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A notice to our members and our community regarding COVID-19

CARFAC continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the visual arts sector, and work with various non-profit and government stakeholders in our sector.  We are contributing to several efforts to help support artists in this difficult time, and we will keep working remotely on your behalf until it is safe to return to our desks.

We know that many of you are facing postponed or cancelled exhibitions, sales, contracts, and other work that has had a significant impact on your finances.  Please know that we hear your concerns and we share your worries.

In order to help us advocate on your behalf, we highly encourage you to participate in a COVID-19 Impact Survey for Arts, Culture, and Tourism workers, from ArtsPond / Étang d’Arts + I Lost My Gig Canada.

We strongly advise that if you are not already doing so, to track your losses since at least March 1st, and include your current as well as projected income losses. You may find it convenient to use the Loss of Revenues document for this purpose. You are welcome to share this information with us and your regional branch of CARFAC, if you so choose. We are grateful to build on this useful tool, primarily developed by the Craft Alliance Atlantic Association.

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant, and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Updates to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan are regularly shared here.

Federal Assistance Updates

Government of Canada proposes increase to number of weeks for recovery benefits and EI regular benefits to ensure continued support for Canadians who have been hardest hit (February 19, 2021)

The proposed changes would:

  • increase the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) by 12 weeks extending the maximum duration of the benefits through regulation from 26 weeks to up to 38 weeks;
  • increase the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) through regulation from the current 2 weeks to 4 weeks; and
  • increase the number of weeks of EI regular benefits available by up to 24 weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks through legislation, for claims that are made between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Government of Canada addresses CERB repayments for self-employed individuals and announces interest relief on 2020 income tax debt due to COVID-19 related income support (February 9, 2021)

self-employed individuals who applied for CERB and would have qualified based on their gross income will not be required to repay the benefit, provided they also met all other eligibility requirements.

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (April 15, 2020):

  • There’s 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 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);
  • 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;
  • People who run out of EI can then switch to the CERB.

Questions and Answers on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Questions and Answers on the Canada Recovery Benefit

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has developed this page to provide updates on the fiscal measures taken by the Agency to help Canadians manage their tax and benefit affairs as this situation evolves. This page will be updated as new information is available. For more information on COVID-19, Public Health Agency of Canada’s page provides general updates and health information. We strongly recommend that you set up a registered CRA account and have filed your income taxes for 2018, if you have not done so already.

CARFAC has created a page of resources and we are updating it with new links as they come in. We are regularly updating that page as well as our Facebook page. If you have not already visited it, the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) have also created a list of resources for businesses, organizations as well as individuals. As this is a continually changing situation, updates are being provided by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and their provincial, territorial, and municipal counterparts on a regular, if not daily, basis. We encourage you to check the sites relevant to you often.

We know that there are still a lot of questions left to be answered. This includes how to lessen the impact of income precarity for self-employed artists, which always been CARFAC’s priority. We continue to work with all levels of government to ensure that Canada’s visual artists are heard and that your needs are met, even in these extraordinarily challenging times.

Now is the time to collectively do what we can to support Canada’s cultural sector.  We urge you to contact your MP and ask them what they are doing to ensure that Canada’s visual artists are supported right now, like so many other countries are doing for their arts and culture sectors.

Lastly, we express our profound gratitude and appreciation to the many essential service workers (healthcare, emergency workers, grocery suppliers, etc), who continue to work on our behalf during this time. We thank all of you who are physically isolating yourselves, and we urge everyone that can: stay safe and stay home!

In solidarity, from all of us at CARFAC