UPDATE: After passing unanimously through the legislature on Thursday, 30 April 2015, Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015 was given Royal Assent, on May 5, 2015. The law will come into force on February 5, 2016 and covers both the live and the recorded entertainment industries. Children who work in the live and recorded entertainment industry will soon have health and safety protections, income protection and tutoring.
Private members’ bills rarely make it into law. That this one did is a remarkable accomplishment many years in the making. ACTRA members have always been and still are protected by their collective agreements. Now children working on non-union sets will have some of the protections that ACTRA members have in their workplaces. As well, the legislation provides another layer of protection on ACTRA sets. Unions raise standards for everyone.
This historic legislation contains provisions to protect a portion of minors’ income, ensure their education is not compromised, guarantees parental supervision, age-appropriate hours of work and breaks, and health and safety measures.
ACTRA, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, CMPA and PACT will be working implementation of the bill, sharing our experience, and educating parents and productions. There are a few amendments, including changes to the parent/child ratio, that all the parties are committed to including before the bill becomes law. We continue to work with industry stakeholders and the government to ensure the legislation is effective and enforceable, and can be easily adhered to by production and parents/guardians alike.
Thanks to everyone who helped get this historic bill passed! Special thank you to the bill’s legislative sponsor, NDP MPP Paul Miller.
Bill 17 passed third reading on an unanimous vote. Please take a moment to thank your MPP for supporting Bill 17 and helping to provide new protections to child performers.
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Protecting Child Performers Act was introduced in Ontario’s Legislative Assembly for First Reading on 16 July 2014 by NDP MPP Paul Miller (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek). ACTRA Toronto and the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association strongly supported the bill as it recognized the potential vulnerabilities of child performers in the film, television and live entertainment industry, and provided suitable protections for young workers.
ACTRA Toronto has been seeking legislation to protect child performers for a long time. An earlier version of the Bill (Bill 71 Protecting Child Performers Act) had been ordered for Third Reading at Queen’s Park before dying on the Order Paper when the June 12, 2014, Ontario provincial election was called. (Click here to learn more about how Ontario Private Members’ Bills become law.)
Unlike other industries where children can’t work until they’re at least 14 years old, the entertainment industry employs children on stage and on screen from an early age. But for the longest time there was no legislation to specifically protect them. Young workers often can’t recognize health and safety hazards, which can lead to serious injury, illness or even death.