Because musicians are unable to tour,  entertainment professionals are suddenly out of work, and venue owners have closed their doors and laid off staff, The Unison Benevolent Fund has launched the $500,000 Unison COVID-19 Relief Program.

Since the outbreak, Unison has received an overwhelming number of requests for assistance from the music community; registrations have increased by a whopping 1,900%, or nearly $200,000 per week.

Now more than ever, Unison’s emergency relief assistance is a critical safety-net for members of our Canadian music industry deeply affected by the COVID-19 virus itself, and the precautions and protocols surrounding it.  In response, the Slaight Family Foundation donated $250,000, which will be matched by the Unison office – initially to fund housing costs, medical expenses, and groceries.

“The creative community adds so much inspiration to our daily lives through their talents and now more than ever they need our support during this crisis,” said Gary Slaight, President and CEO of Slaight Communications, in a statement. “I hope that our donation to The Unison Fund will inspire others to do the same, as our artists need our support”.

This initial $500,000 will help our community for the short term, but in order to meet the growing demand for support, Unison needs partners to ensure a future for our Canadian music community.

If you work in the Canadian music industry and require assistance, please register for Unison’s services.  For counselling inquiries and support to help deal with the financial or emotional impact of COVID-19, please contact 1-855-986-4766. For emergency financial assistance inquiries, please review the application process here.

To learn more about partnership opportunities, donations, or inquiries, please contact

Global creators’ rights organization CISAC, with more than 230 member societies in 120 countries, has released an open letter to governments around the world urging global action to help music creators. The text is as follows:

The coronavirus crisis is posing an unprecedented threat, on a global scale, to a generation of people who make a living and a profession as creators. We write today as the President and Vice Presidents of CISAC, and as artists from different regions of the world, to call for action by governments on a global scale to help creators survive the current crisis and eventually help lead it to recovery.

CISAC is the largest creative network in the world, with over 230 member authors societies representing 4 million working creators of all repertoires.

Creators of music, audio-visual works, visual arts, drama, and literature are the backbone of national cultures and of economies. Even now, it is their creative works which are everywhere helping and connecting millions of people who are having to endure a life of quarantine.

But creators are in a uniquely fragile position. The large majority of them are self-employed and dependent on royalties paid by authors societies. Today, and in the coming weeks and months, creators will be among the worst affected by the crisis.

Authors societies are doing their best, maintaining royalty distributions and using emergency social funds where possible. However, CISAC members from across the world, are reporting a collapse of cultural and entertainment activity, affecting concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and all the main platforms where creative works are used.

Creators are by nature self-motivated entrepreneurs and will be an enormously positive force in helping drive the economic recovery in the future. But they urgently need rescue measures now, and only the lever of government policy will have the impact required.

Several governments, such as that of France, have acted, for example with emergency funding for creative sectors; others such as those of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, have already identified protection for the creators (for example, via tax and social security concessions and emergency payments) as a priority.

It is imperative that governments in all countries act for creators now and ensure the highest level of support possible.

We thank you for your support and for understanding the vital importance of creators in the future of our culture and society.

CISAC President Jean-Michel Jarre
CISAC Vice-Presidents Angélique Kidjo, Miquel Barceló, Marcelo Piñeyro, Jia Zhang-ke

Canadian musicians, music industry professionals, and music organizations are continuing to creatively adapt to the situation.

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame has postponed the induction celebration of Kim Mitchell and Pye Dubois to September, as part of the new dates for Canadian Music Week, and is committed to finding new opportunities to honour 2020 inductee Ron Hynes, and more incredible Canadian songwriters and songs to be announced soon.

Similarly, CBC Music, in response to David Myles’s suggestion, is working toward playing only Canadian music in all of its daytime programming, for the next two months.

La Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture has launched a survey asking people what kind of issues they’re dealing with during the situation, to help determine the best ways to help them. This is the kind of funding support they provide.

The Guardian is reporting that musicians are asking Spotify to triple their payments in order to cover lost concert revenue.

Words & Music contributor Nick Krewen has written a feature story in The Toronto Star about how musicians are navigating life in “the new normal.”

Longtime Atlantic-Canadian SOCAN member Lennie Gallant and his partner Patricia Richard uploaded a Facebook video singing his apropos song “Lifeline,” that has reached 20K viewers and touched many fans’ hearts

On March 18, Toronto-based SOCAN member Mike Evin launched the Creative Isolation Challenge, committing himself to create one new thing – whether a new song, a new and different recording of an old song, a lyric, a dance, a beat, and so on – each day for the next 30 days.

Stay safe!