Weekly x COVID-19 /03

Weekly x COVID-19 /03

—16 avril 2020—


Acknowledging the challenges of closing artist-run centers (ARCs) due to COVID-19, CARFAC offers the following recommendations for alternative and online programming to help centers mitigate the impact of cancellations and postponements of activities on artists and other self-employed workers in this time of crisis. While many ARCs are looking at online programming options, preliminary results of ARCA’s impact survey indicate that some would rather not rush into becoming an online venue without serious consideration. > More info


Expanded criteria for the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit 

Following Prime Minister Trudeau’s statements of April 15, the following is a supplement from the office of Minister Guilbeault on key changes to the Canada Emergency Benefit (CERB):

  • There’s no limit on the amount of royalty payments for past works (i.e. those produced by artists before the crisis) that an artist may get while receiving the CERB;
  • Someone receiving the CERB may get paid up to $1,000 a month from other sources of income, without penalty or losing their eligibility (and again, royalty payments aren’t included in that category and may be earned on top of the $1,000);
  • Someone who wasn’t working when the crisis started, but lost contracts or work that would have otherwise started had it not been for the crisis, can qualify for the CERB. All they need to demonstrate is that before the crisis they would have been working (this is especially helpful to artists who have less work during the winter and many would have only started working again in the spring to put on shows that are now cancelled or not happening right now);
  • People who run out of EI can then switch to the CERB.


The PM has also hinted at upcoming announcements: 

  • Support for commercial rent (the other large overhead, with salaries, that many of our stakeholders are struggling to pay);
  • Support for students who can’t get a summer job.


Here are the highlights of the Canada Summer Jobs adjustments:

  • The federal government’s share of the wage subsidy will increase from up to 50% to up to 100% of the employee’s hourly rate;
  • The employment period can still begin as early as May 11, but it will be extended to end as late as February 28, 2021;
  • Jobs can also be part-time and include projects and responsibilities that support essential services.


Here are the highlights of the Young Canada Works in Heritage adjustments:

  • Canadian Heritage is working with program delivery partners to enable YCW employers to use funds in a flexible way, because of the impact that closures will have on museums’ operations and ability to hire;
  • Projects may be adjusted based on the individual circumstances of each employer (examples of adjustments include changing the job from a full-time summer job to a part-time one over the fall and winter, shortening work terms instead of cancelling opportunities, and offering online work options).


Although some people may still fall through the cracks of the program, we congratulate the artists’ representation groups and other initiatives that advocated on behalf of the self-employed, including provincial arts councils and the Canada Council for their sustained lobbying in this regard.

If you are eligible for this benefit, and your birthday is in October, November or December, you can apply today for the 2nd installment for the April 12 to May 16 period.  If you missed your application day this week, you can still apply on Friday.

What you need to know about the CERB program.


Parliament approves the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy

On April 11th, parliament approved the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy intended to encourage companies to keep or rehire workers by offering a 75 per cent wage subsidy over the next three months to businesses and not-for-profit organizations that have lost 30 percent of their revenue due to the crisis (15% for March). Companies will need to reapply for the program each month.

What you need to know about the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy.


Work-sharing: another option

For organizations not eligible for the wage subsidy, and who have reduced the working hours of their employees, there is also the work-sharing option (WS). The program provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal hours of work and share available work for the duration of the self-isolation period.