CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL DISC JOCKEY ASSOCIATION
Inspiring all DJs through Education, Networking and Support
The Executive Committee of the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association is pleased to support the efforts by Manitoba Regional Team Leader Kent Gudmundson and CPDJA Board Member Rhoni Mohanraj as they work to bring about a change to recently announced provincial funding in that province.
Over the last couple of weeks, DJs and most wedding and event professionals in Manitoba have been desperately working to get government attention after being nearly completely shut out of a recent $5,000 Bridge Grant program.
After moving the entire province of Manitoba into Code Red restrictions (full lockdown) on November 12, 2020, financial relief was promised by the Manitoba Government for small businesses to get through this period. What was touted as a great resource for small businesses, has instead left the majority of the special events community out in the cold.
Manitoba RTL Kent Gudmundson recently wrote to the Premier of Manitoba on behalf of all DJs in Manitoba and while the Premier did not respond, the Leader of the Official Opposition, NDP Leader Wab Kinew, did. He took up the cause and wrote to the Manitoba Minister of Finance about the appeal Kent made. Board Member Rhoni Mohanraj took up the cause through Global News and spoke with Global News Morning Winnipeg.
On November 26, 2020, the Executive Committee of the CPDJA sent the following letter to the Premier of Manitoba and the leaders of the NDP of Manitoba, Manitoba Liberal Party and the Green Party of Manitoba.
Hon. Brian Pallister
Room 204 Legislative Building
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
November 26, 2020
Dear Mr. Pallister,
As the national representative of the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association, I have written this letter on behalf of our national executive committee and the mobile DJs we represent in the province of Manitoba.
We wish to lend our voice to the letter and request that our association’s Manitoba Regional Team Leader, Kent Gudmundson, wrote to you on November 20, 2020 about the new Manitoba Bridge Grant.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our segment of the special events industry from coast to coast. The hundreds of members we represent across Canada have all felt the impacts of this with many having to permanently shutter their operations. The situation has created an urgent need for assistance from all levels of government including both the provincial and federal levels.
We appreciate the supports that the Manitoba government put in place for small businesses earlier this year with the Manitoba Gap Protection Program. We understand that the $6,000 one-time payment it offered benefited many of the members we represent in Manitoba and we are extremely grateful for that.
We acknowledge that the ongoing crisis requires interventions such as the tightening of restrictions where case counts threaten to overwhelm healthcare systems. With those extreme restrictions though, a government we can depend on for help is essential.
In reviewing the details around the announcement of the Manitoba Bridge Grant and the businesses it was designed to benefit, we were impressed to see such rapid financial aid come about again. It then came as a great surprise when our members informed us that they were not permitted to apply, even though their business operations had to cease because of the restrictions Manitoba put in place.
The limiting factors our members have run into with the Manitoba Bridge Grant application include the idea of requiring a physical place of business and that none of the listed required categories apply to our industry. For example, we are not a restaurant or a bar, but we often work in those spaces. We also do not operate venues or community clubs, but when those places close, so do the services we supply to them. Photographers and DJs often work in sports and recreation facilities as well, but when they are not permitted to open, that work can not go forward.
The majority of businesses in the wedding and special events sector operate without traditional retail spaces, and yet these small businesses that are operated from family homes across Manitoba create millions of dollars in economic output.
We ask that your provincial government once again meet the expectations of the Manitoba special events industry and expand the Manitoba Bridge Grant program to include those businesses, such as the ones we represent. Maintain the parts of the application that ensure only legitimate businesses succeed in applying, but please modify the sections that exclude the majority of the special events sector.
We appreciate the time you have taken to hear our concerns and look forward to a response or news of an expansion of the program.
Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association Inc.
Wab Kinew, Leader, Official Opposition, NDP Party of Manitoba
Dougald Lamont, Leader, Manitoba Liberal Party
Beddome, Leader, Green Party of Manitoba
Last week, CPDJA Manitoba Regional Team Leader Kent Gudmundson sent a letter to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister on behalf of DJs and wedding professionals in the province of Manitoba. The letter expressed a sincere frustration that most of the wedding and special events industry was completely shut out of a recent $5000 grant announcement to assist small businesses with the recent code red restrictions.
No response from the Manitoba Premier was received, but the Leader of the Official Opposition, NDP Leader Wab Kinew, was quick to reply and committed to supporting Kent's message by writing Scott Fielding, Manitoba's Minister of Finance.
Yesterday, on Monday, November 23, 2020, Wab Kinew followed through with his commitment and urged the Minister of Finance to change the implementation of the Manitoba Bridge Grant program to include our sector and to followup with our Regional Team Leader for Manitoba, Kent Gudmundson.
We are encouraged by and applaud the work Kent is doing on behalf of the industry in Manitoba.
Following is the letter that Wab Kinew submitted to the Minister of Finance.
With the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting Canada hard, provinces are announcing new lockdowns at both the provincial and regional levels. In Manitoba, the provincial government has recently locked down the entire province and made funding available to those businesses directly impacted. Unfortunately, most in our industry do not qualify.
Manitoba Regional Team Leader Kent Gudmundson has recently sent Manitoba's Premier the following letter. It was also CCed to the leader of the provincial NDP and Manitoba's Liberal Party. We will update with responses accordingly.
Room 204 Legislative Building
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
November 20, 2020
I am writing this email on behalf of mobile DJ’s and wedding professionals who work hard helping couples create amazing weddings here in Manitoba.
First: This is an unprecedented time. COVID has changed how everyone lives their lives, and your government has the difficult job of balancing the economy and the health of everyone in Manitoba. This is a big burden to bear, especially when everyone has their own opinions and political views.
While we all may not agree with everything you and your government is doing, and we all may have different viewpoints, we do appreciate the dedicated hard work you, Dr. Roussin, Ms. Siragusa and the rest of your team give to Manitobans every day.
For that, we say Thank You.
The current COVID crisis has been difficult on the people and businesses of Manitoba. Your Government has been doing its best to provide support to Manitobans.
However, it seems that some businesses have fallen between the cracks. Mobile DJs and other wedding professionals are struggling to keep their businesses afloat, and some have already begun to close permanently. I am confident that this is because we are a smaller group compared to other businesses and are easily overlooked when working on the big picture.
There was some relief with the generous GAP program that was offered, and that has allowed some to continue operations in difficult times.
The latest round of restrictions has made things even more challenging than ever for Manitoba Wedding Professionals.
Venues that we normally work in are closed. Couples are forced to postpone or cancel their weddings due to restrictions. People are holding off booking venues, DJ’s, photographers, wedding planners and other wedding professionals due to the uncertainty of being able to have a wedding in 2021. Many are unsure if 2022 will be ready for weddings.
This has taken a toll on the wedding industry and the people who work in it. Not only are we worried about the lack of new bookings coming our way due to the restrictions, but we are also working hard putting current clients minds at ease, moving dates around and still planning weddings that may not even happen.
To top this off, our usually busy holiday season is a no go this year due to the restrictions in place and clients not being able or willing to hold events.
As you are aware, we are still incurring our normal expenses. Many of these hard working people have dipped into their savings and are beginning to sell off assets, both business and personal to cover these expenses.
We were excited to hear the announcement of the BRIDGE grant and anticipated the day it came into effect. But it seems we do not qualify because many of us do not have “physical locations” as we will often meet clients in their homes, in coffee shops and the like. Many wedding professionals work from a home office.
Also, there is no place in the application when applying to put our industry. The “personal service” section only has salons and other personal aesthetics, and there is no other “industry” listed that would seem to encompass us.
Manitoba Wedding Professionals are proud and work hard creating magical weddings for couples throughout Manitoba. I would ask that you consider these people when you discuss with your team how to help the businesses of Manitoba and to include them with the retailers, salons and other businesses your Government is diligently working hard to protect and help through this crisis.
If at all possible, it would be wonderful to see them included in the BRIDGE program.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email.
Regional Team Leader - Manitoba
Canadian Professional DJ Association
The CPDJA Executive Committee is proud to share the following news of a new industry partnership for the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association and its members with the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada.
As your not-for-profit representative for our industry, with the public, and with the Canadian government, the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association, is working alongside you as we attempt to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we are proud to share a new membership announcement.
Just two short years ago, the CPDJA took action based on member feedback that each membership should run for one year from the date of purchase, instead of a predefined membership calendar year. The outcome of that change has proven very successful as DJs now join the CPDJA throughout the year, knowing they will get a full 12 months of value without the penalty of lost time.
Earlier this year, as the pandemic began to take hold, the CPDJA took immediate action by providing complimentary 3-month membership extensions to all DJ and Allied Members of the association. This too was very positively received by everyone.
While we continue to evaluate the remainder of 2020 and look for innovative ways to support the programming and benefits the association provides to all of you, we are now making another change to the membership options available that we hope will provide you with additional options to suit your financial situation.
For the first time ever, a monthly DJ membership in the CPDJA is available for just $25 a month plus tax. This new, monthly recurring membership brings with it the full benefits enjoyed by all annual DJ members. This includes access to all programming (insurance, CONNECT licenses, CWDJC Replays, etc.) and marketing opportunities (listing in the Find a DJ directory, Spotlight Member DJ posts, use of the CPDJA logo on your website, etc.). This new monthly membership also provides the benefit of small monthly payments to assist with the extremely challenging financial times that we have found ourselves in.
This new payment style provides the association with the needed support to ensure it continues to deliver all that the Canadian DJ community has come to expect from us. This includes educating the public about our industry through findaDJ.ca, our recent lobbying efforts with the Canadian government, our COVID-19 resources for DJs, the communities the CPDJA continues to operate in various places online and offline and so much more.
For those who would like to maintain their memberships on an annual basis, they get 12 months for the price of 10! We have reduced the annual fee to $250 + tax (save $50).
With many of our members involved in live streaming, drive-by events and properly distanced events, the importance of maintaining adequate insurance (for example) is still as important as ever. We want to help all DJs maintain to access to this and all of the benefits membership provides.
The CPDJA will continue to support you through this time with unique programming, support services, information about provincial re-opening strategies, economic and mental health resources and ways to reinvent ourselves as Canadian DJs for a new era.
On behalf of the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association, please continue contributing to the efforts that are helping manage this pandemic. We have much to be proud of, keep up the great work!
* These membership changes will remain in effect until January 2021 at which time they will be reviewed to determine their long term viability.
At the beginning of 2020, the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association launched a new website located at www.findaDJ.ca for the express purpose of helping the public learn valuable information about our industry.
Blog posts are shared on this new consumer focused website, in cooperation with our partner DJ associations in the United Kingdom and Australia, to help the public better understand our industry, learn tips about best hiring practises, what to look for in a DJ, what makes DJs unique and so on. Recent blog posts include Meeting your DJ, Standing Together, What If and Why Should My DJ MC?.
On June 23, 2020, the CPDJA launched another new feature on this consumer orientated website called "Spotlight Member DJ." In this bi-weekly space, we publish a spotlight profile of a current CPDJA member.
The first three members to be featured were Michel Lalonde, Darren Sherk and Darrell Lawrence. Each of these DJs took advantage of having their profile published by a third party (not their own website) and then were given the chance to share the post in their region as a way to share their story with potential consumers and help to keep their brand top of mind. Read through the spotlight posts published about them and you will see what we mean.
If you are a CPDJA member and you would like to be featured in this "Spotlight Member DJ" space at our consumer oriented findaDJ.ca website, please fill in the submission form with all relevant information. Our team will then take care of editing it for publication standards and getting your story to the world!
Will YOU be the next DJ to be featured?
Will you help us tell the world your stellar DJ story?
Will you help us create some story telling marketing material for YOU?
Gather your information and submit it today.
Thanks for helping us tell the world more about YOU!
All spotlight member DJs are featured in the order submissions are received and the DJ must be a valid member of the CPDJA at the time their feature is to be published.
Stories from the Canadian DJ Landscape
Teacher + Playlist Curator by DJ Marinko
After becoming a father, I came to the sudden realization of how precious and scarce of a resource time is.
One of the main challenges of my DJ career was being forced to turn away clients because there are only so many Friday and Saturday nights. I had some regular bookings on other days, like Sunday afternoons at Stratus Vineyards, but I had to face the fact that I was not being paid on the majority of the days of the week. I decided to focus on solutions and came up with two main ideas: teaching DJ skills and creating playlists.
At first, as a teacher, I worked with anyone who was receptive and interested in my ideas, I taught at a Montessori daycare, local high schools and grade schools, as I got more experience and refined my teaching skills, I increased my prices to reflect my experience and my client list kept growing. Creating playlists for corporate, restaurant and retail clients was a great way to generate regular income and it paid its dividends in terms of opening up new opportunities. My goal was to build a roster of regular clients that could keep currency flowing and not require me to be present “performing.” This became a crucial asset starting in mid-March of 2020.
While my normally busy summer event season has been significantly affected by the global pandemic, I am one of the few DJs in my area still getting paid to perform and I'm continually generating future bookings without having to pay out of pocket for marketing. One of the main things I learned from all of this (pandemic playlists and DJ lessons), to quote the song Big Fun by Inner City, "We don't really need a crowd to have a party.” This is to say that there are other ways to get paid for our musical expertise as a DJ, than just performing at events.
Some clients I work with include Stratus Vineyards, Dispatch (one of EnRoute's top Canadian Restaurants 2019), Ruffino's Pasta Bar & Grill, Backhouse Restaurant, Old Stone Inn Boutique Hotel, Itty Bitty Pie Company, SRC Vinyl & Limited Distillery, Honey's Boutique, Vaughn's International Cuisine, Kasbah Lounge, Hippokampus Beach Bar (Mljet, Croatia), Paradiso (Tribunj, Croatia), Niagara College, Brock University, Niagara Artists Centre, Terra Viva Montessori Daycare, and Wheatley School.
Would you like to know how to become a playlist curator? Following are some of my tried, tested and true experiences.
For an example of my DJ instruction, check out this Treehouse DJ Lesson with Piggy. This is an excerpt from a video I made for In The Soil Festival, which became a virtual festival in June 2020 due to the public health emergency (this is an example of some of my most simple DJ lessons).
I eagerly await the day that we can have events and not be overly concerned about physical distancing, barriers and exposure to people we don't know. Since events are being restricted in many ways, it is important for us all to think of creative solutions to keep our role as entertainers relevant.
As businesses begin to open their doors to customers, I think that the vibe a DJ creates with music will help attract paying customers. There are numerous studies showing that "music influences behaviour", so in the same way that we choose songs to help create and enforce emotion at a wedding, we can create an atmosphere that makes it comfortable and inviting for people to spend their hard earned money. Finally, as music educators, we can share the knowledge we have to help others in this unprecedented time.
Special thanks to CPDJA Member DJ Marinko for sharing his story with us here for publication.
This past June, the Manitoba Region of the CPDJA hosted a mental health themed video call with DJs primarily located in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Following that call, Ryan Sturgeon, the community mental health worker we had as a guest we had on the call, provided us with the following resources to share with all DJs. While some of the list is Manitoba specific, it provides a basic illustration of the mental health support networks that exists in all parts of Canada.
The following is what Ryan shared with us:
Anyone looking for basic therapy resources will want to explore Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and/or mindfulness. CBT is a short term evidence based therapy system with the foundational model that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. CBT works to change thoughts and/or behaviors to cause lasting change in feelings and quality of life.
CBT is the number one recommended therapy for anxiety, depression, anger and is found to be more effective than medication (although medication is needed sometimes too). Mindfulness is a way of being present, on purpose, and without judgment. When depressed we often dwell in the past and when anxious, we worry about the future so activities including certain meditations can help us be present and retrain our brain.
My favourite website, the Center for Clinical Interventions has a number of fantastic workbooks on it based on research and CBT. All FREE! Check them out online.
Look up Dr. David Burns as he has the number one CBT book on depression, Feeling Good, and is the world’s leading expert on CBT. He has it all, podcasts, books, and web-based resources.
Palouse Mindfulness offers a great, free online mindfulness course.
MindShift is a good (and free!) app produced by Anxiety Canada centred around CBT (Apple App Store, Google Play Store). There are many other CBT and Mindfulness apps out there as well.
The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba can be reached at 204-725-8550 and the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba can be reached at 204-761-3176. A quick search online will also identify these associations for other provinces.
Finding a Therapist
Self-refer: Look-up adult mental health or community mental health on your regional health authority website. Call your regional health authority if need be. In Western Manitoba, it is Prairie Mountain Health and the intake number is 1-204-578-2400. Counselling is always free and confidential. You can also get a Dr referral if you would like and that way your GP is also aware and can explore medication options if you want. Contact your local health authority for counselling opportunities.
Private counselling: Call your benefits provider and find out how to get connected with the services they offer.
Online / remote counselling: Caring for your mental health is important during the COVID-19 pandemic. AbilitiCBT is a new digital therapy program from Morneau Shepell, available to all residents of Manitoba (and other provinces) age 16 or older experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety due to the pandemic. AbilitiCBT is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) guided by a therapist through a digital platform, which is accessible through your smartphone or tablet. CBT is proven to be one of the most effective and efficient therapy methods. AbilitiCBT is uniquely effective because it virtually pairs you with a professional therapist who supports you through your program.
Crisis Services: All Regional Health Authorities have crisis services available for people that are overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and need to talk with someone via telephone. This is also a free service. In Brandon, Manitoba the telephone number is 1-204-725-4411. The contact can be found on the Regional Health Authority website in your region as well.
There is no wrong question and no wrong way to go about helping yourself. The biggest thing is taking that step and/or making that call. Good luck and take care.
Community Mental Health Worker
Prairie Mountain Health Region, Manitoba
The Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association functions under three central pillars: Education, Networking and Support.
To serve that third pillar, the CPDJA has created a business information and mental health COVID-19 resource page for all Canadian DJs. This page is accessible to all DJs, both members and non-members as a service to the Canadian DJ industry under our mandate of providing support.
The Executive Committee of the association has assembled a variety of easily accessible links, organized by both federal/national as well as provincial and territorial.
The page will continue to be updated as new information is discovered or sent to us. If you have resource suggestions that you feel we should consider adding to the page for your province or territory (or nationally), please contact us.
Please continue to be safe, adhering to all provincial and federal health guidelines in your jurisdiction.
As a national association, one of the roles we fill for our industry is to speak up as a united voice for those we represent. Advocating for our members in times of great need is one such example of when our united voices became greater than the sum of their individual parts.
As we announced at our recent Annual General Meeting on May 3, 2020, the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association, on behalf of our membership, has written and sent a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, asking for additional assistance for our industry.
In addition to the Prime Minister, we also sent copies of this letter to the Honourable Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance) and the Honourable Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Canadian Heritage, responsible for arts and entertainment).
Following is a copy of the letter we sent:
We urge all Canadian DJs to now do two things:
First, take the content of this letter and repurpose it so that you can send it to your local Member of Parliament (a downloadable sample has already been prepared for you here). The more ears our message lands on, the louder our request will be heard. Let us take action on this together.
Second, if you have not already taken advantage of our free 3-month membership in the association, sign up today. By joining, you help make our voice louder and louder. When government officials look into who we are, numbers matter. Let's show them how many DJs there are behind the message this letter contains.
In addition to our regular work of providing programming and support for Canadian DJs, we will continue to voice your concerns to the Federal government when times call for it. Your involvement in the association makes that possible.
Help us help you.
Use this letter to write to your PM and join the CPDJA to lend your voice to the greater good.
Be safe, be healthy, be well.
Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association
1085 Water Street
Peterborough, Ontario K9H 3P7
(833) CPDJA DJ