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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Newsflash! American magic show vanishes at the Canadian border! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Autumn Morning Star
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I perform all over the world, but I have never performed in Canada, except for a bit of parlor magic on the reserves (Canadian Indian reservations).

Why? Well, maybe this is a myth, but other magicians have cautioned me that crossing the border can be a problem. They say that you can lose your show to a qualified Canadian magician when you tell customs what you are there to do. They sort of "pickpocket" your show and distribute it to someone else.

I must admit this sounds a bit dubious, but I have had more than one magician report similar experiences at the Canadian border. I would appreciate any insight from others who have dealt with Canadian border crossings.
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
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kaytracy
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Hi Autumn
I cannot speak to travelling to Canada with magic, however, when travelling last year to an event in Gimli, I was given the third degree by the mounties at the border regarding "are you getting paid?"
It seems that the NAFTA is only allowed in Canada if it is in their favor!
One is simply not allowed to take a job or any work that a Canadian could do.
As to losing your gear, I suppose you could simplly tell them nevermind and turn around at the border.
On the other hand, having a letter from whomever you are headed to perform for should help with things immensly- had the museum I was working with provided me such a letter, I likely would have been through in two minutes instead of almost an hour and a half. (As a result, I avoid playing tourist for my last three days of vacation in Canada, and came back to the US, with my money still in my wallet)
kay
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SeaDawg
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Kaytracy, interesting comment about NAFTA and Canada? why don't you take your uniformed opinion to the World courts and read about the softwood lumber dispute and the US's failing to heed the rules, sanctions, tarriffs and fines.But I digress,...
You think the Mounties give you guys a hard time... Try being a Canuck without a "Green Card" and telling the INS you are going to work in the states.

It it a two way street , that goes both ways and neither government makes it very easy to deal with cross border.
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
The Drake
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Quote:
On 2006-12-11 15:37, SeaDawg wrote:

You think the Mounties give you guys a hard time... Try being a Canuck without a "Green Card" and telling the INS you are going to work in the states. It it a two way street , that goes both ways and neither government makes it very easy to deal with cross border.


BINGO!... Its a border issue and not a Canadian or American issue. Both governments are concerned about you entering their country and taking away a job from their citizens.

True Story.... I once bought a warehouse full of surplus electronic parts from a US company in Detroit. ( I lived in Windsor then ) Back then there was no NAFTA and everything had duties due on it during import. I decided to simply move the parts from the warehouse they were in to my own on the US side and import the parts to Canada as I needed them. I took a truck to Detroit and explained what I was doing and they held me for about 90 minutes and then finally explained that I could only get the parts if I was bringing them back to Canada. If I simply wanted to move "my own parts from one US warehouse to another " I couldn't do it as I would be taking an Americans (moving company ) job away from them.

I've also had friends on their way to magic convention get grilled because US customs thought they were going their to perform.

Best,

Tim
Autumn Morning Star
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So there is something to the rumors. Like Timothy Drake pointed out, the border works both ways. The most trouble I encounter during my European travels is re-entering the USA! They give me such grief and I am a citizen.

Customs these days is getting tighter and tighter. I can see that each country might be concerned about an outsider taking away a job from an American or Canadian National.

The tough part is not knowing this and driving right up to the border like a wide-eyed deer. I do think the letter KayTracy mentioned would help in explaining that the show you are being hired for is unique and cannot be done by another.

Anyone else have a border crossing story?
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
Dannydoyle
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You can go into there with little trouble if you don't tell them your working.

We cross the border lots to go fishing. The border people on BOTH sides may be trouble since nine eleven. IT IS JUST HOOPS PEOPLE. Not anything nefarious. Forget the Urban Legends you hear.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
jlevey
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... but do you bring magic tricks, curtains, props, etc. when you go on a Fishing trip??

If so, then you must catch some really "wild" fish! lol

I too believe that having a letter from a company or organization explaing "why" your show is unique and cannot be performed by any other Canadian magicians might work. Of course for a generic or "cookie cutter" magician it would not work, but in your case Autumn, it just might.

Consider calling the Canadian Boarder patrol at the crossing yo plan to cross at and ask them directly such a hypotetical question. See what they say. They will probably refer you to one of their colleague that know more about the rules on this.

Hope this helps.

Jonathan
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Dannydoyle
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Funny thing is the amount of trouble you have, and by trouble I simply mean time and effort, is directly related to who you run into on patrol.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
keithmagic
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Hey Autumn,

It is my understanding (and I could be totally off base, I have simply heard this from several Native Americans in the entertainment biz both on and back stage) that as long as you have the federal Native American ID card (I forget the proper name for it, sorry), you can basically cross the US/Canadian border without much scrutiny, questions, or harrasment at all for work or whatever you like.

I'd check with your local BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS office or lawyer though to be on the safe side. It may end up you have a totally different situation to crossing the border than your average magi! Best of luck to you.

Keith
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Autumn Morning Star
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Thanks, Keith. It is called a CDIB (certificate of degree of Indian blood) but we have never had to show it at the border. They ask us for driver's license and usually search our car. One of my elder uncles was beaten to death by border guards a few years back.

We are now required to have passports like everyone else, which is hard on some people who cannot afford $80 each for a family of six to visit their grandmother just across the border in Canada. We are trying to iron this out now.

There are rules that can be different for us because of certain treaty rights and rights offered through sovereign Nation status. Some are good advantage, some are a distinct disadvantage.

I just received a link to the Canadian website regarding performers and I will post it in a bit. It looks like good news.
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
SeaDawg
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Autumn,
whereabouts in Canada are you coming too?

There are some great places, and like all countries, some that can be rather nondescript....

Yours Aye,
The seadawg
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
Jim Snack
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Autumn Morning Star
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SeaDawg, this thread started out in a different column. I did not want to divert from the topic, so at the suggestion of Jonathan, I posed the question here. I am not scheduled to perform in Canada. I have never pursued bookings there, but it would be nice to be able to work there and know all the rules.

Thanks for the links, Jim Snack. I want to put to rest the issues regarding border crossings by copying a quote from the following link sent by Jim: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/exempt-1.html#artists

"Performing Artists"

"Foreign artists and their essential supporting staff coming to Canada to perform do not need a permit if they are only performing in Canada for a limited period of time and will not be performing in a bar or restaurant. Artists working in Canada in this category may not enter into an employment relationship with the Canadian group that has contracted for their services. Artists must also not perform for the production of a movie, television or radio broadcast."

This was the link I was going to include, which was e-mailed to me by Mark Lewis. If you are planning on performing in Canada I highly suggest you study the links provided by Jim Snack and make a copy of the Canadian rules so you have this information with you in case you run into an official who is uninformed.

PS: Jim, I admire your mind and your business skills. You are always willing to share your knowledge and are equally generous with your time. Smile
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
jlevey
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..."Artists working in Canada in this category may not enter into an employment relationship with the Canadian group that has contracted for their services."

I'm not sure I understand the above. It seems contradictory. Does it mean that artists must work for free (ie. without an employment contract) and donate their srvices? Or can they be paid for theri services in Canada?

Please clarify.

Many thanks.

Jonathan
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Jim Snack
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Jonathan,

I agree, that is a confusing sentence. I believe that it means an employment relationship in the traditional sense, i.e. employee/employer relationship, as opposed to an independent contractor relationship. When you have an employee/employer relationship, you must have a work permit. But then again, I could be wrong.

Thanks for the kind words Autumn Morning Star. I've felt the same about your posts, too.

Jim
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jlevey
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After re-reading the above clause, your interpretation makes full sense Jim.

This is very encouraing news for Autumn and other US performers wishing to perform in Canada.

Thanks again for this informative link Jim.

Let us know when you're booked in this "half" of the continent Autumn.

Best regards.

Jonathan
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John Martin
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And his leaves Canadian performers wishing to work in the US where?

John
Autumn Morning Star
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John, I wish I knew where this leaves Canadian performers. If I were running the country I would be the first to invite you to perform. There are so many unequal situations in this world and the main reasons behind these inequalities are money and power. But that leaves you with only words. I truly wish I could offer you something better.

As for the clause: ..."Artists working in Canada in this category may not enter into an employment relationship with the Canadian group that has contracted for their services." I often see this written into many contracts I sign with larger corporations, casinos and universities. I even specify something similar to this in my own contract. I think this is to ensure that I am not considered an "employee" but simply "contracted services" because they could be held responsible for health insurance and workman's comp.

So Jonathan, I will now attempt to make some connections in Canada! Do you guys have Indian casinos on the reserves up there? My act fits well into that venue. The minute I am booked I will be sure to email you and all the other Canadian nationals on The Café.

Jim, thanks for the kind words in return. I do hope to meet you at a convention some day. We must have lunch. My treat Smile
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
Autumn Morning Star
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John, I did not want to leave you without at least trying to find out how to get you to the USA for performances.

I did a search and found a few links regarding Canadian nationals performing in the USA. It seems possible, but there are a bunch of hoops to jump through. Here is an interesting US Visa guide from an immigration lawyer regarding Canadian actors and members of the entertainment industry: http://www.visalottery.com/actors.html

Here is another legal site that tells what you need to work in the USA. It will take planning, but apparantly it IS possible for artists: http://www.berardiimmigrationlaw.com/wor......s_p1.php

It looks like you only need the correct paperwork to enter. So I do hope we will be seeing you here, too! There are even artist exchange programs. Check out these links and if you do come over please post it in detail so others can come over, too.
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
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I crossed the border this summer to attend the Fitch camp. I too was grilled. The issue was one of whether or not I was getting paid or working for pay. I had been on tour all summer and had my entire show with me, as well as clothing for a 9 week tour. However, they let me in.

The way home was a breeze. I said I was at a magic workshop. He asked if I learned any new tricks. I said, of course. He waved me through.

Brad
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