Write your Provincial MPP/MLA for Arts Support
Canada Emergency Response Benefit—Background
Most emergency funding for income or arts support announced in response to COVID-19 have come from our federal government. It has been made clear to us through our advocacy to federal agencies and ministries the importance of not overlooking the role of the provinces in providing their own emergency financial supports.
We are also concerned about austerity measures resulting in cuts to the arts and culture sector, as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Action Needed: Contact Your Local MPP or MLA
We have prepared a template letter you can email to your local MPP or MLA (with a portion ready for your customization), urging for provincial action in support of the arts sector and arts workers.
Provincial advocacy is just as important as federal advocacy, as it is the combination of these two resources that keep our sector moving, and will help us navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can find your MPP or MLA by clicking the link for your province or territory.
Template Email Text: Copy & paste into your email, and create the customized paragraph.
Subject: Offer Emergency Economic Support for the Arts and Culture Sectors and Artists
Dear [Mr. Ms, Honourable (if Minister), Member of Provincial Parliament/Legislative Assembly]
First let me thank you, and all representatives, for the rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. My hope is that we can soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.
INSERT A PERSONALIZED PARAGRAPH TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF. HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER, AND SOME EXAMPLES:
Your field of work.
Contracts lost to date.
Upcoming work you expect to lose.
Other commitments you may now have.
If you have supported your local MPP/MLA with donations or as a volunteer.
Other personalizing details you might want to share.
I am a freelance lighting designer, working in the live performing arts sector in Toronto. As a consequence of the closure of live theatre, I have lost all of my spring and summer contracts, including work with Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto, and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The cumulative effect of cancelled contracts is more than $25,000 in lost income. To compound this immediate loss, all of my upcoming contracts for the fall of 2020 have been cancelled, which will compound these losses even further. With the closure of schools and cancellation of summer camps, I am also now responsible to look after my daughter full-time, including educational responsibilities, which makes it impossible for me to seek out other opportunities that may arise. I was proud to contribute to your campaign in the last provincial election, and am so glad to have you as my representative at Queen’s Park.
It is impossible to create and perform live theatre ‘from home’, and thus it is impossible for the industry to exist without the gathering of people. The current health crisis requires extreme action in order to protect the broader public health, however the consequence is that an entire sector of the economy has been completely shut down to protect our community. It is clear that, as we begin to emerge from the social distancing restrictions, the live performance sector will be one of the very last to reopen.
Members of the performing arts sectors—designers included—are among the most precariously employed in our society. Designers are self-employed contractors, and so do not have access to Employment Insurance benefits. With a prolonged closure in the sector, designers are facing extreme economic uncertainty which will devastate lives.
We need help. I am reaching out to you as my representative to call on you to support and implement a provincial economic emergency support benefit for self-employed and freelance artists who have seen our industry and income sacrificed in the fight against this pandemic. I am calling on you to provide additional emergency support funding for your arts councils, with a clear and direct mandate that they must prioritize financial stability and sustainability for all their artists.
Designers are a highly specialized sector of arts workers, with complex and valuable skills. Our creativity contributes to the development of detailed and imaginative worlds, and has a profound impact on the live entertainment sector. Without your support on our behalf, we risk losing the skills and talent of a generation or more.
Thank you for taking up my concerns, and in advance for your help to ensure that cultural workers are supported until we can return once again to the stage to share our artistry.