Stage Door News

Toronto: Drop in revenue leads to major layoffs at TO Live

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and an 85% drop in revenue has led TO Live to make the regrettable decision to layoff an additional 32 people bringing the total to 115 full time staff being laid off. This is in addition to the 480 unionized, part-time and casual staff who were already laid off or placed on Emergency Temporary Leave.

TO Live is a non-profit charitable arts organization and an agency of the City of Toronto. The organization operates three iconic venues including Meridian Hall (formerly the Sony Centre), St Lawrence Centre for the Arts and the Meridian Arts Centre (formerly Toronto Centre for the Arts).

“I would like to thank our incredible team for all of their hard work and passion for the performing arts,” Clyde Wagner, TO Live’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“It is a difficult time for the organization and for live events in the city,” added Wagner. “The entire sector has been ravaged by COVID-19 and TO Live is no exception. A full 85% of our revenue is self-generated, mostly through ticket sales, which means that we lost most of our income when the state of emergency was declared and shows were suspended.” As an agency of the City of Toronto, TO Live does not qualify for Federal Government support programs during COVID-19.

“We have worked hard to bring the organization’s expenses down to the bare minimum, but there are ongoing fixed expenses with the buildings that cannot be avoided,” added Wagner. “We have held off on making additional reductions for as long as possible, but with no clear date for resuming shows on the horizon we must take this additional step.”

The remaining 30 staff will work towards long term planning in collaboration with the many arts organizations that TO Live supports year-round, and critical tasks such as box office ticketing, venue maintenance, and venue booking, while on a reduced work week of 4 days, taking a 20% reduction in pay.

“Even though we are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis this can also be a time for renewal”, continued Wager. “We are taking this time to look at the company as a whole and with the help of the community and the artists of the City, we have a unique opportunity to make an even stronger organization for the future.”