Libretto May 2017


Hamilton Musicians Guild
Libretto
May 2017

President’s Report

Lately, there’s been numerous reports on social media regarding musicians not being paid by promoters and bands organizing their own tours and suffering substantial financial losses.

There is also a recent incident where a Quebec band came to southern Ontario to play a gig and were left holding the bag by the promoter-leaving them with nothing to show for their time and effort.

Locally, the demise of the annual Harvest Picnic left many local musicians unpaid and a flurry of lawsuits against the promoter as well bands and their booking agencies being sued by the promoter.

The common denominator in all these cases is that most of them were not AFM members and did not file contracts with the host local, leaving them unprotected and are examples of a new business model for musicians.

Contrast these stories with what happened here in Hamilton a few years ago with Opera Hamilton. When Opera Hamilton folded they did not file for bankruptcy and basically closed the doors and walked away. In this case contracts were filed by AFM members and they were legally represented by us.

In the end after much time, effort and expense we were able to lobby city council for a grant of $20,000 covering the entire amount of wages lost including pension. The point here is that when we represent our members in a dispute we will exhaust every legal avenue possible and failing that we will get creative in resolving the issue.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about musicians needing a “new business model” but judging from the scenarios I’ve cited here this doesn’t seem to be working. To quote Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert “who is telling them they need a new business model? Employers, managers and agents. Who tells them contracts are unnecessary? Employers, managers and agents. The reasons are simple- the AFM keeps them honest and they don’t like all our rules and they don’t like being told they have to pay a minimum fee”.

When AFM contracts are filed members are entitled to all the benefits of membership- contract protection, pension payments and road assistance to name a few. When AFM members stick together as a collective the AFM is better able to tackle the hard issues like copyright law, collective bargaining, visa issues and airline regulations regarding instrument handling.

When you consider the cost of membership is roughly 40 cents a day that’s a small price to pay to have your interests advocated. Social justice is not a cause that can be argued individually: it can only succeed though collectivism and that’s why your membership is vital.

Next year Local 293 will be celebrating the milestone of 115 years of service to musicians in the greater Hamilton area. I’m sticking with the union-how about you?

Yours in solidarity,

Larry Feudo

 

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

It has been extremely busy at the Guild office this year as we continue our recruitment and retention program, provide service and advice to members and assistance to many members and groups with the P2 Visa application processing. Your Executive Board is also gearing up to host the Canadian Conference of Musicians at the Hamilton Sheraton Hotel in August 2017. We have also hosted 2nd and 3rd year classes of Mohawk College music students to our office to discuss the music industry and inform the students of the many benefits offered by the Canadian Federation of Musicians (AFM/CFM).

Youth Outreach Program

Darcy Hepner brought his class of 2nd year students to the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild board room on Monday, February 6th and Jamshed Turel followed with a group of 3rd year students on Wednesday, February 22nd. President Feudo presents Professor Jamshed Turel with a cheque for $300 from Local 293 as a donation to the Mohawk College Music Scholarship Fund in memory of Richard Newell (“King Biscuit Boy”).

Canadian Conference of Musicians

The Hamilton Musicians’ Guild is looking forward to hosting the AFM Canadian Conference of Musicians in 2017. The last time this conference was held in the City of Hamilton was 1985. The Canadian Conference’s objective is to unite Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) Locals within Canada to promote the interests of the musicians thereof, within the framework of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). It provides an opportunity to discuss issues and problems that affect the working lives of all Canadian Musicians. Delegates from coast to coast to coast are charged with the responsibility of finding solutions to the issues presented and helping to affect positive change by making recommendations to the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) and/or by submitting official Resolutions to the tri-annual American Federation of Musicians (AFM) International Convention. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Canadian Conference of Musicians in the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild will be publishing a Special Anniversary Program Booklet. Executive Board member Janna Malseed is chairing the Host Committee with members Larry Feudo, Brent Malseed, Glen Brown and Ryan McKenna.

Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA)

Hamilton has been chosen to host the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA) and Country Music Week for the sixth time in 2018. The announcement was made by CCMA President Don Green in downtown Hamilton at a meeting of the Music Strategy Industry Working Group on Thursday, March 9, 2017. The four-day annual event will run from Sept. 6 to Sept. 9, 2018 and will feature events throughout the city. In the past, the economic impact left in host cities was roughly $8 to $10 million. “The Hamilton music scene is enriched with an outstanding line-up of homegrown talent, along with welcoming the best in the industry,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger in a statement. “Our city has played host to the Canadian Country Music Association on five occasions and we welcome them back again in 2018, continuing a tradition of celebrating music across our country, while growing our capacity to host visitors and showcase Hamilton’s arts, music and culture.” President Larry Feudo attended this meeting. Local 293 board members Janna Malseed and Glen Brown sit on the City of Hamilton’s “Music Strategy Industry Working Group”

A Hamilton Beatles Experience

Local 293 member Darcy Hepner is a seasoned performer, accomplished composer and respected educator who was born and raised in Hamilton. Darcy taught at the Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1985 to 1989 and later lived and worked in New York City from 1996 to 2005. He has worked with such legendary figures as B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Sergio Mendes, Henry Mancini and toured with the world with renowned jazz-rock group “Blood, Sweat & Tears” for five years. Darcy is currently a Professor of Music at Mohawk College In Hamilton. Darcy had a dream to one day arrange the Beatles music for orchestra and this year he was able to fulfill his dream by creating, composing and arranging “A Hamilton Beatles Experience” using the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) and many other talented musicians from Hamilton. It was an amazing performance enjoyed by a sold out audience at Hamilton Place. I thoroughly enjoyed attending the concert to witness and listen to Darcy living his dream through his music.

In Conclusion

At the 100th Convention in June of 2016, a resolution was put forward by the Canadian Conference, requiring that the AFM implement an officer training program, with a “… focus on membership retention and recruitment, as well as general office procedures, as a means of combating declining Federation membership.” We are very encouraged that this AFM training will be offered prior to the Canadian Conference of Musician in Hamilton this year. Please see the article by AFM International Vice-President Bruce Fife on Page 8 for details. The upcoming General Membership meeting is going to be filled with many presentations of Life Membership and 50 Years of Membership Pins for long standing members. Hopefully we will see you at the meeting to help us congratulate all the recipients.

Yours in solidarity,

Brent Malseed

 

In Memoriam:

Harry Waller, Pillar of Hamilton Big Band

Reprinted with permission from Jeff Mahoney columnist with the Hamilton Spectator

Harry Waller was a musician’s musician. Not just because he played and read superbly well, understood the inner workings of his art and was accomplished in ways his peers could admire and respect at an even deeper level than an audience.

All well and good. But, more to the point, he was a musician who could get other musicians jobs. Find work?! Now that’s a real musician’s musician.

As leader of the popular Harry Waller Orchestra, he provided opportunities for many players, both during the Brant Inn glory days and beyond, holding the torch for Big Band and swing music over decades, kindling interest among successive generations.

Harry, known to so many in the Hamilton area and far beyond, died March 7 at St. Peter’s Residence. He was 92.

Apart from keeping up his own orchestra, Harry contracted musicians to play behind big-name acts at the legendary Brant Inn and, later, for shows at Hamilton Place. “Acts like Tom Jones, Aretha Franklin and B.B. King,” recalls Harry’s daughter Jane Waller-Wilson. “One thing that was kind of funny he did. He was asked to provide the music at the Miss Nude World contest at the Four Seasons Nudist Resort in Hamilton.”

Of course, musicians being musicians, to line them up for anything, even paying gigs, could be an exercise in literally herding “cats.” But, Jane says, “he told me somehow he had no trouble at all finding musicians for that.” Harry grew up in the north end, Ferrie Street, in relative poverty during the Depression, says author and retired journalist and musician Stewart Brown, who wrote “Brant Inn Memories.”

Harry delivered The Spectator, on bicycle, gave the money to the family and, says Jane, “his dad put him into music to keep him out of trouble.”

Harry signed up in the RCAF during the Second World War, was stationed in Gander, and played in the RCAF band when he wasn’t out on submarine search patrol. The war over, it didn’t take long for him to distinguish himself in music and by 1947 he was playing sax at the Brant Inn under band leader Paul Page, says Stewart. He never looked back, playing at the historic dance spot with Gav Morton’s band and then his own Harry Waller band, all through the ’50s and into the ’60s until the inn closed, later that decade. “He was one of the best sources of information for my book,” says Stew. “He was the definitive Brant Inn musician. A real gentleman.”

Pianist Matt Kennedy, who played with Harry often, says, “He was very affable and easy and got along with anyone he played with.” He was equally at home in a trio setting, a six-piece or a full big-band format. He could do it all, says Matt. “He gave me my first drumming job, in a trio,” says Stewart. “I was just happy to be playing and tried not to screw up.”

Jane says she still has memories of her father “getting all dressed up in his tuxedo, then out the door.” He was always busy with music and managed it all around a full-time job at Canadian Pittsburgh Industries in Hamilton.

Most of her life, says Jane, people have come up and shared their fondest memories of dancing to her father’s music at the Brant Inn ballroom and elsewhere. “Even in the nursing home, they’d see his name. ‘Is he that Harry Waller?'” And their memories would come pouring out. It’s harder and harder to keep swing and Big Band music going, says Matt. “In some ways his passing really does represent the end of an era.”

 

Officer Training—A New Day

By Bruce Fife, International Vice President and President of Local 99 (Portland, OR)

At the 100th Convention in June of 2016, a resolution was put forward by the Canadian Conference, requiring that the AFM implement an officer training program, with a “… focus on membership retention and recruitment, as well as general office procedures, as a means of combating declining Federation membership.”

This was an affirmation of what many officers and staff had been discussing for some time. AFM President Ray Hair appointed me to chair the committee tasked with creating this program. Joining me in this endeavor are Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, AFM IEB Member Tina Morrison, with staff participation from Assistant to the President Ken Shirk, Symphonic Services Division Director Rochelle Skolnick, and International Representative Barbara Owens.

The last AFM-sponsored training was convened in the late 1990s, early 2000s. I attended one of the four-day retreats that took place at the George Meany Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. I recall leaving inspired, educated, and exhausted, with new friends, colleagues, and mentors, and most importantly, with a better understanding of the AFM and unions in general. I returned to Portland, ready to take what I had learned and put it into action at Local 99 (Portland, OR). In retrospect, I believe much of Local 99’s growth, strength, and ingenuity came as a result of that focused training.

Our committee now wants to take the best practices and teachings from the previous instruction sessions, and build on them, with the goal of providing an even better educational experience and set of tools to ensure success in our work and the growth of our locals. In building this program, we have taken a three-prong approach that we believe will provide the highest level of training in the most cost-effective manner.

Phase 1

Phase 1 will be online webinars. These will be a series of one-hour, interactive, open invitation programs that deal with the wide range of issues officers face when running a local. Topics will include: • The nuts and bolts of building a better union • AFM local compliance • Filing AFM reports • Government reporting • Bylaws • Structure of the AFM • Member services • Communicating with members • New member orientation These webinars will all be posted on the AFM.org website after the “live” presentation and will continue to be a resource, available 24/7 to all officers. International Representative (IR) Barbara Owens is working with the other IR’s, staff, and officers to build and present these webinars.

Phase 2

Phase 2 will be two-day, intensive training immediately prior to each of the five regional conferences. (The first was scheduled before the Eastern Conference in April 2017.) At these retreats, issues that need face-to-face interactive training will be presented by a number of AFM staff and officers. Topics will include: • AFM electronic media agreements • Intellectual property • Building allies, networking, and using social media • Grievance and arbitration • Duty of fair representation • Internal organizing, orientation committee roles, and bargaining prep • Understanding and navigating “right to work” laws Intensive is the right word, as officers will come out of these two-day sessions with a host of answers, along with a slew of new questions, informing and leading to the next level of engagement. They will also glean a new awareness about solving problems and dealing with the issues officers face on a daily basis.

Phase 3

Phase 3 will be a “by invitation,” semiannual, three-day retreat in Madison, Wisconsin, at the University of Wisconsin School for Workers. This will be labor and leadership “big picture” training. While the specifics of the program are still in development with the university (first program slated for July 2017), topics may include: • Labor/AFM history • Leadership and diversity training • Duty of fair representation • Strategic planning/problem-solving Our goal is to have participants emerge with a clear understanding that, as local representatives, they are leaders in the union business, as distinct from leaders in the music business. They will gain appreciation for member-driven collective action.

One of the most important takeaways of my training in 2002, and what we hope to instill in this new group of officers, is the building of relationships and a camaraderie that can be developed with and among each other that extends beyond the class itself, leading to a more cohesive Federation.

As I look around the Federation, many of the colleagues that I spent time with at the Meany Centre in 2002 are current leaders within the AFM, and people that I can still reach out to for information and support when challenges emerge. That ability, trust, and mutuality came as a direct result of the training I received and is a key part of the outcome that we want to impart to this new generation of leadership.

If you are a local officer and have questions about these training options, feel free to reach out to your International Representatives. If you are a member, we hope you understand the value and importance of this work and will support and encourage your local officers to participate in upcoming training. Lastly, if you are a member wanting to explore a union post, contact me and let’s talk.

 

Local 293 StreetBeat

Here’s some interesting trivia for you. World renowned singer, songwriter and recording artist Feist (Leslie Feist) was born in the Maritimes, raised in Western Canada (Saskatchewan and Alberta), began her recording career in Toronto and currently lives in Los Angeles. Nevertheless her membership in the AFM is through Local 293. Her connection to Hamilton comes by way of her late uncle Dan Achen, former guitarist in Junkhouse and owner of Catherine North Studios where Feist recorded some of her first demos. Recently Feist released her first album in almost half a decade, “Pleasure”. She premiered the new project with a sold out concert at Trinity St. Paul in Toronto and is now about to embark on a lengthy world tour. Aside from the new recording Feist also made musical news at this year’s Juno awards. She is of course a multiple Juno winner and at this year’s telecast she brought the entire audience to tears with an emotional reading of Leonard Cohen’s “Hey That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”, part of a moving tribute to the late singer/songwriter.

Speaking of the Junos we had some other Local 293 members front and centre at this year’s ceremony. The Dirty Nil, comprised of Luke Bentham, Ross Miller and Kyle Fisher, took home the Juno for “Breakthrough Group of the Year”. They are presently in Europe touring in support of their latest release, “Minimum R&B”. This is a follow-up to a lengthy North American tour with Billy Talent and Monster Truck. Once again Hamilton music reaches out to the entire world.

You know when it comes to heart you can always count on musicians to step up and lend a hand. We should make mention of two popular upcoming charity events. On May 25 my old friend Darcy Hepner is staging a benefit for An Instrument For Every Child. Darcy and his wife, Astrid have been, dare we say it, instrumental in working with this worthy cause which in the last year raised $25,000, providing over 160 children in Hamilton’s inner city schools with musical instruments. For this year’s charity gala former Blood Sweat and Tears frontman David Clayton Thomas will headline. He will be accompanied by Darcy’s R&B All Stars. The show takes place from six until nine on May 25 and tickets are $175. They are available only online through http://hamiltonmusiccollective.ca/.

Another popular charity event is the annual Blues With A Feeling weekend (June 3 & 4) which pays tribute to my late friend Richard Newell a.k.a. King Biscuit Boy. This is the 15th annual event which raises money for a scholarship in Richard’s name in the music department at Mohawk College. Once again Local 293 is a proud cosponsor. Headlining this year’s concert at the Bay City Music Hall are Canadian legends Crowbar who backed King Biscuit Boy on his first two albums. Also on the show popular blues musician and radio show host Danny Marks and guitarist Joshua Miller. On Sunday, the party continues with a Blues Cruise on Hamilton Harbour aboard the Harbour Queen with Trickbag and many special guests. Also included is a fully catered meal and a three-hour sunset cruise. I played with Richard Newell for almost twenty years and I am always proud to be a part of this special event. Tickets for the Leander Show are available in advance at Dr. Disc, Picks and Sticks, Looney Tunes in Burlington, Stardust Records and Chedoke Flowers. Tickets for the Blues Cruise are only available at Chedoke Flowers.

Finally we are looking forward to the next General Membership Meeting for Local 293 on Monday May 29. At this get together another Hamilton based musician with major international credentials will receive his life membership. Bill Dillon was born in Toronto but moved to Grimsby at a young age. In Grimsby he began his professional career as a guitarist in a number of local groups including the Impalas who worked at many Hamilton bars including Duffy’s, the Elmar and the Jamesway. He quickly rose to prominence in the 1960’s and 70’s, gaining a reputation as a world class player. For a time in the 1970’s he worked out of the newly opened Grant Ave Studios playing on numerous sessions and forming a working relationship with studio owner Daniel Lanois. Through the notoriety gained through his work with Lanois, Bill went on the record with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Peter Gabriel, Gordon Lightfoot and Sarah McLaughlin. I still remember the day I saw Bill taking part in the world wide telecast of Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute from Wembley Stadium in London. On that day Bill sat in with the Neville Brothers, Tracy Chapman and, of course Daniel Lanois. As always he made us proud of Hamilton and its rich musical legacy. We look forward to welcoming Bill to life membership in Local 293 on May 29 and we invite all members to come out and take part.

Regards, Paul Panchezak, Sergeant-at-Arms

 

Welcome New Members

Andrew Austin Joel Banks Jackson Beyer Daniel Bujalski Meghann Contini Alan Duffy Joyoti Edington Chai Elliott-Armstrong Paisley Elliott-Armstrong Adam Falconi Lawrence Kevin Fournier Raul Gutierrez-Ruiz Jillian Harris Vivian Hicks A. Hiebert Tim Houghton Frank Law Corey Lueck Anthony Marco Lucas Meilach-Boston Meghan Meisters Nicola Moore Stephen Reid Daniel Sadowski Sean Sandberg Aleksandar Sekulovski David Simpson Riley Simpson Michael Stubbs Brandon Swire Andrew Thomson Richard Thornton Peter Tong

Expelled

David Battrick Sean J. Boyer Vita S. Chambers Justin M. De Graaf Jacob Gorzhaltsan Michael Grelecki Spencer Todd Halley Earl Johnson Chelsea McWilliams Merina R. Page Alicia Santos Luke Stackhouse Daniel Stajov Kyle James Wilson

Suspended

Steve Augustine Paul Barna Richard Robert Beddoe Kelly Bilan Sandra Bohn Terry Branagh Angela Broadley Derek Caven Adam Clarke RyanDismatsek Jesse Doreen Evan A. Dreager Miles Evans-Branagh Darryl Fleming Jessie Anne Gold Robert John Gregory Annette Haas Wayne Andrew Hamm Robert Heiderman Andrew Ioi Donald Kerr Jason Lambert-Meindersma Joseph Lauzon Loeden R Learn Adrian A. Matthew Lee Justin Lerous Jack Leyton Jennifer M. Little Patrick Martini Mark McIntyre Kevin McKeown Alex McLeod Kyle McPhail Brian Melo Devin Shawn Moody Jacob Moon Brendan Murphy Zachary Paterson-Pasquale Steve Pelletier Clarence Poirier Daniel Saitua Claude A. Silveira Alex Stojsavljevic Dean Stone Vladimir Tanaskovic Vili (Viljem) Verhovsek Lisa Winn Evan J. Woods Wail Yako

How To Resign in Good Standing

Moving out of the region? Got a great job somewhere else? Taking a break from the music scene? We are sorry to lose you, but before you leave, please send us a letter or an email to let us know when you’ll be ending your membership in Local 293. This will prevent any additional fees for both you and the Local. We can also help you transition into another Local if you are moving.

To alleviate any confusion regarding Resigning in Good Standing, please note: You can only resign in good standing if you are indeed in Good Standing. Good Standing means that you have paid any back dues and/or penalties before resigning. To resign you simply write the Local (post or email) to inform the office of your intention to resign.

To rejoin the Local there is a $15.00 fee. If you have any questions, please call contact the Secretary-Treasurer.

 

Life Members

Terrence J. Ball Terry Basom John Bebbington Paul Benton Terry Bramhall Joseph E. Callura Rita Chiarelli David Clewer Charles T Cozens Reg Denis Patti Denis Nick Deutsch Robert Devey William J. Dillon Albert E. Eady Lynda Eady Roger Flock Stephen C. Fuller Andrea Garofalo Ginger A. Graham Dennis Grasley (aka Sonny Del Rio) Brian Graville James Heaslip Al Hirsch Jean-Norman Iadeluca Al Ippolito Matt Kennedy Michael Keys Daniel Lanois Ralph Lefevre David Linfoot Robert Lowe Maggie MacDonald Michael Maguire Glenn Mallory Brent H Malseed Kevin A Mann Peter Marino Russell McAllister Jack Mendelsohn Diane Merinuk Marsha Moffit Frank Musico Natalie Mysko R. James Nelles Carmen Nemeth Neil Nickafor Kyle Pacey Jon W Peterson Peter Rihbany Avis Romm David Russell Greg Smith Steve Sobolewski John Staley Donald Stevens Henry Strong Jacquline Sutherland Ian Thomas Valerie Tryon Rudy Wasylenky Russ Weil Ailsa Weir Arlene Wright

 

Taps For A Brother Musician: Don Berryman

By Reg Denis

Don Berryman played trombone for 51 years in everything from rock bands to the Navy Band to Dixieland to Philharmonic Orchestras and a member of the original POWERHOUSE band. He doubled on piano, synth, mandolin and guitar. Don was a Research & Development Technologist at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

“Although I’m quite happy to spend my summers riding around the country on my motorcycle, as long as there are places where I can help the band or the music, I’m in”. Don began his musical life at age 5, sitting at a piano, moved to the trombone and other brass and woodwind instruments in high school, took up the guitar and mandolin during the 60’s hippie years and returned again to the piano about 20 years ago. “I love playing the piano,” he says. “The whole world of music is under my fingers. I just have to go find it.”

“Diamond” Don, as he was known by his bandmates, was a trombone player best known for his many years with The Brass Union and then Powerhouse. He was born on Oct.1, 1950 and passed on May 11, 2017. Don attended Southmount Secondary School, Studied Engineering major, English minor at Mohawk College, Studied Linguistics major, Engineering minor at McMaster University.

Don was very well educated and worked many hours on his very extensive webpage of The Brass Union and was helpful for having brought them back together after 40 years for a three day reunion several years back at the home of their former road manager, world renowned Dr. William Hughes from Peterborough, which was a great success. Ronnie Hawkins was one of the guests invited to this special 3 day occasion and many others flew in from around the globe for this gala reunion. Check out “The Brass Union, Burlington” and see Don’s great web page, well worth the look (http://brassunion.ca/).

Don was a long time member of 293 and will be sadly missed by many local musical friends.

Don leaves behind his most beloved Joanne Watts Dalpe.

R.I.P. Brother Don Berryman.

Reg Denis, First V.P. 293

 

You and Your Money : What they don’t teach you in music school!

It’s tax time again – yippee! – or not! This is another article designed to help our fellow musicians and their associates manage the money that they earn.

If you have changed your residence, particularly if your have purchased or sold your home then you are required to notify the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) of your changes to your residence address (and hence your contact address with the CRA). By the time your see this article the deadline for filing your 2016 personal income taxes will have passed. But perhaps your have already changed your residence, or plan to do so, in 2017. This will affect your tax return filing next year. It appears to be easier if you take the time to contact the CRA yourself: Method #1: by phone: 1-800-714-7257. It may take you a while to get through. Sometimes the call gets answered quickly. It’s a matter of luck, time of year, etc. After you listen to the menus press * (star) to speak directly to an agent. Method #2: Go to the CRA’s My Account web portal using the following web address:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/esrvc-srvce/tx/ndvdls/myccnt/menu-eng.html  

It is quite easy to set up and you can provide your bank account number if you want to automatically receive tax refunds deposited directly into your bank account. This last feature may be handy if you expect to receive refunds every year due to the nature of your work arrangements. The CRA will not accept your attempts to electronically file your return until your address is updated with the them.

There are fewer changes to the tax regulations this year due to the complications in the political environment arising since the US presidential election. Below are just some of the highlights regarding changes to Canadian tax regulations that will take effect in 2017. This presentation is intended only to serve as a broad overview of changes to personal taxation regulations and is by no means exhaustive. Always check with your accountant – your CPA – to make sure that you are current.

Key Personal Income Tax Changes

Canada Caregiver Credit: Replaces the Caregiver Credit, Infirm Dependent Credit and Family Caregiver Tax Credit with a single credit: The Canada Caregiver Credit. This non-refundable credit will apply to caregivers whether or not they live with their family member.

Cancelled personal tax supports: Generally these have limited impact or are duplicated with other support: (1) the deduction for employee home relocation loans, (2) the public transit tax credit, eliminated for transit use occurring after June 30, 2017, (3) the 25% investment tax credit for child care spaces, and (4) the first-time donor’s super credit (already to expire in 2017).

Adjustments to existing credits: (1) Expands the range of courses eligible for the tuition tax credit to include occupational skills courses that are undertaken at post-secondary institutions and to allow the full amounts of bursaries received for such courses to qualify for the scholarship exemption. (2) Extends the eligibility for the medical expense tax credit to include the expenses of individuals who require medical intervention in order to conceive a child (including individuals and same-sex couples).

Registered Savings Plans: Extends the Registered Education Savings Plans and the Registered Disability Savings Plans antiavoidance rules to be similar to the ones for Tax-Free Savings Accounts and Registered Retirement Savings Plans.

Canada Savings Bond Program: Is being phased out as it is no longer a cost-effect source of funds for the federal government.

Canadian Private Business Tax Measures

Business income of professionals: For tax years starting after March 22, 2017, accountants, lawyers, medical doctors and other designated professionals my no longer elect to exclude the value of work-in-progress when completing their taxable income. Transition measures are provided.

Any comments or viewpoints expressed in this article are those of Kevin Mann Accounting. Copyright Kevin Mann Accounting, 2017.

[Kevin Mann, MBA is a Chartered Professional Accountant, a member of the Hamilton Musicians’ Guild, a performing bassist and the President of Kevin Mann Accounting. He has provided extensive financial and managerial expertise to a wide range of not-for-profit and for-profit businesses including being a board director and member of local symphonies.]

 

The Musicians Pension Fund of Canada

A musician walks into the Guild’s office asking about his pension. He’s anywhere from 55 to 60 something years old and he wants to know what he’s entitled to in the way of a pension. If he’s like most musicians in this situation he’s not sure about what he stands to get after years of playing.

Once we investigate what he’s entitled to the following scenario is typical: he hasn’t filed enough contracts to qualify for much of a pension or in the worst case he’s not even vested in the pension. This happens so often we felt it would be useful to shed some light on this phenomenon. DO NOT ASSUME someone has done this on your behalf! Take an interest in your future if you’re a full time musician gigging regularly and recording often. The minor annoyance of filling out paperwork when you’re young and in your prime earning years will save you from a major disappointment in your later years.

You say you work the clubs mainly and it’s not worth the aggravation of getting a bar owner to sign a contract with a pension clause? We have contracts available in the office that make it easier for the member to make pension contributions on behalf of the engager/purchaser. You will remit 15% of scale directly to the Musicians Pension Fund of Canada. It goes without saying here that this is a habit you should get into at an early age. If you’re in your 50’s or 60’s it’s too late to build a substantial pension. You can check our Local’s scales in the private members section of Local 293’s website.

At this point you might ask what is vesting or how do I become vested?

A musician becomes vested in the Fund when they have earned 24 months of vesting service without having a 6 consecutive month period with no contributions during that period.

For example, a musician does an engagement on October 28, 2014, for which a pension contribution is made on his behalf. He will become vested on October 28, 2016 as long as he does not have a 6 consecutive calendar month period for which he has no pension contributions. In other words after the first engagement he must have a contribution at least every six months in the 24 month period.

Most musicians vest in this way.

However, a musician can also become vested in one calendar year if they have covered earnings representing 35% or more of the YMPE (Years Maximum Pensionable Earnings). For 2014, the YMPE is $52,500; making 35% of that $18,375. If a musician had pension contributions representing at least $18,375 in covered earnings in 2014, he would become vested on January 1, 2015. Cov-ered earnings are scale wages on which pension contributions have been made to the Fund. Once vested, a musician cannot become “un-vested” and, is entitled to a benefit from the Fund. There is a lot more information about the Pension Plan and how it works on their website – www.mpfcanada.ca  

If you invest in your future now the rewards will be more than worth the effort.