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CARFAC National Annual Report 2023

As a national association concerned with improving artists’ working conditions, CARFAC’s priorities are interconnected, with each strategic initiative building on the next. Here are some of the highlights of our activities over the last year.

The Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) has been one of our key priorities for over a decade. Last year, we submitted two briefs for consultations on the 2023 Federal Budget which called on the government to introduce ARR legislation. In August 2023, we submitted another brief with this request for Budget 2024. Last summer, we asked our members to write to their MPs in support of the ARR. Shortly afterward, the Department of Canadian Heritage conducted meetings with stakeholders and organized roundtables with artists to discuss this issue. We believe ARR legislation will be tabled very soon, which will fulfill the commitment made in the Prime Minister’s Mandate Letters of Minister Rodriguez and Minister Champagne.

As we get closer to making the ARR a reality, we’ve been working with Copyright Visual Arts (COVA-DAAV) to help them get ready to eventually take on the distribution of ARR royalties. This included many meetings with SOCAN, which led to the transfer of their visual arts and crafts department to COVA-DAAV in January. The move means that COVA-DAAV will be the only copyright-collecting agency in Canada tasked with licensing and distributing copyright royalties to the visual arts and crafts sector.

Last year, we announced the release of Indigenous Protocols for the Visual Arts, a digital toolkit with information about legal and ethical considerations for working with Indigenous Peoples, art, and cultural expressions. The toolkit includes a resource guide, podcast interviews, and links to organizations and other resources. Several webinars and conference presentations were co-hosted with community partners. Last summer and fall we offered twelve workshops for artists and organizations from coast to coast to coast, and we are gearing up for another workshop series this fall. This June the Indigenous Protocols Advisory Circle met for a three-day strategic planning meeting in Saskatoon to consider governance models for its ongoing work as a collective operating as a branch of CARFAC. Further work will continue in Fall 2023 to define and solidify their mandate and key priorities.

The CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule provides guidance on what artists working in visual arts, media arts, and craft-based practices should be paid for exhibitions, reproductions, and other professional services. In January, we started a Fee Fridays campaign, which includes sharing tips about the Fee Schedule on our Instagram and Facebook accounts every week, which we also share in our bilingual bi-weekly newsletter.

Earlier this year, we circulated surveys for artists and arts organizations which led to a proposal for changes to the Fee Schedule for 2024 to 2027. CARFAC and RAAV hosted presentations about the changes in May and June, and further revisions are now available for consideration. Artists will vote on the proposal at our AGM in September, and if approved, the changes will take effect in 2024. In addition to this work, we plan to begin research and development of new guidelines for public art this fall.

Last March, we worked with Prescient Innovations to launch Imprimo, a digital platform for artists to document their artistic journey, professionally present their CV and portfolio, and enhance their claim to copyright ownership. New webinars and social meet-ups for subscribers take place monthly, which explore the features of Imprimo, and experts offer other advice that helps artists explore the business side of art. Premium plans became available in February, which allow artists to create custom art collections, CVs, and account URLs, and CARFAC members enjoy discounts on both standard and premium accounts.

We’re pleased to announce some great new benefits for BIPOC artist members of CARFAC. Earlier this year, we were pleased to partner with CultureBrew.Art on the development of a new Visual Artist Module of their digital platform. The module will help BIPOC artists connect with curators, galleries, museums, and other engagers, and connect with other artists. The Visual Artist Module is now live, and CARFAC members can join for free! BIPOC artist members are encouraged to send us a request for the free access code. We’ve also recently started working with Imprimo on a project to partner with Partial Gallery, a digital marketplace for emerging and BIPOC artists to sell or rent their work. Our hope is that all of these partnerships will provide BIPOC artists with better opportunities to showcase and sell art – without the hassle and duplication of effort that often comes with participating on several platforms. Our aim is to streamline the artist’s experience and showcase the perks that each platform has to offer.

Over the last year, we continued to offer other professional development services for visual artists. In December, Canada extended the term of copyright protection for artist estates from 50 to 70 years, and we prepared a briefing note to help artists understand the implications of this change. In March, we presented a webinar with the Canada Revenue Agency to help artists plan for the 2023 tax season, and we updated several tax tips for artists on our website. At the start of 2023, we started investigating the creation of a Discord community for CARFAC members to connect. Our goal is to create a digital space where members can gather, share experiences, and feel supported by an artist community: a space for “artists helping artists”. Further details on this initiative will be shared as the project unfolds, and we hope to make it available very soon.

We also co-hosted several online and in-person presentations with the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement of Ontario, NWT Arts, the Yukon Government, Pijunnarnivut Inuit Creators Conference, Creative City Network of Canada, Canadian Crafts Federation, Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization (CAMDO), Indigenous Curatorial Collective, TakeHome BIPOC Arts House, the International Association of Art, and Concordia University.

Our national board and staff recently met in-person for the first time since the Pandemic, and on May 28, Theresie Tungilik was appointed as the new National President and Spokesperson of CARFAC. Theresie joined our board in 2017, and she is a strong advocate for artists’ rights. She was instrumental in the development of Qaumajuq, the new Inuit art centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG). We were pleased to celebrate her new appointment at the WAG during CAMDO’s annual board gathering. We also honoured the contributions of outgoing President, Paddy Lamb, and we thank him for his leadership in this role since 2019.

While in Winnipeg, we participated in a strategic planning session to review and set priorities for our collective focus and operational direction. After three days of invigorating discussion, we returned to our respective communities with renewed passion and inspiration for our work ahead. As we report on the last year’s activities and short-term goals, we remain committed to ensuring we utilize inclusive channels of communication to foster collaboration, promote artistic excellence, and strengthen relationships with our members. As such, we welcome the participation of our members at our upcoming Annual General Meeting, and we will host a Members Forum early next year.