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Feds drop 'tour tax' for musicians, roadies

A federal immigration regulation, dubbed a "tour tax" by small concert venues opposing the rule that targeted foreign musicians and roadies, has been wiped off the books.

Included within reforms that Jason Kenney, the employment minister, and Chris Alexander, the immigration minister, have announced is the removal of a work permit requirement for certain foreign artists who perform in bars and restaurants.

In a federal bulletin, the change was made to provide "consistent treatment to foreign artists, regardless of venue type."

Previously, foreign artists who wanted to perform in bars or restaurants required a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which cost operators and promoters money and time to provide, and prevented some acts from performing in certain venues.

The LMIA is no longer required, the federal bulletin says.

A tour by Hugh Cornwell, the Stranglers' former lead singer, which included an October 2014 stop at the Pyramid Cabaret, was scratched due to the regulation.

Music Canada, the Canadian Independent Music Association, the Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations and the Canadian Arts Presenting Association applauded the change in a press release on Tuesday. They say the decision will "dramatically improve the landscape for much of the live music community in Canada."

The groups opposed the old rule because they said preventing foreign bands from performing in small venues would threaten venues' existence and, in turn, provide fewer performing opportunities for Canadian artists.

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