We are pleased to hear that Toronto’s live music venues will no longer be receiving fines for postering around the city.
On June 8, 2015, a memo from Tracey Cook, Executive Director of the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division and Mike Tanner, Music Sector Development Officer, informed the Toronto Music Advisory Council of the recent decision. This is considered just one step in the City of Toronto’s efforts to support and address the concerns of Toronto’s growing music community.
The poster ordinance prohibited postering on all city property except for designated kiosks and allowed for fines to be issued to anyone who benefited from the poster in question. Because of this, many of Toronto’s music venue owners found themselves being charged with fines of $300 to $500 for posters that they did not put up. In most cases, the fines against these venues did not hold up when challenged in court, but they continued to be issued anyways. This created an unnecessary and costly expense for live music venues operating in Toronto.
Music Canada called attention to the postering issue in March 2012 with the release of its report, Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth—Leveraging Best Practices from Austin Texas. The Austin-Toronto report led to communications with affected stakeholders in the music community, as well as with city councillors and officials to bring the postering issue to their attention and help find possible solutions.
The Toronto Music Advisory Council worked collaboratively with Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Division, as well as the City’s Film and Entertainment Industries unit to secure this critical policy change. The City has committed to continued collaboration with the Toronto Music Advisory Council to build and support the music community in Toronto.
This is a policy change that we have looked forward to, and one which demonstrates the City and Mayor John Tory’s commitment to making Toronto one of the greatest Music Cities in the world. Music friendly policies like this are essential for the growth and continued health of Toronto’s live music scene.