The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
June 17 2020,
In your role as the Minister of Canadian Heritage you are navigating an unprecedented crisis across our national cultural sectors, and we are urging that you ensure that our National Museums are not left behind, that the workers who have dedicated their careers to these essential and enriching institutions are afforded the same critical economic supports available to all Canadian facing the terrible consequences of COVID-19. Museum staff, in some cases, have seen a temporary cessation of work, reduced hours or staff have voided their vacation banks such as at the Museum of Nature and Ingenium.
PSAC urges you to expand the conditions of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) so that it can be made available to National Museums including Ingenium (Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum), Canadian Museum of History, Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian War Museum, and Canadian Museum for Human Rights. PSAC supports the requests of several of the museums on the expansion of the CEWS.
Discussions with Employers such as the Museum of Nature have revealed that federally funded museums need serious financial assistance as they rely heavily on patron revenues. Private employers who are facing similar strains such as the Liberal Party of Canada, small and large non-profits as well as small to medium businesses are all eligible for the CEWS. Extending this right to National Museums is an important step to preserving Canadian heritage.
We want to ensure, immediately, proper measures and protocols are in place for workers at the National Museums upon the return to the workplace that mirror how federal sector workers will be protected. No other federal institutions have had to make these financial changings and museum staff are the only civil servants being affected.
Our members are committed to their role as stewards of important national collections, making impactful and diverse programming accessible to all Canadians as well as the economic and tourism industry. To safeguard our federal museums and ensure they continue to serve as a powerful repository of our cultural memory and shared aspirations, we are asking that you publicly announce support for all National Museums without delay. Please let us know if you need any additional information and we look forward to hearing from you regarding our request.
Alex Silas, Regional Executive Vice-President
National Capital Region
Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President