Tag Archives: canada

CFM Continues to Lobby for Musical Instrument Passenger Rights

Canadian Federation of Musicians continued to lobby the Parliament of Canada to include the carriage of musical instruments as part of the Passenger Rights Proposals on Bill C-49: The Transportation Modernization Act. CFM/AFM International Representative Allistair Elliott and AFM Local 180 (Ottawa-Gatineau, ON) President Francine Schutzman, appeared before the Transportation and Communications Committee of the Senate of Canada. Through the lobbying efforts of the CFM, Bill C-49: The Transportation Modernization Act contains language mandating that all Canadian airlines implement a fair policy for musicians flying with their instruments. The bill passed through the House and, if passed by Senate, will align Canadian regulations with those already in place in the US. CFM anticipates this Bill will receive Royal Ascent before June 2018.

For three years, CFM has been working on legislation to include musical instruments in Passenger Rights. Transport Canada will be tasked with preparing regulations to accompany the legislation. The process is expected to take the remainder of 2018, culminating with the Canadian airlines implementing a musical instrument friendly policy by early 2019.

“It is critical that, as professional musicians, we are able to get to the show, audition, rehearsal or concert hall without fear of our instruments not making the flight. Clear consistent regulations enacted by a policy for musicians travelling on airlines that hold those airlines accountable is a victory. We are committed to working with the Canadian Transport Agency on getting this Bill passed, says Elliott.

“I was honoured to join Allistair Elliott for this all-important presentation on behalf of our 17,000 CFM musicians. We need industry-wide, consistent guidelines for traveling with instruments, and it is our hope that the passage of law C49 will help us achieve this aim,” adds Schutzman.

Below is the French translation.

La FCM poursuit ses pressions pour l’inclusion des instruments de musique dans les droits des passagers aériens du projet de loi c-49

La Fédération canadienne des musiciens (FCM, le bureau national canadien de la Fédération américaine des musiciens (AFM)) a poursuivi son travail de lobbying auprès du Parlement du Canada en vue de faire inclure le transport des instruments de musique dans le cadre des propositions sur les droits des passagers aériens liées au projet de loi C-49 : la Loi sur la modernisation des transports. Allistair Elliott, Représentant international de la Fédération canadienne des musiciens, et Francine Schutzman, Présidente de la Musicians’ Association of Ottawa-Gatineau (Local 180 de l’AFM), ont comparu devant le Comité sénatorial des transports et des communications du Canada. Grâce aux efforts de lobbying de la FCM liés au projet de loi C-49 : la Loi sur la modernisation des transports, cette dernière stipule que TOUTES les compagnies aériennes canadiennes doivent instituer une politique équitable pour les musiciens qui voyagent avec leurs instruments.  Le projet de loi a été adopté par la Chambre des communes et, s’il est adopté par le Sénat, alignera les règlements canadiens avec ceux déjà en place aux États-Unis. La FCM prévoit que ce projet de loi obtiendra la sanction royale d’ici juin 2018.

Depuis trois ans, la FCM travaille sur un projet législatif visant l’inclusion des instruments de musique dans les droits des passagers aériens. Transports Canada sera chargée de l’élaboration des règlements  qui accompagneront la loi. Ce processus devrait prendre tout le reste de l’année 2018 et atteindre son apogée au début de l’année 2019, avec l’instauration par les compagnies aériennes canadiennes d’une politique favorable au transport des instruments de musique.

« Il est essentiel, en tant que musiciens professionnels, de pouvoir se rendre au spectacle, à l’audition, à la répétition ou à la salle de concert sans craindre que nos instruments ne soient pas à bord. Des règlements clairs et harmonisés issus d’une politique visant les musiciens voyageant à bord des différentes compagnies aériennes et qui tiennent ces compagnies responsables représentent une victoire, mais nous sommes déterminés à travailler avec Transports Canada pour faire adopter ce projet de loi », a déclaré Elliott.

« J’ai eu l’honneur  de me joindre à Allistair Elliott pour cette présentation de la plus haute importance faite au nom de nos 17 000 musiciens membres de la FCM. Pour ceux qui voyagent avec leurs instruments, il faut des lignes directrices uniformes applicables à l’ensemble de l’industrie, et nous espérons que l’adoption du projet de loi C-49 nous aidera à atteindre cet objectif », d’ajouter Schutzman.

CFM Holds Anti-Harassment Summit

On March 1, the Canadian Federation of Musicians launched the first Canadian Music Industry Anti-Harassment Summit in Toronto. Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly addressed the Summit via Skype. Joly and Canadian Heritage support the goals of the meeting body and will look to us to set policy that Heritage can endorse and help us to enforce against victimizers.

The Canadian Federation of Musicians hosted a harassment summit on March 1. Many music industry representatives gathered in the ACTRA boardroom, while others joined by teleconference.

Also in attendance at the summit were representatives from the Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Heritage Department of Music Policy and Programs, Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAs)/JUNO Awards, East Coast Music Association, Canadian Actors Equity Association, Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) Toronto, ACTRA RACS, Canadian Music Publishers Association, Screen Composers Guild of Canada, Toronto Arts Council, Music Canada, Musicians Rights Organization Canada, Songwriters Association of Canada, Women in Music Canada, and more.

The goal of the summit, according to AFM/CFM Executive Director Liana White was to work together to create an industry-wide policy against harassment in work and performance places, to protect ourselves, our colleagues, and our audiences. CFM’s mission statement includes treating each other with respect and dignity without regard to ethnicity, creed, sex, age, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or national origin.

The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which is recognized as having the highest standards and therefore can be applied in all provinces, defines workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome.”

It can include:

  • Remarks, jokes, and innuendos that ridicule, intimidate, or offend
  • Verbal, physical, psychological abuse
  • Exclusionary behavior
  • Displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials in any form
  • Stalking

CFM members need to have a safe and respectful work environment, whomever they work with and wherever they work.

Who says this stuff

Who Says This Stuff?

There is no doubt that the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) has been predominantly concerned of late in seeking new employers to bargain agreements with, and specifically those involved in media. Recording—on camera and off—presents an assortment of revenue streams for members in the areas of capture, reuse, new use, supplemental markets and new media, or streaming. This is important work and extremely valuable to the musicians employed in those areas.

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Dozens of Ontario Newspapers Cease Operations

A swap deal between Postmedia and TorStar will see 36 newspapers shuttered—all but two of them in Ontario. The two organizations are swapping a total of 41 daily and weekly newspapers. Postmedia will close 23 of the 24 publications it takes over, putting 244 people out of work by mid-January. TorStar will immediately shut down 13 of the 17 newspapers it acquired from Postmedia and lay off 46 staff.

Communication Workers of America (CWA) Canada President Martin O’Hanlon called it a “dark day for local journalism” and said it is a “deathblow to local newspaper competition in many communities.” O’Hanlon added, “it’s bad for local journalism and bad for municipal democracy.”

CWA Canada represents workers at the Peterborough Examiner, which will continue to operate under TorStar, and at Northumberland Today, one of three dailies that will shut down immediately. With the exception of Exeter Times-Advocate/Weekender, Postmedia plans to close all of the community newspapers it acquired. Of the 17 newspapers acquired by TorStar, only four dailies will survive.

New Occupational Health and Safety Rules Protect Alberta Workers

For decades, Alberta has suffered higher worker injury rates than other jurisdictions in Canada. Bill 30 updated Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act for the first time since its introduction back in 1976.

“These long overdue Occupational Health and Safety changes will put workers at the center of the workplace health and safety equation by building an OHS system on three fundamental worker rights: the right to know about workplace hazards, the right to participate in workplace health and safety programs and policies, and the right to refuse unsafe work,” says Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan.

Other key changes in the new legislation include broader workers compensation coverage for workers who are either injured or killed on the job, as well as the continuation of pay and benefits when stop-work orders are issued.

Understanding Your Film Musician Secondary Markets Fund

Secondary Markets Fund

by Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, Executive Director Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund


In 2017, the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) celebrated 45 years of serving the film and television music community. Created in 1972 by the motion picture and television producers and the AFM, the FMSMF’s primary purpose was to act as the agent of the producers to collect and distribute residual payments to film musicians. Today, we continue this mission, while also serving as a resource for motion picture professionals in addressing various challenges to the industry.

For some musicians and filmmakers, the FMSMF remains a bit of a mystery. Because FMSMF distributes a significant source of income to working musicians, all musicians working in film, television, new media, as well as sound recordings should be familiar with how it works.

FMSMF provides a unique service to the film and TV music community. For producers, it shoulders the responsibility of calculating and issuing individual musicians’ residual payments and paying required taxes and withholdings. For musicians, FMSMF sends a detailed listing with a breakdown for each title that accompanies the musician’s annual payment. This provides a “one-stop shop” to make residual tracking, personal record keeping, and annual tax accounting easier and more efficient for the working musician.

FMSMF is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization operating under the supervision of an oversight committee appointed by the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), and AFM liaisons appointed by the AFM International President who consult with the oversight committee. FMSMF does not engage in collective bargaining on behalf of either producers or the AFM.

How FMSMF Works 

FMSMF collects residuals (contributions) if a film, TV program, or new media project has moved from its primary market into a secondary market, and that secondary market use generates revenue, as described in Chart 1.

Secondary Markets Fund

Residuals collected by the FMSMF represent a small percentage (below 1% net of deductions outlined in the AFM agreement) of distributors’ gross receipts from secondary market distribution of film, TV, or new media programs. Producers and/or distributors send residuals directly to the fund on a quarterly basis. Residuals collected during the FMSMF’s fiscal year (April 1-March 31) are distributed to musicians the following July 1. Administrative costs for operating the fund (legal and auditing fees, insurance, salaries, computers, rent, etc.), taxes, and other required withholdings, plus a small reserve for “omissions,” are deducted from the amounts collected. Each individual title’s contribution is allocated proportionally against the total contributions received for all titles during the year. (A title refers to an individual film or a season of a TV series). Each musician’s share within each title is determined by applying the percentage that his original wages represented of the total wages paid to all musicians for the score, against the residual payment collected for that title during the year.

A second, smaller “omissions distribution” is made each September to musicians who the fund discovers were erroneously omitted from a project’s list of musicians, or whose original wages were underreported to the fund. FMSMF conducts its own research, reviews, and audits, either directly by the Fund Compliance Department or by outside auditors engaged by the fund to ensure that signatory producers and distributors make the required residual payments. In addition, the fund’s Participant Services staff works to find musicians who may have unclaimed residuals waiting at the fund. Many of these “lost” musicians are musicians who performed on AFM-covered sound recordings that were used in AFM-covered films and programs, but do not have a valid current address registered with the fund.

Who Participates?

Participating musicians include, not just instrumentalists who played on the score (on or off screen), but also conductors, orchestrators, copyists, arrangers, contractors, and other AFM-covered positions. Further, musicians who worked on a union-covered sound recording used in an AFM signatory film, TV program, or new media project may be entitled to share in that title’s secondary market residuals. If a participant is deceased, his/her designated beneficiary is entitled to receive the participant’s share of residuals. The FMSMF staff researches, identifies, and contacts beneficiaries to effectuate the musician’s intent for them to benefit from their legacy.

Recent Activity

In the 2017 fiscal year, the FMSMF collected more than
$98.4 million in secondary market residuals. Participants received 15,676 payments in the July regular distribution and another 1,415 payments as part of the September omissions distribution. A list of films, TV programs, and new media programs that have paid into the fund over the years is located at www.fmsmf.org.

It can take several years after the first release or broadcast before a film, TV program, or new media program moves into a secondary market and revenues are generated. Resulting residuals for an individual title can vary from modest to significant, depending on its success. Overall, secondary market residuals have grown in recent years. Residuals from new media exhibition of film and television programs have become a more significant share of the totals, as illustrated in Chart 2.

Secondary Markets Fund

FMSMF also administers a smaller sub-fund that collects supplemental market residuals for secondary use of live and videotape programs such as the nightly talk shows, variety shows, and other programs produced under the AFM’s Live Television Videotape and Basic Cable Television agreements.

Whether you actively work in film and television scoring, on a new media project, or in sound recordings, the FMSMF and the residuals it collects can be relevant to you. Now, the fund has new relevance to all working musicians. As a result of the AFM’s negotiations for its 2015 Film and Television Basic agreements, a portion of the residuals collected by FMSMF will be sent to the AFM-EPF to help support the funding of musicians’ pensions.

We invite you to learn more about the FMSMF by visiting our website where we keep musicians and producers informed about FMSMF activities and offer online services for musicians and beneficiaries to securely access accounts, update information, sign up for easy direct deposit and paperless options, and locate unclaimed residuals.

Remember, if you’re a participant, please make sure your address, email, contact information, and beneficiary designations are current and remain up-to-date with the fund. And, please visit us on Facebook.

On behalf of the FMSMF staff, we look forward to our continued service to the professional musicians of the US and Canada and extend our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018!

BreakOut West

BreakOut West—Still No Deal Do Not Work for BOW

While talks have continued with the executive director of the Western Canadian Music Awards, which presents the BreakOut West (BOW) festival, there is still no appetite on their part to enter into an agreement for the services of musicians. While the CFM has pitched a three-year deal to cover minimum basic fees, pension, and distribution of recorded performances, BOW is refusing to bargain even one year.

The festival is employing a classic “divide and conquer” maneuver. Artists who they consider headliners and therefore essential to the visibility of the festival, are paid handsomely. But the vast majority of the musicians showcasing—in excess of 250—will receive no compensation. Additionally, they are presented with a contract that states they can be recorded and BOW will be held harmless from any payment for the use of any such recordings, in perpetuity.

Since the festival continues to be listed on the AFM International Unfair List. Musicians must not provide services for BreakOut West.

Let me repeat that: Do not perform at BOW!

As unsavoury as this is for everyone, there is much more at risk than what some musicians may consider valuable “exposure.” There are many important festivals in Canada, and failing to get an agreement with one, risks similar consequences elsewhere. All employers everywhere must be held to the same standards: if you engage musicians, they must be properly compensated and treated as professionals.

As AFM President Hair has stated many times, “An injury to one is an injury to all. Together, we are stronger.”

Another important factor in this scenario is the venues. While BreakOut West is not providing compensation, neither are the clubs that are being used for the performances. They can expect a packed house, high liquor sales, and no-cost entertainment. Free music. Anyone who performs under these circumstances is merely contributing to the “pay to play” problem.

Our issues with BOW are not so different from dark recordings that went on years ago, when there were several important recording studios in Toronto. The business representative at the time, Murray Ginsberg, would often visit studios to ensure that the employer on the gig was signatory to the Sound Recording Labour Agreement.

The players would, of course, be annoyed by a visit from Murray “the Mountie” and the disruption but, in the end, extremely grateful when they were paid appropriate session fees. In addition, there was the increase in the monthly pension payout upon retirement, and also the cheque from the Special Payments Fund, which arrived each year for five years after any such sessions. Not only that, but recordings that were properly documented on B4 Report Forms were subject to new use payments, for subsequent release in other medium or when otherwise repurposed. The promise of “50 bucks cash” could turn into tens of thousands, when it was done properly.

By not obligating the employer to sign a contract for appropriate fees and pension, you are letting them off the hook, cheating yourself, and making it that much harder the next time. By giving BOW your services for free, and not having a contract in place to protect any recording that ensues, you are doing yourself a huge injustice. It also sends the message that your product has no value. The minimum you perform for becomes the maximum employers are willing to pay.

The time for solidarity is now!


Airline Travel with Musical Instruments in Canada Update

by Allistair Elliott, AFM International Representative for Canada

Early in 2015, after several years of lobbying efforts by AFM Legislative and Political Director Alfonso Pollard and AFM International President Ray Hair with the National Instrument Carry-On Coalition, the US government voted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act into legislation. It regulated the carriage of musical instruments onboard US air carriers. About that time, given that this act governed US aviation only, AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert asked me to represent the CFM office on behalf of musicians travelling with instruments on airlines in Canada.

With the help of our Ottawa lobbyist, Isabel Metcalf, we began a series meetings that included airline councils, the Canadian Transportation Agency, and the Minister of Transport’s office. We found out that the Government of Canada, under the Harper government, had initiated a complete review of Canadian Transport. Working quickly, we were able to submit documentation of our concerns with a follow-up meeting to the Transport Review Committee.

Chaired by the Honorable David Emerson, PC, OBC, the Canadian Transportation Act Review Report was tabled February 25, 2016. The review encompassed all modes of transport, from rail to shipping, trucking to airlines. We were thrilled to report at that time, the assiduity of our effort was not only mentioned in the report, but also cited as an example of a general theme of harmonization with US and EU transportation standards. Soon after the report was tabled, Air Canada initiated some changes to their own airline policy regarding musical instruments. The changes, which were generally positive, included priority boarding for musicians with instruments and the purchase of a second seat for musical instruments (such as a cellos) was reduced by 50%.

With the change in government, there were many changes in staffing, including a new Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau. After meeting with his staff, we were assured that he would be looking at the recommendations of the Emerson Report on Canadian Transport.

Earlier this year, Garneau announced he would initiate a new passenger bill of rights to modernize the transport industry. It has been important to continue our lobbying efforts, meeting with CTA staff, Garneau’s office, opposition transport critic Kelly Block, MP, and Judy Sgro, MP, chair of the Standing Subcommittee on Transport.

On May 16, 2017, Garneau announced the Bill C-49 proposal to amend the Canada Transportation Act. One of the items detailed in the paper is a requirement that carriers implement standards for transporting musical instruments. This is another step in the right direction for our efforts in this area. The bill has gone through second reading in the House of Commons, and will likely go to committee in September. We have already requested to appear before committee and over the summer we are preparing for this.

Recently there have been some concerns with new Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) procedures at some Canadian airports. CATSA has initiated a newer, more efficient, and more automated CATSA Plus. Some musicians have raised concerns about travelling through security with instruments. CFM is working with CATSA to determine the best advice for musicians who have concerns. (Alfonso Pollard’s column in the March 2017 IM has additional information regarding US Transportation Security Administration automated bin lines.) I am currently in communication with CATSA and I hope to soon provide information via local offices with regard to passenger rights going through security at airports.

Our goal throughout our lobbying effort has always been, and remains to be, to achieve harmonization with the FAA Carry On Act, so that musicians travelling throughout North America will have the same policies when travelling on any airline with a musical instrument. In that regard, we continue to work on behalf of all musicians so that the toughest part of the gig is not getting there!

Canadian Anti-Union Bills Repealed

Canadian unions are celebrating the adoption of Bill C-4, which repeals the Conservative, anti-union Bills C-377 and C-525. Bill C-377 created red tape that would have forced unions and the businesses they work with to spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours producing and processing expense reports to be reviewed and filed. Bill C-525 would have made it more difficult for federally-regulated workplaces to join a union. Prime Minster Justin Trudea had pledged to repeal the bills if elected.

“Our affiliates and labour activists across the country have organized and campaigned against these bills from the beginning, and this is their victory to celebrate,” says Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) President Hassan Yussuff. “By passing Bill C-4, the federal government has demonstrated it understands the importance of fair labour relations, and the critical role unions play advancing rights for all Canadian workers.”


orchestra committee

Negotiating a first Agreement for Canadian Orchestras

by Bernard LeBlanc, AFM Symphonic Services Division (SSD) Canada Director and Associate Directors Christine Little Ardagh and Steve Mosher

Note: This article addresses the topic of organizing within Canada and under Canadian provincial labour law. Some of the techniques described in this article would not be advisable when organizing an orchestra in the US under US labor law. For assistance in organizing a US symphony orchestra, please contact SSD.

Anyone who has served on an orchestra or negotiations committee knows how much work is done behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly on stage. Regularly negotiated agreements deal with the endless details inherent in organizing large-scale performances and reflect the commitment of committee members and local officers to improve and update working conditions for the musicians in their organizations.

But what if you play in an orchestra where there is no agreement in place and you think that your orchestra would benefit from a different kind of relationship with your management? This year the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) Symphonic Services Division has been working closely with several orchestras, including those in Kingston, Gatineau, and St. John’s, seeking a first agreement between the CFM or the AFM local and the symphony societies. There is no one-size-fits-all template and outcomes are always contingent on the enthusiasm, competence, and commitment of a variety of people (on both sides of the table) to shepherd an idea through to completion. There are, however, standard questions and steps that can apply to most situations.

What are the first questions to ask?

Is there a set of guidelines that currently govern how the orchestra operates? Does it outline fees, working conditions, dispute resolution, guaranteed number of services to a core group, etc.? And when was it last updated?

Is there an elected orchestra committee? The orchestra committee must talk to the orchestra to find out the appetite for a negotiated agreement by asking them to vote on whether to pursue an agreement or not. The musicians should be informed that they will all be required to join the local and keep their membership up-to-date.

Do you already have a member of the orchestra invited to board meetings? Find out if the management and board are open to the idea of entering into a more formal agreement. If they are, inform both management and the board of what has been going on and get a feel of whether or not they will meet with the local to discuss first steps.

What preparation needs to be done?

Create a negotiations committee. This is separate from the orchestra committee, but should have some crossover. It should be drawn from a cross-section of the orchestra and, if possible, include section strings, winds, and brass, and principal players. The negotiations committee may be elected. The orchestra committee can post a sign-up sheet, and in that way, invite broader representation.

Create and adopt orchestra bylaws. The orchestra will benefit in the long run from having a constitution and bylaws that govern day-to-day operations of the players’ association. The bylaws should also refer to contract negotiations and the method for striking a negotiations committee. The negotiations committee should then set their own guidelines for the current round of negotiations. Make sure that your local officer has a copy of the bylaws. The local is the signatory to your agreement. If they don’t know what is in your bylaws, it will affect their ability to deal with any problems or issues that come up during or between negotiations.

Survey orchestra members. Find out what orchestra members want in an agreement and identify areas where there have been problems in the past.

List current orchestra members: The orchestra committee and local should work together on creating a complete list. Include anyone who has played a concert with the orchestra in the past three years.

What are some general suggestions for contract negotiations?

Symphonic Services has pamphlets that outline the procedure and include model language for contract negotiations. The negotiations committee must present reasonable proposals to management that the entire committee agrees on, which means that a great deal of discussion must happen in caucus prior to meeting with management. Personal agendas may be aired and given consideration, but it is always the primary duty of the negotiations committee to represent the orchestra fairly.

Templates are available from the Symphonic Services Division for the following:

• Orchestra committee bylaws

• Negotiations committee guidelines

• Orchestra surveys

• Robert’s Rules/Bourinot’s Rules/Code
Morin (in Québec)

Always follow the survey results. The orchestra has let you know how they feel about each of the questions or statements presented in the survey. It is important to respect and include that input. It is essential that there is transparency and consistency throughout the process, and no hint that the orchestra committee, negotiations committee, or the local is deviating from the stated goals of the committee.

What kind of agreement best suits our needs?

Unlike musicians in the US, the majority of symphony musicians in Canada are independent contractors (self-employed), although there are some orchestras where musicians are classified as employees, including dependent contractors, under the Labour Relations Act. Symphonic Services can provide documents that outline the differences between employer/employee covenants and agreements for self-employed independent contractors. There can be implications for tax status and the Canada Revenue Agency that need to be considered. SSD can provide access to an online archive related to arts organizations to help understand the relevant issues.

In most cases, the CFM or the local seeks a collective agreement with the symphony society. The principal ways to achieve that are 1) through certification under the Labour Relations Act and collective bargaining (employer/employee relationship, including dependent contractor) or, 2) through voluntary recognition of the CFM, or the local, for collective bargaining. However, the first attempt at negotiation does not always result in a collective agreement and, in some cases, it is not the desired outcome. If that’s the case, or in the event that the management does not recognize the CFM or the local as the exclusive bargaining agent, a properly crafted “master” agreement with reference to the Arbitration Act is enforceable in the event of a dispute.

Provincial Labour Laws

Check your provincial labour laws related to the bargaining process. There are timelines to follow with respect to certification and collective bargaining. There are similar timelines for Voluntary Recognition Agreements once the CFM or local is recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for the players. In Québec, the Status of the Artist legislation automatically recognizes Local 406, La Guilde des Musiciens et musiciennes du Québec, as the bargaining agent for musicians. 

Which key people should be
involved in the negotiations?

• Orchestra committee—four or five elected representatives

• Negotiations committee—may be elected, or open to anyone willing to make the commitment and to attend meetings; can be from three to 10 people

• Representative of the local—must be willing to attend all meetings

• Influential orchestra members—whether or not they agree to serve on a committee, they will be crucial in helping move the process forward

• AFM Symphonic Services Canada Director Bernard LeBlanc who can be reached at bleblanc@afm.org

This article is written for orchestras contemplating first negotiations, but many of the suggestions apply equally well to orchestras with existing agreements as they renegotiate new terms and conditions.  We have focussed on the areas where we have the most control and where we can generate the potential for success, which is with the musicians themselves, committees, and local officers.

Remember that an agreement may be changed every time it is re-opened or renegotiated. Orchestra bylaws or internal policies can change at any players’ association or players’ committee meeting. Always keep your local updated on changes that are made.

The Kingston, Gatineau, and St. John’s negotiations are currently in progress. SSD Canada is always ready and available to support musicians who wish to change or more clearly define their relationship with their orchestra management.