Frequently Asked Questions
As of February 1st 2023, all financial assistance programs are temporarily suspended. The Live Music Workers Fund will be permanently closing, however we will be relaunching the Industry Assistance Fund in the near future. Any applications that have already been submitted will continue to be reviewed and assessed.
Make sure you are registered and subscribe to our newsletter for updates.
What is Unison?
The Unison Fund is a registered Canadian non-profit that provides counselling, emergency relief, and assistance programs for those in the Canadian music community who face personal or professional challenges due to hardship, illness, or economic difficulties.
What does a Unison membership include?
A Unison membership includes access to emergency financial assistance and mental health solutions, as well as industry resources to assist with the financial and emotional burden of an unforeseen crisis or illness. You can learn more about how we provide support at the links below.
What Unison’s financial assistance programs can provide
Unison’s Financial Assistance Programs exist to help music industry professionals with basic living expenses in times of crisis. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic our program has assisted thousands of music industry professionals with financial support to help with critical expenses – groceries, shelter (rent), and medical expenses.
What makes me eligible to apply for financial assistance?
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, you worked primarily in the music industry for at least two consecutive years and earned at least 55% of your income from that work.
What’s the difference between registering and applying for financial assistance?
Registering simply gives you access to our free counseling & health solution services and signs you up to our mailing list.
Applying for assistance is a separate step that requires you to meet specific eligibility requirements and fill out additional information specific to submitting an application for financial assistance.
Where do I start?
- You can start by becoming a Unison member. Register here
- Once you’ve received an email confirming your registration, you can then login to the online portal to start your application process.
How do I know if I am a self employed/independent music worker?
A self-employed, independent music worker is someone who does not work for a company, an organization, or personnel, where one would receive a salary with tax deductions. If you work for yourself, or for a company where you are paid hourly (a contract worker), or if you own your own independent business and pay taxes as a sole proprietor, you are self-employed.
If you have a combination of self-employed, contracted and/or insured work, you are still eligible for Unison’s funding programs if at least 55% of your income comes from your self-employed/independent work in the music industry.
What if I own my company and the company is incorporated?
Your eligibility will depend on whether you draw a salary from your company and pay into employment insurance.
If you are drawing a salary and paying into EI, you are not eligible for financial assistance through Unison, as you would be eligible for EI benefits.
If you draw a salary from your company, whether you are incorporated or a sole-proprietor, you will need to declare this with Unison in the application process and it is unlikely that you will be eligible for emergency assistance.
I can’t use the online application portal, what should I do?
(ex: poor internet access)
The portal is the most effective way of identifying which financial assistance programs you’re eligible for, submitting your applications, and receiving your result notifications and payments.
However, if you are unable to access a computer or internet connection, please contact the Program Manager at 416-479-0675 ext. 106 or by email at email@example.com to discuss alternatives.
Is help available if I am an individual who experiences disability-related barriers?
If you experience disability-related barriers that prevent you from using the application portal and do not have someone to assist you with your application, you can contact us at 416-479-0675 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org to have a Unison staff member assist you.
Who can I contact about a technical issue I’m having with the portal?
If you are having technical issues with the portal, please email us at email@example.com. You can expect to hear back within 2 business days.
How are applications reviewed?
Applications are reviewed by our Funding team. Your application will be assigned to one of our Funding Coordinators who will review your eligibility, responses and uploaded documents, and verify your work history. If you meet eligibility requirements, your application will be sent to Senior Management for approval. If revisions are necessary, you will be notified in the portal. If you have questions about how to make revisions to your application, check out our step by step video. Please note your file may be under review for up to two weeks.
When will I find out if I have been approved?
Due to the volume of submissions received within the first week of opening our new program, the processing time for applications is currently up to 12 weeks or more. As we make our way through this first cycle of submissions, we expect to provide a shorter processing timeline in the coming weeks. You’ll receive an email notification letting you know whether your application was successful or not once the review process is complete. Please note the review process may take up to two weeks.
Will financial assistance from Unison affect my eligibility for other government programs?
Your receipt of any government funding at any level does not affect your eligibility for Unison’s financial assistance, and acceptance of Unison financial assistance does not affect your eligibility to access government funding at any level.
What is the Counselling and Health Solutions service?
The Unison Counselling and Health Solutions is a free, confidential counselling service available to all Unison registrants. The service is anonymous, confidential and accessible by telephone and online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Counselling services are available in English and French and all calls remain strictly confidential.
The Unison Fund offers a toll-free number to connect Canadian music professionals with resources and support for personal and practical issues.
Before you make the call, please register with Unison. 1-855-9UNISON (1-855-986-4766).
The line is provided for members of the Canadian music industry and their immediate family members.
For more details about our Counselling & Health Solutions please visit our website here.
How can I support Unison?
You can find more information on how to make a charitable tax-deductible donation here. To volunteer, or for information on promoting Unison in your workplace or at your live events, please visit our Get Involved page.
Unison’s commitment to confidentiality
Your only contacts will be Unison’s Programs & Services team, our counselling service provider, and/or other agencies that we may suggest. At no point will Unison staff or providers speak to any other person regarding your application, unless you’re clear and explicit written authorization is granted. No personal information will be divulged.
Your commitment to Unison
We require applicants to be honest with us and our agencies, in all regards, at all times. We also ask that you be patient with us as we move your application through the process. It takes a certain amount of time from receipt of an application through to processing and while we understand that you are in a stressful situation, our job is to help minimize that and get your application processed as quickly as possible. Following up daily with our team takes time away from working on your application, so please wait to hear from us directly about any updates. We have a zero tolerance policy against any form of abuse or harassment and any applicant who utters threats, foul language, or is disrespectful in any way towards our staff will risk having their application denied and barred from future access to our programs.
Who can register for Unison?
Unison registration is open to all Canadian music industry professionals.
How much does a membership cost?
It’s free. Accessing Unison’s assistance services couldn’t be easier. No fees. No dues. Just fill in your information, hit submit — you’re done!
What funding opportunities does Unison offer?
Unison offers two (2) financial assistance programs, the Live Music Workers Fund for independent, self-employed live music performance workers, and the Industry Assistance Fund for all other music industry professionals. The Live Music Workers Fund permanently closed on February 1st, 2023, however the Industry Assistance fund will be relaunching in the near future.
What Unison’s financial assistance programs cannot provide
Unison’s Financial Assistance Programs should be seen as short-term assistance with basic living expenses. Unison does not provide financial assistance for business related expenses. If you are looking for work related assistance, please reach out to your local provincial music association for guidance on what funding is available both provincially and nationally.
Is financial assistance available to music workers across all provinces in Canada?
Unison’s Industry Assistance Fund is available to all Canadian residents working in music.
How many times can I apply?
You can apply more than once to the Industry Assistance Fund, although multiple applications from the same applicant will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
How do I apply?
For step-by-step instructions see our Application Details.
What is a CV?
A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is a comprehensive document displaying key educational background, teaching experience, work history and potentially areas of research. CVs can include multiple pages and are organized by clear headings for easy skimming. For the purpose of demonstrating that you meet the eligibility criteria for any of Unison’s financial assistance programs, your CV will need to include information that clearly demonstrates that you have worked in any applicable role in the music industry for at least two years, and that during that period of time you derived the majority of your income from your activity in the music sector.
Your CV may include:
– A summary of your role in the music industry
– Your educational background (university, college, workshops, private study, work placements, internships, apprenticeships, etc)
– What work you did, when, and for how long broken down clearly by date
– Your writing and recording credits if applicable
– Your professional website and social media accounts
– Links to articles about your work in the music industry that mention you by name
– Professional references (contact information of individuals or organizations that you have worked with that can verify your work history)
How do I prove my work history?
It is necessary that Unison has a clear understanding of each applicant’s work history in the music industry, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, to demonstrate their eligibility for our funding programs. Items that will prove your eligibility for financial assistance will depend on your role in the music sector. Some examples of documents that will help to prove your eligibility are, based on various roles:
– List of past/future tour dates (for example: PDF of tour posters or tour section of website)
– Contracts, agreements or other materials from booking agent or venues
– Letter of employment from venue (this is ideal for those who have contracts or residencies performing at venues such as pubs, clubs, hotels, etc. on a long term/regular basis)
– Client list
– Letter of employment
– Client List
What are accepted professional music-related links?
In order to better illustrate your career we do request that applicants send us professional social media accounts, websites, articles, tours/shows, etc. that help to illustrate your career in the Canadian music industry.
Here are some examples of what to send:
- Professional official websites
- Electronic Press Kits (EPK’s)
- Business Instagram
- Facebook fanpage
- Spotify verified artist profiles
- Discography pages i.e. discography, allmusic etc.
What information should I not include in my application for financial assistance?
- Banking information
- Tax returns
- Work history unrelated to music industry activity, provided you meet music industry requirements.
Why can’t I sign in?
Make sure you are using the same email address you registered with us on the new online system. If you have not signed up to the new portal, please register here.
Forgotten passwords can be retrieved by clicking the ‘Forgot Password?’ link on the sign in page. If you have yet to register your email with us, or if your last sign in was before May 2022, you’ll need to create a new user profile. If you are still unable to sign in, Contact Unison.
Who do I contact with further questions?
Please use the Notes section within the application portal to send notes to the Unison team.
- From the home page, click on the “Funding Opportunities” tab. If your application has been started, click on the “In Progress” tab
- Click the program you want to apply to, then click “Open”
- Look for “Notes” located in the left sidebar
- Look for the note type, and select “Note To Unison Fund”
- Click the + sign, type message and save.
Please also use this section to check for responses from the Unison team.
When approved – what to expect?
Once approved you will be issued a funding agreement via email. Please read and follow the instructions to agree to the terms provided.
How to accept payment?
All grants are paid by direct deposit upon receipt and approval of your approval agreement. You will be receiving your payment within 2 to 3 weeks.
Once you’ve confirmed your acceptance of the terms and conditions in the funding agreement, please monitor your email for payment information from our secure payment platform, Plooto (this includes your junk/spam folder). This is where you will be instructed on providing your bank information for direct deposit, including our account number, institution number and transit number.
If you have further questions on making sure you’re able to securely deposit your grant, please have a look at this link and make sure you’re able to follow these steps with depositing your payment. CLICK HERE
What support is available when I call the Counselling and Health Solutions service?
Counselling can be provided over the phone or online, and can address a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to: mental health support, managing relationships and family life, finding child and elder care resources, legal advice, financial guidance, workplace challenges, tackling addictions, improving nutrition and focusing on your health. LifeWorks’s highly qualified, experienced and caring professionals help you select a support option that suits your lifestyle and best addresses the challenges you are facing.
Unison offers five hours of counselling for music industry professionals and their family members. Arrangements can be made for additional help, as it is needed.
Who will I be speaking to when I use the Counselling and Health Solutions service?
The counseling and health solutions support line is sponsored by Unison and provided by LifeWorks – the largest Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) counseling network in Canada. Counseling is provided by a multidisciplinary team of accredited professionals who hold master’s degrees or PhDs in the fields of psychology or clinical social work
What is Togetherall?
Togetherall’s online community is clinically moderated by mental health professionals, and offers Unison’s members a safe and anonymous place to express their thoughts, concerns and triumphs. Resources are free for our registered members (aged 16+) to use while offering a safe, anonymous, judgment-free space to talk about your mental health concerns. For more details about this service, please visit our website here.
*Please note that registering for Togetherall does NOT register you into the Unison member database or for Unison’s Financial Assistance Program. Before you register with Togetherall, please make sure you are registered with Unison.
How do I sign up for the newsletter?
The Unison Fund sends periodic emails about new program offerings, fundraising events and health and wellness news specifically tailored for music industry professionals. (Approximately 2 emails per month.) https://unisonfund.ca/subscription
How does Unison use my information?
Any use of any of Unison’s programs or services is confidential and anonymous.