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Canada Tough on Bands

Kelly Richey
(Photo Courtesy of Tim Breitkreutz)

Canada has made it harder for smaller international acts to perform in the country.

Any international musician wishing to perform at a bar, pub or restaurant in Canada already has to apply for a work permit costing $150, but now a new rule says the “employer” — either the tour promoter or the venue itself — also has to pay a $275 processing fee per musician and crew member. This rule doesn’t apply to larger halls and arenas because they’re considered “concert venues” and are exempt.

The $275 fee is called a Labour Market Opinion, which examines whether an employer could potentially be hiring a Canadian citizen instead of a temporary foreign worker. It applies to anyone wishing to enter the country on business, not just musicians booked to perform at a small venue. Canadian venue owners have already started a petition to get the Minister of Employment to change the new fee.

Many of the bands that are going to be affected are the ‘smaller’ 80’s and 90’s bands that continue to tour, but are playing bars and clubs and most of the blues bands that make their living criss-crossing North America. With the new tax in effect, Canadian clubs will not continue to hire these bands. You can sign the petition through the link in the paragraph above. I did.

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