Quill and Quire

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Artists’ organizations lobbying for health benefit subsidy for self-employed artists

Screen shot 2014-08-07 at 3.19.39 PMSeveral Canadian arts organizations are teaming up to lobby the federal government for a contribution that would help professional artists enrol in medical, dental, and life insurance programs.

So far, The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Canadian Media Guild, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, and other organizations representing actors and dancers have joined the effort.

According to a letter soliciting support from other artists’ organizations, the group has “developed a proposal to the Ministers of Finance, Health, and Canadian Heritage for a one-time contribution of $10 million to establish HEART, the Healthy Artists Trust, which would provide a financial subsidy for each individual eligible professional artists who subscribes to one of the [Actra Fraternal Benefit Society] or other qualifying private insurance program.”

The group will submit the proposal to the federal government to for consideration in its 2015 budget deliberations.

In an interview with media website storyboard.ca, a staff representative of the Canadian Media Guild, Keith Maskell says, “Over the past few years we’ve seen some small steps to help self-employed workers… [B]y helping ensure access to good preventative care and therapy, we reduce the load on the public healthcare system.”