Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

New regulations for international touring artists playing in Canada have been making headlines since the Calgary Herald's August 28 article, "New fees for international touring musicians threaten smaller clubs and live venues across Canada". These new rules, which went into effect on July 31, could have a devastating impact on the future of Canada's music industry. Here are the facts:
  • When venues with a primary business other than music (i.e. bars and restaurants) want to book non-Canadian acts, they must apply for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).
  • There is now an application fee of $275 per non-Canadian performing artist and crew member (tour manager, sound tech, etc.) for every performance in Canada.
  • This new fee is in addition to a $150 charge for each approved musician and crew member's work permit.
  • Touring acts playing several Canadian tour dates, festivals, or busking, are exempt ONLY if they do not perform in bars or restaurants.
  • AFM union members from the U.S. are exempt from having to get an LMO, though they still must pay for a work permit.
  • Other venues that exist primarily to present music are exempt.
  • Artists performing as part of a showcasing festival (ie. Canadian Music Week) are exempt. (see Foreign Worker Manual - pg. 33 & 112)
Click here to read the legislation A Globe & Mail article "New foreign musician application fee causing confusion" provides some further perspective and clarification to these changes. Here's why CMW is concerned: At a time when live music and touring are absolutely critical to the health of our industry and workers, these rules could have very serious ramifications.
  • Many small clubs and venues will be unable to afford the new fees and will not be able to book international touring acts.
  • Emerging Canadian artists will lose revenue and valuable opportunities to develop their fan base by opening for touring acts.
  • Without the revenue generated from these touring acts, venues may struggle to operate, potentially putting many Canadians out of work, including promoters, sound techs, bartenders, servers, and other show crew.
  • If venues close, Canadian artists would lose places to perform and generate revenue.
Here's what we're doing: CMW is currently working with other Canadian music industry organisations to communicate to the Government of Canada our concerns about these new fees, and to request that exemptions be given to all musicians and artists, regardless of which venue or promoter is applying for the permit. Here's what you can do:
  1. Contact your Member of Parliament and tell them that artists and crew should be exempt from the $275 application fee, regardless of which venue or promoter is applying for the permit.
  2. Send us an email to info@cmw.net telling us that as a Canadian artist, you welcome touring artists from outside Canada and that you are not in support of this new fee. We can use your letters in our efforts.
  3. Add your name to the growing Change.org petition.
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