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ACTRA Commercial ADvantage

At ACTRA, we understand that time is money and that the continually evolving advertising landscape moves quickly!

We will work with you to help ensure your client gets the best ad possible, coming in on-time and on-budget.

You need the best performers, and you need them fast. We’re here to help you cast the most talented artists to bring your creative ideas to life.

Get the Professionals. Go ACTRA.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is ACTRA?

ACTRA is the union representing performers in recorded media in Canada. ACTRA Toronto’s jurisdiction includes all of Ontario outside the National Capital Region and represents 15,000 of ACTRA’s 22,000 members. ACTRA performers work on commercials, feature films, television, video games, audiobooks and more. For more information about our union and our history, please see our About Us page.

Why should I hire ACTRA performers for my commercial versus non-union talent?

ACTRA members are experienced professionals, and by hiring union performers, producers get the ACTRA Advantage. When you work with ACTRA talent, you’re guaranteed the best performance possible. ACTRA members know their craft and will elevate the quality of any project. You deserve the top talent on your campaign, so hire the professionals.

This my first time working with ACTRA. What do I need to know?

Congratulations on choosing ACTRA talent – we are happy to work with you! ACTRA has different agreements for different types of productions. Advertising campaigns are covered under the National Commercial Agreement The agreement outlines wages and working conditions for all types of advertising productions. Contact ACTRA Toronto’s helpful commercial staff for more info about signing on to the NCA.

How do I calculate talent costs on a commercial?

When working with union performers, the engager pays performers for their work day, also known as the work session, and for the broadcast cycle when the commercial is aired, which is referred to as a use fee. Use fees will vary depending on where the commercial is aired, and for how long. If a commercial is airing on multiple platforms – for example, concurrently on television and digital media – that will affect the total talent cost. Performer rates are found in the National Commercial Agreement. Please contact our commercial staff, and they can walk you through budgeting. ACTRA is developing an online talent estimator to help you calculate performer costs on a Canadian commercial. There are payroll companies in the GTA who handle commercial projects, and some producers opt to work with these businesses to ensure the correct amounts are issued to performers. Please call ACTRA Toronto at 416-928-2278 and ask to speak with a Commercial Business Representative to discuss budgeting for commercial campaigns.

The campaign we’re working on is for use on Digital Media only, and we have a budget of less than $75,000 total. How do we contract performers for low-budget, digital-only spots?

For commercials with a budget of $75,000 or less (including post-production, music, etc.) producers can opt for the ACTRA-Online Opportunity Pilot Project (AOPP). The AOPP provides discounted performer fees for low-budget commercials used only on digital media. If you’re creating ads specifically for Instagram, YouTube or any other digital platform, the AOPP is the commercial contract for you.

The creative on this campaign includes stunts and/or stunt driving. What do I need to know about stunts and drivers?

ACTRA Stunt Coordinators and Stunt Performers are the best in the business, and you need their experience and expertise to ensure the stunt runs smoothly and safely. The National Commercial Agreement has a section dedicated to information about stunts and stunt performers, including guidelines about stunt driving. Please see Section 17 – Stunt Performance – in the NCA for information on performer definitions, working conditions, safety information and fees. Producers that require assistance finding a Stunt Coordinator can request a list of ACTRA Toronto Stunt Coordinators.

How do I find a casting director?

There are many casting directors in the Greater Toronto Area, and some specialize in commercial casting. Please visit the Casting Directors Society of Canada for more information.

I’m looking for a diverse cast – do you have diverse performers in your membership?

At ACTRA Toronto, diversity is our strength. We have many diverse performers in our membership, and producers can cast the world in this city. Producers searching for diverse performers can sign up for ACTRA’s online diversity database.

I need help finding performers. How can ACTRA Toronto assist?

There is an online database for performers called ACTRA Online and, once registered with the site, producers can search for ACTRA members. ACTRA online also has specific channels for Background performers, Stunt performers, Voice performers and Diverse performers.

There is a specific ACTRA member I’m hoping to cast for the campaign. Can you help me?

Absolutely! Please call us at 416-928-2278 and let us know which performer you are interested in casting in the commercial campaign, and we can help you get in touch with their agent.

The ad agency is based in Ontario, but we are shooting this commercial in another Canadian province. Who should we talk to?

There are ACTRA branches across Canada and each branch is autonomous. If you are shooting in Alberta, for example, you should speak with the ACTRA Alberta branch.

I work with an ad agency based in the United States, and we are coming to Canada to shoot a commercial for US-use and/or worldwide use. How do we hire ACTRA talent?

Thank you for choosing Toronto as your shoot location! We are happy to work with you on your campaign. Your best bet is to get in touch with our helpful Commercial Business Representatives and they can explain the process of foreign ad agencies working with ACTRA talent. Information on commercials shot in Canada for distribution in the United States, or worldwide, can be found in the National Commercial Agreement under Section 24 – Foreign Distribution.

I’m producing a Public Service Announcement with a small budget. Can I work with ACTRA talent?

ACTRA members are happy to partner with charitable organizations creating public service announcements. ACTRA understands that charities sometimes have limited production budgets, but still want the best performers possible for their production. Guidelines for producing Public Service Announcements are covered in Article 1101 in the National Commercial Agreement. For information on how to engage union talent on a public service announcement, please contact our Commercial Business Representatives for assistance.


Get the professionals – go ACTRA.

At ACTRA Toronto, we want to work with you! Get in touch today and learn more about hiring the best performers for your commercial campaign.