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The CNESST: How much does it cost for a choreographer/producer?

© Alexas Fotos – Pixabay

The following case scenario will help determine how much a choreographer/producer must pay in contributions to the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) as an employer.

An independent choreographer begins a creative project with four dancers. All the dancers are considered independent operators by Revenu Québec and the Canada Revenue Agency. Under the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases (LATMP), they are considered workers. The choreographer is thus required to register as an employer with the CNESST and declare the fees paid to the dancers taking part in their project.

The amount of the contribution paid to the CNESST is based on the sum total of the fees paid to the dancers. Finding out how much you need to contribute is easy!

Each year, the CNESST determines the insurance contributions that employers must pay, depending on the activities they practice. Dance-sector employers working on the creation and production of shows are classified under unit 57010. For this category in 2020, the CNESST set the insurance contribution at $1.51 for every $100 paid in salary or fees. The insurance contribution is fixed.

An independent choreographer agrees to pay each dancer a fee of $2,000 for rehearsals and $500 for two shows. In 2018, they would have paid $10,000 in total fees to the four dancers. With the CNESST insurance contribution set at $1.64 for every $100, the choreographer would have to pay a contribution of $164 to the CNESST in order to protect the four dancers during rehearsals and shows in connection with their work ($10,000: 100 x $1.64).

Imagine, that’s less than $50 per dancer! If one of them is injured during a rehearsal or a show, the CNESST will pay for all treatment and medication prescribed by their doctor. For the same amount, in the event that the dancer has to stop working due to the severity of the injury, the CNESST will pay the dancer an income replacement indemnity. The independent choreographer is not required to pay any additional sum to ensure that the dancer has access to the treatment or compensation provided for under law. 

Is it really worth ignoring the law to save such an inconsequential amount? Not to mention how much more it could cost the independent choreographer if one of the dancers sustained an accident during a rehearsal or a show.


Note to the reader

The information mentioned above does not express the opinion of a CNESST representative aimed in determining an employer’s contribution. For further information concerning specific circumstances, please contact the CNESST at 1-844-838-0808.



If you require information or support concerning occupational health and safety, please consult a health professional or contact one of the following associations.

Regroupement québécois de la danse
514 849-4003, extension 221

Dancer Transition Resource Centre
Parise Mongrain, Director of Programming
514 284-1515

Union des artistes
514 288-7150, extension 1000  or 1-877-288-6682 (toll free)

Union des Travailleurs et Travailleuses Accidentés de Montréal (UTTAM)
514 527-3661

Aide aux Travailleurs Accidentés (Québec et Est du Québec)
418 598-9844

Comité des Travailleurs et Travailleuses Accidentés de l’Estrie
819 563-8178 | cttae@cttae.org


Other resources for determining the employer contribution to the CNESST

Producers in the arts and the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases 

Note 296 – Procedure to determine a person’s status for purposes of the contribution, see article 6: The status of artists (CNESST) (in FR)

Artistic producer: Fee, fixed amount ou royalty (in FR)

Updated in February 2021