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LEC Appeal for Keeping Ontario Venues Open

The Hon. Monte McNaughton MPP
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
777 Bay St. Toronto, ON M7A 2J3 
Tel.416-327-4300 Twitter: @MonteMcNaughton

The Hon. Christine Elliot MPP
Minister of Health
5th Floor, 777 Bay St. Toronto, ON M7A 2J3
Tel. 416-327-4300 Twitter: @celliottability

In March 2020, the live events industry was halted by social distancing and gathering restrictions. Event and show cancellations sidelined a hundred thousand Ontario live event workers, and venues have stood empty of audiences.

Many Ontario creators, producers and promoters have tried to adapt to this challenging situation, modifying their work to an online format. In this format, there is no in-person contact with audiences and limited support crew. Our industry has always prioritized safety, and our protocols include most, if not greater to those that already are approved for network broadcast and filming.

The current stay-at-home order punishes live event creators, promoters, and the people they employ, who have been following best practice covid-19 safety procedures but are forced to stop work once again. We ask you to swiftly make the necessary changes to the current state of affairs here in Ontario and bring back these much-needed online events.

These productions are aimed at online audiences and do not contribute to the spread of coronavirus. Online shows allow artists and creators to remain relevant, practice their craft and provide entertainment to an audience that is told to stay in their homes. It may also provide a minimum income to a limited amount of performers, crew, and venue staff. 

Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians have been legislated out of work in the Live Event Community. We have tried to be patient, we understand the need for Ontarians to be protected from covid-19, but this latest stay-at-home order as written will continue to negatively impact us and the stay-at-home audience. 

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.  

We are all in this together.

The Live Event Community

cc:
The Hon. Lisa MacLeod MPP, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries  @MacLeodLisa
The Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario   @fordnation

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Inconsistent lockdown protocols hamper live performing arts

On the thewholenote.com, author Paul Ennis writes about the devastating effect of closing live performance venues to non-audience activities under the current Ontario stay-at-home order.

Meanwhile, even though many TAPA member companies have temporarily shifted to hybrid theatre, dance and opera models that include livestreaming, pre-recorded film and digitization, “entertainment concert venues, theatres and cinemas (includes drive-in or drive-through events) [are] closed for all purposes, including rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted event, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance.” However, the letter points out, the Businesses Permitted to Open and Sector Specific Restrictions (14) have allowed film and television to continue to operate: commercial film and television production, including all supporting activities such as hair, makeup and wardrobe.”

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Global Day of Action

Hot on the heels of a successful Canadian Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community, the global organization #WeMakeEvents is calling on live event companies and people to reach out across the world.

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Final Planning for Day of Visibility

Live Event Community, an organization formed to support Canadian live event workers who’ve lost their livelihoods due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has organized a Day of Visibility on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020.

One hour after sundown from coast-to-coast, hundreds of venues and buildings will light their exteriors red to raise awareness for an industry that is still dark – and will be one of the last to recover. Throughout the evening, images and video will be shared across social media using the hashtags #LightUpLive / EclaironsLesScenes to boost visibility.

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la communauté événementielle planifie une journée de visibilité le 22 septembre

Live Event Community​, une organisation formée pour soutenir les travailleurs canadiens du spectacle et de l’evenementiel qui ont perdu leurs gagne-pain en raison de la pandémie COVID-19 en cours, a organisé une journée de visibilité le mardi 22 septembre 2020.

Une heure après le coucher du soleil, des centaines de sites et de bâtiments d’un ocĂ©an Ă  l’autre Ă©claireront leur extĂ©rieur de rouge pour sensibiliser l’opinion Ă  une industrie qui est encore dans le noir – et qui sera l’une des dernières Ă  se rĂ©tablir. Tout au long de la soirĂ©e, des images et des vidĂ©os seront partagĂ©es sur les mĂ©dias sociaux en utilisant les hashtags #LightUpLive / EclaironsLesScenes pour accroĂ®tre la visibilitĂ©.

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8 Days to Go

We are just over a week away from the Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community on Tuesday 22 September, an unprecedented and united show of support for the live event industries in Canada.

Live events span many industries, including music and the arts, corporate meetings and conventions, sports, and heritage.

Over one million Canadians work in these industries.

Well – they did, until the global threat of COVID-19 closed theatres and cancelled large gatherings earlier this year.

We want to ensure that these event professionals continue to have access to government support until events can safely return.

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Three weeks to go!

As of today, the ​Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community has an event hashtag all their own. Event organizers are asking venues and landmarks across the country to light up their buildings and marquees in red on Tuesday 22 September to raise awareness for an industry that remains dark.

Early response has been overwhelming. Organizations, grassroots groups and individuals are coming together to ask and assist with illuminating landmarks in red, bringing to light the many performers, creators, technical, logistical, and management support personnel who drive a $100 billion Canadian economic engine.

The selected hashtag #LightUpLive #EclaironsLesScenes draws attention to locations that have been primarily dark for over six months due to social distancing restrictions. Live event workers are encouraged to participate using social media, and participating venues and installations can be tracked on an interactive map at the event website (​https://lightuplive.ca​).

“This grassroots movement has seemed to catch fire,” says Morgan Myler, co-founder of the ​Live Event Community group, which formed in March as a result of the cancellation of events worldwide due to COVID-19. “We started with a resource guide for workers to access critical health, financial and training opportunities when COVID-19 hit.”

I’m always impressed to see how quickly the event industry can respond

Rob D

According to Statistics Canada , the arts, entertainment and recreation sector lost 152,000 of 486,100 jobs between June 2019 and June 2020, and 86% of businesses experienced a high level of impact due to the decrease in demand or cancellation of services . Those that are still employed have seen a 45% reduction in hours worked​ . The corporate and business events sector directly employs an additional 229,000 Canadians according to a 2017 Oxford Economics3 study.

“I’m always impressed to see how quickly the event industry can respond,” says co-founder Rob Duncan “but considering how quickly the work stopped, people are really looking to do something, however symbolic it may be.”

The ​Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community will run Tuesday 22 September from an hour after sundown, coast to coast. Follow along at ​https://lightuplive.ca​. Live event workers looking for resources can visit ​https://liveeventcommunity.org

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Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) Announced

Read more about the CRB, which took effect September 27 2020.

CERB Extended

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has been extended to a total of 28 weeks (from the original 26 weeks). This will extend the original CERB payments to 27 September 2020.

Beginning 27 September anyone who qualifies for EI will be migrated to this program, and anyone else can apply for the newly announced Canada Recovery Benefit.

*NEW* Canadian Recovery Benefit

CRB starts 27 September 2020 for people who don’t qualify for EI (freelancers)

This program will offer $400 a week for 26 weeks.

You can claim income but your benefit will be reduced by $0.50 for each $1 earned.

Employment Insurance Program

With the revised EI program, you will receive 55% of your former income up to $573/week, but the floor (minimum payment) has been raised to $400.

You will qualify for between 26 and 45 weeks depending on the worked hours you have banked. You have to have worked 120 hours to qualify for this year.

You must claim outside income earned, but your benefit will be reduced by $0.50 for every $1 earned.

Canada Recovery Care-giving Benefit

$550 for week per household caregiving benefit up to 26 weeks.

Canadian Recovery Sickness Benefit

Also you can be eligible for $500 weekly for up to two weeks for those who don’t have paid sick leave or if you become sick or if you need to isolate for reasons linked to COVID-19

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Day of Visibility Date Change

The Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community is now TUESDAY 22 SEPTEMBER beginning an hour after sundown.

Why the change?

We want to ensure that everyone can participate, and our previous date is Rosh Hashanah, a celebration of the Jewish New Year.

Traditionally, theatres are dark on Monday, allowing everyone involved a day off. We will light the night RED on Tuesday, a night that would normally bring bright marquees and lit stages.

We support an amazing variety of industries and possess a remarkable collection of skills. We are coming together to showcase the magnificent scope of live events, and the people who create them.

We need your help to shine a light on the tens of thousands of live event workers who are in the wings while theatres, convention halls and arenas remain dark.

Sign up for Red Alert Day of Visibility updates!

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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 liveeventcommunity.org/redalert 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: