Committee of the Whole to Consider Subject Matter of Bill C-9 – Sen. Bovey

By: The Hon. Patricia Bovey

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Centennial flame, Ottawa

Senator Bovey: Welcome back, and it’s lovely to have you here again.

I have another question regarding eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy. In the backgrounder that accompanied this legislation, one of the eligible entities mentioned is art schools. That’s obviously a broad term covering many aspects of the teaching and training of all the arts: music, visual art and theatre.

Could you please define what the government has in mind and what your definition of “art school” is? Then I have a quick follow-up.

Ms. Freeland: Thank you for that question and for your attention to detail.

As I said in my opening remarks, when we think about this support, we’re mostly thinking about businesses, but we have been clear that we want not-for-profits and charities to be covered as well.

In terms of the specific definition of “art school,” I saw Andrew shuffling his papers, and maybe he will be happy to go into more detail there.

Andrew Marsland, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Tax Policy Branch, Finance Canada: Thank you, minister.

As a point of clarity, the criterion is a registered charity or non-profit organization. So if an art school was either of those, it would qualify. There is no definition. I think it was given as an example to explain, as opposed to a definitional issue.

Senator Bovey: That is very helpful. I think I have a minute. Let me ask one quick question about individual artists who are self-employed businesses and their studio rents. Do they get assistance under this rent subsidy?

Ms. Freeland: I will start and then I’ll let Andrew continue. It would depend on how they are registered as a business.

Andrew, would you like to go into more detail?

Mr. Marsland: I think you would have to look at the particular circumstances. Generally speaking, if it has a payroll account — which it probably wouldn’t have in the example you gave — or a business number with the CRA, then it would be potentially eligible.

The Chair: You still have two minutes, Senator Bovey.

Senator Bovey: Then I’ll ask a business question dealing with the arts. As we know, many commercial art galleries across the country have been forced to close down because of COVID. One of the big issues is that artists have lost opportunities to sell works. I presume that, as they are registered businesses, commercial galleries can seek rent assistance.

Ms. Freeland: Absolutely.

Senator Bovey: I’m honoured to take all this back to my constituents from coast to coast to coast. Thank you very much. I have asked my questions.

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