Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Correspondence from Glenn Hagel, M.L.A.

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June 8, 2007

Inside Address

Dear Ms. Gladwell:

As you know, a key priority for me as Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation was to raise the socio-economic status of artists in Saskatchewan. In July 2006, the Final Report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Status of the Artist (MACSA) was published.

The members of MACSA, representing artists’ associations, professional artists and engagers, met several times over the course of a year and a half to develop recommendations for the Final Report. During that time, MACSA consulted extensively with professional artists and with arts advocates throughout the province.

The 2006 Final Report of MACSA became the strategy I adopted to work toward increasing the socio-economic status of Saskatchewan artists. One element of this strategy involved legislative change. MACSA recommended amendments to The Status of the Artist Act that would identify criteria to determine who is a professional artist and who is an engager, and that would introduce collective bargaining for self-employed prof~ssiona1 artists.

In the Fall 2006 legislative session, I introduced a bill to amend The Status of the Artist Act. Consistent with the MACSA recommendation, Bill 40 included the requirement for written contracts, and the definitions of artist and engager.

Simultaneously with First Reading, I referred Bill 40 to the Standing Committee on Human Services. I asked the committee to hold public hearings and consider the matter of collective bargaining for self-employed professional artists. Throughout February and March 2007, the Committee held public hearings. Professional artists, artists’ associations, arts advocates, associations of engagers, representatives of private engagers, and members of the general public were invited to take part in the hearings.

In the early spring of 2007, following the public hearings, the Standing Committee on Human Services provided its report to the Legislature. It recommended that Bill 40 be withdrawn, and a new bill to introduce professional relations between professional artists and engagers be introduced in its place.

As a result of that report, a new legislative proposal was developed. The new proposal, Bill 68, is intended to replace The Status of the Artist Act. It incorporates language from the original Act and from the Bill 40 proposal. Additionally, it includes provisions that would establish a system of professional relations between engagers and self-employed professional artists here in Saskatchewan. The model of professional relations in Bill 68 closely resembles the model practiced under federal statue, but allows Saskatchewan artists an opportunity to determine when and under what circumstances to engage in professional relations under the statute.

Bill 68, The Status of the Artist Act, 2007, received First Reading on May 3, 2007. On May 7, 2007, Second Reading Debates of Bill 68 began. On May 14, 2007, Bill 68 passed second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Human Services.

Subsequently, on May 16, 2007, the Standing Committee on Human Services considered Bill 68 and the Saskatchewan Party oppositions clearly indicated it wasn’t willing to let it come to a vote in Committee. Consequently, time ran out and Bill 68 could not be sent back to the Legislature for 3rd (and final) reading.

As most of you are aware, on May 17, 2007, the spring session ended without the passing
of the Status of the Artist Act. The NDP government members on the Standing
Committee on Human Services intended to pass Bill 68 in Committee; however, the
Saskatchewan Party opposition did not allow it to come to a vote.

Despite the Saskatchewan Party’s unwillingness to support Bill 68, the NDP government remains firmly committed to passing of Bill 68 and we intend to do just that the next time the Legislature convenes.

I am assured that the Honourable Sandra Morin, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation shares this commitment and intends to proceed with Bill 68 at the next possible time. As you may know, Sandra was a member of the standing committee on Human Service, that reviewed The Status of the Artist Act, and is very familiar with the bill.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of arts advocates, of the former members of
MACSA, of the participants in the MACSA consultants, of government officials, of the members of the Standing Committee on Human Services, and of everyone who took part in the public hearings, for the important role each has played in the development of Bill 68 proposals.

Best regards.

Sincerely,
Signed by
Glenn Hagel, M.L.A.
Moose Jaw North

cc: Honourable Sandra Morin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation