Maintaining Creativity 8

The Canadian Artists Network, the voice of Canada’s experienced professional artists, will present its annual virtual conference Maintaining Creativity 8 from October 30-November 3, 2023 with three chapters on the theme Artists as Agents of Change.

The Maintaining Creativity 8 conference will explore a different aspect of Artists as Agents of Change in each two-hour chapter with moderators including Laurie Brown, Steven Loft, and Garry Neil. This annual conference is an online gathering place for professional artists of all disciplines in Canada to come together to examine new ideas for innovation, support, and craft.

Maintaining Creativity 8 is presented free of charge, with registration now open at Participating panelists will be announced in the coming weeks.

CAN Pre-Budget Submission

In August of 2023, CAN responded to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for pre-budget consultations with three recommendations:

  1. That the Government address the precarious financial nature of professional artists by making a portion of artistic income tax-free; and by providing other tax relief measures.

  2. That the Government recognize the volatility of artists’ incomes by introducing a four-year income back-averaging system to ensure tax fairness

  3. That the Government develop and implement a Seniors Strategy to address ageism and the needs of an aging population, including career needs of older professional artists who do not retire.
Click the button to download CAN’s submission

CAN Submission to the CRTC re: The Online Streaming act

In June of 2023, The Canadian Artists Network posted a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in support of the Commission’s statement that funds raised through the act should be reserved for works that promote older creatives. Click the button to read the submission.

CAN Advocates in the Globe & Mail

Prime Time

Published May 19th, 2023

Re “Film, TV and music funds to be modernized, with new ones created, after Bill C-11 approval” (May 17): The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission believes that funds should “support programs that serve the needs and interests” of several equity-deserving communities. We were gratified to read that the list includes Canadians of diverse ages.

Ageism has been called “the last acceptable form of prejudice” and nowhere is it more prominent than in media and the arts. As the voice of Canada’s seasoned professional artists, we know the obstacles older creatives face in their careers, even though our research shows they are at the height of their creative abilities.

This policy opens the door to telling more stories by, and for, older Canadians. We look forward to working with the CRTC to welcome this new era. 

Scott Walker Executive director, Canadian Artists Network

CAN at Prime Time

In early February, several CAN Board members attended Prime Time Ottawa, presented by the Canadian Media Producers Association. During a break from the meeting, they had an informal dinner with former Governor General Michaëlle Jean and her husband along with executives from AFBS and The AFC.

In the photo:
Top Row [L-R]:  Jan Miller [Media Consultant/CAN Board Member], Tara Lapointe [Executive Director of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation] David Hope [Executive Director of The AFC/CAN board member], The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Keith Martin Gordey [CAN board member, Vice President of ACTRA National],  Jason Soulay [AFBS].

Bottom Row [L-R]: Tonya Williams [Executive Director of Reelworld/CAN board member], Louis-Alexandre Lanthier  [PAA Advisory/CAN board member]; Bernard Poulin [visual artist and writer],  Honourable Marie-P. Charette-Poulin [former Senator/Past Chair of CAN], Jean-Daniel Lafond,[filmmaker and writer, spouse of Madame Jean], Ron Zammit [CEO of AFBS].

International Day of Older Persons

A Letter from Mary Walsh

October 1st marked the International Day of Older Persons. The United Nations designated this year to honour The Resilience and Contributions of Older Women.

Many people around the world have been celebrating the life of a woman who embodies that theme. Queen Elizabeth was remarkable in her dedication, service, and resilience throughout her long life.

But there are many, many others. Older women demonstrate resilience and strength, every day, with varying recognition for doing so. One such older woman is Lisa LaFlamme, whose abrupt displacement from CTV National News caused a public uproar in Canada and around the world. Many blamed ageism as the cause for her dismissal.

Ageism has been called the last acceptable form of prejudice. The indignation surrounding the firing of Ms. LaFlamme gives us hope though, that ageism may soon be totally unacceptable.

Old age is not a symbol of lost potential. Old age is a symbol of wisdom, and grace, of strength and survivorship, a signal to the world that you’ve triumphed over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments. Because as an older person, you’ve learned over time the hard lessons of how to face with courage, vigor, and fortitude whatever new challenges are waiting just around the corner.

That is the message of The Canadian Artists Network, on whose Artistic Advisory I am proud to serve. We are a cohort with decades of experience; decades of talent; decades of knowledge. CAN is our voice and it represents us as we continue our life’s work.

As we celebrate the International Day of Older Persons and this year’s theme, we are proud to say that Canada’s elder female [and male] artists are resilient. We have had to be. We live in a world where artists are undervalued. The average income of an artist is well below the Canadian average and always has been. Many people don’t consider being an artist a ‘real job.’

We older artists have challenged the establishment our entire lives, and we have no intention of being sidelined and no intention going ‘gentle into that good night.’ We have too much yet to say and too much yet to do. We are: strong, resilient, and valuable.


Mary Walsh CM

Artistic Advisor