Last Updated: April 7, 2020 9:45AM EST

During this time of unprecedented hardship for musicians and the music industry, our staff are tirelessly working to advocate on behalf of all musicians to bring some stability and relief to those in-need during the COVID-19 crisis. For updates from our labour and music industry partners, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter at @cfmusicians


The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit APPLICATION PORTAL IS NOW OPEN. This is an emergency care benefit that will provide employment insurance benefits to cover workers, contract workers, and self-employed workers (this should apply to most musicians).

TO APPLY ONLINE: go to the “My CRA” website, and log in to your account. There is a COVID-19 Canada Emergency Response Benefit alert banner at the top of the page. Select the period you want to apply for, declare that you qualify, and confirm that the government has the right to your payment information. Available seven days per week, 21 hours from 6AM to 3AM ET.

TO APPLY BY PHONE: call the toll-free line 1-800-959-2019. Please have your Social Insurance Number and you Postal Code ready for identification verification. Available seven days per week, 21 hours from 6AM to 3AM ET.

To handle the large volumes, application days will be staggered by birthdate. Those born in January through March are asked to apply April 6th, those born April - June are asked to apply April 7th, those born July - September may apply April 8th, and those born October through December may apply April 9th.

WE STRONGLY URGE THOSE THAT INTEND TO APPLY FOR THIS BENEFIT TO CREATE AN ONLINE ACCOUNT IMMEDIATELY, and those that have an account, please verify that your banking and mailing information is up-to-date.

The CERB will pay out $2,000 per month, over a period of 4 months. The benefit is available from March 15th until October 3rd. Your benefit should arrive 10 days after submitting the application, and payments can be backdated to March 15, 2020. Payment can be delivered through direct deposit, or by mail (expect longer delivery times if receiving the benefit through mail).

These are the eligibility requirements for the CERB as stated in Bill C-13 (see document: HERE): 

  • be at least 15 years of age, and a resident of Canada.
  • for the year of 2019, or in the 12 months preceding your application, has earned at least $5,000 of income (self-employed, employed, and some other benefits accepted)
  • the worker (whether self-employed, or employed) has no work (and no income) for 14 consecutive days within the 4-week period prior to application

For more information on other programs available through Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan click: HERE

For frequently asked questions, please see the Government of Canada Q&A: HERE

The Canadian Federation of Musicians, along with our Locals and industry partners, have been actively advocating the government to ease regulation restictions regarding the "no work" eligibility requirement. This regulation inhibits our members from earning any income during the time they are receiving CERB payments. Revenue received in the form of royalties, residuals, and new use payments are not considered income for the purposes of CERB eligibility. The CERB is considered taxable income, and any income that is found to be received in error from the CERB will be due back to the government at a later date without interest.

If you do not meet the 14 "no work" days eligibility but have still lost significant work/income due to COVID-19, please share your story at to help us continue to advocate this issue on your behalf.

Please review the following resources for more information:

My CRA Online Portal

Canada Emergency Response Benefit Application Information

Canada Revenue Agency Emergency Tax Benefits

CUPE: Canada Emergency Response Benefit Q&A

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Canada Emergency Responce Benefit Act

Local 1000 Letter re: No work for 14 days

Question on Senate Floor re: No work for 14 days

TMA149 update to members re: No work for 14 days

COVID-19 Resources for AFM US Members

Our SAVE LIVE ARTS / SAUVER LES ARTS VIVANTS campaign continues to petition the government for comprehensive aid and support for musicians and the “live arts” industry. Please follow the link: HERE for more information.


The following resources are offering aid to musicians during the COVID-19 Crisis

The Unison Benevolent Fund offers financial aid, consoling, and more for musicians and music industry professionals. To access aid, you must be registered in their program. Registration is free, and can be accessed: HERE

The Petrillo Memorial Fund is for AFM/CFM members that are unable to work due to physical or mental disability (this included sickness from COVID-19). Members can download the application: HERE or for more information click: HERE

The AFC “Lifeline for Canada’s Entertainment Industry” has stated that its financial aid benefit includes support for musicians. For more information click: HERE, for the application form, click: HERE

Many Locals are offering support to their members during the COVID-19 crisis. Please contact your Local office for more information. A list of contact information for Canadian Locals can be found: HERE and HERE for Local 1000

Music Industry Associations across the country are also offering their support to musicians during this time. We encourage you to seek out what resources are available.

Music Together is a concert streaming platform that pays $1,000 in emergency relief funding for livestreamed concerts. Click HERE for the application information.

Due to the State of Emergency declared by the Province of Ontario, the Canadian Federation of Musicians National Office will temporarily remain closed, with staff working reduced hours from home. All staff will be available by email during this time. We will have periodic access to mail and courier delivery, therefore petitions for P2 visas will be processed within 5 business days. To contact a department or staff member, please see our staff directory: HERE.

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