Home » Stories » Sultans of String - Chris McKhool says CERB changes offer some financial relief as uncertainty persists / The Star

Top 10 for Jun

Sultans of String - Chris McKhool says CERB changes offer some financial relief as uncertainty persists / The Star

Bookmark and Share

Chris McKhool still has many questions about how the federal government will support Canadian artists in the latest update to the COVID-19 emergency benefits program - but for now he's trying to stay focused on the music.

The violinist in Sultans of String, a three-time Juno nominated act, has spent the past several weeks in a holding position as he wondered if accepting live streaming performance spots that paid a couple hundred bucks might disqualify him from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

He got a somewhat clearer answer on Wednesday after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expanded the reach of CERB to include support for people who are still working, but earning $1,000 or less per month, meaning McKhool could start accepting those gigs with confidence.

"I can still be an artist because of this, that's how I feel," McKhool said.

"It's a huge burden lifted off me, that I don't have to worry about whether or not I can be performing."

But he's still unclear on the specifics around getting paid, including whether the Canada Revenue Agency will claw back more of his earnings than anticipated in the future. Similar questions have echoed across Facebook groups dedicated to musicians and others in the creative community.

Like many workers in the gig economy, an artist's income can fluctuate wildly. Much of a performer's income is driven by unexpected opportunities, delayed payments and quarterly royalty cheques, all which can be a challenge to predict even in a regular economy.

READ THE FULL Toronto Star ARTICLE