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What is the Saskatchewan Arts Professions Act?

As of June 1, 2010 the Saskatchewan Government in conjunction with art industry associations has established the Arts Professions Act. The Act requires that contracts be used in all transactions between artist and client/engager for services rendered. Required contracts protect both parties and enforce better business practices within the arts sector. The Arts Professions Act also recognizes the artist as a professional by defining “professional artist” and by recognizing the importance of fair compensation within the arts industry.

The Professional Artist

The Arts Professions Act recognizes the professional artist according to criteria set out by Saskatchewan Government. A professional artist is someone who:
    Is an independent contractor
    Receives or has received compensation for their artistic works
    Meets three of the following criteria:

  1. The individual has received public or peer recognition
  2. The writers’ work has been presented to the public in the form of readings, performances, or screenings
  3. The individual promotes and/or markets their work
  4. The individual has received training or acquired traditional knowledge in their artistic area
  5. The individual has membership in an organization representing their artistic activity
  6. The writer holds copyright in their work and has received royalties or residual payments
  7. The individual has a business licence issued by the municipality in which they are carrying on business related to their artistic activities


In promotion of proper business practices and in protection of artists and their intellectual property the Arts Professions Act requires the use of written contracts and has set out some basic elements that should be included in each contract.

  • The legal names of the engager and the professional artist
  • The date of the contract
  • Outline of the work/performance that forms the object of the contract
  • Any financial considerations due to the writer and the terms and conditions of payment
  • The frequency with which the engager shall report to the artist on any transactions made with respect to the work
  • The terms of termination by either party
  • Dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Outline of any transfer of right and any grant of license consented to by the writer/artist
  • Whether any right/license granted is transferable to a third party
  • Any waiver of moral rights
  • In the case of a contract between and engager and an Aboriginal artist, the protocols respecting the use of Aboriginal symbols, artifacts or matters of importance to Aboriginal people should be defined
  •  A date that the exclusive right of the engager over any use of the work of the artist expires
  •  A description of the process that the professional artist must follow to terminate the contract prior to expiration

Writers and the Arts Professions Act

  • The Arts Professions Act is an important development in promoting and supporting the arts industry, this includes the literary arts.
  • For writers developing and using contracts in each of their daily business activities will insure fair payment not only for written works but also for performances and readings, as well as help to enforce sound business practices and relationships.
  • Writers should establish contracts for all business matters relating to their artistic work, including:

-    Readings
-    Publishing contracts (whether through the self-publishing process or otherwise)
-    Editing services (Done by the writer or for the editor)
-    Ghostwriting
-    Freelancing
-    Writer-in-residencies
-    Contracts with agency representation
-    Collaborative work
-    Multimedia contracts, including television and radio appearances

  • Remember that the Arts Professions Act provides guidelines that are meant to facilitate artists in their business practices; however, these are only guidelines and writers are encouraged to seek legal and financial advice from qualified lawyers and accountants should they be required.

For further information visit the Government of Saskatchewan website at

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