Get to know your CADA/West

August 2014 Member's Newsletter

This edition features You Spoke, We Heard responses to some of your CADA/West Member's Survey responses; a call for photos & our monthly dance citizenship challenge to learn more about the Healthy Dancer Canada Conference

You Spoke, We Heard

by Jessica Wadsworth:

Over the past year, I’ve met with a lot of diverse dance artists and learned a great deal about the current state of your working lives. As part of our effort to listen to your feedback, we also sent around the Annual Survey in July. The number of you that replied was rather low this year, so I’ve got a goal to speak with each and every member over the month of September.

In the meantime, here are some things that came up in the survey:

"I want affordable healthcare/subsidy for health and wellness"

This is an ongoing battle in the dance sector. We’re really pleased to say that your joint membership with the CDA is going to good use in this regard. Not only is the ACTRA Fraternal package, offered by the CDA, beginning a $70/month package for dance artists this fall, but the CDA has also joined a number of groups across the country to develop the Healthy Artist Trust (HeART) with the Minister of Finance, Health and Canadian Heritage. If approved by the Ministry, this fund will set aside $10 million dollars to help subsize artists’ healthcare premiums.

We will keep you posted on news with regard to this exciting initiative. Don’t forget that we had a wonderful volunteer (Jennifer Law) complete a full healthcare package comparison in 2012. Her research showed that it was overall CHEAPER to buy into a monthly package than it was to pay for services as needed throughout the year. Check it out here: Extended Health Comparison: to buy or not to buy

"I want recognition that budgets are a little different outside Vancouver. "

This is very true. In fact, budgets across the country vary greatly and dance artists are currently working in a variety of contexts. CADA’s minimum Fees & Rates standards document is updated every two years. We calculate the minimum rates based on Statistics Canada’s LICO’s (Low-Income Cut Off) and those numbers are factored with population density and cost of living in different geographical areas.

We set the minimum according to figures that work in urban areas because that is where the majority of dance takes place. We also understand that many working dance artists hold university degrees and are professionals, so we feel that their wages should reflect their education and experiences. However, we know that funding is different across the country.

We only suggest that in applying for funding anywhere, that the full Rates & Fees are at least included in the original applications and strived for when the project is created. It is, of course, entirely up to the dance artists themselves to negotiate contracts and to be empowered and educated about fair working conditions, including injury prevention and workers compensation.

There is a lot of statistical information available online for dance artists to view. Simply google "dancer income in Canada" and you’ll learn about a variety of factors. For more clarification, please contact me at

"I want someone to speak with who is knowledgeable about mature dance artists’ needs."

I’m no spring chicken, but I think what this feedback is getting at would be better related to the Dancer Transition Resource Centre.

CADA/West has great resources for working dance artists, but the DTRC has a ton of information and resources for ALL the transitions that a dance artist could go through. Give Zaena Campbell a call at 604-899-0755 or email her at

"I want more engagement from CADA/peer-to-peer discussions/CADA Cafes to return."

Yay! Taking on a new position with CADA, plus changes to the way we’re funded, meant that this year I didn’t run the CADA Cafes in the same way – HOWEVER – I’m up to speed now and we’ve got some support from our funders to engage in more discussions with you.

This fall our old Program Manager Kristina Lemieux will be running focus groups that will talk specifically about a member-driven vision for CADA/West, plus we’re offering some learning sessions on how to be an active and engaged member. The truth is, CADA/West is only as strong as its membership.

FYI, whoever wrote this wrote my favourite response of the whole survey: “Strive harder to be recognizable and “often-talked about” organization in the community, where people are proud to be affiliated as a sign of their commitment to their careers and to the art form’s growth. CADA is too quiet and too unnoticed to be taken seriously, or to draw the supporter who will inject new life/energy into its future.”

"I want more educational opportunities from CADA that will help my career."

This too is on the horizon. After feedback from our conference in May and a board-led retreat, we know that this is something the membership wants more of. Luckily, we have a lot of resources in the office to teach people about a variety of subjects. In particular, we will be hosting some grant writing workshops and financial literacy workshops in the near future. Keep following us on twitter, facebook and continue to read our newsletter for details.

"I want notification of upcoming grant deadlines/shows coming up/a place to post news."

As some long-standing CADA/West members will recall, we used to have the CADA Community section on our website just for this purpose. Unfortunately, this was chronically underused. It was a lot of work to maintain and the website statistics were really low. Since reinstating it has come up a lot in our conversations with you, we are willing to have discussions about making this happen again. Likely, we will be looking at partnership with The Dance Centre on maintaining a site like this, as they already have a calendar on their website and other services like their print and electronic publications.

"I want teaching contract templates."

I think this is a great idea. I’ll try to make this happen in the fall and let you know about it. Also, if you type "instructor insurance" into the search bar on our website, you’ll get five excellent articles to read. Here's some examples:

Did you ever read our article on dance instructor negotiations? Contract Guidelines for Dance Educators

Or, perhaps you are already a dance instructor and you would like to know about insurance? Liability Insurance for Dance Instructors

"I want the TSP cheque to come faster."

We get it. We really do. We’re a small organization that has limited staff. We receive the submissions by the 10th of each month and have them ready by the 20th – a ten-day turnaround. If we had a bigger budget, we would build an app for submissions with a direct deposit in under 48 hours – we really would.

"Can we remove the requirement to have an address on the receipts for TSP?"

Unfortunately no. The answer is simple, we have to comply with the same standards that the Canada Revenue Agency requires for income tax requirements. Having said that, I hope none of you ever get audited.

"I’d rather read the newsletter in the body of the email than go through the re-direct process. Can this be done?"

Here ya go (from Deanna). As an aside, someone also wrote "more pictures". Please see and respond to the call below!

Call for photos for the CADA/West website

Sure, our website has over 190 resources for dance artists, info about dozens of dance/arts service organizations, advocacy tools, as well as all info about anything CADA/West. What it's missing is images of our members in action.

As CADA/West is its members, we are putting out a call for photos from all of you to represent the dynamic and vibrant community that we are. It's simple! Please email Deanna any photos you'd like to share (with performer & photo credits).

Speak With Your Feet

This month's dance citizenship challenge...

Learn more about the Healthy Dancer Canada Conference

Dancers, dance educators and health professionals: learn more about and register now for Healthy Dancer Canada's 7th annual conference A Focus on Prevention and Wellness in Dance, taking place in Vancouver on Sep 14 at Scotiabank Dance Centre.

The 2014 conference will include movement workshops, lectures, performances, and panels that focus on prevention and wellness in dance. Topics include: prevalent muscle imbalances in dancers, scoliosis in ballet; mental health implications of dancers’ creative identities; brain integration in dance training; and long-term athletic development strategies for dancers. Special guests include new CADA/West Board Member Dario Dinuzzi

Healthy Dancer Canada is also offering a free pre-conference workshop, presented by Stuart Anderson and Andrea Downie, at Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House Sep 13.

CADA/West and its Members,

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designed, written and built by Deanna Peters, CADA/West Communications Officer

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