MUSIC PUBLISHERS CANADA

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Unison offers a lifeline for Canadian music professionals in times of crisisFeb 24 2016

CMPA welcomed Unison again this year to be a part of the Canadian Music Café. Want a Unison Guitar string Bracelets of your own? They are available online for only $20 at unisonfund.ca/guitarstringbracelets/

CMPA welcomed Unison again this year to be a part of the Canadian Music Café. Want a Unison Guitar string Bracelets of your own? They are available online for only $20 at unisonfund.ca/guitarstringbracelets/

The Canadian music community has never shied away from a worthy cause. From local school fundraisers to global initiatives, you don’t have to look far to see artists, venues, labels and publishers lending their talent and time to make this world a better place.

It’s not surprising that a community that has such a strong spirit of empathy and compassion embraced the Unison Benevolent Fund. Now six years old, Unison was created to provide support for Canadian music professionals in times of crisis, illness or personal hardship.

In the spring of 2015, a key goal of Unison’s was realized with the launch of the Financial Assistance program. In addition to the free counselling and wellness services that have been offered for years, Unison began to offer discreet, short-term financial relief.

“The applicants we hear from are in need of immediate help,” said Sheila Hamilton, Unison’s Executive Director, reflecting on these first few months of the financial assistance program.

”Support for groceries and rent are among the most frequent requests. Some stories are truly heartbreaking – and we do our best to help people to seek other support for long-term struggles – but we also hear from those looking to make ends meet during simple, unpredictable problems, like a broken bone.”

With the Financial Assistance program only a year old, the first recipients are beginning to provide feedback on how the process has worked for them.

“Unison went above and beyond for me in one of my darkest times of need,” an anonymous applicant shared. “When all of the odds were stacked against me. They provided some relief at a moment when I had no options.”

All applicants remain anonymous, but their feedback is invaluable.

Generally pleased with the speed of response, applicants have usually received allocated funds within two weeks of first contacting Unison.

The process is kept simple and confidential, but accountable. Support for groceries is provided in gift certificates, and rent and medical bills are paid directly.

With the launch of the Financial Assistance program, more music professionals are also finding their way to Unison’s other service: free counselling. The launch of the Financial Assistance has been a great success, but it’s also showed the real importance of the free counselling and wellness services to address the factors that can contribute to a crisis.

Counselling can cover everything from mental health, to substance abuse, to expert budgeting and financial planning advice. No application is required to access the counselling. A

Canadian music industry workers can simply register online at unisonfund.ca and call 1-855-986-4766 for immediate access.