TORONTO, ON – On June 16, the Government of Canada announced an update with regard to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – that the program will be extended for another 8 weeks. Many workers in the entertainment industry are ineligible for EI, and because they have multiple employers, fewer than 2% of IATSE members have been receiving income through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Because the entertainment industry was one of the first the pandemic shut down, arts workers were among the first to apply for CERB – and were looking at termination of CERB income in July. The extension of the program is something for which the IATSE has lobbied long and hard, both on its own and as a part of entertainment industry coalition groups.
John Lewis, the IATSE’s Director of Canadian Affairs, stated, “We are very pleased with the extension and with the additional support we got from the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois. We are, however, still concerned that even these extended benefits will run out before the industry is up and running – particularly the live performance sector. If proper income supports are not in place until that time, the Canadian cultural landscape could lose a lot of very experienced, highly skilled people. So while we celebrate now, we will continue to advocate as well.”