TORONTO, ON – The IATSE held a meeting today with Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on the entertainment industry, and what supports are necessary to ensure a successful recovery. NDP Heritage Critic Alexandre Boulerice also addressed the IATSE contingent, which included International Vice Presidents John Lewis and Damian Petti, IATSE International Representatives and staff, as well as Local Executive Board Members from across the country.
As the first industry to go down and the last to return, the entertainment industry has been shaken. Mr. Singh spoke on his appreciation and support for the arts and its workers, and opened the floor to discussion. Representatives from the International and the Locals asked questions around industry-specific issues such as the possibility of extending the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) past October for entertainment industry workers, and the NDP’s willingness to push for longer term financial supports to ensure the survival of the venues and organizations that employ entertainment workers. IATSE leaders were thrilled to hear Mr. Singh state, “The best way to come out of a crisis is when you invest directly in people.” There was also discussion around issues outside the entertainment industry, such as whether the NDP would be advocating for the elimination of privately owned, long-term care facilities, and if the current climate was still an appropriate one to advocate for a national pharmacare program.
International Vice President & Director of Canadian Affairs John Lewis said, “The IATSE is thankful to Mr. Singh, as well as M. Boulerice and Mr. Masse, for joining us today. They have been friends to the IATSE and this industry from long before we’d ever heard of COVID-19, and in challenging times like these, we appreciate having good friends in our corner.”