Tag Archives: CFM

Folk Music Ontario Conference

CFM Supports and Participates in Folk Music Ontario Conference

Pour la version française cliquez ici.

On September 27-29, representatives from the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) took part in the Folk Music Ontario Conference (FMO). CFM involvement has varied over the years, but this year they were proud to present the Folk Music Ontario Awards Showcase, which featured many of its award-winning members, including The O’Pears (Meg Contini, Jill Harris, and Lydia Persaud, members of Hamilton Local 293) and Tragedy Ann (Liv Cazzola of nongeographic Local 1000 and Lenka Lichtenberg of Toronto Local 149).

Folk Music Ontario Conference

“When I am asked what my definition of a ‘showcase’ is, the Folk Music Ontario Conference is often the example I give,” says CFM Licensing and Outreach Coordinator Rosalyn Dennett. “The organizers do a great job of creating an opportunity for artists to perform for international and Canadian buyers, network with the industry and fellow artists, and receive top-of-the-line professional development training, all without exploiting their performances in a public setting for ticket and bar sales.”

CFM Director of Administration Susan Whitfield and Consultant Robert Baird from Baird Artist Management gave a “Touring in the US” presentation to a full room of delegates. They outlined visa options and touring tips for Canadian musicians performing in the US.

Dennett moderated a panel titled “Networking and Touring from a Remote Location,” which focused on how artists based in remote or rural locations can access the same opportunities as those based in large cities.

For the second year in a row, the CFM partnered with MusicOntario, the provincial music industry association for Ontario, to host the CFM Artists Hospitality Room. Together they supplied refreshments, healthy snacks, and AFM “swag bags” for the showcasing artists in a green room where performers could safely store their instruments and warm up.

OCSM’s 43rd Annual Conference: How You Can Be More Involved

by Robert Fraser, OCSM President and member of Local 247 (Victoria, BC)

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.

This summer the Organization of Canadian Symphony  Musicians (OCSM) Conference will be held at the Hotel Pur in Quebec City. All orchestral musicians are invited to observe our open sessions from August 14-16. For the afternoon session on the 15th and the morning session on the 16th, we will have simultaneous English/French translation available. On those days presenters and participants will be able to work in the official language of their choice.

If you regularly read the player conference columns in this publication (thank you, by the way) you already know what we’re all about. At a typical conference, representatives from each orchestra give reports on their orchestra’s activities throughout the year. We zero in on specific issues and topics, we establish working committees that consult throughout the season (especially on issues such as electronic media), and we hear from all parties related to our industry: our union leadership, our management service organization, our pension fund, our legal experts, and guest speakers in fields ranging from public relations to health and safety.

Two years ago in this column I wrote about ways that you, as an orchestra musician, can make the best use of your orchestra’s membership in OCSM, and ways that you can get involved, even if you’re not a delegate or committee member. I will repeat some of those points here. They can never be over-emphasized.

If you are an orchestra committee member or on your orchestra’s negotiating committee: please include your OCSM delegate in your regular deliberations and communications. In cases where the OCSM delegate is on one or both committees, that’s not a problem, but sometimes we have delegates who feel “out of the loop” because there are poor lines of communication. An OCSM delegate can be a valuable asset. If they have attended multiple conferences, then they have met key people from each orchestra and have gained valuable knowledge that can assist in a number of situations. Furthermore, the delegates communicate to each other through a secure e-mail list, so they can easily gather information from each other.

If you are a long-serving musician in your orchestra: take time to compile your orchestra’s history. As orchestral musicians we do a good job of passing our musical knowledge to the next generation, but what about our knowledge of negotiations, strikes, temporary shut-downs, changes in our orchestra’s business practices, search committees, etc.? In my career, I have seen too many things repeated from orchestra to orchestra that should not have been repeated. Staff and boards come and go, but there are people in some orchestras that have been there longer than 40 years. Use them. A good place to start is to make a simple chart of your orchestra’s negotiating history for the last three contracts. This would include wage changes for each year and your orchestra’s operating expenses, at least. Thankfully, some of this has been done already—the AFM has put all our OCSM wage chart data online, going back several years.

And finally—and this is perhaps most important—there are ways to get involved in helping both your orchestra and OCSM, without spending hours on a committee. Do you have a skill that could be put to use part-time? Are you good at photography or videography? Take candid pictures or videos from a musician’s perspective. These are great for musician social media presence. Maybe you write well. Offer to write something for a blog or newsletter. Perhaps you volunteer for a community organization that could involve your colleagues. Any activity that puts your orchestra in the center of the community it serves is worthwhile.

As always, I look forward to meeting all your delegates next month, and continuing our mission to be “The voice of Canadian professional orchestra musicians.”

Canadian Transportation Agency Calls for Public Consultation

Since December 2014, the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) has been lobbying to ensure safe carriage of musical instruments on Canadian airline carriers. On May 24, the Canadian Transportation Act (CTA) received Royal Assent. The Canadian Transport Agency has since announced the dates for public consultations, as part of the process to develop regulations in air passenger protection, including musical instruments.

The CFM was effective in ensuring that this legislation passed in the House of Commons and the Senate, and will make a formal submission in Ottawa on July 4. However, comments from our professional musicians are also vital to ensure that the regulations truly reflect the needs of all musicians. We encourage musicians to send in thoughts and experiences through the CTA website http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/instruments (French: https://www.protectionpassagersaeriens.ca/instruments-de-musique). If you do join this effort by sending your individual submission, we ask that you also mention that you are an AFM/CFM member who supports the CFM’s initiative to make “musical instruments as carry-on regulations for Canada harmonize with regulations in the US.” Alternatively, if you feel more comfortable in doing so, please feel free to instead send your thoughts to AFM/CFM International Representative Allistair Elliott (aelliott@afm.org) who will be presenting the submissions for CFM and who will be appearing in the interest of all Canadian musicians.

For more information about the Canadian Transportation Act (CTA) websites: http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/. (French: https://www.protectionpassagersaeriens.ca/)

La nouvelle Loi sur les transports au Canada (LTC) a reçu la sanction royale le jeudi 24 mai 2018. L’Office des transports du Canada a annoncé depuis les dates prévues pour la consultation publique dans le cadre du processus visant à l’élaboration des règlements pour la protection des passagers aériens, ce qui comprend les dispositions régissant le transport des instruments de musique. 

La FCM a déployé beaucoup d’efforts afin de veiller à ce que la législation soit adoptée à la Chambre des communes et au Sénat. Pour la suite des choses, nous présenterons un mémoire officiel le 4 juillet 2018 à Ottawa. À cet égard, les commentaires des musiciens professionnels joueront un rôle crucial afin de faire en sorte que les règlements adoptés répondent vraiment aux besoins de tous les musiciens. Nous vous encourageons par conséquent à faire part de vos idées, commentaires et expériences par le biais du site Web de l’Office des transports du Canada : https://www.protectionpassagersaeriens.ca/instruments-de-musique (anglais : http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/instruments).

Si vous décidez de vous joindre à cet effort et d’envoyer une soumission écrite à l’OTC, nous vous demandons de mentionner que vous êtes membre de la FCM/FAM et que vous appuyez l’initiative de la FCM pour que « les règlements du Canada concernant le transport des instruments de musique comme bagage de cabine soient harmonisés avec ceux des États-Unis ». Si cela vous convient mieux, vous pouvez plutôt envoyer vos idées et commentaires à notre représentant international Allistair Elliott (aelliott@afm.org), qui déposera les soumissions pour le compte de la FCM et qui fera les représentations au nom de tous les musiciens.

Vous trouverez ci-dessous la liste de questions de l’Office des transports du Canada pour la consultation publique sur la protection des passagers aériens. 

Pour plus de renseignements, vous pouvez consulter le site Web de l’OTC à ce sujet : https://www.protectionpassagersaeriens.ca/

(anglais : http://www.airpassengerprotection.ca/)

CFM Presents List of Copyright Reform Recommendations House of Commons

Copyright act

Caption: CFM representatives appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology to outline their recommendations for amendments to the Copyright Act (L to R) are: AFM/CFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, Canada Music Publishers Association Executive Director Margaret McGuffin, and Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) Secretary-Treasurer Eric Lefebvre.  (Photo credit: Isabel Metcalf)

June 5, 2018—Yesterday, representatives of the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to outline recommendations for much-needed amendments to the Copyright Act. The consultation follows a presentation made to the Heritage Committee on May 29. In their statements, AFM/CFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert and Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) Secretary-Treasurer Eric Lefebvre called on the committee to lay the foundation for regulatory and policy tools and provide the financial support needed to ensure that Canadian professional musicians thrive in the digital environment now and for the years ahead.  

“Our government must respect the contributions of our creative communities, and the indelible mark that recording artists and professional musicians have made on our cultural identity,” says Willaert. “The amendments we strongly urge the committee to adopt would increase revenue streams to musicians, create sustainable employment, and help to preserve arts and culture in our country.”

Among the list of recommendations, CFM identified changes to the definition of sound recording, eliminating the exemption for radio advertising, and expanding the definition of private copying to include new media devices to be its top priorities.

“Professional musicians are losing a significant part of their livelihood to streaming.  Many can no longer support themselves solely through their music career and are living in poverty,” adds Lefebvre. “Changes to the Copyright Act are critical to the long-term success of all content creators in this digital, globalized world”.

Singer-songwriter Damhnait Doyle of Local 820 (St. John’s, NL), urges the committee to look at the issues on the table and make the amendments that will give the creative community the opportunity to make the choice to continue to be musicians in this country. “Throughout my 25 years as a longstanding and proud member of Local 820 of the Musician’s union, I have only seen the standard of living decrease for those of us who have chosen to make this our profession,” she says. “We are being hammered from every angle, from piracy to streaming, to being at the losing end of exemptions to broadcasters and losing our royalties for our work in film and TV because the definition of “sound recording” needing be redefined, while our American counterparts do get paid for their efforts. Meanwhile the cost of living is continually rising and our middle class has been eviscerated.”

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.

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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CFM Negotiates with the Media Giants

The General Production Agreement negotiated between the CFM and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has been ratified with an overwhelming majority. As a response to requests by the members, modifications were made to once again identify underscore and theme music that would require reuse payments outside of the one-year window. Fees increased by nearly 5% and the revenue sharing aspect of Distributor’s Gross now includes licensing as well as sales.

And of equal importance, ratification indicates that we now have an up-to-date template to use as we prepare to negotiate a similar deal with Rogers Communications, Bell Media, and Corus Entertainment. During conversations with all three to determine dates to begin bargaining, it became apparent that there is an appetite among the three media giants to bargain simultaneously. To that end, the tentative timeline is sometime in February 2018.

Commercial Announcements Agreement

In the mix as well is the Commercial Announcements Agreement, as the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and the Institute of Communications Agencies (ICA) have returned to the table after a yearlong hiatus. Significant amendments are being considered with this contract since online advertising, once considered a small part of the industry, has become a significant part of productions. While fee increases and housekeeping are also on the table, major revisions are being contemplated because of massive shift in how jingles are now created. Fortunately, there is a desire on both sides to make the agreement more relative and user-friendly.

Consultations with independent producers have finally led to an upcoming meeting with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA). While still in the early stages, it’s my hope that the result will be a Canadian agreement for independent production. I will report more on this in the near future.

NAFTA & TPP Update

Recent meetings of the Canadian Labour Conference confirmed that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) remain very serious concerns for organized labour in Canada. As reported previously, the CFM has been appointed to a NAFTA committee to provide input on certain aspects of the cultural sector. We have also made presentations during public consultations on the TPP, as the subject matter has similar concerns for musicians, specifically regarding temporary entry into Canada and copyright. We continue to push for what is fair, although it would appear at this juncture, that both those agreements are in peril.

As you may have surmised, we have a busy schedule coming up, both in finishing 2017 work and with projects that will take us well into next year. Major, first-time negotiations are on deck, and with lots of hard work and a little luck, there will be a significant increase in contracted media work.

I would like to wish all our members, officers, and staff a very Merry Christmas, as well as a safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.

Musicians “Broke, Out West”

At the time of this writing, I have just stepped off a plane from Edmonton, Alberta, having spent the last few days organizing a demonstration/rally, juggling interviews with the press and radio reporters, and meeting with a politician of the ruling provincial New Democratic Party (NDP). At the core of it all was the ongoing effort to get an agreement with the Western Canadian Music Alliance (WCMA), the entity that operates the BreakOut West music festival (BOW).

As I have reported before, the WCMA have an operating budget of roughly $600,000, with a substantial amount of that derived from various government grants and funding, along with private sponsorship. While they have no choice but to pay the “headline” acts fairly, as they have the effect of validating the festival, the lion’s share of the musicians are not paid. Previous agreements with the festival did provide for payment, but BOW has changed their “business model” in favour of belittling musicians even further.

BreakOut West music festival

More than 50 musicians and supporters picketed the BreakOut West (BOW) festival’s host hotel. BOW has refused to negotiate a contract to pay musicians.

This type of social injustice is not just a problem for musicians, but for all Canadian workers, and that premise was why we approached the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) for their assistance. They were eager to help, as our message was a perfect fit for “$15 And Fairness,” a nationwide campaign of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The AFL folks were instrumental in producing themed signs and handouts, issuing an “Action Alert” to their affiliates and media to announce the day and time of the rally, and then bringing their staff to participate.

Special thanks must be given to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, who sacrificed their break time to help bolster our numbers to more than 50—plenty of folks to fill the street in front of BOW’s host hotel. In addition, in a stunning show of solidarity, we were joined by international jazz great P. J. Perry and blues artist Graham Guest of Local 390 (Edmonton, AB). With chants of “Pay the band, not the man,” our group was successful in sending a strong message.

BreakOut West music festival

(L to R) At the BOW Rally are AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, Supervisor Electronic Media Services Canada Daniel Calabrese, Director of Organizing & Education Michael Manley, and Negotiator Todd Jelen.

I would also like to thank the AFM Director of Organizing Michael Manley, along with Negotiator Todd Jelen, and Supervisor Electronic Media Services Canada Dan Calabrese, who rounded out the AFM’s onsite personnel. In addition, a special thank you to Local 390 President E. Eddy Bayens and Secretary Edith Stacey for their assistance and outreach to members, and to Local 547 Secretary-Treasurer Doug Kuss, who took the day to travel and support our event.

Following the rally, Bayens and I met with a member of parliament to impress upon him the government’s error in not being more careful about what they were providing grants for. Since the NDP are currently in power in Alberta, one would have to believe that more serious consideration will be forthcoming, as it was pointed out that musicians were paid nothing, not even minimum wage, as required by law.

The demonstration and show of solidarity is only the beginning of this story; pressure must now be brought to bear upon all sponsors of the festival, to ensure that next year’s event is either under a CFM agreement or doesn’t happen. Members, please take note that the WCMA continues to be on the International Unfair List. No contracts should be entered into with them or their affiliates for any performances, until further notice.

The FIM IOC “Oslo Call”: Orchestras Must Work Together

by Naomi Bensdorf Frisch, ROPA Delegate to FIM IOC and Member of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) and Local 166 (Madison, WI)

AFM President Ray Hair gives opening remarks at the 4th FIM IOC in Montreal, Canada.

The fourth International Federation of Musicians (FIM) International Orchestra Conference (IOC) was held May 11-14 in Montreal, Quebec. Musicians and managers from six continents gathered at the Delta Hotel for three days of intense discussions about the challenges faced and successes achieved by orchestras around the world. The AFM brought a strong group of delegates to the conference: President Ray Hair; Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert; Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal; International Executive Board member and Local 802 (New York City) President Tino Gagliardi; Symphonic Services Director Rochelle Skolnick; Symphonic Electronic Media Director Deborah Newmark; ICSOM Chair Meredith Snow; OCSM President Robert Fraser; and I served as the ROPA representative.

An opening reception honored Air Canada with the FIM Airline of Choice Award for accommodating musicians traveling with their instruments. The next morning opened with a lively speech by AFM President Hair who called for orchestra musicians to receive a share of ad revenue generated from orchestras’ pages and posts on online streaming services. Next, Allison Beck, former Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service director, delivered an inspirational keynote speech. She urged the delegates from all over the world to stay strong in this difficult political climate and keep working together to promote our missions. Recalling how Ford was able to pull out of the recession through good labor relations with the United Auto Workers, Beck reminded us that a good labor-management relationship is a “port in your storm,” and when musicians and managers are able to work together “anything is possible.” 

Over the course of the three-day conference, eight topics were presented in panel discussion format: 1) The Public Value of Orchestras; 2) Business Models of Orchestras; 3) Orchestras Integrating Digital Tools and New Approaches; 4) Responsibility and Accountability: Role of Musicians on Orchestra Boards; 5) Bullying and Harassment; 6) Practical Aspects of Outreach and Education; 7) Recorded Broadcasts and Rights of Musicians; and 8) The Role of Trade Unions in Safeguarding the Future of the Orchestra. Each panel comprised four speakers (each from a different country) and a moderator. Panelists generally discussed what was working or not working in their home countries regarding each of the topics, allowing an opportunity for the delegates to learn from global experiences.

At the FIM IOC AFM Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal (far right) moderated a panel on The Public Value of Orchestras. Panel members (L to R) were: Katherine Carleton (Canada), Hans Reinhard Biere (Germany), Benedictus Acolatse (Ghana), and Déborah Cheyne (Brazil).

Some panels had widely different views, for instance, the panel on digital tools. One musician spoke about using digital conferencing to provide outreach and education services, another musician spoke about embracing smart phones in the concert hall, and an archivist from the New York Philharmonic shared her experience creating a digital catalogue of the orchestra’s music. I spoke on the panel about the role of musicians on orchestra boards. In the beginning, the four of us seemed to have very different approaches. By the end of the conversation, however, we all agreed that, though communication between the board and musicians is very important, musicians should not hold seats on orchestra boards. Overall, the panel discussions allowed for the presentation of many different perspectives, which, when supplemented by questions and comments from the delegates, painted a picture of how orchestras are surviving in today’s world.

FIM IOC attendees listen to a panel on Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace. On stage (L to R) are: Michael D. Wright (Canada), Simon Webb (United Kingdom), Kaisa Rönkkö (Finland), Thomas Bjelkerud (Sweden), and moderator Rochelle Skolnick, AFM Symphonic Services Division director. During the conference, translation was provided in English, Spanish, and French.

The “Oslo Call,” established at the third FIM IOC in 2015, calls on musicians and managers around the world to become active in their communities and lobby politicians to help the arts to thrive. In Montreal, the fourth FIM IOC took the Oslo Call one step further, urging solidarity among musicians around the world and advocating for transparent, trusting relationships between orchestra managers and musicians. Delegates left the conference with an understanding that they are not alone; that they have colleagues to lean on in times of need. But further, it is apparent that, though we all have our roles to play, orchestras thrive when the union, musicians, managers, and board (or the government, in the case of our subsidized colleagues in Europe) have a healthy working relationship.

We need to work together to make ourselves relevant and valuable in our communities; to run our organizations responsibly and with good stewardship; to stop bullying, harassment, and exploitation of musicians around the world; and to ensure our own bright futures. Thanks to ROPA and to the AFM for allowing me to be a part of such a special event.

CFM Focuses on Festival/Award Show Negotiations

Members were recently advised that the newly-negotiated agreement with the East Coast Music Association was overwhelmingly ratified. This was the first time in many years that the Canadian Office was directly involved with a primary labour dispute. While the necessity of such action is regrettable, status quo was not an option and neither was the absence of a workable agreement for musicians.

At the last meeting of the Canadian Conference in June 2016, the delegates were presented with some agreement templates suitable for use with festivals and award shows, particularly ones that change venue/city from year-to-year. While there is always room for negotiations, the conference deliberated on format language that could serve as the basis regardless of location. As a result, when the ECMA first indicated they were not interested in renewing the previous agreement, the CFM had no choice but use all means available to reverse that decision.

With the Juno Awards less than a month away, our office is on the verge of signing a national agreement, which—again according to Conference mandate—would follow Junofest to wherever the event will take place in the next few years. Like the ECMA contract, we are working on pension being applicable to the showcase performances, as well as contracted events and the award show.

We have also entered into negotiations with the Western Canadian Music Alliance, with a view to establishing an agreement to cover the Break-Out West festival, which takes place in the fall. This year, it travels to Edmonton, Alberta. At the crux of these negotiations is the fact that this festival has evolved into a “networking” opportunity, making this a nonpaid event. Again, status quo is not an option and having no agreement in place to protect the musicians is unacceptable.

Next up will be the Canadian Country Music Association, with their event taking place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, later on this year. We have just begun to make contact, again with a view to establishing a mobile, national agreement.

While I am ex officio as a member of the negotiating team, our Standards Committee has come up with a workable format to spread the workload of bargaining. Therefore, International Representative Allistair Elliott will also serve, along with an officer from the host city where the event takes place in the current year, as well as officers from the previous and next host cities.

It’s important to understand how these negotiations impact upon you, the members. Without a CFM negotiated agreement in place, there would be no minimum standard fee. Without a CFM agreement, pension could not be paid. And finally, without a media agreement outlining the parameters of what can be recorded, for what purpose, and at what additional fee, there would be no control over ownership, replays, or other new uses of the tracks.

These events are also popular venues for emerging artists, many of them not yet AFM members. In Canada, we are able to extend our umbrella to protect them by establishing a Temporary Membership Permit (a version of the Rand Formula), which allows nonmembers to work under a union contract, if they pay a fair share of the cost.

Of particular importance is pension. While the subject matter of a retirement fund is a conversation most young musicians are not willing to have, we must bear in mind that our pension is a reality because of past generations of musicians who contracted for and negotiated pension into their contracts, in order to ensure that future members would have a comfortable retirement. The responsibility lies upon each of us to do the same for ourselves and generations to come. By not contracting for pension, you are letting the employer escape an obligation, and making it difficult for our pension to survive through a poor investment market. Please do your fair share so that we all may benefit for years to come.

The CFM is committed to establishing agreements with all festivals and award shows that feature live performance of musicians to establish fair wages, pension, and a level playing field for all musicians. It’s the right thing to do.