Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit


Home » Officer Columns » Vice President from Canada » More Cuts at CBC, Local 406 Members Go to the Polls, New Canadian IR

More Cuts at CBC, Local 406 Members Go to the Polls, New Canadian IR

  -  AFM Vice President from Canada

With the CBC already reeling from the loss of Hockey Night in Canada to communications giant Rogers, the Harper government finishes the job with devastating cuts to our national broadcaster. This latest faux pas, which trims $130 million, translates into the loss of 657 jobs. Some of those positions are music producers. These losses will cripple the CBC’s ability to deliver high-quality musical variety and broadcast remotes.

Canada’s Broadcasting Act contains a clear mandate for the CBC:

3. (1) l) the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as the national public broadcaster, should provide radio and television services incorporating a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens, and entertains;

 m) the programming provided by the Corporation should

(i)be predominantly and distinctively Canadian,

(ii) reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions,

(iii)actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression,

(iv)be in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, including the particular needs and circumstances of English and French linguistic minorities,

(v)strive to be of equivalent quality in English and in French,

(vi) contribute to shared national consciousness and identity,

(vii)be made available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means and as resources become available for the purpose, and

(viii) reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada;

Accompanying those lofty expectations are limited sources
of income.


Meanwhile, the CBC has a substantial positive impact on the economy that’s well above its spending power. According to a study done by Deloitte, the measureable benefits identified were:

•For every dollar CBC receives from Canadians, it generates almost $4 for the Canadian economy.

•Its regional and local activities contribute to local economies and creative clusters in many Canadian cities.

•It creates depth in the production sector by commissioning a wide range of genres.

•Commissions led to $1.12 billion in independent production in 2010. It helps improve competitiveness and provide opportunities for exports in the independent production sector.

•It implements new technologies, which are later adopted by other broadcasters and the wider creative sector.

Government support of Canada’s public broadcaster is one of the lowest in the world, per capita, as demonstrated by the following graph.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 12.28.36 PM

 From this graph, we can see that the BBC is provided three times the funding of the CBC. Norway’s public broadcasting receives almost nine times that amount. Given that the CBC is required to produce programming in two official languages, along with more than 20 other indigenous, foreign, and various dialects across the second largest country (geographically) in the world, the expectation versus support received is out of balance in the extreme.

From the CFM’s perspective, proper funding of the broadcaster is essential if we want emerging Canadian musicians to find an audience. In addition, the amount of CBC-produced or commissioned programming containing a score recorded by CFM musicians will continue to erode, unless funding improves or CBC President Hubert Lacroix commits more of the available budget to the arts.

In other developments, Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) has pulled the trigger on a referendum to disaffiliate from the AFM. It was announced April 11 that the balloting would take place the week of June 2. This is a most regrettable decision, and we urge members to keep up to date on further news by visiting

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