BANFF, AB | November 22, 2018 – The Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFE) is pleased to announce this year’s award winners. Each year, CAFE accepts nominations for several awards to recognize leaders in the fair industry. A panel of judges evaluates the submissions and selects the winners.

“There were several highly qualified submissions to each award this year, and it was a tough decision, so we would like to congratulate all the nominees,” says Christina Franc, Executive Director of CAFE, “The winners have shown extensive commitment and involvement to their organization and it continues to amaze us at CAFE the level of passion and dedication each individual contributes. Congratulations to all.”

The 2018 Award winners are:

Recognizing innovation at a fair or event that has enhanced the event through beautification, engineering, programming, etc.
Paula Ellis, Canadian National Exhibition, Ontario

Intended to recognize exceptional performance and leadership from the “up-and-comers” in our fairs and events.
Erin Dittburner, Shawville Fair, Quebec
Kayla McCann, Shawville Fair, Quebec

Intended to recognize exceptional performance and leadership from the “up-and-comers” in our fairs and events.
Jane Matthews, Canadian National Exhibition, Ontario

Recognizing volunteers or staff members who has continually exceeded expectations within their fair or event through their actions and involvement in the fair community.
Jill Hayward, North Thompson Fall Fair & Rodeo, British Columbia
Mavis Hanna, Shawville Fair, Quebec

Established in 1979, this award is to recognize distinguished service by an individual or organization to the industry.
Gaston Auger, Quebec
Peter Male, British Columbia
Karen Oliver, Manitoba


Federal Bill concern for fairs, exhibitions and events

Subject: Bill S-228: An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children), a.k.a. Child Health Protection Act

Dear fairs, exhibitions and agricultural societies,
Over the past several months, the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFE) has been pursuing conversations with the Federal Government in regards to the above-noted Bill (the full text of the Bill is available here: The purpose of this Bill is to regulate advertising towards children as it relates to any unhealthy foods as defined by Health Canada. Regulations may come into effect as early as 2019. CAFE fully supports engaging in healthy practices and encouraging healthy lifestyles for children, however the vague language of the Bill raises concern for our events in two ways:

  1. Many local fairs and events rely heavily on the support from local businesses, sponsors, and corporations to sustain their community-building activities. Bill S-228 may impact upon their industries and their support of our events. Without the support of the private sector partners who also support other events, like sports events (i.e. Tim Horton’s hockey sponsorship) that are exempted under Bill S-228, these events may suffer from significant revenue loss.

Examples of sponsorships that may be lost include: support from your Local Tim Horton’s, sponsorship from Coca Cola or Pepsi, program funding from McDonalds, to name a few.

  1. Furthermore, there are hundreds of small businesses in the form of vendors, food trucks and concessionaires at our events who will likely have difficulty abiding by the law within the timeframe and within their own budgets. The atmosphere of the fair is a colourful, joyous event, and we are concerned that our vendors will be relegated to painting their trucks white, thereby losing sales themselves, and negatively impacting the fair’s income and ambiance.

As a result, CAFE has, and will continue to be taking several steps to seek an amendment in the Bill or a commitment from Health Canada that our events will be exempt in the regulations.

CAFE’s Key Messages

  • The majority of our events have been around for decades and therefore hold deep cultural roots and traditions within their communities. Generations of families have been involved as volunteers, participants or visitors. 90%+ of visitors to fairs agree they are a major social gathering for the community, they are important to Canadian tradition and the events enhance the quality of life for people living in the region. Likewise, our events are key opportunities to involve all ages in civic engagement, whether it is volunteering for the event or for an organization attending the event, event the smallest fairs and exhibitions easily see 150-300 volunteers engaged each year.
  • Often, it is the one event of the year that not only brings together the entire community but is a driving force for economic stimulation, averaging an economic impact of $17.2 million on the local economy per fair. Small fairs alone average $750,000, which in a small town represents a huge boon for business.
  • These events are family friendly, offering entertainment and activities for all ages. In fact, the demographics are balances up to the age of 59, and children aged 10-13 represent less than 26 per cent of the total audience.
  • The strength of our events comes from their rich backgrounds, which are complemented with modern innovations, education and entertainment. Our events have been at the forefront of technological innovation and educational exchange for decades, having in the past been the only place where this information could be sought. Today, while individuals can find information elsewhere, it has not prevented our events from offering top-notch educational opportunities, particularly in relation to technology, agriculture and healthy living. More than 50 per cent of individuals say the educational component of our events enhances their visits and the top educational reasons for visiting fairs include: healthy eating, food safety, cooking and food preparation and agriculture and farming.
  • CAFE would be glad to work with the Federal Government to complement Bill S-228 by developing and offering educational modules on healthy eating at our events, something many have already been doing independently for years.
  • Finally, we are one of the few events that offers real, authentic experiences that still see children get outside and do something, whether it’s riding the midway, visiting animals or playing games, to name a few.

This letter is to inform you of the current situation, so that you may also in turn inform your boards and other relevant stakeholders.

Whether you are a fair, exhibition, rodeo, agricultural society, other event, service member or provincial association, we are now seeking your assistance as we launch a letter-writing campaign. We would like to encourage you to contact your Member of Parliament (MP) directly with a letter and/or a phone call expressing your concern in regards to this bill. The effect this Bill will have on our events has not been considered and this is a great way to build the conversation. In contacting your MP directly, you will make a connection with them as a constituent but also will be able to speak to your event specifically and how this bill may affect you.

We have some simple steps to follow:
1. If you are unsure who your local MP is, visit to find your MP.
2. For your convenience, we have attached a sample letter you may use. Please adjust it and send it to your MP. If possible, please try to copy so we may track the responses.
3. Follow up a few days later with your MP on the telephone to discuss his/her thoughts and possible actions.

If you require any assistance, CAFE is here to help at 1-800-663-1714 or

CAFE is here to represent our best interests and so we encourage you to continue your engagement with us. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Kind regards,

Christina Franc
Executive Director, CAFE

CAFE secures decision on recorded music tariffs

CAFE and partners secure positive decision on recorded music tariffs at live events

On September 1, the Copyright Board of Canada certified eleven tariffs, two of which CAFE and our partners negotiated to protect the rights of fairs and exhibitions.

Re:Sound has been negotiating these fees with CAFE for more than four years. Working with CAPACOA, CAFE was able to secure a new Tariff 5.K Recorded music accompanying theatrical, dance and other live performances, and revising Tariff 5.D Festivals, Exhibitions and Fairs for 2015.

The Copyright Board’s decision (paragraphs 33-47) notes: “CAFE and CAPACOA consulted extensively with their members and requested changes to the Tariff to make it simpler to administer and more equitable.”

Tariff 5.K Theatrical, Dance and Other Similar Live Performances 2008-2015 is a brand new tariff, there is no SOCAN equivalent. This Tariff “is designed to fill in the remaining gap in the initial proposed Re:Sound Live Events Tariff for 2008-2012, and covers the use of recorded music during all types of live entertainment events not otherwise covered by Tariffs 5.A to 5.J.” It applies to the use of recorded music as a part of any type of live entertainment events including theatrical, dance, acrobatic arts, integrated arts, contemporary circus arts or other similar live performances. The fees vary depending on whether the music is incidental, and there is an annual minimum fee available to licensees that hold multiple events.



For more information:

Christina Franc, Executive Director
Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions
With files from CAPACOA

Read the certified tariffs

Read the Copyright Board decision

Russell Fair: Special Needs Program

Russell Fair is looking forward to celebrating its second annual Special Needs Day at their fair this year. Reeann Slater, a new director at the start of this initiative, who was looking for a way to contribute to her local fair, brought the idea forth.

“My Special Needs Day at the fair all started 3 years ago when I visited South Mountain Fair on their opening night,” says Reeann.

She says she was excited to find out about the program as her son’s godmother is in a wheelchair and she has a few close friends who have children with special needs.

“I just needed to find out more information on how I could bring this to our fair. I now knew what my first calling was for the fair,” says Reeann. She left that evening feeling excited and started to make a plan to bring to the next board meeting.

She had always loved going to fairs, sometimes while at fairs, she would wonder how special needs kids and adults get to enjoy this? Many people with special needs have difficulty handle the lineups, noise, and crowds.

“I was given the go ahead from the board to start this up and run with it and that is what I did,” says Reeann.

The first step was to raise money to hire the additional attractions which included a petting zoo, tractors, a Mad Science show, face painting, a musical act, balloon artists, a craft station and a free ice cream cone.

Reeann hosted a paint night fundraiser, which sold out in a matter of five days.

“The community was behind this event and with help from some other directors we had a hugely success event and we raised $1,700.” Reeann was also able to collect sponsorship from a local community organization.

Next, Reeann made an event poster and shared it within the community. Within a month, 72 people had signed up.

“The parents were so excited and thankful when they called to sign their child up. I loved every moment of this,” Reeann said.

There was support all around. Reeann recruited another director, Abbey McFaul, to help out and Robertson Amusements were so excited they offered free rides for select rides as well as a free game and complimentary cotton candy.

The board also wanted to give guests something to take home, so Reeann ordered backpacks and filled 100 of them with products that had been donated. Items included a squeeze cow from the local township, pencils, erasers, snacks, water, tattoos and stickers.

“I was so excited to know we were giving them a keepsake from there day at the fair with the great memories of their day at the fair,” says Reeann.

But as much as you can plan for an event at your fair, that even included greetings from one of Reeann’s friend who was in a wheelchair, sometimes you get rained out.

“Unfortunately Mother Nature took a turn for the worse and there was a rainstorm the previous day as well as the day of the event, which meant there was mud everywhere. Luckily we were able to move the attractions into the arena,” says Reeann.

Guests arrived with huge smiles; they couldn’t wait to have their turn at the fair! So off they all went to start their afternoon at the fair. Reeann had planned for two hours of planned activities followed by an hour on the rides.

“I was so worried they weren’t going to be able to enjoy the rides with all the rain but lo and behold when our arena time was up we went outside the sun was shining so the kids were able to enjoy the rides.”

Reeann says she will never forget the joy this brought to the kids and the tears in some of the parents eyes. Many parents thanked her for organizing this event. She is currently in the midst of preparing for their second annual Special needs Event this September, which will include a magician this year.

“Hopefully Mother Nature will be nicer to us this year…”