December 2017The Idea is Born
Sandra Battaglini spirited a movement to get stand-up comedy officially recognized as an art form by the various levels of government in Canada, and make it easier for Canadian comedians to work in the U.S. and around the world by writing a letter to the Prime Minister:
The Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians (CASC), had its beginnings in 2017. Sandra Battaglini spirited a movement to get stand-up comedy officially recognized as an art form by the various levels of government in Canada, and make it easier for Canadian comedians to work in the U.S. and around the world.
February 2018 CASC Launches
A small group of stand-up comedians rallied around Sandra, met with industry stakeholders, and took action on advice to form an Association. An ad hoc Executive Committee approved a Constitution and ByLaws in February 2018, and began working on the two initiatives: recognition as an art form, and labour mobility.
Spring/Summer 2018 Lobbying
CASC Members and supporters met with government officials and staff, including Global Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Canada Council for the Arts, and Heritage Canada in the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2018, when NAFTA was being renegotiated and eventually became the proposed USMCA.
The Canadian government, much to our disappointment, eventually abandoned the issue of Labour Mobility for cultural workers. But, for the first time in Canadian history, stand-up comedians were at the table and had a voice inside government offices.
An e-petition to the Canadian Government to recognize comedy as an art form was signed by thousands of comedians and sponsored by Liberal MP, Julie Dabrusin. On September 24th, 2018, when she tabled the petition on Parliament Hill on behalf of CASC, it was received by a standing ovation from MPs in The House of Commons. The efforts continue in getting the government to respond.
February 2019 Sirius XM & JFL
In February 2019, there was a bold and brisk response from individuals and groups across the country to plans by Just for Laughs and SiriusXM Canada to revamp and rebrand “Canada Laughs 168” to “Just For Laughs Radio”.
The response included massive social media activism from countless stand-up comics, an unprecedented boycott by Edmonton stand-up comics of a JFL showcase, and a CASC Town Hall meeting on February 26th, 2019. The next day JFL informed CASC, and then the public, that they decided to make their revamped and rebranded “Just For Laughs Canada” on SiriusXM 100% content from independently produced Canadian comedians. Private industry stakeholders demonstrated that they were prepared to listen to the stand-up comedy community. CASC again demonstrated the value of a unified, informed voice to its Members.
March 2019Open to All Comedians
CASC will continue our efforts to collaborate with other stakeholders in the comedy industry. We are expanding our Membership to become the first-ever platform for a unified voice to advocate for ALL comedians to make Canada a comedy nation. While our name, for now, will remain the same, Membership will no longer be restricted to just those who identify as stand-up comics.
June 2019COMEDY IS ART
As a result of our Ottawa meetings, CASC was given an opportunity to provide witness testimony at the Parliament Hill meeting of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage with regards to The Canada Council for the Arts. Adam Growe expressed CASC’s support for budget allocations to the Council, and reiterated the importance for the Council to recognize comedy as art. LISTEN: https://soundcloud.com/canadianstandup/casc-testimony
We are strongly urging CASC members to apply for Council funding, as well as apply to become Peer Assessors at the Council, and share their experiences with CASC for our files.
July 2019CANADIAN COMEDY CONTENT
Adam Growe was invited to participate on an industry panel at Just for Laughs in Montreal. Representing CASC and CANCOM, Adam appeared with Dave Merheje, Michelle Daly (CBC), Sarah Fowlie (Bell Media), and Andrew Barnsley (Project 10) to discuss “Comedy in Canada: What’s the Deal?”
August 2019FUNDING FOR CANADIAN COMEDY CONTENT/LABOUR MOBILITY
CASC submitted recommendations to the Department of Finance, Standing Committee on Finance (FINA), for pre-budget consultations in advance of the federal government’s 2020 Budget. We highlighted our support for: continued funding to The Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF); federal tax credit incentives, funding for CBC/Radio-Canada, and Canada Media Fund (CMF) contributions; and Canada’s Creative Export Strategy. READ: Coming Soon
August 2019COMEDY IS ART/FUNDING FOR CANADIAN COMEDY
In August 2019 Sandra Battaglini and Adam Growe had a teleconference with The office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage (to discuss funding for comedy, the CMF, Canada Arts Presentation Fund, and CANCOM*)
August 2019FUNDING FOR CANADIAN COMEDY CONTENT
In August 2019 CASC was invited to participate in a nationwide Working Group teleconference lead by the Canada Media Fund (CMF), with screen sector stakeholders across the country. It was designed to discuss the CMF’s first-ever Early Stage Development Program. Adam Growe joined the call, and shared the feedback shared by CASC members about their experience applying for the fund.
September 2019CRTC/CANADIAN CONTENT
In September 2019, CASC submitted a comment as an intervenor on a broadcasting license renewal for Super Channel. The CRTC asked for interveners to comment as Super Channel was being examined for being non-compliant with their condition of license. CASC expressed opposition to Super Channel’s request to reduce their Canadian programming expenditure requirements, the elimination of their requirement for Canadian script and concept development, and supported the CRTC’s response and concerns about Super Channel’s future payment of shortfalls in the funding requirements they had previously failed to satisfy. READ: Coming Soon
October 2019GOVERNMENT PLATFORMS
In October 2019, CASC posted a Federal Election Platform Statement encouraging members to give attention to candidates and parties who were campaigning to improve arts funding, improve export activities for artists, strengthen the creation of original Canadian content, and promote the talents of Canadian artists. READ: https://canadianstandup.ca/the-canadian-association-of-stand-up-comedians-casc-federal-election-platform-2019/
October 2019FUNDING AND CANADIAN CONTENT
In October 2019 CASC and The Foundation for Canadian Comedy (CANCOM)* submitted an application to Ontario Creates’ Business Intelligence Program to fund a study: Profile and Value Chain Analysis of Ontario’s Comedy Content Creators. If approved, the consulting firm Nordicity will work with CASC and CANCOM to deliver this first-ever analysis of the importance of Ontario comedians in the screen sector; the challenges faced by Canadian comedians; and how to keep Ontarians living and working in the comedy industry in Canada. The lens is on Ontario, but this project will provide valuable insights for the comedy industry across the country. The first two industry stakeholders to provide support to CASC and CANCOM for the study were ACTRA Toronto and Just for Laughs. Since then, Project 10 and Frantic Films have also come on board with support.