We are happy to announce our joint letter to Minister Joly has now surpassed 2,500 signatures, following a JUNO Awards weekend where creators, and their rights, were front and center.
The weekend officially opened with the Chairman’s Reception and Welcome Reception at Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada on the Friday evening. Music Canada displayed an installation called “Anthology: Defining Moments in Canadian Music” that celebrates our music history through the last five decades, including the developments that govern music creators’ ability to make a living from their work, and the new technologies that connect them to their fans. The display was accompanied by a quiz card, which invited guests to test their Canadian music knowledge and highlighted Focus On Creators. At the Chairman’s Reception, attended by political decision makers and music industry personnel, Music Canada’s Graham Henderson argued that we owe it to creators to improve the conditions in which they work, and have two vital opportunities with Canadian Culture in a Digital World consultations and the 2017 Copyright Act review.
SOCAN and its songwriter members were in the spotlight all weekend. At Saturday night’s Gala Dinner & Awards, SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste called for improved compensation for music creators, a call that was echoed by many speakers that evening, including Buffy Sainte-Marie, as she accepted the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, and Bell Media President Randy Lennox, as he accepted the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award.
At a reception hosted by CIMA and ADISQ on Sunday, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, spoke of the need for fairness, and her government’s commitment to promoting Canadian artists with $4.1 million in export investments. Minister Joly also recognized creators’ contribution to Canada in a statement published in the JUNOs guidebook. CIMA’s President Stuart Johnston spoke at Sunday’s event, where he mentioned the Focus On Creators coalition, and the united calls to put creators at the heart of future policy.
JUNO-nominated Ottawa musician Kathleen Edwards, who on Friday participated in the ‘Ottawa as a Music City’ discussion, posted a spirited call on Facebook to fellow creators, urging them to add their names to our joint letter.
“SIGN this letter,” she wrote. “I did. If you know people in the creative arts in Canada, share it. It’s important that Canadians know and appreciate that artists contribute to the economy in this country and their intellectual property deserves to be protected. This isn’t a ‘please give us a hand out’ letter. It’s a ‘please implement policy that protects our copyright.’”
We’re encouraged that supporting creators was a major theme of JUNOs weekend, coming from artists, broadcasters, industry workers, and elected officials. Creators must be at the center of any policy discussions, and we’re glad to see this being recognized so widely. Let’s keep up this momentum! If you’re a creator and you haven’t yet signed the letter, please do so at: https://focusoncreators.ca/sign-the-letter/