Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences

Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). Non-profit organization created to preserve and enhance the Canadian music and recording industries and to contribute toward higher artistic and industry standards. CARAS aims to showcase and promote Canadian artists and music and is the governing body of the Juno awards. Established as an advisory committee to the awards in 1974, it was formalized in 1975 first as the Canadian Music Awards Association and then as CARAS. The academy is responsible for the awards' nomination and voting procedures - only members of the academy are eligible to vote - and for co-ordinating the televised presentation of the awards ceremony.

The first president of CARAS was Mel Shaw (1975-80). Membership is restricted to individuals actively working in the Canadian music industry representing the fields of performance, recording, publishing, broadcasting, and retailing. CARAS maintains a board of directors and an advisory board, both comprising musicians and music industry figures, and has further representation on a regional basis. Individual chapters are located in BC (PMIA), Alberta (ARIA), Saskatchewan (SRIA), Manitoba (MARIA), Quebec, New Brunswick (MNB), Nova Scotia (MIANS), PEI (ECMA), Newfoundland and Labrador (MIANL), and the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut (RAIYA). In 2002, the Prairie Music Alliance expanded to incorporate the Western Canadian provinces and territories (B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut). United, they are known as the Western Canadian Music Alliance (WCMA) and have hosted the Western Canadian Music Awards on an annual basis since 2003. The Eastern provinces have hosted their own East Coast Music Awards (known until 1991 as the Maritime Music Awards) on an annual basis since 1989.

CARAS is dedicated to promoting music education in Canada. In 1997, thanks to proceeds from sales of the 25th anniversary Juno Awards commemorative CD box set Oh What A Feeling: A Vital Collection of Canadian Music, CARAS established Band Aid. As an offshoot of the Music Education Fund, this program is intended to improve music education in Canada by providing individual grants to selected schools that demonstrate potential but are in need of funding to ensure sustained growth. Winning schools customize the grant to their individual needs by compiling a list of band instruments. These instruments are then delivered to the school by CARAS, and a prominent member of the Canadian music industry makes a special presentation. Past presentations have been made by: Alanis Morissette, Jann Arden, Remy Shand, Jully Black, Susan Aglukark, Jane Bunnett, Dany Bedar, Moist, members of the Tragically Hip, Great Big Sea, the Moffatts, and members of 54-40. The granting program received a boost in 2002, when five major Canadian record labels (BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Canada, and Warner Music Canada) committed to an annual joint pledge of $50,000. In 2003, eleven schools each received $10,000 toward the purchase of band instruments. Since 1997 CARAS has donated more than $500,000 of band instruments to 48 Canadian schools. The CARAS Music Education program also awards individual $1,000 cash scholarships to deserving students enrolled in the final year of post-secondary music industry arts programs.