It looks as though hard times might be ahead for non-Canadian bands planning to tour smaller venues throughout the Maple Leaf country; as of July 31st, new rules will apply for booking musicians into bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

"The regulations require that any venue with a primary business other than music but which also books bands or performers must now pay a [non refundable if rejected] application fee of $275 per musician and those travelling with the band (tour manager, sound person, guitar tech, etc.) when it applies for a Labour Market Opinion (or LMO) to allow those outside workers to perform and work in their establishment. That's also in addition to an extra $150 for each approved musician and crew member's work permit," explains The Calgary Herald, also stating that the old fees were of simply $150 per band member, maxing out at $450, in addition to all the other technical costs already weighting on the venue (i.e. sound tech, posters, gear rental, paying the other bands, staffing and so on), making it now apparently impossible for the involved category to break-even.

While it seems that no prior consultations with the people concerned were taken before the approval of the new regulations, the government agencies promoting this new rules claim to aim at a higher attention and preservation of the local music scenes, and that there are going to be exceptions to this rule for "musicians in a band performing several tour dates in Canada and musicians and buskers coming to Canada to perform in festivals," however "they must not perform in bars and restaurants."

It's no surprise that a petition to cancel the new fees, only targeting small businesses, has surfaced online at change.org, already counting 45,203 signing supporters.

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