A Message from EC3
This continues to be a strange and stressful time for people across the country, and in particular for artists and ACH (arts, culture, and heritage) workers and organizations. There continues to be a flurry of announcements about new COVID-19 support and recovery programs and changes to existing assistance programs.
EC3 is working with colleagues across the country, in every discipline and with both governmental and non-governmental organizations to lobby on behalf of our sector and our local ACH community. This includes working with the Canadian Arts Coalition, Business/Arts, Canadian Heritage, the City of Peterborough, and the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, to name just a few. We are starting to see some positive results.
Please stay well and let us know how we can help.
This week EC3 launched the Peterborough Arts Alive Micro Grants Program to assist professional artists in Peterborough and Peterborough County, and we will be making announcements about several other initiatives next week.
$500 Million for Arts, Culture, and Sport
On April 17, during his daily press conference, Prime Minister Trudeau announced $500 million will be going to the arts, culture, and sport sectors through Heritage Canada.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Stephen Guilbeault has said that they are still working to “fine tune” the specifics, but that money will be given out to groups including industry non-profits, national sports organizations, television production houses, music associations and media organizations. Guilbeault also acknowledged that other already-announced programs aren’t tailored for the specific mode of work of ACH and sport workers, and this program will aim to correct that. Read more here. Follow our social media channels for updates as we find out more.
Please be sure to check the EC3 Facebook page, @ECThreePtbo on Twitter, and EC3’s COVID-19 Updates page, where we are providing daily updates on programs and services available for ACH workers and organizations.
This Bulletin provides a roundup of recent announcements from the Canadian government and other organizations that could benefit ACH workers and organizations.
Federal COVID-19 Response Programs
CERB: More People Now Qualify
The Government of Canada has announced several extensions of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the taxable benefit that provides $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months for eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. See here to find out more and apply for the benefit.
A number of these extensions could help assist artists and ACH workers affected by the crisis:
- The government has confirmed that there is no limit on royalty payments for past works (i.e. those produced 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). This will allow some part-time and contract workers to qualify.
- 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 cultural workers who have less work during the winter and many would have only started working again in the spring, which isn’t the case this year).
- Workers who have recently run out of EI benefits and are still unable to find work can now qualify for the CERB.
Watch this video from Stephen Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, about how the changes to the CERB will affect artists:
I know that many artists and creators are still unsure about how the #CERB can help them.
— Steven Guilbeault @ 🏡 (@s_guilbeault) April 16, 2020
CEWS: Wage Subsidy Programs for Businesses and Organizations
The Government of Canada has announced two programs that will help businesses, not-for-profits, and charities affected by the COVID-19 crisis to pay their workers and avoid layoffs.
The 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides a subsidy of up to 75% of wages for workers at eligible entities – individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships consisting of eligible entities, non‑profit organizations and registered charities. (Public-sector institutions do not qualify.) The entity must have suffered a drop of at least 30% in gross revenue in April 2020, or 15% in March 2020. See here for more details.
This is in addition to the previously announced 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers, which is available for all employers, regardless of lost wages. See here for more details.
Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development has also put out a very helpful guide on assistance programs for businesses – see here.
CSJ: Canada Summer Jobs Program Extensions
The Government of Canada has also announced extensions of the Canada Summer Jobs program, to help employers provide employment to young Canadians. See here for more information on these changes.
The changes include:
- an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
- an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
- allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
- allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.
Other Funds for Artists and ACH Workers
There are a number of new funds and grants being announced by arts organizations and private funders across Canada to help artists and ACH workers. We listed a number of these in our Financial Updates Bulletin, but here are some new ones that have come across our desk.
- EC3’s Peterborough Arts Alive: Micro Subsistence Grants for Local Professional Artists, our own program for struggling artists in Peterborough and Peterborough County.
- Digital Originals, a program from CBC and the Canada Council for the Arts offering grants for artists to produce new works for CBC’s digital platforms.
- CBC Creative Relief Fund, a $2-million fund providing development and production funding for new media projects.
- Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund, The Writers’ Trust of Canada’s fund, now extended to Canadian visual artists as well as writers.
- David Seguin Memorial Award for Accessibility in the Arts, providing emergency micro grants for artists with disabilities.
- COVID Zine Micro Grants, grants for zine makers to make zines about COVID-19, from Broken Pencil Magazine. (Currently fundraising.)
- Micro Artist Grants for Groceries, providing assistance to artists to cover the cost of groceries, from Bad New Days Theatre.
Reminder: Track the Impact
A reminder to track the impact that COVID-19 is having on your artistic practice and/or your organization. If you can, take a moment to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org describing these effects. This information will prove invaluable in demonstrating how COVID-19 has hit the ACH sector, and in advocating for more supports.
Be safe, stay healthy, and please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Su Ditta and the EC3 Board and staff
See EC3’s COVID-19 Updates page for links to resources and the latest updates from EC3.