World Socialist Web Site wsws.org 01 Apr, 2021 00:15 am

COVID-19 pandemic triggers social, economic devastation among Canada’s cultural workers

COVID-19 pandemic triggers social, economic devastation among Canada’s cultural workers
A survey of the performing arts found that 83 percent of workers reported that their income had been “severely reduced” by the pandemic, with 32 percent saying they were “extremely stressed, to the point of losing sleep.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the precarious state of Canada’s cultural workers, and the contempt of the ruling elite for artists and the arts.While a small segment of workers, the contribution of these workers to the cultural life in Canada and internationally is immense.In a real sense, the state of Canadian cultural workers is an international issue.But despite their essential role in human life and happiness, cultural workers are often among the lowest paid and most precariously employed.

Since COVID-19 restrictions shut down most arts institutions, live performances, theatres and film production, many Canadian cultural workers have survived on the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB—now renamed the Canada Emergency Benefit) of $500 per week, which will expire on September 27, 2021.This meagre and totally inadequate support has not stopped many cultural workers facing impoverishment or fierce competition for low-wage jobs in other sectors.

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