COVID-19 Information & Resources for Canada’s Music Industry (Prepared by CIMA)

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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.

Please note that S.A.C.’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.

MAY 19 UPDATE:

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the Government of Canada will extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. Government will consult with key business and labour representatives over the next month on potential adjustments to the program to incent jobs and growth, including the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold. Any potential changes following the consultation will have as key objectives to maximize employment, ensure the CEWS reflects the immediate needs of businesses and supports the post-crisis economic recovery.

Regulatory Changes: The Government has made regulatory changes to prescribe certain types of organizations in order to extend eligibility for the CEWS to additional groups. For more information click here.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today 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

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.

In the coming weeks, this investment will help thousands of women entrepreneurs and business owners navigate this crisis. It will help ensure women across the country—whether they’re a restaurant owner in Campbellton, New Brunswick, a manufacturer in Prince George, British Columbia, or a retailer in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut—get the support they need through things like business workshops, mentorship and skills training to adapt to a digital marketplace.

Empowering women-owned businesses across Canada remains a key priority, and the government will continue working hard to ensure women entrepreneurs are supported through the pandemic and into the economic recovery.

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.

APRIL 24 UPDATE:

This morning the Prime Minister announced that the Government has reached an agreement in principle with all province and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA).

  • The program will provide forgiveable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business (including nonprofit and charity) tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The government will cover 50%, with building owner (landlord) paying 25% and tenant paying 25%.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will administer and deliver the CECRA, a collaboration between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.
  • Provinces and territories have agreed to cost-share total costs and facilitate the implementation of the program
  • It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenant’s payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.
  • Under a rent forgiveness agreement, which includes a moratorium on eviction, the mortgaged commercial property owner would reduce the small business tenant’s monthly rent by at least 75 per cent. The tenant would be responsible for covering 25 per cent, the property owner 25 per cent, while the federal government and provinces would share the remaining 50 per cent.

APRIL 21 UPDATE:

Earlier today the Government of Canada launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator for Employers.

From the news release – “To help employers keep and re-hire workers amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is implementing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).  This important economic measure provides a 75% wage subsidy of up to $847 per employee per week, to eligible employers, for up to 12 weeks, preventing further job losses and encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator to support employers as they prepare to apply for the CEWS. The CEWS calculator can be found on CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Web page. This Web page incorporates feedback received during user testing with stakeholders, including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.  It includes detailed information and instructions about who can apply for the subsidy, how eligibility is assessed, and how the subsidy is calculated.  The calculator also includes a printable statement feature that employers can use to view their claim at a glance and, as of April 27, enter required information into the CEWS application form quickly and easily.

By providing employers with additional details about their subsidy claim, the CEWS calculator can equip employers with important information they can use now to make more informed decisions about retaining and re-hiring workers. A series of information sessions will be held in the coming days to provide a forum for eligible employers.

The CRA also encourages employers to sign up for My Business Account or Represent a Client, as employers will be able to apply through these portals. The CRA will open the application process on April 27, 2020.  CEWS claims will be subject to verification by the CRA. Funds for approved applications will begin to be released on May 5.”

The Government of Canada is providing $500 million in 2020-21 to establish a new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the complex financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors.

The Fund is meant for organizations that can’t qualify for the existing wage subsidy because of the lumpy or irregular nature of their revenues as well as to cover contract workers. The Fund will also provide advances on future grants and contributions to help maintain liquidity as well as small subsidies to cover some fixed costs. Read the full news release here.

Eligible organizations and businesses include:

  • Canadian not-for-profit cultural, heritage and arts organizations
  • National Sports Organizations, Multisport Service Organizations, and Canadian Sport Centres and Institutes
  • Canadian journalistic organizations
  • Canadian book publishers
  • Canadian production companies that work in the film or television industries
  • Organizations in the music industry
  • Television and radio broadcasters
  • Recipients of the Digital Citizen Initiative

More details to come in the coming days.

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and 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.

The Government of Canada is:

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs.
  • Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.

APRIL 8TH UPDATES: 

The Government of Canada has announced new updates and changes to the Emergency Wage Subsidy programs for businesses. Legislation authorizing this new subsidy is expected to go before Parliament next week. CIMA continues to advocate for more changes to this subsidy program to ensure that those in the music industry will qualify for this support.

What It Means for Canadian Employers: To help employers keep and return workers to their payroll through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced the new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy on March 27, 2020. This would provide a 75-per-cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

This wage subsidy aims to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis. While the Government has designed the proposed wage subsidy to provide generous and timely financial support to employers, it has done so with the expectation that employers will do their part by using the subsidy in a manner that supports the health and well-being of their employees.”

For a full breakdown of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy click here.

APRIL 2ND UPDATES:

  • The Canadian music industry is asking the Federal government for further action including robust financial support and flexibility in funding rules that would support the artists and the industry’s small business community that is suffering through the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full release here.
  • The Government of Canada announces details of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to help businesses keep Canadians in their jobs. Read the full release here.
  • SOCAN announces $2-million Enhanced Emergency Program: SOCAN announced today that it is expanding its efforts to provide
    financial assistance to struggling members as a result of the COVID-19 crisis by allocating up to a total of $2-million for emergency royalty advances. For more information click here.

In order to further support small businesses, The Government of Canada has announced the following updates:

  1. Announce a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
  2. Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
  3. Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
  4. Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and 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.

For Individuals:

Support for Individuals & Families:

Support for people facing unemployment: 

Support for people who are sick, quarantined or in directed self-isolation:

Support for people who are unable to work:

Support for people who need it most:

Support for seniors:

Support for students & recent graduates:

For Businesses

Avoiding Layoffs:

Access to Credit:

Supporting Financial Stability:

More Flexibility:

WHERE TO START for Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs:

  • Visit Canada’s website for businesses for information about supporting your employees and your business. It will be constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.
  • Download the Canada Business App to find tailored supports to address your specific needs and questions about COVID-19.
  • Consult the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare your business in the days and weeks to come.
  • Contact your bank. Canada’s banks have made a commitment to support businesses and individuals through these difficult times in a responsible, fair, and compassionate way. 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.
  • The Department of Finance Canada has a thorough resource here outlining how the government is taking action to help Canadians experiencing hardship, including detail about flexibility for taxpayers.
  • For individuals, make sure you can access either your CRA MyAccount or My Service Canada Account to apply for EI relief funds before the applications open in April 2020. Better to sort that out now if you’re unsure of your login information!

SUPPORT FOR SELF-EMPLOYED, SMALL BUSINESS AND NON-PROFITS/CHARITIES

1. Introduction of an Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave. This measure could provide up to $10 billion to Canadians, and includes:

  • Workers, including the self-employed who are sick, quarantined, or who have been directed to self-isolate but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
  • Workers, including the self-employed who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent or other dependents who are sick, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits
  • EI-eligible and non EI-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures.

2.  Introduction of an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

3.  Providing eligible small businesses with a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.  Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organizations and charities.  This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep their jobs.

4.  Increasing the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

5. Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest to deal with exceptional circumstances.

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 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.
  • Canadian Musician has compiled a free ebook (PDF) called “Pushing Through the Pandemic” to help musicians navigate the COVID-19 crisis, highlighting key sources of financial relief and resources for creators, as well as exclusive career-building tips to keep them productive. Learn about livestreaming, home recording, boosting your streaming revenue, asking fans for support, and more.
    Download or view online: https://canadianmusician.com/pushing/
  • Canada Public Health has info about the situation available here.
  • CAPACOA is asking you to track cancellations affecting the Canadian live performance sector here.
  • Event Safety Alliance: Preparing your organization for COVID-19. More information can be found here.
  • FACTOR: Information about FACTOR’s cancellatoin 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.
  • Music Managers Forum Canada has an incredibly thorough resource page that is being constantly updated here.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Worldwide Independent Network has a list of resources for the indie music community across the work here.
  • World Health Organizationhttps://www.who.int/