Canadian "Tour Tax" on Foreign Bands Lifted

Canadian "Tour Tax" on Foreign Bands Lifted
Last year, the Canadian music industry went up in arms over changes to the country's Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which meant that show bookers were subject to steep fees when bringing a foreign band into the country. Now, to the relief of many, this so-called "tour tax" has been removed.

Postmedia News notes that Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the changes on Tuesday (June 24).

A statement from Music Canada, the Canadian Independent Music Association and others said: "Effective immediately, all foreign artists performing in time-limited engagements — so, on contract for a tour for instance — and their essential crew will no longer have to expend the time or the cost to obtain a work permit, regardless of what kind of venue they're performing in across Canada."

Previously, the law affected bands playing in venues that listed their primary business as something other than music (including many bars, coffee shops and clubs). It meant that each foreign worker coming to these venues — including band members, roadies, tour managers and sound engineers — needed an expensive work permit.

NDP MP Andrew Cash said [via the Canadian Press], "They corrected something incredibly dumb that they shouldn't have implemented in the first place. The music sector wasn't abusing the temporary foreign worker program, and there was no consultation in advance of the government's decision. There was no one asking for it, in fact."

Musicians who are hired for permanent positions will be subjected to more stringent laws. For bands coming here for tours or one-off shows, however, they can now perform at any venue without fear of massive financial penalties.