The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented impact on the music community. As a passionate advocate for music and those who create it, Music Canada has been in contact with all levels of government regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the music community.
We have created this resource page to help artists and industry members understand where to find support. We are working to keep it updated as we learn more information.
The Government of Canada has announced details of the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), which provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI). The program is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Applications are now open at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit.html. Applicants may apply for a retroactive period dating back to September 27, 2020.
Eligible applicants can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period. If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. Applicants may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
Who is eligible?
Full eligibility criteria is available on the Government of Canada website.
To be eligible for the CRB, applicants must meet all the following conditions for the 2-week period they are applying for:
- During the period you’re applying for:
- you were not working for reasons related to COVID-19
- you had a 50% reduction in your average weekly income compared to the previous year due to COVID-19
- You did not apply for or receive any of the following:
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
- short-term disability benefits
- workers’ compensation benefits
- Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
- Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
- You reside in Canada
- You were present in Canada
- You are at least 15 years old
- You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- You earned at least $5,000 (before deductions) in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you apply from any of the following sources:
- employment income
- self-employment income
- maternity and parental benefits from EI or similar QPIP benefits
- You have not quit your job or reduced your hours voluntarily on or after September 27, 2020
- You were seeking work during the period, either as an employee or in self-employment
- You have not turned down reasonable work during the 2-week period you’re applying for
What are the eligibility periods?
Each Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) eligibility period is a specific 2-week period. The first period is September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021.
The CRB does not renew automatically. You must apply for each period between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021 separately. You can apply for a maximum of 13 periods out of the total 26 periods available. The 13 periods do not have to be taken consecutively.
You may start applying on the Monday after the 2-week period has ended. If your situation continues, you must re-apply for another 2-week period. You may apply for benefits retroactively for any period up to 60 days after that period has ended.
How do I apply?
Details about when and how to apply will be made available on October 12, 2020. The easiest way to apply will be online through CRA My Account. Applicants can prepare to apply by completing this questionnaire on the government website.
I am receiving some income from royalties for my work; does this mean I am ineligible for the CRB?
You may earn employment or self-employment income while you receive the CRB. If you earn more than $38,000 in the calendar year, you will have to reimburse $0.50 of the CRB for every dollar of net income you earned above $38,000 on your income tax return. If your net income is $38,000 or less, you will not have to reimburse the CRB.
Where can I find more information on the CRB?
For more information on the CRB, including how and when to apply, eligibility period dates, and tax information, visit the government website at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit.html. For questions, contact the CRA through your CRA My Account, or by phone at the numbers listed at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit/crb-contact.html.
What other government relief is available?
- Added support for individuals and businesses offered by the Federal Government is available through the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
- The Ontario government has announced the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which helps small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020.
Small businesses facing challenges due to the necessary Provincewide Shutdown can apply for the grant on the Transfer Payment Ontario portal. Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown.
Businesses can also apply for the property tax and energy cost rebates provided in the form of grants on the Transfer Payment Ontario portal. The rebates include municipal and education property taxes, and energy costs, including electricity and natural gas (or where natural gas is not available, propane and heating oil).
Who can I call with questions?
- If it relates to Federal Government relief:
- 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
- Canada Revenue Agency:
- 1-800-959-8281 for help with My Account
- 1-800-387-1193 for help with benefits
Be aware of scams.
If you get a text that says something like “Canada Revenue Agency has money for you,” do not click on the link. Other than Emergency/Amber Alerts, governments don’t send text messages. The National Anti-Fraud Centre has more resources on fraudulent activities surrounding COVID-19.
Other music-specific resources:
- The Unison Benevolent Fund – Providing financial assistance and wellness counselling (in both English and French). Also available by phone at 1-855-986-4766.
- MusicTogether – A $300,000 relief fund for Ontario musicians impacted by the effects of COVID-19, supported by members of the Canadian music community and the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. Ontario artists can apply to perform as a part of the MusicTogether series, each of whom will receive a one-time performance fee of $1,000. The program showcases Ontario’s diverse artists, providing a hub to facilitate live music experiences that fans can enjoy from the comfort and safety of their own homes, while supporting the local music community.
*Please note that the information on this page is not a substitute for financial or legal advice.