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.
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.