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Why Contracts are Important

If you are looking for downloadable versions of our contracts go to our forms and contracts page: here or register at the AFM website as a member and access the full Document Library at https://www.afm.org/auth/login.

LIVE PERFORMANCE CONTRACT

Filing a Live Performance Contract is a simple and valuable process. It doesn't take much time; all you need is a pen and some basic arithmetic to calculate pension and work dues amounts.

Filing a Live Performance Contract allows you to get some money put into your pension plan and the pension plans of the other musicians with whom you perform. This is very important because pension plan vesting rules require you to make a contribution at least once every six months for two years, to qualify for full pension plan membership. Once you become vested in the pension plan you will see your pension total steadily grow if you keep filing contracts. Contracts are also valuable because they legally protect the musicians and also the person who hires them. If you get stood up by an employer or are not paid as per the contract then the AFM will take steps to enforce the contract you have signed.

You can download a a blank Live Performance Contract here:

or pick one up from our office.

The Canadian Live Performance Contract is a simple two-page document. You will need to complete it by adding the details of the engagement, the fee and other terms or conditions, then have the contract signed by the leader of the musical group and by the person hiring the musicians. If you have any problems or questions understanding or completing the contract, just phone or email our office.

When filling out the Contract you record the actual total agreed upon fee for performance. The contract protects your right to this fee and to any other terms (time of engagement, length of sets, rehearsal times) as shown on the contract. Please note that if you or your employer, or a booking agent, have a standard contract, terms or a rider you want to use that's fine. Just attach it to the AFM contract or add the AFM contract as a rider to that form. To file a Live Performance Contract you will need to make at least three copies: one for the person hiring you, one for the association office and one to keep yourself.

Pension and work dues are not based on the actual fee paid to the musicians. Pension contribution (10% of scale fees) and work dues (3% of scale fees) are calculated based on our association's Tariff of Minimum Fees, a document available by contacting our office at (709) 722-8005.

Pension contribution is always the responsibility of the employer. If this amount is not included in an overall fee paid to the musician or leader then a separate cheque made out to "The Musicians Pension Fund in Canada" is written by the employer, and submitted to the association office along with the contract.

It has become quite normal for the employer to pay a combined fee to the musician or leader that includes the pension contribution. If this is done, then the employer signifies this on the contract and it becomes the leader's or solo musician's responsibility to submit pension (on behalf of the employer) and work dues when filing the contract with the association office.

You complete the contract, then write a cheque to the association either for work dues (if there is a separate pension cheque from the employer) or as a single cheque combining pension and work dues, and bring payment and one copy of the contract to the association office, or send these to us by mail.

Once we receive the contract, we check to make sure it is accurate and complete, we sign off on the contract then we deposit the work dues and we send the contract and pension contribution on to the national pension office in Ontario. We keep a copy of the contract on file until we are sure it has been properly processed for pension.

In the event that a dispute arises, the contract is kept on file and will be supported and enforced by CFM legal staff.

ELECTRONIC SERVICES CONTRACTS

Similarly to a Live Performance Contract, contracts for electronic services (recording, broadcast, film and television use) are relatively simple documents, available from our association by email or from the AFM website which can be accessed by members.

There are separate contract forms for each type of electronic service. Payment rates for these services are set nationally or, in some cases, by local agreement. It is probably a good idea, in each case, to check with our office before completing and filing an electronic services contract, since rates of pay change and details of these contracts and how they are administered may also change. We will be glad to assist you in preparing and filing a contract when you perform live, record or perform for media use.

RECORDING CONTRACTS

We are especially interested in seeing more local musicians file contracts for their recordings. In addition to protecting musicians' rights, those who perform on major releases in Canada are entitled to substantial residuals once a CFM contract is on file with the national pension office. These residual payments, available thanks to an agreement called the Sound Recording Labor Agreement, can amount to thousands of dollars over a five-year period. Once filed, a CFM contract for a recording project also protects future New Use payments which result when recorded music enters a new domain of use. If you are involved in a recording project we strongly advise you to contact our office to find out more about these benefits and protections, available under contract.

RECORD KEEPING AND TAXATION

Some musicians have expressed concern that a CFM contract could be used by Revenue Canada to review their income and pursue tax contributions. We do not send any documentation to Revenue Canada and have never been approached by them for this.

In general we would advise musicians to keep accurate records of their income from performance to file along with their Income Tax Return on a yearly basis for two reasons: (1) in the event that Revenue Canada does audit, you will have accurate records to present and, more importantly (2) there are definite benefits in declaring income from performance since this allows you to claim a long list of taxable expenses against the work you do as a musician.