The Canadian government and Unison are teaming up to help administer a support fund for musicians. 15 Million dollars has been provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage, which should serve roughly 6000 music industry workers.
Touted as the Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund, the initiative will help provide financial relief for those working in the live music sector.
Live events were among the industries hardest hit by COVID-19 closures and the impact of the pandemic. With many venues shuttered for close to 2 years, the industry is only now starting to return to some semblance of what it was in 2019. The fund seeks to provide a one time $2500 payment to those who apply successfully.
Canadian non profit Unison was selected to assist in the application process and getting the money into the hands of not only musicians – but also to other crucial members of the industry. Agents, stage hands, technicians and promoters are also eligible for the one time payment. The organization was founded 10 years ago with the aim of supporting the music industry in times of crisis.
Amanda Power is the executive director of the Unison Fund “A one time payment of $2500 is not life changing. But it will help those who have incurred a significant amount of debt over the course of the COVID pandemic.”
Power suggests this initiative will help get the industry back on it’s feet.
“This will keep the industry moving forward – so that as a music community nationally we can come back strong, and get everyone back to work, back on the road and doing what we all love,” adds Powers.
The funds can be accessed via www.unisonfund.ca – the application process is very simple. Contact information, and work history are submitted , within 2 weeks time – is approved the artist will receive funds. The program launched on July 6th – and in the first few hours Unison had already received 500 applications.
A number of similar organizations are set up to help artists and those working outside of the music industry – the money is set to help all sectors of the Canadian arts community.
“It’s not only the responsibility of the federal government to help the arts communities, but also provincial governments,” says Power. “Provincial governments need to step up and support organizations like Unison so we can support our arts communities”.
Power encourages everyone who works within the music community to go ahead and apply, regardless of genre or aspect of the industry they work in. Applications remain open until March of 2023.
For over a decade, Unison has been committed to helping producers, engineers, singers/songwriters, musicians, production crews, and thousands more through financial assistance and counselling and health solutions programs. For more information or to donate, please visit: www.unisonfund.ca