Canadian Government Does the Right Thing and DROPS International Musician Fee

If you’ve been following the temporary foreign workers (TFW) controversy, you may be aware of how its impact on touring musicians from other countries.  The TFW fee has caused all kinds of headaches for Canadian promoters and a ton of FUD for international musicians who want to play gigs in the country.  At a conference in Singapore earlier this year, I heard from all kinds of people wondering why Canada would punish artists in this way.

And it was a stupid requirement resulting from a well-meaning effort (I think) to make sure Canadians were first to be considered for Canadian jobs.  I don’t think anyone foresaw the unintended consequences the law brought to the music industry.

When it became clear how the TFW rules were going to impact the music industry, various associations (like the Canadian Independent Music Association) leaped into action, lobbying the feds to do something.  And it worked.

When Jason Kenney announced an update to the TFW program last week, the requirement for the foreign musicians’ fee was dropped.  No one noticed because this detail was buried deep in the document and everyone else was busy debating what the new rules meant to the service and hospitality industries.

So nice going, Minister Kenney.  And way to go, CIMA and your friends.  This one turned out right.  And as for all you foreigners who want to play gigs in our country, c’mon in.  No charge.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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