On February 11, 2021, CAPACOA submitted a document titled Rebuilding the performing arts ecosystem after the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Let’s Talk Budget 2021 consultation.
The document outlines a list of bold recommendations for the rebuilding and recovery of our sector post-pandemic. Moreover, It endorses recommendations submitted by other organizations such as Festivals and Major Events, The Canadian Live Music Association and Orchestras Canada.
Even when restrictions are lifted, the recovery will be slow. Under normal circumstances, live performance series are booked 12-24 months in advance. This is the time frame for the recovery of the sector: lifting of all restrictions on gatherings + at least 12 months. Depending on how quickly the vaccination campaign is rolled out, the live performance sector could be in recovery phase up until spring 2023.
Summary of recommendations
Base programming support
- Make permanent the two-year supplementary investments in the Canada ArtsPresentation Fund, Building Communities through Arts and Heritage and the CanadaMusic Fund, first announced in the 2019 budget and extended by one year in the Speech from Throne.
- Invest $540 million over two years to provide phase 3 and phase 4 relief funding to the live performance sector.
Support to rebuild on new grounds
- Provide project funding in the amount of $150 million over 5 years to support the rebuilding of a more resilient, innovative, equitable and sustainable arts sector.
- Provide financial assistance for pandemic retrofitting capital investments in live performance venues, including HVAC and touchless devices.
- Extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy as long as government-mandated restrictions on gatherings are in effect, plus the three-month period following reopening.
- When the wage subsidy sunsets, introduce a sector-specific employment program to continue to support the rebuilding of the labour force in the live performance sector.
- Adapt the Canada Recovery Benefit or implement a new form of income support to ensure self-employed workers continue to receive basic support throughout the emergency and rebuilding period in the live performance sector.
- Intensify efforts to collect sales tax and income tax from multinational corporations that conduct e-commerce in Canada.
Other budget recommendations endorsed by CAPACOA
- Festivals and Major Events is requesting $225 million over three years for festivals and events to develop world-class programs and experiences that would attract more tourists. Such a program should be managed by regional economic development agencies, and could be an extension to the already-established Canadian ExperienceFund.
- The Canadian Live Music Association is proposing changes to the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to enable access to the 90% top-up for businesses that are impacted by limitations on mass gatherings and travel restrictions. The proposal also includes businesses that have provided essential services but have not closed due to the eligibility criteria.
- Orchestras Canada is recommending a multi-year donation-matching program to help arts organizations raise money for operating costs.