Petition update


Jeffrey Stonehouse
Montreal, Canada

Mar 14, 2020 — 

We have translated the petition so that our anglophone colleagues can sign too! Please see below:

Compensation for freelance artists following cancellation of cultural events (COVID-19)

We the undersigned freelance artists and cultural workers are calling on the provincial and federal governments to urgently compensate for the loss of income caused by the cancellation of cultural events due to COVID-19. The most recent public health security measures announced by governments have devastating economic repercussions for self-employed workers in the cultural sector.

We all support these measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and believe that they are critical to public health. However, it is essential that the government take into account the urgent needs of freelance artists and cultural workers who suffer the consequences and on whom the financial repercussions will be dramatic.

Currently, all of the payments promised to freelance artists for canceled events will not be paid. In the event of force majeure or ‘Act of God’ such as this, broadcasters and producers are not required to fulfill their financial obligations. Contracts are no longer valid as the events have been canceled and no amount is paid to artists. The financial consequences of such a situation have immediate and also long-term repercussions. For the majority of freelance artists, the period from March to May is very busy with performances, representing at least 20 to 50% of their annual income. The cancellations in progress, therefore, represent a substantial loss to their finances for the fiscal year.

Since many of us do not have access to employment insurance, our status as vulnerable freelancers places us in a very difficult and highly anxiety-provoking situation. We reiterate that immediate government financial support that takes into account the urgent needs of freelance artists is essential. The financial consequences and repercussions of this crisis will be dramatic for us. Many artists are already living in a precarious financial situation. Absorbing a loss of income for 4 to 6 weeks at peak season is unsustainable.

At the start of the week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced measures to ensure workers suffering the consequences of preventative health measures do not suffer any delay before receiving financial assistance such as employment insurance. With this petition, we request similar emergency measures for the vulnerable self-employed artists and workers in the cultural sector.


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