Thursday, November 27, 2008

SAA Bulletin

November 26, 2008

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Arts Professions Act Goes to Second Reading

Today, Hon. Christine Tell, Minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture, and Sport moved that Bill No. 68, The Arts Professions Act be read for the second time in the legislature. In speaking to the purpose of the Bill, Tell explained that it would "support professional artists", "encourage a thriving arts and culture sector", and promote better business practises. Minister Tell spoke about the importance of arts and culture to Saskatchewan, and that artists are central to the sector and must be supported to ensure they can live and work in the province. Hon. Tell committed her Ministry to work with "major stakeholders such as the industry associations to assist in promoting the legislation and in providing assistance to artists in drawing up contracts". Minister Tell's complete speech and that of Opposition House Leader Len Taylor's, who also spoke to the Bill, can be found in the Hansard.

Similar to the current Status of the Artist Act, Bill No. 68 recognizes the contribution of artists and value of artistic creativity, and the importance to professional artists of being fairly compensated. The Bill includes principles such as the right of artists to: free speech and freedom of expression, form associations and advisory bodies, the potential to earn a living, fair treatment by government and society, the same economic and social benefits available to other workers, education and training, and the desirability of making artistic works available to the public.

New to the Bill is a clause that makes the Crown bound by the Act. However, the clause that states Government will undertake "as far as it considers it reasonable and appropriate" to promote artistic work, respect working conditions; respect, honour and in good faith abide by scale agreements and protocols respecting working conditions remains in the Bill.

Also new to Bill No. 68 is a detailed definition of a professional artist, similar to the recommendations of the 1993 and 2006 Minister Advisory Committees.

Another significant addition is the requirement that engagers must have written contracts with professional artists to retain their services to produce an artistic work or production, present an artistic work or production to the public, to engage in an enterprise that circulates or disseminates artistic works to the public. Elements to be included in the contracts are also named, and protection of intellectual property rights are to be included in written contracts when applicable.