CARFAC began in 1968 when a group of Ontario artists organized collective action in response to a violation of artists' copyright. By 1970, founder Jack Chambers and two fellow artists, Tony Urquhart and Kim Ondaatje, had published an exhibition fee schedule that outlined various rates that should be paid to artists, and sent it to art institutions across Canada. Jack Chambers reasoned that artists gave art galleries meaning and purpose, yet artists were the only group in the gallery who were not being paid for their services. As a result of CARFAC' s early efforts, Canada became the first country in the world to initiate exhibition fees for artists. In 1976 the Canada Council made payment of artists fees to living Canadian artists a requirement for eligibility for Program Assistance Grants to Art Galleries. CARFAC's role in the establishment of exhibition fees for artists had international influence. The British Arts Council instituted exhibition fees after correspondence with the National CARFAC office, and CARFAC was asked to join the International Association of Art, a part of UNESCO, to represent Canada.
CARFAC was actively involved in the process of Canadian copyright law revision. CARFAC National operates the CARFAC Copyright Collective (established in 1988) to guarantee that artists have the right to control the use of their works and benefit from their exhibitions and reproductions of their artwork.
CARFAC SASK, an affiliate of CARFAC National, was organized in 1983 to address the concerns of the province’s visual artists. Since that time, the organization has grown to become one of the strongest CARFAC chapters in the country, with a solid membership and vibrant programming. We established the first CARFAC Mentorship Program in 2000, which nurtures visual and media artists through an informal, peer learning framework and has contributed to the professional development of some of Saskatchewan’s most successful artists.
CARFAC SASK’s advocacy contributed to the 2009 Saskatchewan Arts Professions Act requiring mandatory use of contracts between artists and engagers. We went on to publish a series of Industry Standards/Best Practices documents which provide professional guidelines for the visual arts, crafts, and media sectors.
We are committed to the development of the visual arts, artists, and artistic practice in Saskatchewan. CARFAC is founded on the principles of fair compensation and respect for artists, and effective and responsive advocacy. We are dedicated to advancing art from diverse communities and strive to ensure that inclusivity remains a founding principle of our organization.