There is an article over at The Calgary Herald that concerns me, and we’re not even in Canada! We are already seeing the effects as Hemlock had to hold off on their tour of western Canada as a result of this. If the impact is as severe as the community fears, there will most likely be a drastic reduction in the amount of international touring artists (especially on the independent/underground level) that will perform in Canada, forcing those close to the USA border to cross over just to see their favorite (non-Canadian) bands play. I’m just going to do a simple copy/paste job of what I found to be the meat of the article.
The new rules, which quietly came into affect July 31, will double, triple or even quadruple the cost of bringing in international artists to perform in bars, restaurants or coffee shops, affecting such local venues for music lovers as The Palomino, Ironwood, Broken City, Blues Can, and the Ship & Anchor, and their counterparts across the country.
The regulations require that any venue with a primary business other than music but which also books bands or performers must now pay an application fee of $275 per musician and those travelling with the band (tour manager, sound person, guitar tech, etc.) when it applies for a Labour Market Opinion, or LMO, to allow those outside workers to perform and work in their establishment. That’s also in addition to an extra $150 for each approved musician and crew member’s work permit.
Prior to the changes, the fee was simply $150 per band member, maxing out at $450, and that was a one-time fee for them to simply enter the country, which allowed venue owners across Canada to share the nominal cost or book them separately at no extra charge.
Perhaps making matters even more precarious is that should the application be rejected, for whatever reason, the money is non-refundable and would once again be required upon resubmission.
They’re also quick to point out there are exemptions, which, on a musical level, includes “musicians in a band performing several tour dates in Canada” and “musicians and buskers coming to Canada to perform in festivals,” with the one major caveat being that they “must not perform in bars and restaurants.”
Read the full article at this location.