With voting underway on the one-year extension of the National Commercial Agreement (NCA) between ACTRA and the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA), it is understandable ACTRA Toronto members may have questions about the state of the lockout and why they should vote yes to the extension as well as their eligibility to vote.

Answers to these great questions are addressed below:

1. Does this NCA extension mean the lockout by the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) is over?

No. Unfortunately, the ICA continues to lockout ACTRA performers who work in commercials. ACTRA continues its fight against the ICA and its advertising agencies at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and remains willing to return to the bargaining table at any time.

2. Does the one-year extension solve the issue of third parties being able to opt-in or opt-out of the NCA?

No. The terms and conditions of the NCA remain intact, including the option for third parties to opt-in and opt-out of the collective agreement. The only change to the agreement through this ratification vote is a 5% increase to rates and fees. A yes vote guarantees this 5% increase to rates and fees for all performers who work under the NCA over the term of this one-year extension (June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025). A no vote means no one will benefit from an increase in pay. What will remain the same with a yes or no vote is the ability for third parties to opt-in and opt-out of the agreement.

3. Why was the voting eligibility timeframe expanded for ACTRA performers in this ratification vote?

Referendum voting rules are outlined in ACTRA National Constitution Article 11 and By-Law 17. Under normal circumstances, the eligibility period for this NCA ratification vote would be open to ACTRA members (including Full, Apprentice and AABP) who worked under the NCA between the effective date of the expiring or expired agreement (June 1, 2023) and the end of the second preceding month prior to the vote (March 31, 2024 (the current agreement expired on May 31, 2024)).

However, ACTRA National Council exercised its right (By-Law 17, Section III, 6.) to temporarily change eligibility criteria for this ratification vote by extending the eligibility period with the goal of widening the pool of ACTRA members (Full, Apprentice, AABP) who are eligible to vote. The eligibility timeframe has been expanded to include ACTRA members who worked under the ACTRA ICA/ACA NCA agreement between July 1, 2020, to May 31, 2022, or under the ACA-ACTRA agreements between June 1, 2022, to March 31, 2024. This voting eligibility timeframe expansion provides the opportunity for more ACTRA members to have a say on the terms of the one-year extension of the NCA.

4. Where do things stand at the OLRB?

Over the course of numerous OLRB hearings, ACTRA continues to assert and present evidence proving that under the collective agreement ACTRA members are acting as employees within the meaning of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act. Additional hearing dates are scheduled through fall 2024. Thank you to the members who served as witnesses to the ongoing shameful actions of the ICA by either appearing on the stand at the hearings or being present in the gallery.

If you have any questions about the one-year extension or your voting eligibility, please contact ACTRA National at referendum@actra.ca.