Windsor bar cancels concert amid new foreign worker fees

A Windsor bar claims recently approved changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program has made it necessary to cancel a concert.

Randy Houser and Jerrod Niemann won't perform at Bull and Barrel

Jerrod Niemann won't be performing at the Bull and Barrel in Windsor. (The Associated Press)

A Windsor bar claims recently approved changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program has made it necessary to cancel a concert.

Rising U.S. country music singers Randy Houser and Jerrod Niemann will not be appearing at the Bull and Barrel in downtown Windsor.

The bar canceled plans for the concerts because of a new fee Ottawa is charging temporary foreign workers.

New regulations state that any venue, where music is not the primary business, must pay a $275 application fee per musician and those touring with the band when it applies for a Labour Market Opinion to allow them to perform and work at the venue.

An additional $150 work permit must also be paid for per musician and crew member.

Bull and Barrel owner Andrew Corbett told CBC's Windsor Morning it's not fair that smaller clubs have to pay the fees while bigger venues, such as the WFCU Centre, do not.

"That's really the kicker because a $3,000 or $5,000 expense to them is really not that big of a deal when they have 6,000 seats to sell and they're bringing in these A-list artists," he said. "But for a venue that only holds 475 people and is working on a $10,000 budget for an act, it's definitely a bigger hit to us."

Corbett said the changes increase tickets by as much as 30 per cent.

"It takes a $30 ticket to a $40 ticket. So you have to be able to justify that for the customer and unfortunately, in some of these situations, you just won't be able to justify it," Corbett said.

The government says the fee should provide more opportunities for Canadian artists.

Corbett says this won't kill his business because it's not dependent on live shows.

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