisers, and arts leaders. This Summer Music program explores the evolving range and depth of ensemble playing in the early 21st century. Through workshops, performances, collaboration with faculty, and group conversation, participants will engage in a holistic approach to making music. June 24 – July 13, 2019

EQ: Evolution of the String Quartet: Pre-existing string quartets will work with internationally recognized string quartets including JACK, Eybler, Parker and Bozzini and composers on an expansive repertory spanning the earliest string quartets to the innovations of the present day. This Summer Music program explores the string quartet lineage from Haydn to music made in Banff by and for the faculty and participants of EQ. July 15 – August 03, 2019

For the 2nd year running join multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey as Co-Artistic Director and Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer, who has been Artistic Director since 2013 for the 2019 Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music. • Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music: This program provides emerging artists with an extraordinary opportunity to collaborate and perform alongside internationally acclaimed composers and musicians – all under the co-artistic direction of Vijay Iyer and Tyshawn Sorey. The goal is to learn, converse, build, experiment, refine, and transform — to reimagine the state of the art. This program is one of the most intensive that Banff Centre offers, and continues our 40-year history of incredible jazz exploration. August 05 – August 23, 2019

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is located in Treaty 7 territory. We acknowledge the past, present, and future generations of Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot and Tsuu T’ina Nations who help us steward this land, as well as honour and celebrate this place.

For more info:


Deadline: Monday, December 10, 2018 at 11:59 pm  

Artists are encouraged to apply for this grant, worth up to $75,000, to become Alberta’s Artist in Residence for a one-year term. Through this grant, the Artist in Residence will: 

- develop and showcase an art project that addresses a key issue(s) in their community

- work with Alberta communities to promote the importance of artists and the arts

- communicate and share their perspective on the artistic process with the public and government

- act as an advocate for understanding the realities of artists and the communities in which they work 

This program seeks to inspire innovation in the arts and encourage dialogue by supporting visionary artists and cultural leaders to create work and lead conversations on the role of artists and the arts in society.