Supporting Toronto's Artists and Live Music Venues

As the Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, I have been working with our City of Toronto Music Office to ensure that we are supporting our artists and live music venues in dealing with the profound economic impacts of COVID-19. 

On April 3rd, my office shared a number of updates on work that the City of Toronto Music Office has been doing, as well as support programs offered by all levels of government, arts agencies, and industry partners. Today I’m pleased to share updates on changes that the City and community stakeholders have successfully advocated for in supporting our artists and live music venues. 

Support for artists

Canada Emergency Response Benefit Updates
This morning, the Government of Canada announced that they have expanded eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to include part-time, contract, and seasonal workers. This now means that: 

  • There is 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 can be paid up to $1,000 a month from other sources of income (artist royalty payments aren’t included in that category, and may be earned on top of the $1,000)
  • People who have run out of EI can switch to the CERB

City Hall Live Online
The City of Toronto is launching a livestreamed series called City Hall Live Online. The series will help raise money for Unison Benevolent Fund, while creating paid opportunities for local musicians during this time of closed venues and postponed festivals.

City Hall Live Online streams every weekday at 12:00 noon, and launches tomorrow, Thursday April 16 with a set by The Weather Station:

Make sure to tune in each day and check out other great Toronto artists like Digging Roots, Colin MacDonald of The Trews, LAL, Sydanie, Luna Li, Ahmed Moneka, Amanda Martinez, Charlotte Cornfield and more.

From April 20 on, City Hall Live Online will feature two separate livestreamed sets each day (12:00 / 12:30), and overall will feature over 100 Toronto artists while supporting the great work of Unison Benevolent Fund. Click here if you're a Toronto musician interested in applying to be considered for bookings through the City of Toronto's Music Office. 

Additional supports:

  • The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) has launched a $2 million emergency relief fund for member songwriters and composers affected by the COVID crisis.
  • Live Nation has launched Crew Nation, a $10 million fund to support live music crew members. 

Support for live music venues

In recent weeks the City has been pushing for changes to the eligibility criteria for small business loans through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), in order to allow live music venues to apply. We are happy to share that the eligibility criteria has been changed, and live music venues are now eligible.

I recognize that more needs to be done, and my office will continue to work tirelessly with our Toronto Music Advisory Committee stakeholders and the City of Toronto’s Music Office to ensure that we are supporting our artists and live music venues. We will get through this, together.

To contact the City of Toronto Music Office, click here.