21 avril 2021
Strong support for recovery with special features for individuals
Montreal, April 21, 2021
- The budget
which was tabled on April 19, 2021 by Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is seen as a transitional one. In particular, we note and welcome the extension of measures such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and the Canadian Economic Recovery Benefit (CERB).
These will now be phased out over the summer of 2021 as vaccines are administered and the economy is expected to start to recover. Obviously, we are all looking forward to this optimistic scenario. However, the recovery of the cultural sector will potentially still lag behind other sectors given the health restrictions that significantly reduce access to employment in our fields. The reduction in both the CERS and the CERB will also potentially harm a sector that will not be able to recover at the same rate as others. We hope that the federal government will continue to listen to the needs of the performing arts sector and that a revision would be considered if outcomes are not so positive.
In addition, the investment of $300 million over two years starting in 2021-2022 to Canadian Heritage has been announced to establish a stimulus fund for the arts, culture, heritage and sports sectors. This is in addition to other targeted investments, including $16 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund and $15 million to the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund to help arts and heritage institutions modernize their facilities.
These announcements are very good news, but we need to wait for more information before commenting in detail. We would like to point out though, that the revival of our milieu cannot be accomplished exclusively through investments in digital distribution projects. While these new technologies offer important tools to be implemented in terms of diversification of strategies, they must remain complementary to the essential practice of the live performing arts themselves. Therefore, support monies granted to creation, production and dissemination specifically, must remain considerable in order that the theatrical arts can maintain their primary objectives. Moreover, there are many grey areas that remain in terms of the best ways to compensate artists and artisans in this context noting that digital distribution is not necessarily a solution. Therefore, the Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT) is currently reflecting on the various priorities for recovery and hopes to have an opportunity to share our thoughts to stimulate discussions which will affect our sector’s vitality.
We commend the flexibilities in the various support programs offered for individuals, but we feel we must also note that this budget does not provide a satisfactory answer to the question of the socio-economic conditions of artists. We hope that this discussion will take place in the coming months.
Chrystia Freeland's budget proposes legislative changes to the Canada Labour Code for protection for on-demand workers. Over the next few weeks, it will be important for us to begin a conversation on this subject so that the peculiarities of artistic work can be better understood and that any social safety-nets proposed correspond to the specific working conditions in our sector. We are counting on the Canadian government to consult the associations that represent workers in the arts sectors to enable this to happen.
Artists and artisans contribute to the success of our society, but in return, these artists do not have a lot of access to much social protection. Therefore, in the long-term view this budget wishes to take, we hope that it will also aim to rethink a system that currently exacerbates and nurtures the insecurity and precariousness of our creators.
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The Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT) is a national group that brings together and represents professional theatre practitioners and organizations in Quebec to promote the development and outreach of the theatrical arts in all their diversity. The CQT is a political force and a well-known forum that allows the Quebec theatre world and its artisans to use it to express the challenges of their artistic practice and the issues of the future.