Fight for Minimum Artist’s Fees goes to Supreme Court

November 6, 2013 Comments Off on Fight for Minimum Artist’s Fees goes to Supreme Court News


$50,000 Raised of $50,000 Goal

The fight for the fair payment of artists at the National Gallery of Canada is going to the Supreme Court.

For the last 11 years, the organizations that represent visual artists, CARFAC & RAAV, have been trying to negotiate standards for the payment of artists at the National Gallery that would be binding – similar to a minimum wage.

In 2007, the gallery suddenly refused to negotiate these fees; they argue that artists have the right to be paid less if they choose.

CARFAC and RAAV are continuing the legal battle to show the gallery that artists will not allow for this kind of attitude any longer.

But we can’t do it without you.

Your donation of $25, $50 or whatever you can afford will help us make it clear to the gallery that artists not only have legal rights – but we are prepared to defend them. All donations of more than $10 will receive a tax receipt.

Since the beginning, CARFAC has relied on the collective action of artists across Canada to bring about change. You are the backbone of our organization.

As you know, half of visual artists in Canada earn less than $8000/year. The National Gallery should be a place to celebrate our artists – not whittle away their rights.

Please make a contribution to the fight for minimum artist’s fees now.


As you know, CARFAC recommends minimum fees for galleries to pay for the use of artists’ work. These fees are voluntary – many galleries pay them but some still pressure artists to waive their rights.

What’s different about the fees we want to negotiate with the National Gallery is that they would be binding – the equivalent of a minimum wage. Artists would still be free to negotiate higher rates.

The gallery was initially found guilty of bargaining in bad faith but this was overturned in a split decision by the Federal Court of Appeal in March. Now, the Supreme Court has approved our request for leave to appeal.

What We Need

For the first round of hearings, our lawyer, David Yazbeck generously represented CARFAC and RAAV on a pro-bono basis. He continues to give us a discount but our hearing at the Supreme Court could still cost around $50,000.

Donation Levels

“Friend” ($25 – $49)
“Bronze” ($50 – $99)
“Silver” ($100 – $499)
“Gold” ($500 – $1000)
“Platinum” ($1000+)

CARFAC will issue tax receipts for donations of $10 or more. Donors may also be thanked on our website and in email newsletters.

The Impact

Half of visual artists in Canada earn less than $8000/year. Most artists want to have their work in the National Gallery – and there is a lot of pressure to give away their rights. Setting binding minimum fees would relieve that pressure and ensure that all artists who work with the National Gallery are treated fairly.

Other Ways You Can Help

We know many artists are under financial pressure. We wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important. If $20 is still too much to ask, please pass this along to your network and ask them to contribute. Use the social media tools on this page, send an email to your network or tell them in person.

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