Red tape! I have a vivid childhood recollection of my government-employed geologist father retiring from his job muttering those very words along with some expletives. For the pseudo environmentally friendly Canadian government, their border-crossing application system is in the Dark Ages. Who the hell has a printer or fax machine anymore and that’s the only way they accept the applications! And it’s six dead tree pages per band!!
The fax machine!! Mine broke years ago. I never bothered replacing it as it became an endless spam bot!! A printer. Why bother when you can electronically send your files to a print shop and avoid expensive ink cartridges that run out halfway through a gig poster?
Email filing cannot be used. Apparently it’s not currently covered by the Privacy Act. The PDF you could possibly fill out and save the changes to is a disallowed action. You try to call them and it’s a chronic busy signal for hours, then you get referred to a different department. Prepare for redundancy!
The one thing that was accomplished though was a nice gent in the third department I was referred to did supply me with my official No Bollocks Events Canada Revenue Agency nine-digit business number so I can legally payroll out of country performers.
Revenue Canada and Service Canada, which handles border crossing are different departments. This is where the clusterfuck begins and NO! the red-tapers don’t talk to each other. The paperwork between paying an out-of-country band requires similar, yet just a couple of different facts than the border-crossing paperwork. What I don’t understand is why these departments are not streamlined to have their paperwork mesh. It seems like a colossal time waster for both Service Canada, Revenue Canada and you, the talent buyer.
I guess we are bolstering the economy by having to own a fax machine and a printer in this electronic day and age, just to get bands into Canada to play. When I critically questioned the process, I was told to contact my MLA.
I learned a lot of interesting tidbits during this three-day debacle. Did you know the minimum a band member coming to Canada can make is $22.50 per hour?! A tour manager needs to be making 29 bucks an hour and needs their own six-page LMO [Labor Market Opinion]! The border peeps want to know what city someone is living in and their citizenship while the revenue peeps don’t fucking care. The border peeps also made me go get a Civic Business Licence. I am now an official ‘band coordinator’ in the City of Vancouver! That was the only City title I could get that didn’t require a police background check. If I had claimed I was a booking agent, it’s a different story! Things that make you go hmmmmmm!!!
Facebook cracks me up. I just saw a meme today that stated something to the effect about the ”there’s no scene whiners” in bands who leave a show after their set. I’ve always wondered why bands do that…. I’ve also seen this in reverse where the headliner doesn’t even show up until their time slot after loadin’…. I can understand if a couple of peeps have to work early or if they’re underage but the whole band leaving for no reason is just weird! I have a section in my door float wallet with unclaimed band pay. I think I’m going to start dating it and set an expiry period after which it goes to the ‘working poor promoter bummed ciggies replacement fund’!!
Here’s a redundancy! Support your local scene! See you at the shows!
By wendythirteenBC, British Columbia