Unanimous Decision By The Supreme Court Helps Propel Artists’ Rights

News from CARFAC BC

This week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Canadian artists in the fight for minimum artist fees at the National Gallery of Canada. In a unanimous decision from the bench, the court allowed an appeal on behalf of artists restoring an earlier decision that found in their favour.

The associations representing Canadian visual and media artists, CARFAC and the RAAV, had been trying to negotiate binding minimum fees for the payment of artists at the National Gallery, similar to a minimum wage. The gallery essentially argued that CARFAC and RAAV were taking away the right of artists to be paid less if they chose. In allowing the appeal, the court rejected this argument and, in an unusual move, ruled immediately after oral arguments. 

“There wasn't a dry eye when the decision was given, and congratulations have been coming in across the country and around the world because this precedent setting win has great relevance for all disciplines of art in Canada and abroad.  This victory marks a new day in Canadian art history,” declared Julie McIntyre, President of BC’s provincial affiliate, CARFAC BC.

According to CARFAC, the median income for Canadian artists is estimated at $8000 annually, and this decision could be the starting point to changing those figures.

CARFAC would like to say a special thank you to everyone who has donated to support this legal effort, and thanks to our lawyers, David Yazbeck, Michael Fisher and Wassim Garzouzi. 

BC residents in favor of artist fees are invited to become a CARFAC member today at www.carfacbc.org/join. Membership dues allow CARFAC to advocate for payments of artist fees, to tackle the illegal reproduction of artists' work, artist resale right and provide professional support and educational resources to artists and the public at large. 

CARFAC is the national voice of Canada’s professional visual artists. Since 1990, British Columbia’s provincial affiliate CARFAC BC has been working with artists and the public to advocate for visual and media arts across the province. Through its campaigns and efforts, the organization promotes a climate conducive to the production of visual arts in Canada and provides artists with the business tools they need to develop their practice. CARFAC engages actively in advocacy, research and public education on behalf of artists in Canada. www.carfacbc.org

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