Over the last year, CARFAC has been working on bringing some substantial advocacy initiatives to fruition. Last September we joined the Canadian Arts Coalition in urging artists to engage with federal election candidates, and the following month we shared an open letter regarding the cancellation of the Canada Recovery Benefit. We also made a submission to Employment and Social Development Canada‘s consultation process, Reforming Canada’s Employment Insurance program. In our brief, we called for a permanent CERB-like program for self-employed and gig workers, which we also asked for in our Pre-budget submission last August. In March 2022, we gave a presentation to the Canadian Heritage committee in their review of the Impact of the Status of the Artist Act on the Working Conditions of Artists, as well as presenting to the Senate on Bill S-208 An Act respecting the Declaration on the Essential Role of Artists and Creative Expression in Canada in April.
Last spring, we offered presentations and other web-based resources to help artists with tax filing for 2020. Earlier this year we worked with the Canada Revenue Agency to host a webinar about changes for 2021 as well as the free tax help available through CRA’s Liaison Officer service. More detailed information about filing your taxes as a visual artist will be available soon in various new and updated publications.
Last summer, we were pleased to share the new Image Bank digital licensing service, developed by Copyright Visual Arts (COVA-DAAV). This new tool allows galleries, publishers, and other companies to search for art made by some of Copyright Visual Arts’ affiliated artists, and to get quick and easy digital licenses for its use. In November, we presented some of the platform’s key features at a webinar, which led to many artists signing up for Image Bank and the copyright collective’s other services.
We’ve also been hard at work with our project partners at Prescient Innovations who are building a new platform, Imprimo. Imprimo uses documented storytelling to organize and present artworks, demonstrate ownership, track provenance, make connections within the arts community, and create opportunities for discovery. Artists beta tested the platform over the winter, and it has been publicly available since March. We offered several information sessions about its features, and as Fall approaches, we are building new features for subscribers to share their work with different audiences, and opportunities for galleries and museums to use Imprimo to share and promote art.
In February we were excited to announce the release of an essential resource for navigating Indigenous Protocols for the visual arts community. Several information sessions and a new workshop series for artists and organizations have been presented over the spring and summer. There are still a few workshops to come – watch for updates on social media and the project Event page.
Last but not least, we were pleased our work advocating for an Artist’s Resale Right led to a commitment from the Liberals to amend the Copyright Act to include an ARR, and last fall it was listed as a priority in the Mandate Letters of Minister Rodriguez and Minister Champagne. The ARR was briefly discussed with Minister Rodriguez at the National Culture Summit in Ottawa in May. CARFAC and RAAV have been busy meeting with the Federal Government about ARR with the support of a government relations firm for several months, and momentum is growing. It is expected that the government will include the ARR in its consultations on copyright in the Fall. In the meantime, we are working on a campaign that includes artists as champions and spokespeople for this cause. If this is an issue that matters to you – let us know, and consider donating to our campaign.
There have been many new challenges and opportunities as we continue to advocate for our sector, with artists at the centre. All of us at CARFAC thank our members for your support. We cannot do this without you, and we greatly appreciate your help.