March 6, 2018 – Trade and cultural diplomacy have been recurrent topics for both the Canadian government and the arts sector lately. As the Canadian Arts Coalition highlighted last month, there have been a suite of good news in both areas. Here are the latest news on these and diverse but related fronts.
Brief on Cultural Diplomacy and Legislative Frameworks
The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has undertaken a Study on the impact and utilization of Canadian culture and arts in Canadian foreign policy and diplomacy. In order to contribute to this study, the Canadian Arts Coalition and CAPACOA developed a brief exploring national and international frameworks supporting or restricting cultural diplomacy.
The Cornerstone of Cultural Diplomacy argues that success in trade and diplomacy is dependent on there being true reciprocal relationships with our foreign partners. The brief consequently explores three legislative and regulatory frameworks that can enable or impede reciprocity in cultural diplomacy:
- Artist mobility: Canada’s foreign workers regulations are particularly progressive and should be emulated by our foreign partners.
- International taxation: Canada’s fiscal regime is particularly cumbersome. Cultural diplomacy presents an opportunity to reduce fiscal barriers to touring within our tax treaties.
- Artist’s Resale Right: Canada lags behind in the adoption of the Artist’s Resale Right, a market-based mechanism endorsed by many of our trade partners.
The first two recommendations in this brief are based on work led by the Performing Arts Alliance and the Performing Arts Tax Working Group.
CRA to Introduce Administrative Enhancements to International Taxation
While the brief to the Senate advocates for changes at the tax treaty level, ongoing work between the Performing Arts Tax Working Group and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is about to yield changes at the administrative level. After two years of dialogue, the CRA finally has a proposal for administrative changes to the non-resident taxation process. This proposal will be presented to members of the Working Group at the end of the month, after which the proposal will be made available for public consultation. We look forward to sharing the outcome of this meeting.
Artist Mobility Efforts Continue in the United States
While NAFTA negotiations appear to stall, our U.S. counterparts continue their push for greater cross-border mobility of performing artists. The bipartisan ARTS Act was re-introduced in Congress on February 28th. The bill would require USCIS to adjudicate O and P visa petitions within 14 days after receiving such petitions and related documents. If USCIS were to miss that deadline, the bill would grant premium processing without charge to any non-profit petitioner. The re-introduction of the ARTS Act is the outcome of advocay work led by the League of American Orchestras and members of the Artist Mobility Advocacy Coalition.
We are hopeful that these various efforts will contribute to reducing barriers that currently make it difficult for Canadian artists to tour abroad, and for Canadian presenters to present foreign artists.
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