The Government of Ontario says it will inject $2.5 million (USD $2 million) into the struggling Canadian music industry by investing in two non-profit groups.
The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) will receive $500,000 (USD $400,000) to aid the live industry all over the province, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture, announced today (March 12).
The provincial government will also provide $2 million (USD $1.6 million) in COVID-19 relief to the Unison Fund, the Canadian music industry’s emergency charity, which provides financial assistance and counseling services for musicians and industry members.
Amanda Power, Unison’s executive director, said over the past year the charity had received a 3,021% increase in applications for emergency financial aid and a 208% increase in urgent mental health crisis intervention calls.
While both CLMA and Unison serve the Canadian music industry nationwide, the funds will go specifically towards aiding Ontario artists and industry members.
Prior to the pandemic, the live music industry contributed about $3 billion (USD $2.26 billion) to Canada’s GDP and supported 72,000 jobs, according to the CLMA. By the fall of 2020, a CLMA member study found that live music businesses had lost 92% of their revenue and had depleted their cash flow.
Since the pandemic began, the Ontario government has previously provided the music sector with financial aid totaling $17.55 million (USD $14 million), including to the Ontario Music Investment Fund (OMIF), Celebrate Ontario, the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, as well as digital content, such as Ontario.Live and Music Together.
“It’s clear we need to do much more,” MacLeod said. “We are now optimistic for a post-COVID-19 reality, one that includes music, the arts, culture and sport, and welcoming people back when it’s safe to do so.”