New government fees threaten Canadian music industry

Petition to Remove Fees for International Touring Musicians sees Over 40,000 sign in less than 24 hours

A new federal government regulation is threatening small clubs and bars that bring in bands from the U.S. or overseas.

The regulations are significantly increasing fees for venues with a primary business other than music who bring in international musicians.

The previous fees were set at $150 per band member, to a maximum of $450. This was a one-time fee to enter the country, which Canadian venue owners could share.

Now small venue promoters are looking at paying $275 per musician. That’s in addition to the extra $150 for each musician’s (and sound tech, tour manager, etc.) work permit – a cost they can no longer share.

After the Calgary Herald broke the news on how this would affect venues such as the Palomino in Calgary, the story blew up across Canada, leaving many in the music community wondering how they stop the new regulations.

Carlyle Doherty was one of the first to step up the fight.

Having worked in the entertainment industry for the past four years, Doherty has hosted artists from all over the world, and says that many of the artists they work with were artists that would come to Canada to perform simply for the opportunity to play – not the paycheck.

Starting a petition addressed to Minister of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, Doherty calls for the removal of the $275 application fee for international touring musicians.

The petition received well over 40,000 signatures in less than 24 hours and is still gaining momentum.

“We have received some very important support from all sorts of music fans across North America and even outside of North America,” said Doherty in an interview with Ominocity.

“It’s great to see people rallying behind such a movement. Music is such an important part of culture and a nations cultural development. We should be giving breaks to the artists that people want to see in Canada, not building up barriers and financial requirements.”

Not only do the fees limit international bands attempting to play in smaller, non-exempt venues in Canada, says Doherty, but the regulations also have many wondering whether the U.S., or other countries, will enact similar regulations on international musicians.

In other words, it’s a move that should frighten anyone who cares about live music in Canada.

Sign the petition

For anyone wishing to call upon the Minister of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism to remove these fees, sign this petition.

– Featured photo from Flickr user “Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)” – Creative Commons.