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Canadian Actors' Equity Association
The official news of Canadian Actors' Equity Association
Equity Applauds Recommendations for Strengthening the Status of the Artist Act
Canadian Actors’ Equity Association is pleased to support the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in their March 2023 report: Strengthening the Status of the Artist in Canada.

The Report is the result of an extensive study on the impact of the Status of the Artist Act (SAA) on improving working conditions for artists. The process began over a year ago and included briefs and statements from Heritage department officials, tax experts, and stakeholders from the cultural sector, including Equity.

Acknowledging the importance of the SAA as “a key piece in the cultural ecosystem, [that] does not fully achieve its intended purpose,” the Committee offered twenty recommendations to amend the SAA to increase the Act’s impact, as well as “changes to the fiscal regime to better account for the nature of artistic work and the various employment realities in the cultural sector.”

“We’re heartened to see the consideration the Committee gave to the briefs submitted by Equity and our industry partners. The Status of the Artist Act is a crucial piece of legislation that, although it recognizes the important role of artists in our country, requires some significant improvements in order to truly recognize the unique manner in which they work,” said Arden R. Ryshpan, Executive Director of Equity. “It has a profound impact on both artists and associations such as Equity that defend the interests of artists, and the Committee couldn't have come up with a better list of recommendations to improve the Act.”

While a complete list of all twenty recommendations is available on Equity’s website, here are some highlights:
  • That the Government of Canada accelerate the reform for a modernized employment insurance (EI) program that accommodates for the nature of artistic work and the various employment realities of cultural workers, that allows them to pay and withdraw from EI, and that makes the program more accessible for artists and cultural workers to all EI regular and special benefits.

  • That the Government of Canada amend the Income Tax Act to ensure professional artists can average their income when they have a more prosperous year.

  • That the Government of Canada undertake a comprehensive review of the best practices from countries such as Ireland and Finland as well as upstate New York, which have implemented basic income programs for artists.

  • Should the Government of Canada proceed with any amendments to the Status of the Artist Act, those amendments should focus on simplifying and reducing the tax burdens placed on artists and creators.

  • That the Department of Canadian Heritage continue to work with the Departments of Finance and Employment and Social Development, as well as the Canada Revenue Agency, to deliver, through multiple federal levers, on the objectives of the Status of the Artist Act in order to improve the socio-economic realities of artists.

  • That the Government of Canada continue to work with provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure robust protections and supports for artists and cultural workers throughout the country.
For more information, please contact communications@caea.com.
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