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IATSE Optimistic About Federal Aid Announcement for Entertainment Sector

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

OTTAWA, ON – There was much good news today for the entertainment industry as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland revealed the Fall Economic Statement, which included several significant policy announcements. Minister Freeland indicated that for Canada’s hardest-hit businesses - such as tourism, hospitality, and arts & entertainment - government will be implementing a Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program, which will offer government-backed loans at below-market interest rates with extended repayment terms of up to 10 years. This program will assist many IATSE employers in staying afloat until they are able to open their doors to live audiences again.

To support the planning and presentation of COVID-19-safe events and the arts, including both live and digital, and to provide work opportunities in these sectors, the government will provide $181.5 million in 2021-22 to the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts to expand their funding programs. This includes a one-year renewal of funding provided in Budget 2019 for the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program, the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, and the Canada Music Fund.

The Fall Economic Statement also contains an increase to the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy. The maximum CEWS rate will go from 65% to 75% as of December 20, continuing until March 13, 2021. The Statement further indicated that government is moving ahead in requiring international digital companies such as Netflix to remit federal sales tax on digital sales.

John M. Lewis, the IATSE’s Director of Canadian Affairs and an International Vice President, stated, “The IATSE is thankful for the continued support from the Ministries of Finance and Canadian Heritage and for their recognition of the unique pressures facing the entertainment sector. We are very pleased with today’s announcement and look forward to the release of details on these programs. We also note government’s intention to require digital streamers to remit federal sales tax, and we’ll continue to work with government and the CRTC as Bill C-10 makes its way through the legislative process.”

For more information, contact:

Krista Hurdon, IATSE International Representative

khurdon@iatse.net