B.C. actors, producers approve labor contract

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TORONTO -- Hollywood producers and actors in British Columbia shook hands Tuesday on a new labor deal for the westernmost Canadian province.

A spokesman for the Canadian Film and Television Production Assn. -- the Canadian producers association that sat in on the talks between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and the Union of British Columbia Performers -- said the parties reached an agreement on a new B.C. Master Production Agreement, which governs pay rates and workplace conditions for provincial actors.

The contract renewal means Canada now enjoys labor peace coast to coast following February's accord between North American producers and ACTRA, which represents the nation's 21,000 actors outside British Columbia.

Details of the new pact were not available late Tuesday, and representatives for the CFTPA and the AMPTP referred the media to the UBCP for comment. While officials at the UBCP could not be reached at press time, it is understood that the UBCP negotiating committee, led by union president Howard Storey, unanimously agreed to recommend the contract for ratification.

The talks, conducted under a media blackout through mediator Vince Ready, were operating under a March 31 deadline.

The UBCP and U.S. producers negotiated a safe harbor agreement for continuing film and TV production that satisfied both parties and kept production in British Columbia on the rails with a one-year extension after the last B.C. Master Production Agreement expired March 31, 2006.

The conclusion of the UBCP-AMPTP talks also follows the February end of Montreal's long-standing turf war between Quebec technicians unions IATSE and AQTIS.
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