During his daily COVID-19 public appearance on April 17, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government will spend $500 million through Heritage Canada to support Canadians working in the arts, culture, and sports sectors, as well as $270 million for a program for entrepreneurial and industrial research.
“We’ll give $500 million to Heritage Canada to support those who work in the arts, culture, and sports sectors. Like the small business I was talking about, people in businesses in these sectors do not have access to some of the help we’ve announced because of how the companies operate or how revenues are generated. With this investment, people will be able to receive wage support and organizations that are struggling with cash flow will be able access financing,” Trudeau said. “At the same time, we continue to support those who’ve lost their jobs with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. So far, over seven-and-a-half million payments have been made. That’s money sent directly to those who need it most.”
Further details on when and how Heritage Canada will pass on that $500 million investment were not made today.
This announcement followed the April 15th news that the federal government had amended the CERB eligibility criteria to ensure that artists and other gig workers receiving some, but insufficient, pay were not left out. It means that, for instance, Canadian musicians who receive royalties of less than $1,000 per month, such as from SOCAN or their labels, will not be disqualified from receiving CERB relief benefits during the COVID-19 shutdowns.