Canadian Musician - May/June 2021 | Page 9


The Unison Benevolent Fund Is There to Support Those Who Make the Music You Love


career in the music industry can be tough on people even during the best of times . Yet , when we at the Unison Benevolent Fund answered the call to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on Canada ’ s music industry in March 2020 , the effects of the pandemic were impossible to foresee .
For many of us , it feels as if the world was hit with COVID-19 almost overnight , the effects equal parts swift and devastating . Musicians and live music workers from all around the world were forced to postpone or abandon tours and isolate . Physical distancing and staying at home were the right decision ; however , isolation has left many artists and road crews in limbo , and at a higher risk for a mental health crisis .
Though we continue to see signs of recovery and a gradual return to work for some in music , prospects remain dim for so many others as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave a void in our communities across the country . So many opportunities for upcoming work are up in the air and some already fragile careers are in deeper jeopardy . Not to mention the suffering of those who are ill or are caring for a loved one in need . Although the Unison Fund has always been in the business of providing emergency aid to music industry members , the sheer magnitude of this crisis has introduced a new and urgent meaning to our work .
Our lifesaving programs turn despair into hope . Unison Fund , Canada ’ s music industry charity , provides counselling and emergency financial assistance to Canadian music industry professionals who have encountered an unforeseeable emergency , such as recovering from an illness , injury , or other circumstances that result in an inability to work , and severe economic or personal hardship . We believe that by supporting the health and well-being of music industry professionals , the industry as a whole will benefit . In a sector in which employment can be unpredictable , it ’ s important to know that a caring community has your back .
Mental illness doesn ’ t simply go away during a pandemic , and for many , it gets worse . Social distancing and closures have made it more difficult to access existing mental health support and programs . Plus , social isolation and the current uncertainty results in many needing additional support . Unison ’ s counselling and health solutions services can be provided over the phone or online and can address a wide range of topics , including mental health support , managing relationships and family life , finding child and elder care resources , legal advice , financial guidance , workplace challenges , tackling addiction or substance use , or improving nutrition . All services are free , anonymous , confidential , and available 24 hours a day , seven days a week , in English and French .
For over a decade , Unison has been committed to helping producers , engineers , singers and songwriters , musicians , production crews , and thousands more through our lifesaving programs . At this time , Unison continues to assist thousands of music industry professionals in times of crisis . In the last 12 months , Unison Fund has distributed over $ 2.3 million in emergency financial aid to help professionals working in all aspects of the music industry , with double the amount of funds dispersed in 2020 than in all other years combined . We are ready and we are helping .
We know this situation is stressful for everyone ; people living with mental illness and addictions may be finding it especially difficult to cope . The pandemic and ensuing events have shown us in the truest , grandest sense , that the only way forward is together – we are all stronger that way . In that spirit , Unison ’ s services remain available for everyone in the music industry . Please stay safe and know that the Unison Benevolent Fund is here to help . Remember : no matter where you are or what you ’ re going through , you don ’ t have to go through it alone . Music is the centerpiece of our mission , and we are proud to stand with our community and
By Roo Kailey
provide a space to do good .
We encourage you to reach out for support if you ’ re struggling or know someone who is . If you would like to help push our mission and can afford to share your time , voice , information , and resources , please do so ! There has never been a more important time to give . Thousands of individuals in our industry need us to act now – our crisis as an organization is not over . Unison Fund needs to find new revenue streams and other opportunities beyond our membership and donations , which we are incredibly grateful for , but recognize are no longer enough if we want to keep our doors open . In order to continue to serve the music industry on a national scale , Unison is actively seeking financial support from those who believe in our mission and want to keep our lifesaving programs afloat .
To learn more about the Unison Fund , registration , and / or eligibility , and to donate to help music workers reeling from the devastation of COVID-19 , please visit us at www . unisonfund . ca .
Roo Kailey is the Marketing & Communications Manager at Unison Benevolent Fund .