Canadian Actors, Producers Choose Labor Peace in Contract Talks


Keeping the major studios shooting here is encouraging no-fuss national commercial, film and TV contract settlements.

TORONTO — In the wake of SAG-AFTRA's tentative three-year theatrical and TV contracts with the AMPTP, Canadian actors and producers are choosing labor peace to keep Hollywood producers coming north as they negotiate their own contract renewals.

"It's in all of our interests to demonstrate labor stability in Canada," Stephen Waddell, national executive director of ACTRA, Canada's actors union, told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.

ACTRA and the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA), representing major English-language indie producers and its Quebec counterpart are discussing opening talks on a new Independent Production Agreement (IPA) in April or May 2015, well ahead of the current contract expiring on December 31, 2015.

Improving new media provisions in the IPA is expected to prove a hurdle during next year's bargaining, and Waddell is eyeing SAG-AFTRA's annual minimum increases of 2.5 percent in the first year, 3 percent in years two and three and a 0.5 percent increase in AMPTP's contribution to the pension fund as a model to build on in the Canadian talks.

But ACTRA and Canadian producers in recent bargaining rounds have sought quick deals to send a message of labor peace to the major studios in Los Angeles.

"The CMPA shares ACTRA's desire to maintain labor stability, which has played a key role in the ongoing success of our industry," Reynolds Mastin, chief negotiator and chief legal officer for the CMPA, said in a statement Friday.

Mastin added it was too early to discuss "monetary terms" for the new deal.

Before the IPA talks, ACTRA still needs to wrap up current bargaining on a new National Commercial Agreement with Canadian ad agencies and advertisers.

The current agreement with the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) and the Association of Canadian Advertisers expired on June 30, 2014.

Both sides have completed two days of mediated talks, ahead of another date scheduled for Monday and a fourth in early September.

The talks have hit a snag over the use of commercials on the Internet and other key issues, but Waddell said ACTRA is working toward an overall settlement.

"It is business as usual with the current terms of the contract until further notice," the ICA said in a July 11 update to its membership about the current talks.