Visual artists across Canada appreciate the tremendous work that the Federal Government has done to help our citizens in a time of great need. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a devastating global crisis, and the government’s swift leadership and response have been remarkable.
We were however concerned about the letters that many self-employed artists received in December, asking them to pay back Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) payments. In many cases, artists received these letters based on the Government’s lack of clarity about eligibility requirements.
For several weeks, we have joined artist unions and associations to advocate for change and all of us at CARFAC are relieved by the Government’s announcement on February 9th:
that 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.
Some details on this announcement are available below, and we are sure there will be further information to come. We know that some outstanding issues may still exist, but news on this change in policy will provide a solution, and offer peace of mind, to the majority of artists that we have heard from on this issue. We thank the Government for listening to our concerns and making changes that will assist many artists from coast to coast to coast.