Canada's Highest Court Backs IATSE in Union Drive Battle

Commercial production giant Egg Films loses bid to block certification

A Canadian film studio has failed to get the Supreme Court of Canada to stop the U.S.-based IATSE union from certifying its technicians.

Canada's highest court on Sept. 25 tossed a request by Halifax-based commercial producer Egg Films for a leave to appeal a lower-court decision allowing the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 849 to sign up its contract workers.

IATSE international president Matthew D. Loeb said on Thursday that he hoped the high court decision will set a precedent for unionizing Canadian commercial production workers. "This result has been a long time in coming, and should help to pave the way for additional organizing in the commercial industry in Canada," he said in a statement.

The Egg Films dispute with IATSE in the commercial production sector is a contrast to the domestic film and TV sector, where unions and guilds have maintained labor peace in contract renewal talks with producers to keep the major Hollywood studios shooting in Canada.

IATSE Local 849 first certified Egg Films workers in March 2011. The Nova Scotia Labor Board two years later imposed a collective agreement on the commercial producer.

But Egg Films fought that certification in the courts on grounds that its technicians were independent contractors. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in April 2014 dismissed Egg Films' application to prevent the unionization of its workers, leading to the failed appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.