Skip to Content

Fighting for Minimum Artist’s Fees


Raised of $10,000 Goal

In 2007, during bargaining for a scale agreement, the National Gallery unilaterally refused to continue to negotiate binding minimum fees for the use of artists’ work.

When a Tribunal found the Gallery guilty of bargaining in bad faith, instead of accepting the decision, the Gallery asked for a judicial review.

The gallery has a budget of $55 million – that’s more than 100 times larger than CARFAC and RAAV’s combined budget. This is not a fair fight but we are still winning.

The Status of the Artist Act gives CARFAC and RAAV the ability to negotiate agreements with federal institutions but the National Gallery is refusing to negotiate minimum copyright fees. They believe we are taking away your right to be paid less.

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.

We have been lucky to receive tens of thousands of dollars of high quality, pro bono legal help from Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne & Yazbeck to cover the first round of hearings but the next stage will require fundraising.

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.

What We Need

Up until this point, David Yazbeck has generously been representing CARFAC and RAAV on a pro-bono basis. He will continue to give CARFAC and RAAV a discount but we will need to pay him for the judicial review. These expenses are expected to cost between $10,000 – $15,000. Once the judicial review is decided, it is possible the National Gallery will appeal to the Supreme Court, which will result in more legal fees. Even after the entire legal process is done, the best CARFAC and RAAV can hope for is to go back to the table. For the gallery to take the negotiation process seriously, pressure tactics may be required – which could also require funding.

Donation Levels

  • “Friend” ($25 – $49)
  • “Bronze” ($50 – $99)
  • “Silver” ($100 – $499)
  • “Gold” ($500 – $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.


CARFAC and RAAV have been negotiating a scale agreement with the National Gallery of Canada for nine years. Negotiations broke down in 2007 when the gallery suddenly refused to discuss fees paid to artists for the exhibition and reproduction of their work. CARFAC and RAAV filed a complaint against the gallery which they won in February 2012. The National Gallery has asked for a judicial review of this decision.
Because artists are independent contractors, innovative legislation – The Status of the Artist Act – gives CARFAC and RAAV the power to negotiate on their behalf with federal presenters such as the National Gallery of Canada. The gallery had claimed there was a conflict between this legislation and the Copyright Act which prevented them from negotiating minimum fees.

Help defend minimum artist’s fees. Make a contribution now!