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History and milestones

CARFAC Ontario's History

In 1968, Canadian Artists' Representation (CAR) was established in response to artists' perception that their crucial contribution to society was not fairly compensated. As a result, CAR established minimum fee schedules outlining recommended rates for compensating artists, a practice which CARFAC continues. It was because of the early activism of CAR members that in 1975, Canada became the first country in the world to pay exhibition fees to artists, with the Canada Council for the Arts making payment of fees to artists based on the CARFAC fee schedule a requirement for eligibility for funding to public art galleries. After many more years of lobbying, the Copyright Act was amended in 1988, recognizing artists' role as primary producers of culture by giving them legal entitlement to exhibition and other fees.

Today, CARFAC and its provincial affiliates work on many of the same issues, ensuring that artists are fairly compensated for the valuable contributions that they make to society and that artists ' rights are respected by those with whom they engage in business. In addition, CARFAC and its affiliates have developed programming, publications and products to help artists reach their professional goals.

Margaret Atwood speaking at CARFAC's Copyright Demonstration
Art Gallery of Ontario, April 1988
Credit: Archives of Ontario

Our Advocacy Milestones


The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) sent a letter to artists who were participating in a major exhibition of Canadian art, and asked for permission to make reproductions of their work. They did not offer to pay artists for the exhibition or the reproductions, but the gallery was planning to sell the reproductions for their own profit. London, Ontario artist Jack Chambers wrote to the other artists in the show and called for a refusal to work for free. They succeeded, and it started a national debate between artists and museums about fair payment.


CARFAC (then known as Canadian Artists' Representation) was born in London, Ontario, led by Jack Chambers, Tony Urquhart, and Kim Ondaatje. The group established CARFAC's first minimum fee schedule which outlined recommended rates for compensating artists. This practice continues today, and our Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule is reviewed and updated annually by a National committee.


Steady lobbying by CARFAC results in Canada becoming the first country in the world to pay exhibition fees to artists. Based on CARFAC's minimum fee schedule, the Canada Council for the Arts make the payment of fees to living Canadian artists a requirement for eligibility for grants to Public Art Galleries. 


CARFAC's lobbying results in the federal Copyright Act Amendment. The act recognizes artists as the primary producers of culture, and gives artists legal entitlement to exhibition and other fees.


Federal Status of the Artist Act proclaimed, recognizing artists as professionals.


CARFAC is certified by the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal as the collective bargaining representative for visual and media artists in Canada, as recognized by the federal Status of the Artist legislation.


After years of advocacy, the Status of Ontario's Artists Act is passed. The act recognizes artists' contribution to the Province.  

This same year, CARFAC National, along with RAAV (Le regroupment des artistes en arts visuals du Quebec) signed am unprecedented agreement with the Canadian Arts Museums Directors' Organization, and the Canadian Museums Association regarding the minimum recommended fee schedule. 


CARFAC partners in forming the Visual Arts Alliance (VAA), an independent alliance of national visual arts organizations determined to advance the status of visual and media arts in Canada.


CARFAC launches major advocacy campaign aimed at incorporating the Artists' Resale Right into federal copyright legislation.


The National Gallery of Canada, CARFAC and RAAV reach an historical agreement in principle on terms and conditions for the exhibition and the reproduction of works of art, as well as the provision of professional services by living Canadian artists at the National Gallery of Canada, pursuant to the federal Status of the Artist Act


CARFAC Ontario is the association of visual and media artists in Ontario. Our vision is for vibrant, equitable, and sustainable communities in which we as artists are properly recognized for the role we play.


414 - 401 Richmond St. W., Toronto, ON. M5V 3A8

Not open to the public


(416) 340-8534

Toll Free: 1 877-890-8850


Mon - Wed,  11AM - 5PM

Please note that CARFAC Ontario staff are working remotely. As such, email is the preferred method for communication.

CARFAC Ontario is supported by our members and the following organizations:


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