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Choreographers and Producers: Employer status at the CNESST

Bolero © Flavio – Creative Commons

The Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases protects all Quebec workers who sustain employment injuries. Under this law, any company or self-employed person who hires more than one worker is obliged to register with the CNESST within 60 days of starting their activities.

According to the law, any dancer who does work on behalf of a independent operator or an organization working to produce shows (dance company, independent choreographer, event organizer, radio or television network, advertising agency, or any other organization or company acting as producer) is automatically considered a worker, whether he is a freelancer or an employee.

The producer who employs performers is therefore obliged to declare to the CNESST the remuneration he pays them.

Any performer can file a claim with the CNESST if they sustain an injury during a rehearsal or a show. If the producer is not registered with the CNESST as an employer, or if they have not declared the performers’ salaries, the CNESST will take charge of updating their file in order to make it compliant with the law.

An independent choreographer who employs at least one worker, even without pay, for the creation, production or touring of a show, is required to register with the CNESST as an employer within 60 days of the start of their activities. This obligation applies to independent choreographers who complete their artistic projects as independent operator and to choreographers whose projects are carried out through their company.

Attention! Although he has the status of a independent operator under the Income Tax Act, the independent choreographer, who employs at least one dancer, even without pay, holds employer status within the meaning of the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases. For this reason, the independent choreographer is required to register as an employer with the CNESST.

Once registered with the CNESST, the independent choreographer, like a company, must declare the salaries and fees paid to the workers, with the exception of the rightsto use copyright materials, such as residual rights, neighbouring rights, residual profit splits or royalties. Accommodation and transport costs paid by the choreographer or the company are not considered in the calculation of the contribution to pay the CNESST.

Find out more
Registration with the CNESST (in FR)

Producers in the arts and the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases (CNESST) (in FR)

The CNESST: How much does it cost for a choreographer/producer? (in FR)

Find out more

Updated in February 2021