Mandate and History

Mandate

The Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ) has a mission to promote the value of music as well as the vital contribution of professional musicians to society by representing and defending their artistic, social and financial interests. Notably, the GMMQ sets minimum working conditions for musicians and acts collectively on behalf of its members when it considers that their interest is affected. To this end, the GMMQ works with organizations whose objectives are similar. It is also actively lobbying to promote music and musicians to local, national, and international government bodies and communities.

In addition, the GMMQ provides musicians with a range of services, such as legal services and preferential rates with several companies, including insurance companies.

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Our History

The Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ) was founded September 12, 1897 and received shortly after its charter confirming its status as Local 62 (the first in Canada) of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). Initially, its founding president, Elward Hardy, directed a section that had 25 members; a year later, that number had increased to 98.
After only three years, in 1900, the AFM convention held in Philadelphia revoked the membership of the Montreal local for reasons now forgotten. It is believed that a rival union from the American Federation of Labor, the Knights of Labor, could have convinced the Montrealers to leave the AFM.

However, the secession was short-lived, since on April 29, 1905, the Musicians' Protective Union of Montreal returned to the AFM as Local 406. The president of this new section was Charles Lavallée (brother of Calixa Lavallée, composer of the Canadian national anthem). The Association des musiciens du Québec (Musicians' Association of Quebec) received a charter from the AFM on December 17, 1917. Reese Hansen was its first president. In 1955, the Association was duly formed under the Act on Trade Unions, thus establishing the legal basis for the merger of locals that gave birth to the current Guilde des musiciens du Québec.

So, the Guilde des musiciens du Québec was born on November 1, 1988 of the merger of the Guilde des musiciens de Montréal, AFM Local 406, and the Association des musiciens du Québec, Local 119. Previously, the two locals operated in relative independence. However, the advent of the Status of the Artist Act (entered into force in December 1987), has motivated them to unite and form a professionals' union representing all artists practicing the art of instrumental music in any field of artistic production, on the territory of Quebec, including any singer who accompanies himself or herself on a musical instrument for the instrumental part of his or her performance, excluding the field of copyright issues.

In 2003, the Guilde des musiciens du Québec (GMQ) changed its name to the Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ) to better reflect the substantial portion – about one third – of women artists in its membership. Since then, the membership has been increasing constantly. In 2010, it was around 3,200 regular members and almost 1,000 permit-holding members.

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