Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community

Dear Live Event Workers, Event Venues and Companies,

We were the first out of our jobs, and all indications are that we will be the last back. Many people are facing choices between food and rent, or are facing evictions. Production personnel and artists, companies all across production and entertainment are fading to black. 

We are proposing a Day of Visibility for the Entertainment and Events Industry. This is a “red alert”, reminding Canadians that we are still here and ready to work, but to stop the spread of COVID-19, large events, conventions and concerts have been cancelled indefinitely.

On Tuesday, 22 September 2020, an hour after sundown, we are asking technicians, suppliers and venues across the country to light the night red – raising awareness for an industry that is still dark. Campaigns in Germany (#nightoflight2020) and the UK (#LightItInRed) have been successful in raising the profile of an industry that has lost 80-95% of its business since March.

We need every jurisdiction in Canada to find the time and a red light. It does not need to be a giant show; it just needs to be a show of red. We need our venues, shops, homes (and gnomes!) awash with red. We would love to see YOU the workers lit up in red as well! Put your city’s twist on it.

We need our venues, shops, homes (and gnomes!) awash with red.

Starting 28 August, there will be an interactive map at where you can showcase your installation. There will be an opportunity to give some love to your installation sponsor/supporter as well. An appropriate hashtag will allow us to push our cause to the top of the trending lists on 22 September. In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to get information as soon as it’s available.

This is not a protest. We are reminding our communities and our government that we have been told to stand by for the health of our fellow Canadians and that we want to be ready to return to work once the danger has passed.

The arts and live event community would like to thank our various provincial and federal governments who have been supportive to this point with programs like CERB, CEWS, arts and heritage grants — but it’s not over. Our stages, conference rooms, event centres, and venues are still dark. We need continued support until the lights are back on for good.

Get the word out:


How to petition the government

It is important that the government hear from you. This helps them to shape decisions, and to hear from actual citizens.

Why can’t you speak on my behalf?

Great question! We do, but a letter or a call to your MP can have a big impact, especially if it is unique and personal.

Who should I talk to?

Head over to this website
Look up your Local MP by name, or postal code. Then call them. Or email them. You can also write to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance.

What should I say?

Here are some talking points:

  • We were the first industry to stop and will be the last to come back
  • Our employers are not supported enough to be able to hire us any time soon (or you may not even have a single employer!)
  • Our jobs require specialized training that is not transferable for a job with equal wages in other industries

What we want:

  • Extend CERB until theatres, convention centres, stadiums, arenas and city-sanctioned events are running again
  • Keep restrictions and eligibility for CERB as they are. In fact, you can call on them to expand to include more gig economy workers.
  • We need the support to get back to what we do in this industry, entertaining Canadians.

REMINDER: A letter can be mailed to an MP without a stamp


Fourth Open Letter

An open letter to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Hon. Minister of Finance Bill Morneau,

The CERB is a key support for most Canadian live event technicians, artists and arts workers to survive this pandemic. It is imperative that you extend payments for CERB to entertainment workers, many of whom submitted for CERB early, and will reach their 16-week limit on 5 July 2020. The live events industry will remain shut down for the foreseeable future and this decision is solely in the hands of local health authorities, and the government.

It is imperative that you extend payments for CERB to entertainment workers

Live Event workers are resourceful, but we are in a market where our specialized skills are of limited use in competing for the jobs that would be required to replace our income from lifetime careers and dedication to the arts. We need support to continue and to be able to return to our careers.

There are provisions in Bill C-17 that specifically penalize CERB applicants who break the rules. However, since CERB was first proposed in March, these rules have changed several times, and will again once more with the passing of C-17. The government encouraged Canadians in need to apply for CERB promptly, and many of our Live Event Community did, especially since our industry was so quick to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is understood that the government should investigate and recover money from improper use of the benefit but asks that CERB applicants who unintentionally violate a CERB condition be given an opportunity to correct without penalty.    

We have confidence that the proposed changes to CERB as described in Bill C-17 will not affect our communities ability to receive support and will allow us to return to work when it is safe to do so.


Newsletter – May 1 2020

International Workers’ Day

For over a century, the first day of May has been celebrated internationally as a day to commemorate the struggle of workers around the world.

This year, under the veil of COVID-19, it has become ever more clear how important is the safety, service and sacrifice of our society’s front line workers – they are paramount to keeping us moving forward.

We want to thank all workers for their contributions to our country.

read more about IWD from the Canadian Labour Congress or TIME Magazine

Student Support Announced

This week the federal government announced a series of financial support measures for post-secondary students. Details for how to access these programs will come later.

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will provide $1250 a month from May to the end of August to post-secondary students who do not otherwise qualify for CERB or EI. This increases to $1750 for students with dependents or a disability. It will be administered by the CRA.

A series of changes to the Canada Student Loans Program for the 2020-2021 year. Max grants increased from $3,000 per year to $6,000 per year (they were due to increase to $4,200 anyway). Loan limits increased from $210 per week to $350/week. Personal and spousal contributions suspended (no apparent change to parental contributions).

Creation of a Canada Student Service Grant which will provide up to $5,000 to support student’s post-secondary education costs in the fall. This program is supposed to “encourage youth to mobilize and take part in national service activities”. Details to come.

Support to grad students! $292 million to the granting councils in order to “extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows”.


Resource Highlight #1

Resource Highlight #2

Resource Highlight #3

The Workers Health and Safety Centre provides a variety of safety and workplace related courses. [more information]

View our searchable indexed resources on our website:

Subscribe to our newsletter!


Newsletter – 17 April 2020

Subscribe to our weekly update!

Enhanced CERB Rules & More!

According to the Canadian government 7.9 million applications for CERB have been received, and 7.5 million have been processed, totalling $17.35B.

This is staggering.

We commend the government for recognizing, as we called for in our April 6 letter, that nobody should be refused CERB due to residual income, or a small payout.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that CERB is now available for people earning less than $1000 a month, and those who have documented future work cancelled due to COVID-19.

We hope that you are finding the help that you need, and encourage you to visit our resources page, where we have gathered over 240 listings covering financial, health and training support. It is fully searchable by province and provider.

Resource Highlight


Entertainment behemoth Live Nation has created the Crew Nation fund to help support live music crews who have been directly impacted as shows are put on pause due to COVID-19. [more information]

First round applications are open until Friday, May 1.


THE CBC CREATIVE RELIEF FUND supports innovative original projects with compelling perspectives and unique voices that also reflect contemporary Canada, and follow the recommended local and national COVID-19 safety guidelines. [more information]

Creators can apply until 11:59 pm ET on Friday, April 24.


AFCHelps is the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry.You are professionally eligible if you:  • Are working age and have earned the majority of your income from entertainment industry work in 2019 [more information]


CBC News has an interactive list of financial benefits with provincial breakdowns. Read more to ensure you are receiving all the support you are entitled to. 

Share our message

Subscribe to our weekly update!


Newsletter – 9 April 2020

Subscribe to our newsletter!

It’s CERB Week – should we celebrate??

The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit is rolling out, and the initial results seem positive. Members on our Facebook page report getting deposits in the bank within 48 hours, and EI-eligible applications since mid-March have been migrated to the CERB as well. The application process for freelance self-employed is only a few questions long, and broken web services that have plagued the Service Canada EI system don’t seem to have affected Revenue Canada, who is managing CERB for non-EI claimants.

Your CERB questions, answered

Wait, CERB is taxable?

Just like employment insurance (EI), the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit. This means that at tax time it is listed as income.With EI, the tax is withheld (just like an employee’s paycheque), so you don’t need to worry about paying it later. In fact, you might even get a refund!

However, the CERB pays you the full taxable amount ($2000 per month), which means you will owe taxes (minimum rate 15%) on it in 2021.

Did I get paid twice by mistake?

You may have received two payments. The first is a retroactive payment from 15 March to 11 April, and the second is for the following month. This is not an overpayment but there will not be another deposit for four weeks.

“So from March 15 to April 11 is the first four week period, during which a $2,000 payment would have been made yesterday or perhaps today.”

Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos

Can I earn any income while on CERB?

Currently, once you are earning no income for 14 days, you can apply for CERB, but “for subsequent periods, you must expect to have no employment or self-employment income.”*

The Prime Minister announced Monday that he was looking into opening up CERB to underemployed and gig workers (<10 hours a week, under $500 a month), but for now, DO NOT JEOPARDIZE YOUR CERB benefit.


Can I collect a cheque for past invoices?

According to Service Canada regarding EI claims, “self-employment earnings from services performed … are allocated to the week or weeks when the services were performed”*

Our recommendation? Have time sheets, invoices and emails/texts ready to provide RevCan to show that any cheques you deposited after 15 March were for work completed prior to the CERB no-income period.


I applied for EI and heard nothing back.

If you applied for EI after 15 March, your case should have automatically been moved to CERB, and been paid out this week. If not, please contact Service Canada:

An SSO will get back to you within 48 hours.



The Ontario government provides funding that families can apply for if they have children who are not in school or child care because of coronavirus (COVID-19). [more information]


Did you know that there are over 100 free training opportunities online on our website? Check out our searchable database, and increase your industry knowledge during this forced hiatus. [more information]

Share our message:

Subscribe to our newsletter!


Third Open Letter

An open letter to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Hon. Minister of Finance Bill Morneau,

On behalf of The Live Event Community we want to thank your government for the strides in protecting Live Event workers. “Gig” workers, freelance entertainment technicians and artists are often employed in periodic, sporadic and non-standard work, which leaves us vulnerable and not easily covered by a typical scenario. The CERB does not reach all, and even worse many of our artists, creators and technicians may inadvertently disqualify themselves for CERB. 

Many in our industry have found innovative ways to entertain and motivate Canadians to stay indoors, including online performances, educational opportunities and other novel experiences. These are often at reduced rates, or in some cases for cost only. The CERB requires that the applicant receive NO INCOME for 14 consecutive days in a 4-week period for which they apply for benefits, no income from:

Employment or self-employment; Employment Insurance; Any allowances/money/benefits in respect of pregnancy or parental leave, including adoption benefit of $2,000 paid every 4 weeks from March 15, 2020, until Oct 3, 2020.

We do not want to stop creating, producing, and building live event experiences, but require a system that will allow us to continue small projects, and that whatever income earned be deducted from the basic CERB amount. We are not asking for more than any other Canadian, but we need to guarantee that this basic amount, that you have deemed important for Canadians to survive during this crisis, will not be refused due to small residual income.

We await your response, and we need you to consider these important changes.
Thank you for your attention in these difficult times,


the Live Events Community


Newsletter – 2 April 2020

If only Canada issued unicorn cheques…

The good news, is that the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) application process starts next week, rolling out based on your birth month.To prepare in advance, the CRA recommends that you make sure you can log into, or create a CRA MyAccount. You can also use your Service Canada GCkey account, and then look for the link to “Switch to Canada Revenue Agency”.Secondly, make sure that you have registered for direct deposit. Otherwise, you will be waiting for a physical cheque.Read our blog post for detailed instructions.

Be sure to speak to your landlord, mortgage holder or utility company before you run out of options — see if they will adjust payments or make concessions. Remember that we are all in the same boat. Check out our resources page, or reach us on Facebook Messenger or email.

Recent Posts



IATSE Canada is collecting data about lost work in our industry. Please take a minute to add your name to the list. [More information]


AFC Helps supports entertainment industry professionals working in TV and film, music, theatre, and dance with emergency funding [More information]


Unison Fund supports people who worked primarily in the music industry for at least two years, or for 55% of your career. [More information]

Browse our Resource Pages

Sort by type and location to find the grants, benefits and resources that matter to you, no matter where you live in Canada.


Need emergency financial aid? AFC Helps. Learn more