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 Music Canada

COVID-19 Resources

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. 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

If your work has been affected by COVID-19, you can now apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) through the Government of Canada. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks for those who are eligible. Full details on the CERB are available on the government’s website. 

Who is eligible? Workers who:
  • Reside in Canada and are at least 15 years old;
  • Have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
  • Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
What info do I need to apply?
  • Personal contact information, your Social Insurance Number and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements (more may be required later).
What should I do first?
  • Sign up for My Account with Canada Revenue Agency
    • If you select “direct deposit” – you will receive payment in 3 business days
    • If you select payment by cheque, you will receive payment in 10 business days
How and when do I apply?
  • You can apply here (or call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041)
  • The Government has asked for applications to be staggered by birth month to help their system cope with the influx of applications.
If you were born in the month of: Apply for CERB on:
January – March: Mondays
April – June: Tuesdays
July – September: Wednesdays
October – December: Thursdays

Note that you will need to reapply every 4 weeks.

I am receiving some income from royalties for my work; does this mean I am ineligible for the CERB?

The Federal Government has stated that creators who are receiving royalty payments from prior copyrighted works are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, provided that they meet other requirements. 

Royalty payments received from work that took place before the period for which a person applies for the CERB do not count as income during that specific benefit period.

What other government relief is available?
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. 

This website made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.