Attention, bands seeking to play in Canada, think again! Unless you want to owe the country for playing within its borders, as opposed to making some loot, you may want to stick to booking shows just about anywhere else, as Canada’s Ministry of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism has put into effect a new set of legislation which increases the application and approval fees for bands and their crews to cross the Great White North border to play.

The Calgary Herald states about the law (which was enacted on July 31st):

“The regulations require that any venue with a primary business other than music but which also books bands or performers must now pay an 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.

Prior to the changes, the fee was simply $150 per band member, maxing out at $450, and that was a one-time fee for them to simply enter the country, which allowed venue owners across Canada to share the nominal cost or book them separately at no extra charge.”

This doesn’t just hurt the music industry and bands outside of Canada, but really puts a cramp in any Canadian booking agents plans. As Spencer Brown, booking agent for The Palomino explains:

“If I have a one four-member American band at the Palomino, I’m looking at $1,700 Canadian just to get them on the bill — and that’s on top of paying out a sound tech, paying for posters, gear rental, paying the other bands, staffing,” Brown says, explaining there have been tweaks to the LMO in the past, but nothing this drastic or, in his eyes, damaging.

“Concert promotion at this level is, in itself, a high-risk occupation. So this has just put it through the roof. There’s no way to start already $1,700 in the hole and break even. It’s impossible.”

And the real kicker is that IF the bands do not get approved to play, you don’t even get the application fee back. So the risk factor becomes even greater. Government officials do say that there are exemptions if acts are playing several tour dates in the country, or at a festival, but they “must not perform in bars and restaurants.” Essentially, this is killing the smaller venues, which don’t particularly make much money in the first place, whereas the major touring acts and festivals have an easier time recouping such expenses, with higher ticket prices, corporate sponsors, etc.

Oh, Canada….what ever are you thinking?

[via Consequence of Sound]