CAN Talks About Mentoring

CAN Executive Director Scott Walker, mentor Guy Maddin, and mentee Sonia Gemmiti talk about CAN, why artists don’t retire, and our Artist to Artist Mentoring Program with host Mark Franklin on Career Buzz. Click here to listen.

CAN Announces Visionary Artist Award-Winner

The Canadian Artists Network is pleased to announce that Beverly Glenn-Copeland has been chosen as the 2023 laureate of the Robert Johnston Visionary Artist Award.  Read about the award here.

Download the media release here.

CAN Receives Funding from TD Ready Commitment

Canada’s young artists have the potential to enrich our society. Their talent can delight, inspire, and empower. Their work could change our world.

But many of them need help realizing their potential.

Canada’s seasoned artists have spent their lives doing what emerging artists are working towards: their art has delighted, inspired, and empowered. And they don’t recognize the concept of retirement. It is simply not in their DNA. The artistic gene does not shut off at 55, 65, 75, or even 85. They are still filled with creativity; and they want to share it.

Our program provides experienced artists an honorarium to mentor emerging or mid-career colleagues for six months. The mentees can also access up to $1,500 in expenses to help propel their careers.

Since our Mentoring Program began in 2014, we have facilitated more than 140 mentorships in all artistic disciplines. Mentees regularly tell us of the life-changing impact these mentorships have had.

“At TD, we recognize that artists across all disciplines play an important role in helping shape the vibrancy of local communities,” said Robyn Small, Senior Manager, Philanthropy, TD Bank Group. “Through the TD Ready Commitment, our corporate citizenship platform, we’re proud to support programs that foster connections for artists facing barriers in the music, arts and culture sector, amplify diverse voices, and create opportunities for emerging creators to flourish.”

“TD’s support will enable our mentors to guide more emerging artists from diverse communities,” says CAN’s Executive Director, Scott Walker. “The mentorships we provide could help the next generations of artists produce works that delight, inspire, and empower. Their work could change our world.”

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

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 Stands in Solidarity with Artists in Ukraine

The Canadian Artists Network joins with many artists and their organizations, in Canada and around the world, in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All are united in expressing solidarity with artists in Ukraine affected personally by this unjust war, those in Russia jailed for trying to tell the truth, and all artists facing aggression, violent conflict and censorship.

To find out more, we invite you to contact one of the many groups, which span all artistic disciplines: CARFAC, L’Union des artistes, TWUC, Canadian Actors’ Equity and others in Canada; CISAC, International Music Council, International Council of MuseumsFédération Internationale des Acteurs  and many more globally, including the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund.

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