Become an ACTRA Additional Background Performer (AABP)

ACTRA Toronto is made up of over 15,000 independent performers working in dozens of different performance categories, from on-camera to voice to stunts to background and more. Our professional membership is proud to have helped bring productions to life in Toronto for over 80 years. We are also proud to include our ACTRA Additional Background Performers (AABP) as members of ACTRA.

Whether on set, at auditions or in their professional relationships, ACTRA Toronto supports and defends wages, working conditions and respect issues for all its members, be they Full Members, Apprentices or AABP. When our members display their ACTRA Toronto card, they are representing and have the support of over 28,000 ACTRA members from across Canada.

Our AABP members have made a pledge to perform only in UNION productions. They work ACTRA. They may not be submitted for non-union work.

Did you know..?

Joining AABP helps Background Performers become a stronger force within our industry by standing together around issues such as:

  • Safe sets
  • Fair pay
  • Meal breaks
  • On-set insurance
  • Work opportunities
  • Professional training & advancement

We believe all performers have the same rights as other workers to fair pay and decent working conditions. We ask our members and industry partners to treat our AABP members with the courtesy and respect all members of the professional production community deserve and have come to expect.

Becoming an AABP Member

Once you join, you agree to abide by the member responsibilities in ACTRA’s Constitution and By-Laws.

To join ACTRA Toronto as an AABP Member, you must prove that you have worked fifteen (15) days as a background performer within the 12-month period immediately preceding your application for membership.

You can complete, print and sign this application form in advance and call ACTRA Toronto at 416-928-2278 and ask for Member Services. You will need to provide ACTRA Toronto with:

  1. proof of at least fifteen (15) work days as a background performer during the past twelve (12) months in date order;
  2. proof of Canadian citizenship or Permanent Resident status (passport or birth certificate); and
  3. payment of the $30 initiation fee.

How to submit your vouchers to join as an AABP member

Revised October 19, 2022

  1. You must have 15 vouchers from the 12-month period immediately preceding the day you are joining. Any vouchers older than 12 months will not be considered. You cannot use more than 15 vouchers to join or to submit in the future for your Apprentice credit.
  2. All vouchers must be fully legible. If any information on the voucher is not legible due to damage, getting wet or being written on, it will not be counted. It is important that you do not write over any of the information contained on your completed voucher. If any information is too faint to read, you must also submit the corresponding paystub as proof that you worked.
  3. Your vouchers must be in date order. That means the first voucher will be the oldest one in the 12-month period and the last voucher will be the most recent one.
  4. Do not submit duplicates. If you have the performer copy as well as the production copy that may have been attached to your cheque, only one can be submitted.
  5. Non-union vouchers will not be accepted.
  6. If you have misplaced a voucher or have one that is too damaged to be accepted, we will accept a paystub or a report from a payroll service instead.
  7. Separate vouchers for COVID testing or wardrobe calls do not count as a day of work and will not be accepted.

The Benefits of AABP Membership

  1. Union membership. AABP members are ACTRA members.
  2. Representation. AABP members are represented at the ACTRA Toronto Council table by an elected AABP Caucus.
  3. Professional Training, including Respect on Set Workshops.
  4. Access to union work:
    • AABP members can work BG in union commercials – non-union performers can’t.
    • AABP members can work in Low Budget Productions – non-union performers can’t.
    • AABP members can work in Toronto Co-op productions – non-union performers can’t.
  5. Promotion without exploitation. AABP members can strut their stuff online safely via the Digital Self-Promotion Registry.
  6. Professional development. Attend workshops and master classes at ACTRA Toronto Members Conferences – FREE!
  7. Community, networking & celebration. Attend the ACTRA Awards in Toronto – FREE!
  8. Information! Receive Performers and ACTRA magazines – FREE!
  9. Save! Enjoy Deals & Discounts brought to you by ACTRA’s partnership with Union Savings – Canada’s only not-for-profit, union run, members’ benefit program! 
  10. Full-service banking and performer-friendly financial services from the Creative Arts Financial, a division of FirstOntario Credit Union.
  11. Group rates on Home & Auto insurance and extended health benefits from the Arts & Entertainment Plan available to purchase from AFBS.
  12. Advancement. Earn your first ACTRA Apprentice credit by working 200 days/1,600 background hours as an AABP Member.

How to submit AABP BG hours for Apprentice Membership

Revised October 19, 2022

PLEASE READ THESE REQUIREMENTS CAREFULLY! SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED UNLESS THEY ARE PROPERLY ORGANIZED

YOU WILL BE INFORMED OF YOUR ACCEPTANCE BY EMAIL WITHIN TWO TO THREE WEEKS.

  1. You must submit an organized spreadsheet of the productions you worked on along with your vouchers that you have numbered to match the order on the spreadsheet. You must number your vouchers.
  2. Manually completed spreadsheets will not be accepted. You must enter your hours into the spreadsheet provided on a computer so the spreadsheet can add your hours up accurately. If you are unable to do this yourself, ask a friend or family member for assistance.
  3. All vouchers must be fully legible. If any of the information on the voucher cannot able to be read due to damage, getting wet or being written on by you, it will NOT be counted.
  4. The first 15 vouchers on your spreadsheet will be the 15 that you joined on. Any extra vouchers from the 12-month period before joining as an AABP will not be accepted. Do not include more than the 15 vouchers you joined with. The first voucher on your spreadsheet will be the earliest date of the 15 vouchers from the 12-month period before you joined.
  5. AABP members who joined prior to October 31, 2012, can submit up to 800 hours that were accumulated as a non-member. The remaining 800 hours must have been accumulated as an AABP member so the work dates will be only those after your initiation date.
  6. If you worked a few hours, but were paid for eight (8) hours, you can claim eight (8) hours. You may not include travel time, lunch hours or wardrobe calls. We count the hours you were paid to be on set only.
  7. For days you worked beyond the minimum eight (8) hours, you will not include lunch hours, wardrobe calls or travel time. Subtract one hour from every voucher when you worked more than eight (8) hours.
  8. Do not include separate vouchers for wardrobe fittings or COVID testing.
  9. Non-union work is not considered. Do not submit vouchers from non-union productions.
  10. If you have lost any vouchers, we will also accept a pay stub or a report provided by a payroll service. We do not accept anything other than a voucher, a pay stub or a report from a payroll service.
  11. Minutes can only be rounded off in 15-minute increments. Do not calculate minutes worked with anything other than .25, .50 or .75 after the hour. For example, if you worked 10 hours and 15 minutes, it should be recorded as 10.25 hours and NOT 10.15 hours.
  12. For vouchers from January 2019 onward, round off the hours worked in six-minute increments. The times allowed are as follows:
    • :06 minutes will be rounded down to .00
    • :12 minutes will be rounded up to .25
    • :18 minutes will round down to .25
    • :24 minutes will round up to .5
    • :30 minutes is .5
    • :36 minutes rounds down to .5
    • :42 minutes rounds up to .75
    • :48 minutes rounds down to .75 and
    • :54 minutes rounds up to a full hour
  13. We will absolutely not consider any application where you are short the required 1,600 hours. Please review your submission carefully for errors in the calculation of your hours.

ACTRA Additional Background Performers (AABP) Member Advantage

What is ACTRA and why should I join an AABP Member?

If you’re a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident and you work as a background performer under the Independent Production Agreement (IPA), you should consider joining ACTRA as an ACTRA Additional Background Performer (AABP) and becoming a member of the strongest cultural union in Canada.

ACTRA Toronto has over 15,000 members and is the largest organization within ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists).

What are the rights and benefits of being an AABP Member?
  • Protections under ACTRA’s Independent Production Agreement (IPA).
  • Benefit from the union’s negotiating power with producers resulting in better wages and working conditions, improved job opportunities and better protection.
  • AABP Members who qualify can participate in ratification votes on ACTRA agreements and serve on ACTRA Toronto’s various committees. However, AABP Members do not have voting rights in Council elections and may not hold elected positions at ACTRA (except on the AABP Caucus).
  • Representation by the AABP Caucus, which is an elected group representing the concerns of AABP Members within ACTRA Toronto and is the voice of AABP members at Council meetings. The AABP Caucus addresses issues concerning AABP members, such as relations between performers and agents, advocates ways to better protect and promote background performers, and presents proposals for ACTRA’s negotiating committees.
  • Attend ACTRA Toronto’s Member Conferences and Awards;
  • Enjoy ACTRA member discounts;
  • Participate in LBG (Low Budget Guidelines) productions, registered ACTRA Co-op and registered ACTRA student productions; and
  • Accumulate background hours towards a first Apprentice credit.
How do I qualify and join ACTRA as an AABP Member?
  • To be eligible for AABP membership, performers must provide proof they have worked 15 days as a background performer on an ACTRA set in the 12 months prior to their application.
  • Apply through ACTRA Toronto’s Membership Department by completing an application form, presenting proof of Canadian citizenship (or Permanent Residency) along with vouchers (itemized and in chronological order) verifying 15 background workdays in the previous 12 months. Upon payment of a $30 fee, you will receive an AABP membership card with your new member number.
  • To keep your ACTRA Additional Background Performer membership in good standing, you must pay an annual basic fee of $30.
  • AABP members may not work on non-union productions.
How do AABP Members become Apprentices?

When a performer accumulates 1,600 hours or 200 Background (BG) days as an AABP Member, they can apply for ACTRA Apprentice Membership. Documented proof of hours or days must be submitted to ACTRA, itemized and in chronological order along with an application for Apprentice membership. Please allow two-to-three weeks for your application to be processed.

Once accepted into the Apprentice program, there is a $75 l Apprentice initiation fee and an annual $75 Apprentice renewal fee.