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ACTRA Requesting Canadian Government To Extend CERB Benefits For Artists

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For a lot of people the CERB will be running out soon as the benefit can only be applied for 16 weeks. That means for the people who started collecting the benefits right when it started only have about one more month of benefits. Assuming their industry does not fully open back up that could be harsh for people who have no other options.

This got me thinking as recently ACTRA, an organization that represents Canadian performers, posted a message asking for the government to extend the CERB benefits until the industry is fully green lit to go back to normal. They state some of the following:

Film, television and other cultural sector workers, who are ineligible for Employment Insurance benefits, welcomed the introduction of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to help them get through this crisis. However, with our industry many weeks or even months away from getting back to normal, we desperately need that support to continue. This is why we are calling on the Government of Canada to extend the CERB beyond the current 16-week maximum period and allow the program to remain in place until our industry fully reopens and our members can get back to work.

While our health care and other front-line workers have been saving lives and providing essential services every day, we have counted on the work of Canadian artists and performers to bring us comfort and laughter during these dark days and help us feel a little less alone.

We hope we can count on the Government of Canada to continue to be there for cultural workers by extending CERB for as long as necessary

It raises a lot of topics where I know a lot of people would say artists don’t deserve further benefits because they work in an industry that is non-essential. As well, it’s no different than before where as an artist it’s your job to get people’s attention in a sense to then generate an income. I can see both sides of the argument. But the point I always s think about is do people not realize that virtually every profession often plays some role in maintaining the way we currently live?

For example, I always find it odd where people who say an artist deserves no help are the people who quickly go watch some kind of art or entertainment during times like these. You can argue that nothing is truly essential with some of the mindsets I see. For example, is the grocery store essential? With this artist example it would be like me saying you don’t have to go to the grocery store and purchase those items. Go grow them yourself. You don’t need restaurants. Just cook at home. Yet most people would be quick to say they need support during these times too right?

If anything, I guess during times like these it shows how many people just think about their own immediate needs as opposed to the big picture. Especially in this case where that industry actually equals billionaires of dollars in other industries as well such as when productions are filming.

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