OCSM Conference Highlights

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Highlights from the 2016 OCSM Conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 8-12, 2016



Jazz pianist and retired Senator Tommy Banks gave a keynote address on lobbying of provincial and federal governments, and within the AFM. He argued the arts sector needs a unified presence before legislators, which was lost when the Canadian Conference for the Arts dissolved; and that AFM media policies could better reflect the interests of its broader membership.

Airline policy: The CFM is working to harmonize Canadian regulations with those of the US FAA. Int. Rep. Allistair Elliott updated OCSM on this effort, providing a sample letter for orchestras, player associations, and other organizations to endorse and support reasonable measures for consistent, safe regulations for carry-on and checked musical instruments.

Canada Council: Previously Dir. of the Music Section, Aimé Dontigny discussed how Canada Council is abolishing such fiefdoms, creating a more diverse and fluid vision for federal arts funding, while aiming to show that significantly increased arts funding can bring significant, tangible benefits nationwide, and elevate Canada’s place on the world stage.

Orchestras Matter: Orchestras Canada Exec. Dir. Katherine Carleton reported on her wide-ranging activities, including a public awareness campaign through the websites orchestrasmatter.ca and lesorchestrescomptent.ca.

“Musicians of” websites: The Advocacy Committee challenged all OCSM orchestras to develop website and social media presences, offering guidelines and recommendations for how to manage, maintain, produce relevant content, and cooperate with our organizations.

OCSM President Robert Fraser addressed Delegates on how orchestras can and do make our cities and communities better, safer, and more attractive.



French services: AFM President Ray Hair and Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert discussed how the AFM and CFM are working with Local 406 (Quebec) to translate key documents and support the added costs of serving a bilingual membership.  

International Federation of Musicians: The International Orchestra Conference will be in Montreal, May 11-14, 2017. Local 406 Exec. Dir. Mylène Cyr shared plans and highlights, encouraging Delegates and other OCSM members to attend.

Social media: Legal counsel Michael Wright spoke on risks inherent in electronic communications, including email and social media. While certain labour actions may be protected, privacy is rarely certain, consequences can be profound, and free speech is not a defense for negative and inappropriate comments relating to employers.

Wage charts: Communications Coordinator Laurence Hoffman demonstrated new tools for collecting and presenting key data, now available in a password-protected section of the AFM website: wagechart.afm.org.



Preparatory work continues on a comprehensive symphonic media agreement, which the CFM plans to negotiate with a multi-employer group.



Rights of Extras: Legal counsel Michael Wright addressed the basis for including extras in preparing for, negotiating, and ratifying symphonic agreements, as well as how this may play out in practice.

Pattern Bargaining: AFM President Ray Hair spoke on the strengths of this approach, which pressures multiple employers to match and exceed fair standards for quality wages and benefits; and the perils of being “pattern bargained in reverse”, when managers are able to isolate employee groups and undercut standards achieved elsewhere.


Resolutions, honours, elections

ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge and ROPA President Carla Lehmeier-Tatum were warmly thanked for their stellar contributions and friendship to Canadian musicians. Their terms of office ended this summer.

A new Honour Roll was instituted to recognize such outstanding service to OCSM’s causes, and an initial list of honorees was approved. It includes outgoing Treasurer Greg Sheldon, who served from 2008-2016.

Elections: OCSM 2nd Vice President Liz Johnston was elected to the office of Treasurer, and Niagara Symphony Delegate Brian Baty was elected to replace Liz as 2nd VP.


Save the dates

Sept. 15: Deadline for submissions to Una Voce, issue 1

Oct. 25: Canadian Arts Coalition’s Day on the Hill

Oct. 31: Deadline for “New Chapter”, Canada Council’s program for grants relating to Canada’s 150th anniversary

Dec. 1: Deadline for submitting OCSM Dues and Directory information

May 11-14: International Federation of Musicians (FIM) Orchestra Conference in Montreal


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