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THE SCOOP | Livestreaming Confusion In The Wake Of Ontario Government Lockdown Update

By Anya Wassenberg on January 13, 2021

empty stage Photo: StockSnap/Pixabay
Photo: StockSnap/Pixabay

Update: Story updated here.

Just as arts organizations were beginning to make the key transition to online programming with a creative flair, the Ontario government’s latest lockdown restrictions have put a halt to even livestreamed concerts until at least February 11, 2021.

Or have they?

Music venues and programmers, not to say musicians and audiences, are left with instructions that do not specifically address the issue of livestreaming — and a resulting confusion. Among many others, the Royal Conservatory’s 21C Festival was set to kick off this week, including four livestreamed performances. It has left many, including Toronto Mayor John Tory, looking for answers, as he told the Toronto Star.

Under the last set of rules regarding the lockdown issued December 21, livestreaming was allowed. Recently, however, the rules have tightened up yet again with Premier Doug Ford’s announcement of January 12, taking effect on January 13.

The situation regarding livestreaming is not specifically addressed in the government’s updated advisory, and can only be pieced together from various stipulations. These include:

  • Meeting or event space — there is a very restricted list of uses for which any event space may be opened, including child care, government and social services (i.e. nothing to do with media, arts or entertainment).
  • A general prohibition against using spaces — “No person shall use an indoor or outdoor recreational amenity that is required to be closed.”
  • A general prohibition against gatherings of any kind outside the home — “No indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with).”

Specifically, under “media industries”, the document only stipulates “does not permit retail studios to open” only under the category of photography. There is no specific prohibition for film or television production, or sound recording per se, and those businesses, according to the document, seem to be allowed as open according to the section specific to media. However, they would also seem to fall into the general category of industries that are not allowed to open currently under the general stipulations.

That seems to be the main source of confusion.

Arts organizations and media — including Ludwig Van — are currently waiting on clarification from Ontario government sources.

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Anya Wassenberg

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn.
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Follow me

Anya Wassenberg

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn.
Follow me
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