Canadian actors ink commercial pact

ACTRA members will be polled on new deal

TORONTO -- Canada's actors union on Tuesday reached a tentative deal with domestic advertisers after 17 months of bargaining, averting a threatened strike over pay.

ACTRA, which represents about 21,000 domestic performers, said it agreed to terms on a new three-year National Commercial Agreement with the Institute of Communications Agencies and the Association of Canadian Advertisers.

ACTRA members will now be polled on the new 17-page agreement, which includes an average 2.5% pay increase in each of the three years of the new deal, an eight-hour workday, down from nine hours, and measures to keep large-budget Canadian commercial shoots from going offshore.

On the thorny issue of new-media residuals, payments for new-media distribution were capped, and ACTRA reduced the payment rate for original new-media product to encourage more production.

"It's a good deal for both parties. Neither side got everything they wanted. It was a good compromise," ACTRA national executive director Stephen Waddell said.

He added that the new deal is more in line with the SAG agreement on commercial work, to reflect an increasingly North American production market.

The deal will need to be ratified by ACTRA's national executive Thursday. The broader membership vote is expected by Nov. 26, which could allow the new contract to come into force by Dec. 1.

In mid-September, ACTRA began to poll its membership on a strike mandate to revive stalled negotiations with domestic advertisers.

The last National Commercial Agreement expired June 30.