Yeehaw! Canada Axes the International Musician Fee

Crossing the US/Canada border has always been a nightmare for bands on both sides. The patrols hassle you, they won’t let you in for the most random reasons, and the fear of bizarre taxes and fees (“we’re going to tax you for the sale price of every shirt in your trailer, even though you’re on a 40-day tour and only in Canada for two of them”), well, essentially it’s a harrowing ordeal of Kafkaesque proportions. There’s a reason why bands risk driving through Gary, Indiana instead of cutting through Canada to go from Illinois to upstate New York.

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But to add groin punch to the insult that was already added to injury, last summer the Canadian government upped entry taxes to $275 per member (including crew), for each gig, which is so ludicrous that it’s gone to plaid. And for some reason large concert venues that could afford, maybe, to pay the tax were exempt, leaving small venues/bars/coffee houses/etc holding a bag with a currency symbol on it.

Well, no more. The conservative Tory party has axed the “tour tax,” possibly because it disproportionately affected small business, but maybe just because it was a law that no one in the industry was asking for. Here’s what Alexis Pavlich, spokesperson for Citizen and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, had to say about it:

“While the previous regulation was meant to protect opportunities for Canadian performers, it often had the opposite effect,” she said in an email late Wednesday. The easing of the rules “will ensure that Canadian performing artists have the opportunity to expand their audience by performing with well-known international acts.”

And now my question for anyone that’s tried to cross the border in the past year: was the Canadian border even enforcing the tax since its implementation last July? I know quite a few bands that have made the trip and none of them, to my knowledge, were dinged with it.

Source: Global News

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.