Vancouver expresses opposition to fee for international musicians
Vancouver city council will be adding its voice to the chorus of Canadians opposed to a new fee affecting some venues that hire international musicians.
Through a motion introduced by Vision Vancouver councillor Heather Deal, council agreed today (September 24) to have the mayor write to Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney stating the city's opposition to the regulation.
“I’m hoping that the fact that there’s over 130,000 people who’ve signed a petition now and [with] jurisdictions such as our own and others making our voices heard, they’ll recognize that this doesn’t help Canadian musicians,” Deal told the Straight.
As of July 31, employers applying to hire temporary foreign workers are now required to pay a $275 processing fee. Deal noted that for the music industry, the change mainly affects smaller venues that don’t regularly put on live performances.
Deal's motion also called for the mayor to urge the federal government to amend the regulation to exempt non-concert venues such as bars and restaurants.
The councillor said she was told by one local promoter that the fees for a group scheduled to come to Vancouver were $7,500, and the permit fees added an additional $4,500 for the venue.
“One promoter alone told me that they’ve had to shell out an extra $13,000 in these fees since July 31st, and they expect that number to grow significantly as the number of travelling groups would have gone up through the winter months,” she told council.
“Those numbers may not go up, because those bands may not choose to travel here.”
In an interview with the Straight last month, Kenney’s press secretary Alexandra Fortier said the federal government’s intent is to ensure that Canadians are considered for employment before temporary foreign workers.
An online petition opposing the fee has drawn more than 136,000 signatures from across the country and internationally.