Financial Assistance

Unison’s Commitment to You

Your only contacts will be Unison’s Allocations & 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. A committee of your peers will promptly review your application, which will be identified only by file number. No personal information will be divulged. Initial response will be made to all applications within two weeks of receipt. Applicants are asked to be patient while Unison staff review your application. 

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.

We understand this may be a stressful situation for you, but we ask you remain respectful towards Unison staff members.  Staff are working as quickly as possible to assist thousands of music industry works and we appreciate your patience while we review your application.

Financial Assistance Program

This program provides short-term financial relief to help music industry professionals in times of crisis. For the purposes of this program, a ‘crisis’ is defined as an unforeseen situation that leads to a loss of work, an inability to work, or an inability to perform the same work as before.

The application process starts when you contact the Unison office by email at assistance@unisonfund.ca. Unison’s Manager of Allocations & Services will review with you your situation and contact you if necessary.

Unison defines a music industry professional as someone who has earned a minimum of 55% of their income from music-related activity for at least two years. We are committed to a broad and inclusive definition of a music industry professional. For a list of some of the included roles and professions, please visit our FAQ.

To apply, you will be required to provide detail about your professional music background, your reason for approaching Unison, and information about your financial situation. 

A committee will review your application, which will be known to them only by a file name. We will maintain all information that you provide to us in strict confidence in accordance with our privacy policy. 

Note that 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. Unison’s financial assistance is a monetary gift, not income, and is non-taxable.

If you are approved, you will be provided with emergency financial assistance and/or financial, career or personal counselling. 

“In the fall of 2015, I had to take three months off work by doctor’s orders to try to recover my worsening condition…I was going to a clinic in Toronto weekly, while paying my basic expenses at home with the support of Unison. Without Unison’s support, the only other option would have been dismantling my home studio and abandoning entire recording projects.”

Kaleb Hikele, The Sun Harmonic

What Unison’s Financial Assistance Program Can Provide

Unison’s Financial Assistance Program exists to help music industry professionals in times of crisis. The goal is to help you sustain your career and return to your previous circumstances. If that is not possible, we may be able to help you adapt to your changed situation. Unison can provide counselling, referral, and support to address continuing challenges or difficulties.

What Unison’s Financial Assistance Program Cannot Provide

Unison cannot provide relief from consumer debt, or work-related expenses such as lost or stolen instruments. In addition, our resources are not focused on situations where finding work is difficult, but where unfortunate circumstances make working difficult or impossible.

Prepare your application as follows:

Applicants must first register with Unison. If you are not already registered, you may do so here. To begin your application, please tell us about yourself and describe the emergency or the reason you are applying for financial assistance.

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Please confirm your status in Canada: Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident or Work Permit for a minimum period of two years.
  • Provide a copy of a valid piece of identification (i.e., driver’s license, health card).
  • Briefly outline your work history in the Canadian music industry. Attach a current resume and provide all relevant social media contact information.
  • Please tell us if you, or any member of your household has applied for Unison funding support previously and provide details (name of applicant, date of funding). Failure to disclose past support by Unison for you or a member of your household will deem your application to be fraudulent, and null and void.
  • What other organizations have you approached for funding to help you through your current situation? This includes GoFundMe, and other community fundraisers.
  • Summarize your financial commitments and debt, i.e. credit cards, bank loans, tuition fees, mortgage, etc.
  • List other assets you might have, i.e. vehicles, investments, savings accounts.

Please send your application to assistance@unisonfund.ca. If you are unsure if Unison can help you, please contact us directly at assistance@unisonfund.ca