Clubs, bars and small venues all around Canada are recoiling at the hefty new fee for them to book international artists. This new unexpected fee is tripling the price of booking international artists to play in smaller venues and could cripple the live music industry in many businesses around Canada.
The new rule is asking for $245 per musician as well as for any crew travelling with the band - which is also in addition to $150 for each artist and crew member's work permit. Before the rule was put in the place, the fees were a simple $150 and were only paid once so agencies and venue owners could book artists to play in different venues at no extra cost. However, now the fee must be paid per performance - and that’s a heck of a lot of money for smaller businesses. Many agencies and venues are saying they had no warning of the change and only found out from word of mouth.
The outrageous change comes from the government who thinks that new rule will help immigration and citizenship and will “ensure that owners and managers of those types of establishments look to hire Canadians first before hiring temporary foreign workers”. This despite the fact that bringing in intentional artists isn't going to put anybody out of work and music and touring bands have nothing to do with immigration. Leanne Harrison, owner of locally-based artist management and booking company SIN Agency, says: “There’s only so many Canadian artists; you can only tour your country so often. If you’re limiting the international artists that we can bring in, well, to me, music is global. It shouldn't have those kinds of doors on them.”
There are some, however, who are not affected by the fee, and that’s big Canadian venues and bigger agencies that will now stack their tours with their own bands, making it increasingly difficult for any ‘up and coming’ international bands to get a chance to perform in Canada. The change was deemed ‘anti-arts and anti-small business’ and ‘the government taking a clear stance of desired control over a culture that blossoms with freedom’. Many smaller businesses will be hit hard by this new fee and the Canadian public are taking a stand for the arts by petition, which you can sign here.