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Canada: Program Launched To Provide Support To Cultural Workers In Performing Arts Sector

The Government of Canada is dedicated to assisting the arts and cultural industry in its recovery, which has been one of the hardest-hit industries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The consequence of renewed closures and public health constraints especially with the emergence of the Omicron variant have been extremely serious for the live performance sector, adversely affecting the livelihood opportunities of the performers, technicians as well as other skilled creative professionals who bring live performances to stages across the nation.

Throughout these trying times, the government has remained committed to these bright individuals. Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, announced the establishment of the Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund today. The new temporary funding scheme will provide $60 million in assistance to workers in the live performance business.

It will fund projects led and delivered by sector groups to directly benefit independent and self-employed (gig workers) in the live performance sector. The Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund will provide funding for activities such as:

  • provide short-term financial help to people in need of emergency assistance; and
  • provide workers with counselling, information, and professional development opportunities in areas such as financial management, mental health and well-being, and career transition.

The Government of Canada will harness industry expertise and ability to best serve the specific needs of its cultural workers and maximize the number of people who will benefit by collaborating with organizations that assist the live performance sector.

This financing potential is open to eligible applicants such as artist unions, guilds, associations, service organizations, benevolent foundations, or Indigenous organizations mandated to represent the interests of cultural workers in live performance occupations such as musicians, actors, directors, choreographers, designers, and technicians.

Groups receiving funds will be responsible for developing their own initiatives, which may include improvements to existing programs and activities as well as new initiatives that match with the financing program’s policy goal of directly assisting persons. This will bring much-needed respite to the hardworking live performance artists and cultural workers until all the Canadians can get together and enjoy wonderful live performances in communities around the country.

The eligibility requirements for funding can be found on the Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund website. The application date is March 4, 2022. Approximately, 726,600 people work in the cultural sector, including 158,100 professional artists.

The GDP for culture increased for the fifth time in a row in the third quarter of 2021, reaching 97 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. However, live performance GDP trails substantially behind, being at 53.4 per cent of fourth-quarter 2019 levels.

Although jobs in the total culture domain were 93.2 per cent of their 2019 fourth-quarter levels in the third quarter of 2021, live performance jobs were 73,072, or 62.3 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund projects on the $181.5-million funding in art and design and live concerts workers in response to COVID-19 revealed in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement and complements support to performing arts organizations available through the two-year (fiscal years 2021–22 and 2022–23) $300-million Recovery Fund for Arts, Culture, Heritage, and Sport Sectors and the $200-million Reopening Fund revealed in Budget 2021.

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