Throughout the pandemic, Ontario Presents has been working with a like-minded group of arts organizations from across Canada to respond to the crisis. On June 17, this COVID-19 ASO Response Group submitted a joint letter to government officials, including the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Finance, outlining the dire impacts of the pandemic on our sector and advocating for continued supports for arts and culture.
We are grateful for the federal government’s emergency supports, which have helped in the relief period for Canadian arts and culture, specifically, the recently-extended Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, and the Emergency Support Fund for Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors. We are also acutely aware that more support will be needed to help the arts and cultural sector weather what will likely be a long storm.
Our letter specifically recommends:
- Continued monitoring of and support for the arts sector after the newly-extended CERB expires. We stress that many individuals who cannot be employed or contracted will require access to income relief support well past October 3rd.
- The extension and expansion of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) as long as government-mandated restrictions on gatherings of over 2,500 are in effect, plus the three-month period following reopening
- The expansion of CEWS to permit organizations with seasonal fluctuations in monthly receipts to defer accessing the wage subsidy to the periods when it is most needed, according to their own needs. The expansion to the program should also take into account independent contractors, and not just employees
About the COVID-19 ASO Response Group
This letter was submitted on behalf of the COVID-19 ASO Response Group, a group of Canadian arts service organizations and networks, working in solidarity to represent more than 2591 arts organizations, 15,482 artists, along with over 1000 affiliated supporters.
As arts service organizations representing broad constituencies, we stand together in solidarity with individuals, networks and organizations to advocate the centrality of arts in our society and create a path forward out of the COVID-19 crisis for the arts and culture ecosystem of Canada.
To complement the work of our individual organizations, we work in collaboration with a variety of sector partners – including but not limited to the Canadian Arts Coalition, Mass Culture, Imagine Canada, and Canada’s Performing Arts Alliance – that share our commitment to transparency, authentic consultation, and research.
Affiliated organizations include:
- Alberta Partners for Arts and Culture
- Atlantic Presenters Association
- Canadian Dance Assembly
- CARFAC National
- la Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF)
- Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance
- National Reading Campaign
- Ontario Presents
- Orchestras Canada
- Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT)
- Saskatchewan Arts Alliance
- Theatre Nova Scotia