Unison Fund Launches Live Music Workers Fund for Pandemic Financial Aid

The Canadian government has allocated $16,855,000 to provide relief to qualified live music sector workers

Photo: Dana Zuk

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jul 6, 2022

Providing emergency relief services and counselling to the Canadian music industry for over a decade, the Unison Fund has announced a new initiative to support live music sector workers who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Live Music Workers Fund launches today to assist self-employed and independent live music workers with the financial strain of the pandemic. The Canadian government has allocated $16,855,000 to provide relief — in the form of a one-time lump sum payment of $2,500 — to qualified applicants through the Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund (CPAWRF).

Music industry professionals who have earned a minimum of 55 percent of their income for at least two consecutive years (prior to the pandemic) from their primary occupation in one or more of the following roles are eligible: artist, artist manager or management company, booking agent, composer, concert photographer, concert recording engineer, consultant, DJ, event/festival production, marketing/communications, merchandiser, musician, production company, promoter, publisher, publicist/public relations, retailer (instruments and supplies), songwriter, stagehand/roadie, talent buyer, technician, tour management/operator, venue staff and videographer.

"Our organization is grateful to be named as a recipient of this funding, which will be used to help support Canadian live music professionals sustain their career amid the continuing challenges and difficulties created by the pandemic," Unison Fund Executive Director Amanda Power said in a release. "Over the next year, this investment will go towards the future of live music workers and the reestablishment and empowerment of the live music scene in Canada. We look forward to working in line with many other music industry organizations across the country, to disburse this crucial funding." 
Erin Benjamin, Chair of the charity's Board of Directors, added:

The Canadian live music industry has been decimated by COVID-19, and this funding will help live music professionals jumpstart their careers during the third year of the pandemic. It may take many years for the live music industry to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, but Unison will continue to be there to provide financial and mental health assistance with the challenges so many face. We are incredibly thankful to the Government of Canada and the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, for their much-welcomed support and recognition of live music workers and the importance they provide to Canada's culture.

UPDATE (8/4, 9:30 a.m. ET): Due to an overwhelming volume of applications, the Unison Fund has temporarily suspended the Live Music Workers Fund application portal from August 1 until September 1. Any applications that are currently in-progress but not yet submitted can still be accessed to complete and submit.

Individuals who meet the eligibility criteria can apply here. Applications are open until March 31, 2023.

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