Editor's note: This is the first of several editorial perspectives mapping out the goals and aspirations of Canada's key associations.
As busy as 2018 was for the Canadian independent music industry, 2019 promises to be just as interesting and yes, challenging.
First up in the new year is the federal budget. The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) has been aggressively lobbying for a permanent increase to the Canada Music Fund (CMF) of $10 million a year (bringing the total annual budget to approximately $37 million). CIMA has also been asking for another $10 million/year top up to the CMF to be dedicated to supporting the industry’s music exporting initiatives. Canadian Heritage Minister Rodriguez seems to understand the need to increase funding support to the industry, and CIMA will be keeping a close watch on Prime Minister Trudeau’s government as it unveils the 2019 budget in the spring.
Of course, additional funding support will go a long way to help the transition to a new Canada Music Fund, as the Department of Canadian Heritage is currently undergoing a ‘modernization review’ of this important funding program. CIMA has been, and continues to be, providing feedback and direction to the Department of Canadian Heritage, expressing the independent community’s views and positions on proposed ‘modernization’ changes. Next year will prove to be a critical time as the new, ‘modernized’ fund will be launched.
CIMA and MusicOntario are also waiting for the new Ontario government’s first budget, expected in Spring 2019, with the hope that the Ontario Music Fund will continue to be funded. Both CIMA and MusicOntario have been singing the praises of the OMF at Queen’s Park over the past few months. On the west coast, CIMA is hopeful that the BC government will give the Amplify BC music fund renewed life with a multi-year financial commitment.
This past year or so, the federal government has initiated reviews of the Copyright Act, the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts. CIMA has been busy providing feedback and input on these reviews, joining its colleagues in the industry in pushing for amendments that will serve to better support rights holders. This spring, CIMA expects reports to be issued by the Government on the status of its public consultations, but realistically no changes to these Acts will occur until at least after the next federal election, which is scheduled for October 2019. In the meantime, CIMA will continue to join its colleagues and raise its voice on the importance of positive changes to these Acts, reforms that will protect the music industry and rights holders.
In addition, CIMA has not stopped its efforts to bring attention and action to another significant issue to its members, and that is creating a better system for our artists to obtain working visas to perform in the United States.
Faster, easier and cheaper access to the US market continues to be a priority for CIMA, so they will continue to engage all politicians, bureaucrats and partners on both sides of the Canada-US border to pursue changes to the US visa process. CIMA was hopeful that the recent NAFTA negotiations might have borne some fruit in this area, but labour mobility issues did not change in the new trade agreement. CIMA was pleased to see some progress for the music industry in the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), such as copyright extension to life plus 70 years for songwriters and composers. CIMA is hopeful that the governments of Canada, the US and Mexico approve the new trade agreement as soon as possible in the new year.
Internally, CIMA has struck a Bylaw Review Committee to review and modernize its bylaws and policies in time for its Annual General Meeting in fall 2019. These renewed bylaws and policies will not only reflect the legal changes that are expected to be made in the pending Ontario Not for Profit Corporations Act, but will also ensure CIMA’s governance structure reflects the diversity of its national membership in a number of ways, including gender and geography.