January 15, 2024
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Dear Hon. Chrystia Freeland:
On January 18th, 2024, the federal government will enforce the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan repayment. The Saskatchewan Arts Alliance is calling for a last-minute extension to prevent the devastating consequences this will have on non-profit organizations in the arts and creative industries.
Over the past year, we have been meeting and consulting with many arts organizations in Saskatchewan, mainly live performing arts organizations, many of whom are facing crisis or near-crisis level financial situations. The reasons that have led to this situation in the arts are multifaceted but were undoubtedly made exponentially worse by the pandemic and skyrocketing inflation.
On top of this, in Saskatchewan, returning to pre-pandemic capacity for many of these organizations has been impacted by the addition of PST on expenses such as concert tickets, theatrical performances and art gallery attendance. This is an increased cost for audience members who are already facing a jump in the cost of living. Facing a continued loss of sponsorship dollars, the reluctance of audience members to return to live events and the pressure of accumulated deficits, the arts sector is struggling.
On behalf of our membership and arts and creative organizations, the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance requests that the federal government extend the repayment deadline to Dec. 31, 2024, forgive or extend the $20,000 grant to encompass all loan recipients and create an interest-free instalment plan to allow arts and culture organizations to repay the loans gradually.
In addition, the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance continues to ask the Saskatchewan Government to eliminate the PST expansion on admissions, recreation and entertainment or invest this revenue back into the arts.
The arts and creative industries add economic and social value to our province and our country. The sector builds stronger and happier communities, gives us a sense of belonging, improves mental health, increases innovative thinking in our students, and contributes to each province’s GDP. Extending the deadline for CEBA loans will cost the federal government money; however, we feel that the survival of the arts and creative industries is a worthy investment.
As a collective voice for the arts, we ask that the federal government work with us (and all other affected sectors) to find a way forward that will not negatively affect the recovery of arts and culture in our country.
Em Ironstar, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Arts Alliance
cc: Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister for Small Business
Honourable Donna Harpauer, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance
Honourable Laura Ross, Minister of Parks of Culture and Sport
Ms. Twyla MacDougall, Deputy Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport
Ms. Tracy Morey, Executive Director, Parks, Culture and Sport