Unison Fund Launches 'The Live Music Workers Fund'; Feds Provide Nearly $17 Million to Aid Independent & Self-Employed Workers In The Live Music Sector

Michael Raine
July 6, 2022

The Unison Fund – Canada’s music industry charity providing counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community for over a decade – has launched the new Live Music Workers Fund. Recognizing that the live performing arts sector was disproportionately affected by the pandemic, The Government of Canada allocated $16,855,000 to The Unison Fund through the Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund (CPAWRF). In response to this significant funding, Unison developed the Live Music Workers Fund to aid qualified independent and self-employed workers in the live music sector with approved applicants receiving a one-time lump sum payment of $2,500.

Applications are now open until March 31, 2023. Click HERE to apply.

Independent and self-employed live music workers who identify their primary occupation in the music community as one or more of the following are eligible to apply for funding: artist, artist manager or management company, booking agent, composer, concert photographer, concert recording engineer, consultant, DJ, event production/festival, marketing/communications, merchandiser, musician, production company, promoter, publisher, publicist/public relations, retailer (instruments and supplies), songwriter, stagehand/Roadie, talent buyer, technician, tour management/operator, venue staff, and videographer.

Unison further defines a music industry professional as someone who has earned a minimum of 55% of their income from music-related activity for at least two consecutive years (prior to the pandemic), acknowledging that little to no work in the music community has taken place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We sincerely thank the Government of Canada and the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, for their support and recognition," says Amanda Power, executive director of The Unison Fund. "Our organization is grateful to be named as a recipient of this funding which will be used to help support Canadian live music professionals sustain their career amid the continuing challenges and difficulties created by the pandemic. Over the next year, this investment will go towards the future of live music workers and the reestablishment and empowerment of the live music scene in Canada. We look forward to working in line with many other music industry organizations across the country, to disburse this crucial funding.”

“The Canadian live music industry has been decimated by COVID-19 and this funding will help live music professionals jumpstart their careers during the third year of the pandemic,” adds Erin Benjamin, chair of the board of directors at The Unison Fund. “It may take many years for the live music industry to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, but Unison will continue to be there to provide financial and mental health assistance with the challenges so many face. We are incredibly thankful to the Government of Canada and the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, for their much-welcomed support and recognition of live music workers and the importance they provide to Canada’s culture.”

Applicants in need who do not qualify for funding under the CPAWRF guidelines of being a live music worker will continue to be supported through the existing Unison Industry Assistance Fund, aided by fundraising initiatives and direct donations to Unison.

For over a decade, Unison has been committed to helping producers, engineers, singers/songwriters, musicians, production crews, and thousands more through its financial assistance and counselling and health solutions programs. For more information or to donate, go to www.unisonfund.ca.

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Michael Raine

Michael Raine is the Editor-In-Chief at NWC, publisher of Canadian Musician, Professional Sound, Professional Lighting & Production, and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He is also a co-host of the popular Canadian Musician Podcast. Michael has extensively covered nearly all aspects of the Canadian music business, as well as the pro audio, musical products, and the lighting and production industries.