Councillor Handbook 2022
ACTRA Toronto Councillors are careful custodians of our union’s history, faithful stewards of our union’s resources, fearless champions of our union’s interests and inspired pathfinders to our union’s future.
If a new Councillor feels they may need a little help living up to that vision, they can take comfort from the knowledge that they’re not alone with the task. This ACTRA Toronto Councillor Handbook, the ACTRA Toronto Councillor Orientation Meeting and a little help from fellow Councillors help new Councillors understand what Council does and how it operates so that they can take their place at the Council table with confidence and a solid understanding of their role and its responsibilities.
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WHAT IS ACTRA TORONTO?
Representing 15,000 performers who live and work in Ontario (outside of the National Capital Region), ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA and a strong voice for all Canadian Performers. ACTRA Toronto is the engine that powers our national union’s fight for better rates and working conditions at the bargaining table and for legislative and regulatory changes that create more work opportunities for our members and our industry.
What is ACTRA?
ACTRA is a member-driven union that advocates, secures rights and promotes respect for the work of professional performers in the recorded media across Canada in languages other than French. ACTRA represents more than 25,000 professional performers across Canada.
A bit of history…
It starts with radio. The seed that became ACTRA was planted in the 1940’s with the formation of the Radio Artists of Toronto Society – RATS. Shortly thereafter, radio performers in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver also organized to fight for artists’ rights, working conditions and better fees.
In 1943, the Association of Canadian Radio Artists (ACRA) was formed as a loose national coalition of actors’ groups. Over the years, ACRA evolved to become the Association of Canadian Radio and Television Artists, the Canadian Council of Authors and Artists, the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists and, in 1984, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.
Whether as RATS, ACRA, or ACTRA, members have always been proud of the accomplishments and achievements they attained together. Achievements such as regulated working hours, meal periods, residual payments, safe sets, health and insurance plans and better protection of child and other performer’s rights have all been enormous gains, won through collective action and the dedication of ACTRA members.
ACTRA’s strength lies in its nine independent branches located in major centres coast-to-coast. Members in each branch elect Councils to work on local issues and to recommend national policies for support and adoption. It is through these branches that most member benefits and services are administered. Branch autonomy reflects the geographic diversity of ACTRA members and ensures that regional and local concerns are identified and addressed in a timely manner. To coordinate their efforts on a national level, each of ACTRA’s nine branches elect representatives to ACTRA’s National Council, charged with advancing policies affecting all members.
Within each Branch and at ACTRA National, professional staff perform the administrative duties necessary to carry out Council policies and deliver member services.
REMEMBER: At all levels of ACTRA, members create policy and staff administer it.
ACTRA TORONTO COUNCIL
ACTRA Toronto is governed by a Council of 24 ACTRA Toronto full members in good standing. They are directly elected every two years by ACTRA Toronto full members in good standing.
Thirteen of the 24 Toronto Councillors also represent the branch at ACTRA’s National Council. ACTRA Toronto’s 13 National Councillors are chosen by their fellow ACTRA Toronto Councillors at an election held at the second meeting of a newly elected ACTRA Toronto Council.
WHAT COUNCIL DOES
ACTRA is a member-run union – and this principle guides everything the organization does. But who does what? According to the ACTRA National Constitution and By-Laws and the ACTRA Toronto By-Laws, ACTRA Toronto Council has distinct limits on what it can and cannot do. Other bodies within ACTRA are responsible for specific tasks, as are the managers of our professional staff.
The chief role of ACTRA Toronto Council is to conduct the political business of ACTRA Toronto.
A Brief Checklist:
- We set the policies by which the branch is run.
- We bring the members’ concerns to Council and communicate Council decisions to the members.
- We introduce, debate and vote on motions that respond to member and industry concerns.
- We treat every member with respect and courtesy, regardless of our opinion of their concerns or positions.
- We communicate with one voice to our members when we have taken actions on their behalf. We debate issues within Council (often passionately) but, once a decision has been made, we all support it.
- We hold the staff accountable – through the Executive Director – for actions they undertake on our behalf. We bring problems with individual staff directly to the Executive Director rather than to the Council Table
NOTE: ACTRA Toronto Council does not govern AFBS, ACTRA PRS nor Creative Arts Financial nor decide policy regarding their services. We can, from time to time and where circumstances warrant it, offer input to those institutions through appropriate channels.
ROLE AND FUNCTIONS OF COUNCIL
Steering and Rowing: Who does what?
Remember what we said above? “At all levels of ACTRA, members create policy and staff administer it.”
This is an important division of responsibilities. Council is responsible for all aspects of strategic planning and policymaking, while the Executive Director manages the day-to-day operations of the Branch and ensures that the strategies, plans and policies of the Council are implemented properly. Councillors are concerned with the broader issues of governance rather than the operational details of the Branch – that is the Executive Director’s responsibility.
Council does the steering. The Executive Director and the staff do the rowing.
Council’s role is:
- to approve strategic direction
- to ensure that suitable policies are approved by Council and put in place
- to approve an annual plan and budget that supports achievement of strategic goals
A Standing Invitation
Currently, ACTRA Toronto Council meets via Zoom teleconference on the first Tuesday of every month to receive information, reports and advice from senior staff and to create policy. The teleconference is started at 9:30 a.m. and the Council meeting is called to order by the President at 10:00 a.m.
If a Councillor is unable to attend the monthly meeting, they should inform the President by email as soon as possible and call the Secretary (Freda Merritt-Gambrill) at (416) 928-2278, ext. 6701 by 4:30 p.m. on the Monday before to indicate that they will be absent.
Councillors who cannot attend a meeting may nominate an ACTRA Toronto full member in good standing, as an Alternate, to attend in their place, by writing to the President (who may disallow nominations for reasonable cause, reported to Council). ACTRA Toronto Council practice is that alternates may be appointed for a full day only.
If a Councillor is absent and has not named an alternate, the President may do so. The appointment of an alternate should not be a last-minute decision. Provide timely notice to the President and copy the secretary (email@example.com) so that any necessary briefing materials or other documents may be distributed before the meeting.
TIP: The President is also a good source of advice on how to recruit members to Council and union activism by invitations to alternate at Council or to lend some time to one of ACTRA Toronto’s committees.
NOTE: Councillors should be aware that, under the ACTRA Toronto By-Laws, any Councillor who is absent from three consecutive regular meetings of Council without giving cause, may be subject to removal by motion of ACTRA Toronto Council. However, the By-Laws also say that auditions and work as a performer take precedence over union activity. With 24 elected Councillors to share the work, no one needs to neglect their career to make an effective contribution to the Council.
At the Meeting
The Rules of Order
ACTRA Toronto Council Meetings are chaired by the ACTRA Toronto President and conducted in accordance with Bourinot’s Rules of Order. In the President’s absence, a Vice President (member of the Executive Committee) selected by the President will chair the meeting.
Effective meetings are orderly meetings and nobody has yet found a better way of maintaining civil and productive discourse than by adopting rules of order to which all members of the governing body consent.
Here’s how it works:
- The Agenda
- The agenda defines the business of the meeting and is prepared and distributed by the President.
- After the reading of the Land Acknowledgement and Equality Statement, approval of the agenda is the first order of business of each Council meeting.
The minutes, prepared and distributed by the Recording Secretary, record the business of the meeting.
Approval of the previous meeting’s minutes is the second order of business of each Council meeting. NOTE: ACTRA Toronto Council Minutes are “action minutes.” They record:
- the subject of discussion.
- whether special presentations or reports were made.
- a brief overview of the discussion. (No verbatim transcript. No need for deathless rhetoric!)
- decisions taken
Decisions of Council are put forward, discussed and voted on as Motions. The proper procedure to bring a motion to Council is as follows:
Before a motion can be introduced at a Council meeting, Council must receive a Notice of Motion no later than the Council meeting immediately prior to the meeting at which it is intended to introduce the motion. Once notice of motion has been given, the President will ensure that the motion to be introduced finds a place on the next Council meeting agenda. If proper notice has not been given, the motion is out of order and cannot be introduced without an enabling motion to waive the requirement for Notice of Motion which itself must be moved, seconded, discussed and passed before the new motion can be brought forward.
Motions must have a Mover and a Seconder. These are, respectively, the Councillor who is putting the motion forward and any other Councillor who supports the introduction of the motion.
Discussion of the issue that the motion addresses takes place after the motion is moved and seconded. The motion is then said to be “on the table” and the President, as Chair, will only entertain discussion related to the motion, whether in support or opposition, until the motion is put to a vote.
Motions may also be amended at the table. If the original Mover and Seconder of the motion approve of the amendment, then Council may discuss and vote on the motion as amended. If the Mover and Seconder do not agree to the proposed amendment, then discussion and voting is confined to the original motion. One subamendment may be considered before the amendment is voted.
All discussion of the motion is through the Chair. That is, Councillors address their remarks to the Chair and speak only when they are recognized by the Chair. ACTRA Toronto Council practice is for the President to keep a Speakers List which corresponds as closely as possible to the order in which Councillors have indicated their desire to speak by raising their hand.
Preference is given to first-time speakers and all Councillors are strongly encouraged to keep their remarks brief so that others who wish to speak may do so. Remember, a two-minute speech by each of 24 Councillors would consume 48 minutes of the Council meeting!
TIP: If someone else has said it, don’t! Express your support or opposition along with a brief explanation and allow the discussion to continue.
When a discussion becomes lengthy, the President may test the Council from time to time to see if they are prepared for the President to Call the Question or put the motion to a vote.
in camera meetings
From time to time it is necessary for Council to hear and discuss reports which contain sensitive information. ACTRA Toronto’s bargaining team must be able to brief the branch leadership on the progress of delicate negotiations and know that their tactics and strategy will not become public knowledge. Members have the right to expect that the branch finances will not be put in jeopardy because of inappropriate or untimely communication of confidential information. Council may set aside a meeting, or any portion of a meeting, to hold discussions on confidential matters. These meetings or portions of meetings are said to be held in camera.
When the Chair declares that a Council meeting (or portion of a meeting) is in camera, then all those participating in the meeting must keep the subject and substance of the meeting confidential, neither commenting nor reporting on the meeting nor the discussion held at the meeting in any manner to any person not in attendance at the meeting. Minutes are not kept. Only Councillors and essential staff attend. Observers are not allowed.
Breaking Council confidentiality is a very serious offence with appropriate disciplinary consequences.
THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ACTRA Toronto’s Executive Director (Alistair Hepburn) attends Council (with voice but no vote) to provide information pertaining to the operation of the union. Members of the Executive Director’s management team also attend from time to time (again with voice but no vote) to provide information relevant to the discussion.
The Executive Director is a full-time employee, whose hiring is ratified by ACTRA Toronto Council on the advice of the Officers. The terms of the Executive Director’s employment are set out in an employment contract to be negotiated (and annually reviewed) by the Executive Director, the President and the Treasurer.
The Executive Director’s role is:
- to provide expert counsel to the Executive and Council as they govern the Branch
- to effectively implement the plans, strategies and directives of Council
- to update Council about Branch operations, industry news, production activity, the economic climate, the legislative and regulatory environment, legal issues…in short, anything which might be useful to Council in its deliberations!
ACTRA Toronto’s Executive Director is responsible for the daily operation of the Branch and hires and manages the employees. The Executive Director is the bridge between the board and the operational side of ACTRA Toronto. ACTRA Toronto staff is accountable to the Executive Director, who is in turn accountable to the Council. The roles of Council and the Executive Director mesh smoothly and harmoniously in a relationship characterized by mutual openness, honesty, trust and support.
The ACTRA Toronto Industry Relations team reports directly to the Executive Director. Taisa Lynn Dekker works to reduce the amount of non-union production and obtain more work for members by introducing non-signatory engagers to the ACTRA Advantage. In addition, ACTRA Toronto's Industry Relations Specialist: Anti-Black Racism, DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), Jenn Paul, leads ACTRA Toronto's long-standing and ongoing efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in screened entertainment.
THE RECORDING SECRETARY (Freda Merritt-Gambrill) records, transcribes and distributes the minutes of the Council meetings. Councillors receive these minutes prior to the Council meetings and are required to read them and offer any corrections to the Secretary, either prior to or at the commencement of the Council meeting.
THE OFFICERS OF COUNCIL (EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE)
The officers of ACTRA Toronto Council (or Executive Committee) are the President, the immediate Past President, the Treasurer and up to five other officers, who may be given such titles and functions as ACTRA Toronto Council may determine and the Executive Director, who is an officer of ACTRA Toronto Council with voice but without vote.
The President is elected for a two-year term in alternate years to the general Council elections and is limited to two consecutive terms of office. Officers other than the President and the Executive Director are elected by their fellow Councillors for a two-year term at the second meeting of a newly elected Council.
The President serves as the Chief Spokesperson for ACTRA Toronto and as Chair of the Council and the Executive Committee meetings. As Chair of the Council, the President prepares and distributes the agenda of the meetings, chairs the Council meetings and ensures that Councillors follow the Rules of Order. The President is also ex officio a member of all ACTRA Toronto Committees and receives copies of all committee minutes.
The Officers attend the monthly Executive Committee meeting and report to the Executive and to Council on their portfolios. Titles notwithstanding, the practice at ACTRA Toronto is for the Executive committee to determine the actual reporting portfolios of each Officer when the Operating Plan is finalized each year. The Past President of the branch sits on both Council and the Executive Committee – with voice and vote if they are an elected Toronto Councillor and with voice but no vote if they are not elected.
The Officers of Council receive an annual honorarium for their work, as do the Editor of Performers magazine, the Ombudsperson, the Child Advocate, and the Diversity Advocate. In accordance with the ACTRA Toronto By-Laws, these honoraria are adjusted, on January 1st of each year, by the same amount that ACTRA Toronto members receive as a change in the union’s largest contract. The honorarium amounts for 2021 are given in the table below.
The Executive committee also recognize exceptional volunteer commitment with annually awarded extraordinary honoraria.
ACTRA Toronto Honoraria 2021
|Editor, Performers Magazine||$ 6,032|
|Children’s Advocate||$ 6,032|
ACTRA Toronto Council governs the branch on behalf of the current and future members. It has ultimate authority over the Branch, subject only to the requirements of the law, the ACTRA National Constitution and By-Laws, the ACTRA Toronto By-Laws and the will of the members. Council receives its authority from the members when it is elected and is charged with the overall responsibility of leading ACTRA Toronto and supervising its management in their best interests. Council decides what needs doing, and then makes sure that it gets done.
Council’s authority is not absolute, however. Members generally have to approve any fundamental changes in the Branch. For example, the By-Laws may only be amended by a majority referendum vote of all ACTRA Toronto full members in good standing.
Council is responsible for all actions of ACTRA Toronto and its employees. It may delegate (but not relinquish) its authority and responsibilities to the Executive Director, who in turn can delegate authority and responsibilities to other employees. Ultimately, Council remains totally responsible, within the limits we have defined.
NOTE: In law, the Council acts collectively. A single Councillor has no individual authority except those powers assigned by Council.
COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL: Who Speaks for ACTRA Toronto?
While policy is determined by the full Council, the communication of policy, other branch initiatives and related information to the membership, the production community and the general public is coordinated by the Communications Department.
NOTE: ACTRA Toronto’s President is the primary public spokesperson to the membership and a designated Public Relations Officer is the chief contact for media inquiries. Any unsolicited media inquiries directed to ACTRA Toronto Councillors or members at large must be referred immediately to the Communications Department.
Primary Media Contact:
Karl Pruner, Director of Communications Telephone: (416) 642-6726
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Communications Department fax: (416) 928-2852
The Executive Director will monitor changes in the internal and external operating environment and recommend policy revisions or new policies, but it is Council’s responsibility to ensure that there is a regular review process. This is accomplished yearly with the planning, implementation and review of the Operating Plan.
NOTE: The ACTRA Toronto fiscal year runs from the beginning of March to the end of February. Council adopts the operating plan and the budget for the fiscal year in February.
Once approved, the policies in this plan are recorded in the minutes of the meetings, which are maintained as reference documents.
Here is an overview of the annual planning cycle at ACTRA Toronto:
ACTRA Toronto Planning Cycle
In a “Blue Sky” session, facilitated by the Executive Director, Councillors are encouraged to dream big dreams and to imagine the biggest achievements possible. All ideas are good ideas in this session as we look into the crystal ball and ask, “WHERE DO WE WANT TO GO?”
The staff will then be challenged to draft a budget and imagine implementation strategies in an effort to answer the question, “HOW DO WE GET THERE?”
NOTE: In a Council Election year, the Blue Sky Session is moved forward to December so that the incoming Councillors Elect can participate in the discussion and the rest of the Planning Cycle is adjusted as necessary.
After reviewing Council and staff proposals, the Executive Committee provides drafting instructions to the Executive Director to guide the preparation of the Draft Operating Plan.
The Executive Committee reviews the first draft of the Operating Plan which generally includes:
- a “Report Card” for the Operating Plan of the prior year
- an Operating Plan for the coming year
- a draft budget
The Executive Director revises the Draft and it is distributed to the Council.
Council reviews and approves the Operating Plan which is then presented to members in an information session at the February Members Conference.
Staff performs a mid-year review of Operating Plan and Budget.
The Executive Committee and the Council hear a report of the staff mid-year review and make necessary adjustments.
COMMITTEES, CAUCUSES, APPOINTEES & TASK FORCES
From time to time, council may establish committees or task forces to focus on a specific issue, do specific work, gather specific information or make recommendations on a specific topic for Council’s consideration. Committees are not independent bodies but derive their terms of reference and access to union resources from Council. Council currently has several active committees.
Each committee or task force reports to a member of the Executive who then reports on the work of the committee or task force to the Executive Committee and to Council.
Council creates clear terms of reference for each committee or task force – defining the committee’s area of responsibility, limits of authority (if any) and reporting timelines (if needed). The individual committees must:
- meet as required
- report to Council when called upon and
- record and provide action minutes to the President
A staff advisor with voice but no vote is assigned to each committee for administrative support and liaison.
ACTRA Toronto Committees
Act Your Age (AYA)
Jobs come and go; careers run their course but the love of performing remains. ACTRA Toronto’s Act Your Age Committee exists to promote activity and engagement among our union’s senior members through a regular program of script readings and workshops on performing.
Archives and Legacy Committee
The Archives and Legacy Committee has overseen the digitization of hundreds of hours of interviews with founding members, preserving in the process a priceless oral history of Canadian Performers and of ACTRA itself. In addition, the Archives and Legacy Committee, at Council’s behest, has been racing against time to expand our institutional memory by conducting more interviews and collecting other important material from ACTRA Toronto’s 70+ years.
The ACTRA Awards in Toronto is the best show business party in town, not least because its elegant blend of glamour, glitz and just plain fun takes place in February, when everyone’s in the mood to beat the winter blues! Of course, underneath the tinsel there’s a mountain of work involved in pulling the show together. Whether it’s helping to coordinate juries, editing reels, arranging hosts and entertainment, both live and recorded, or greeting sponsors and guests at the door, there’s always room for another set of hands on the Awards Committee.
ACTRA Toronto’s Members Conferences are the place where ACTRA Toronto goes to talk to itself.
The Conference Committee plans two conferences a year offering members a plethora of professional development sessions from diverse members of the entertainment and other related industries. The conference is designed to help build members’ knowledge, connections and involvement in their profession, their union and their community. Council presents its Operating Plan and reports on present progress to the members and the members get a chance to learn about the state of the union and all the latest industry buzz.
Making all this happen is a huge job and requires many hands to pull it off. If you’re a new Councillor, the Conference Committee is a great place to begin your volunteer career at ACTRA Toronto.
The ACTRA Toronto Discipline Committee is the jury of peers to whom a member can appeal if accused of breaking the union’s rules. We make an agreement with every other member when we join ACTRA. We agree to support each other, to conduct ourselves in a professional manner and, most importantly, never to undermine the contracts which other members fought so hard to achieve at the bargaining table. Tough but fair, the Discipline Committee exists to keep that agreement alive and real. If you have done wrong, they will work with you to put things right.
Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Why don’t we see the same people on Canadian cinema and television screens that we see on the Canadian streets? ACTRA Toronto members reflect the Canadian experience in all its diversity of language, heritage, sexual orientation and physical and mental abilities. ACTRA Toronto’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee exists to make sure that our union is a voice for inclusion and opportunity as our industry responds to social and demographic change.
The Finance Committee is responsible for overseeing all financial matters concerning ACTRA Toronto in co-operation with the Executive Director and the Director of Finance and Administration. In order to successfully monitor the finances of the Branch the Finance Committee will:
- Review monthly Income Statements.
- Review Investment Manager Reports – quarterly
- Review & recommend Budget for Council approval – yearly
- Review & recommend Budget restatement for Council approval – yearly
- Review Investment Policy – yearly
- Conduct Investment Manager Review – yearly
The Finance Committee reports regularly to Council and the Executive Committee through the Treasurer.
- Performers Online is mandated by the membership of ACTRA Toronto to:
- celebrate and raise the general profile of Toronto performers
- reflect the images, interests and concerns of the community of ACTRA Toronto members in all our diversity
- to inform and educate the ACTRA Toronto members on the art and business of being a professional performer and on the actions and activities of their union.
The Editorial Committee is staffed by the Communications Department and oversees the publication of Performers On-Set, the online publication Performers Online and the ACTRA Toronto Spotlight podcast series.
The ACTRA Toronto Green Committee was launched in 2022 and seeks to engage the membership by providing resources on green initiatives and encouraging performers to focus on changes that will have a positive environmental impact.
The outACTRAto Committee is dedicated to raising awareness about LGBTQ+ performers, our stories and our place in the industry and society. We value diversity and equality and we aim to be recognized, supported and valued as LGBTQ+ performers. We aspire to educate and inform our industry about realistic LGBTQ+ representation on screen as we seek a more accurate and balanced reflection of our rich and multifaceted community. We denounce and will work to end harassment and stereotyping of any kind. We will work to achieve true-to-life LGBTQ+ onscreen visibility of our culture and our stories, and to realize change in our industry.
When public gatherings are permitted, the Parades Committee organizes ACTRA Toronto’s involvement in the Toronto Pride Parade (usually in June) and the Labour Day Parade (Labour Day is the first Monday in September).
The ACTRA Toronto Stunt Committee brings stunt performers and stunt co-ordinators together to discuss current challenges on-set, and issues facing stunt performers. The Stunt Committee Chair (or their designated alternate) may attend Council with voice but no vote and receives the same per diem as a Toronto Councillor for doing so.
Stunt Women’s Committee
The ACTRA Toronto Stunt Women’s Committee is open to all stunt performers who identify as women or as non-binary. The committee is currently looking at:
- Strengthening the role of women stunt performers to build a stronger stunt community
- Increasing opportunities for training, networking, mentorship and work
- Improving work conditions
Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee (TAWC)
The Women’s Committee or T.A.W.C. (Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee) was officially reconstituted and revitalized by Council in December of 2008. TAWC explores key issues faced by female performers. We envision a future in which contributions by female artists are properly recognised, valued and supported. To that end, we are creating ongoing initiatives to encourage women of all diversities to create work and to advocate for a more realistic representation of roles between the genders.
The Voice committee makes recommendations to Council on issues of concern to ACTRA Toronto Voice Performers in order to increase work opportunities for union voice performers, to promote best practices in the industry and to improve working terms & conditions for voice performers working under ACTRA’s collective agreements.
Young Emerging Actors Assembly (YEAA)
The Young Emerging Actors Assembly (YEAA) is a committee of ACTRA Toronto performers who play between the ages of 17 and 27. YEAA unites young talent in Toronto’s screen-based entertainment industry. Together, we forge a powerful community for networking and sharing resources and stand out as a fresh new voice promoting Toronto’s rising stars and a Canadian star system.
ACTRA Toronto currently has two Caucuses, representing Apprentices and Additional Background Performers.
ACTRA Additional Background Performers (AABP) Caucus
The ACTRA Additional Background Performer (AABP) Caucus gives background performers (who are not Full or Apprentice members) a voice within the union. The committee advocates to improve the terms and working conditions of AABP performers on set.
The Additional Background Caucus Chair or their designated alternate attends Council with voice but no vote and receives the same per diem as a Toronto Councillor for doing so.
The Apprentice Caucus represents ACTRA Toronto Apprentices. The Apprentice Caucus Chair or their designated alternate attends Council with voice but no vote and receives the same per diem as a Toronto Councillor for doing so.
The Apprentice and AABP Caucus Chairs attend Council Meetings with voice but no vote. Because the Stunt Committee’s work is focused on members working in the stunt categories, it also functions as a caucus and, for this reason, the Chair of the Stunt Committee also attends Council meetings with voice but no vote.
Ombudsperson – helping to explain YES and NO
The ACTRA Toronto Ombudsperson sits outside the political process but has direct knowledge of how things work. If members bring their concerns to Council or staff and are not happy with the outcome, they can talk to the Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson will listen to what they have to say, investigate their complaint and, if they believe that Council or the Executive did not deal with the members’ concerns properly – the Ombudsperson can ask Council or the Executive to take another look.
ACTRA Toronto Council Task Forces – What they are and how they work
ACTRA Toronto Council can strike a Task Force to look at a specific issue of concern. Task Forces are independent “Royal Commissions” that have allocated staff time, resources and – most importantly – a clear time frame to investigate a problem and report back to Council with recommendations.
Task Force members can be Council members – but a Task Force also provides an excellent opportunity for members outside the Council circle to contribute; members who, otherwise, might not be able to make an open-ended time commitment to ACTRA Toronto.
ACTRA TORONTO SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
Statement of Purpose
Social media discourse is public discourse and ACTRA members have the same rights and obligations online as they do offline. This policy describes ACTRA Toronto’s approach to the administration of social media assets and establishes standards and sanctions for online behaviour in accordance with ACTRA’s existing policies and procedures.
Social media provides unique opportunities to engage in interactive discussions, share information, and build communities. For performers, it is an important forum for self-expression, self-promotion, networking, accessing work and connecting with audiences.
In this policy, “social media” refers to any facility for online publication and commentary. This includes but is not limited to blogs, wikis, forums and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit and YouTube.
ACTRA Toronto Accounts
ACTRA Toronto maintains websites and social media accounts to communicate with members and the public, including producers, agents, casting directors and other industry partners and stakeholders.
“ACTRA” is a registered trademark. ACTRA has the exclusive use of the name and brand, and may take action against unauthorized uses of the trademark.
ACTRA Toronto websites and accounts are administered by the Communications Department. Members wishing to have content appear on an ACTRA account can send their request to communications@ actratoronto.com.
Some committees have accounts which are administered by committee members under the direction of the Communications Department.
Removal of inappropriate content
ACTRA Toronto websites and accounts are moderated in accordance with existing ACTRA policies, applicable agreements and laws, including, for example, the ACTRA National Constitution and By-Laws, the ACTRA Toronto By-Laws, Equality Statement and the ACTRA Toronto Discrimination & Harassment Policy.
Inappropriate posts will be removed or reported. Inappropriate content includes, but is not limited to content that is discriminatory, harassing, threatening, confidential or offensive. If a member refuses to remove the post from an ACTRA account, the member may be blocked, and ACTRA may contact the social media platform to have the content removed.
ACTRA Toronto will not discuss member complaints on social media. The content will be removed and the member may be referred to the appropriate ACTRA Toronto department for resolution.
Members are reminded of their rights and obligations under the law, as well as under the ACTRA Constitution and By-Laws, Equality Statement, collective agreements and contracts. Union officials, such as Council and committee members, may have additional responsibilities because of their position in the union and access to confidential information. Where appropriate, union officials should distinguish personal posts from posts as representatives of the union.
Disclosure of confidential information, including inadvertent disclosure, may lead to serious consequences for members. Confidential production information can include, for example, any information about the production (including photos from set or in wardrobe), character and script details; contact information for cast and crew; workplace disputes such as complaints, investigations, grievances and settlements. Confidential union information can include, for example, union communications, members’ personal information, organizing and bargaining strategies and tactics.
Intervention by the union
ACTRA Toronto may be required to intervene when members’ personal use of social media is in breach of their professional obligations at work or responsibilities as members of the union.
For example, the union may intervene if a member posts content about other members or staff that is discriminatory, harassing, threatening, confidential or offensive. The union may also intervene if the health and safety of a member appears to be at risk.
Further, in certain circumstances, ACTRA Toronto may report online behaviour to the police.
Violations and Consequences
Complaints, Investigations, appeals and disciplinary consequences of violations under this policy will be dealt with under the process established in BY-LAW NO. 7 – Member Conduct, Rights, Responsibilities and Discipline Process
Members will be protected from reprisal for reporting non-compliance with this policy.
ACTRA TORONTO LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Toronto is in the “Dish with One Spoon Territory.” The Dish with One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas, the Haudenosaunee and the land. The Treaty was created to share and protect what is still their traditional territory. This area around the Great Lakes represents the dish that we all feed from. And we must share with one spoon. Subsequent Indigenous Nations, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect for the land we now share. We are all treaty people who have a responsibility to maintain the spirit of the Dish with One Spoon covenant.
ACTRA TORONTO EQUALITY STATEMENT
Union solidarity is based on the principle that all union members are equal. Mutual respect, cooperation and understanding are our goals.
We neither condone nor tolerate behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Discriminatory speech or conduct, based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, disability, age, class, religion, ethnic origin, membership or work category or family status hurts and divides us.
Discrimination can take the form of harassment, defined as using real or perceived power to abuse, devalue or humiliate.
Discrimination and harassment weaken our solidarity, reducing our capacity to work together on shared concerns, such as decent wages, safe working conditions and justice for all.
ACTRA activities are to be harassment-free zones where our members’ dignity and equality are respected.
ACTRA’s Constitution, By-Laws, practices and collective agreements reflect our commitment to equality and respect. Complaints of harassment and discrimination are taken seriously by ACTRA and should be directed to the President or their designate. All will be investigated and those substantiated will result in action by the Union.
ACTRA TORONTO HARASSMENT & DISCRIMINATION POLICY
ACTRA Toronto has a proud history of advancing and protecting human rights. From collective agreement language on preventing and dealing with harassment and support of strong human rights laws, to our constitution and By-Laws, ACTRA works to ensure performers can work on set and participate in the union without fear of harassment and discrimination.
The ACTRA Toronto policy to help prevent and deal with discrimination includes a clear statement in support of human rights, definitions of harassment and discrimination, and the steps ACTRA takes to address member to member complaints.
In addition to the policy, ACTRA Toronto now includes anti-harassment education as part of our orientation for new Councillors, members and apprentice members. Staff and Councillors who assist with complaints receive additional training in conducting investigations, and mediating resolutions.
Mutual respect. We may not be able to make people like each other, but we can, through our words and actions, make it possible for ACTRA Toronto members to work together without fear of harassment or discrimination. Building respect builds union solidarity. That’s what it’s all about.
Harassment & Discrimination Policy
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, employers, landlords, vocational associations and service providers are required to ensure that they are providing inclusive and non-discriminatory environments. Harassment and discrimination are a violation of the law and organizations that fail to take adequate steps to prevent and address harassment and discrimination may be held liable.
In all its work and documentation, ACTRA works within a philosophy that reflects the spirit of the Human Rights Code: ACTRA has articles in its collective agreements to deal with harassment and discrimination on the part of engagers or on set; the ACTRA By-Laws clearly express an expectation of respect for staff on the part of members with penalties imposed for abuse and harassment; anti- harassment and discrimination workshops have been conducted with staff; ACTRA Toronto has an ombudsperson whose responsibility it is to advocate and mediate on behalf of members who have a problem with the union.
Notwithstanding the above, it is important that members have a clear understanding of ACTRA’s commitment to human rights. Similarly, members must have access to a clearly defined process to address complaints they may have within the union with respect to harassment or discrimination.
The following policy will enable ACTRA to better fulfil its human rights obligations. It makes a clear statement in support of human rights for all its members, provides definitions of harassment and discrimination and outlines a complaint and resolution mechanism for any member who feels they have suffered as a result of discrimination or harassment.
ACTRA TORONTO HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENT
ACTRA Toronto is committed to:
- Providing an environment for members that is free from harassment and discrimination based on the grounds prohibited by the Human Rights Code at all ACTRA Toronto sponsored activities;
- Fostering the goodwill and trust necessary to protect the rights of all individuals within the organization;
- Neither tolerating nor condoning behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of individuals; and
- Promoting mutual respect, understanding and co-operation as the basis of interaction among all members.
- This policy covers all members of ACTRA Toronto. Each person covered by the policy is responsible for maintaining an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.
Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination
Consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has a right to equal treatment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.
What is Harassment?
Harassment is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
ACTRA Toronto considers this to include intentional or unintentional comments or conduct that are offensive and demean an individual, cause personal humiliation, and/or threaten the personal well- being of an individual.
What is Sexual Assault?
The Criminal Code of Canada describes sexual assault as any assault of a sexual nature.
An assault is defined in Section 265 as the intentional application of force, either directly or indirectly, onto another person, without their consent. It is also the attempt or threat to intentionally apply force to another person without their consent. Assault is also defined as accosting, begging, or impeding another person while openly wearing or carrying either a real, or an imitation of, a weapon. This definition of assault applies to sexual assault.
(Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 265)
What is Consent?
Section 273.1 subsection 1 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines consent as, “…the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.”
As per the criminal code, there is NO consent present if:
- the application, threat, or fear of force is used
- fraud and/or the use of authority is used
- someone consents on the behalf of the complainant
- the complainant is unconscious
- the complainant is unable to consent
- the complainant expresses through words or behaviour that they do not consent
- the complainant expresses through words or behaviour that they do not consent to continuing to engage
(Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 273)
Reporting Sexual Assault Timeline – The Limitations Act
In Ontario, the Basic Limitation Period is an Act that defines when most legal claims must be initiated. Section 16(1), paragraph (h) of this Act includes instances where there is no limitation period on when a legal claim can be pursued. Sexual assault is included as one of the crimes that has no limitation on when a complainant can take legal action. See Section 16 (1) paragraph (h) listed below:
“There is not limitation period in respect of… a proceeding based on a sexual assault.”
In other words, historical sexual assault claims can be pursued at any time.
(Limitations Act, SC 2002. c. 24.)
Reporting Sexual Assault to Police
If you are not immediate danger, you can report sexual assault by calling your local police station.
- If you do not want to make a report yourself, you may be able to report the assault through a trusted third party.
- Reporting sexual assault can add information to police records, which may help police flag and identify repeat offenders.
- All people who have experienced assault deserve support. Even if a report is not made, services are still available to survivors. See our members resources page for some of those supports.
What happens once I make a police report?
If you choose to report sexual assault to police, you will be asked to:
- share what happened (who, what, when, where, etc.)
- provide a statement that may be audio or video recorded
- The recording can take place in the detachment, or in some cases, in a mutually agreed upon safe location
- It is ok for a survivor to not remember everything. Stress and trauma can impede memory
- clarify details through interview questions
- offer the names of any suspects, witnesses, and bystanders
- provide any physical evidence, such as photos of injuries and clothing. The more information and evidence available, the more support police will have when investigating
- keep in touch with the investigator/detachment and share information that might help the investigation as / if it comes up
- survivors can choose to stop participating in the investigation at any time, even if you have already provided a statement
(Information for Sexual Assault Survivors, 2021)
Survivors can also be connected with Victims Services after reporting a crime. Victims Services offer multiple supports such as guiding the survivor and the family through recovery, preparing victims acting as witnesses for court proceedings, and more.
(Victim Services, 2021)
Privacy when reporting sexual assault
A complainant can pursue a “publication ban”. A publication ban prohibits any information that could identify a complainant or witness involved in a criminal case from being shared with the public (no published documents, broadcasts, etc.). A publication ban does not apply to those involved in the administration of justice and who therefore must know the details of a case.A publication ban does not protect the identity of the accused. A publication bans also mean the complainant or survivor also cannot identify themselves to the public.
(Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 486.4)
Support from your Union
If you or someone you know is a survivor of assault, you can contact the HAVEN helpline for mental health counselling and support and/or to report an incident:
You can also reach out to ACTRA Toronto’s Special Advisor at:
416 928 2278
ACTRA Toronto Discrimination & Harassment Policy Guiding Principles
The policy will apply to matters between ACTRA members in the workplace and at all ACTRA sponsored activities.
To protect the interests of all parties, confidentiality will be maintained throughout the complaint process except where disclosure is necessary for a fair investigation and resolution process. Confidentiality requirements will be reviewed with the parties and any witnesses interviewed in the investigation of a complaint.
A person who makes a complaint or participates as a witness in the procedures under this policy will not be penalized or experience reprisal for doing so.
A complaint under this policy shall be made, investigated and resolved as expeditiously as possible. Every effort should be made to work within the timelines suggested however should circumstances make this impossible, timelines may be extended.
Conflict Resolution Process
Where possible, an individual who feels they have been harassed or unfairly discriminated against should inform the other party that their behaviour is unwelcome and should stop. In situations where the complainant is unwilling or unable to confront the individual directly, the complainant is encouraged to seek the assistance of a colleague. An individual may make a complaint under this policy even if they have not confronted the other party prior to making the complaint.
If the complaint is not resolved, or the allegedly discriminatory or harassing conduct continues, the complainant should make a verbal or written complaint to any member of the ACTRA Toronto Council or the Ombudsperson. The complaint should identify the specific incident(s) of alleged harassment or discrimination and the prohibited ground(s) on which the alleged harassment or discrimination is based.
The individual receiving the complaint will then inform the Ombudsperson of the complaint who will contact the complainant within 14 days to officially receive the complaint on the prescribed form. The Ombudsperson will ensure the complaint is officially received as soon as possible after the complainant has made their first approach to ACTRA Toronto.
Should the Ombudsperson have a conflict of interest with respect to the complaint or be unavailable for any reason, the president of ACTRA
Toronto should be informed of the complaint. The president will then appoint a person to act in place of the Ombudsperson. In such a case, all references to the Ombudsperson in this policy should be read as a reference to the individual appointed by the president.
The Ombudsperson will interview the complainant, the respondent(s) and any relevant witnesses to ascertain the facts of the dispute. The Ombudsperson will endeavour to ensure these interviews take place within 21 days of the complaint being officially filed.
Voluntary Informal Mediation
Upon completion of the interview process, where appropriate, the Ombudsperson will convene an informal meeting to provide an opportunity for both sides to resolve the situation in an informal manner. To facilitate this process the Ombudsperson may seek the assistance of staff and/or legal counsel asthey deems necessary.
Any Informal Mediation should take place within 35 days of the official filing of the complaint.
Mandatory Conflict Resolution
In the event that Informal Mediation is not appropriate or is not successful, the Ombudsperson will
refer the complaint to the Chair of the ACTRA Toronto Discipline Committee within 35 days of the official filing of the complaint.
The Chair will convene a Committee comprised of the Chair plus two other members of ACTRA Toronto Council who are not named as respondents to the complaint. The Ombudsperson will also serve on the Committee with voice but no vote.
The Committee will review the information collected by the Ombudsperson and may interview each of the parties as well as any witnesses.
Within 3 months of the date on which the complaint was referred by the Ombudsperson, the Committee will make a determination and order any corrective action it deems necessary.
Either the complainant or respondent may appeal the Committee’s determination in writing to the President of ACTRA Toronto within 14 days of receiving the Committee’s determination. The appeal must set out the grounds of the appeal and the requested relief. Upon reviewing the grounds of the appeal, the President may deny the appeal outright or convene an Appeal Committee to hear the appeal. The Appeal Committee will be composed of 3 members of ACTRA Toronto Council who did not serve on the initial Committee, and who are not named as respondents to the complaint.
The Appeal Committee will either uphold the original determination or make a revised determination. The decision of the President or the Appeal Committee is final.
Policy Steps and Timelines
Complaint shall be made as expeditiously as possible after the alleged incident.
Official written complaint to be filed within 14 days of initial verbal or written complaint.
Within 21 days of official complaint being filed
Voluntary Informal Mediation
Within 35 days of official complaint being filed
Mandatory Conflict Resolution
Chair receives complaint within 35 days of official complaint being filed. Committee makes a determination within 3 months of receiving official complaint from Ombudsperson.
Must be made within 14 days of receipt of Committee’s determination.
NOTE: Timelines may be extended in certain circumstances.
ACTRA TORONTO’S PROFESSIONAL STAFF
ACTRA Toronto has five departments:
Film, Television & Digital Media Department
(Director: Gail Haupert)
The Film, Television & Digital Media Department used to be referred to within ACTRA’s Offices as the “IPA Department” simply because the Independent Production Agreement (IPA) governs so much of the work done by our members. But the truth is that members covered by several of ACTRA’s various collective agreements in film, television and radio are all supported by the experienced group of Business Representatives and Associate Business Representatives in the Film, Television & Digital Media Department.
Business Representatives provide information and advice to performers and engagers to ensure that the various collective agreements are understood and enforced. ACTRA members work in all kinds of dramatic and animated productions; from low budget and student films to shorts, feature films, television series, industrials, and documentaries. Each production is assigned to a Business Representative so that members and producers have an easy-to-reach contact person who can respond quickly to any questions.
- keeping all the paperwork in order (letters of adherence, security agreements, contracts and permits)
- making sure engagers understand and fulfil their responsibilities to protect the health and safety of performers
- ensuring that members have access to all the terms and working conditions guaranteed by the collective agreements
- reviewing with engagers their responsibilities for young performers, the presence of parents or guardians, and the various conditions for tutoring, meals, and hours of work.
- In addition, ACTRA members trained as On-set Liaison Officers (OSLOs) and Business Representatives regularly visit sets during production to talk directly to members about their working conditions and any concerns or complaints.
ACTRA Toronto staff in the Film, Television & Digital Media Department work with ACTRA Councillors on committees, through members conferences, community outreach and political action, to help raise awareness and support for ACTRA’s bargaining and public policy goals.
Finance and Administration
(Director: Karen Ritson)
ACTRA Toronto ’s Finance and Administration Department:
- keeps track of the money from member dues, fees, permits, deductions and production remittances
- pays all branch bills
- monitors money flows to ACTRA National and AFBS
- administers ACTRA Toronto’s budget and investment portfolio.
The Director of Finance and Administration oversees the AYA Committee, the Finance Committee, the ACTRA Toronto Members Conferences and the ACTRA Awards in Toronto. Administration includes the ACTRA Toronto reception team and office management.
ACTRA Awards in Toronto:
Held annually each February, the ACTRA Awards in Toronto is a gala event celebrating our excellence in performance and union activism. Pre-pandemic, the ceremonies were held at the Carlu in Toronto but have since moved online.
There are currently seven (7) Awards: Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Female, Outstanding Performance – Gender Non-Conforming or Male, Outstanding Performance Voice – Gender Non-Conforming or Female, Outstanding Performance Voice – Gender Non-Conforming or Male, Stunt Award, Members’ Choice Award for Best Series Ensemble and the ACTRA Toronto Award of Excellence for professional achievement and service to the union.
ACTRA Toronto Members Conferences are a superb opportunity for members to learn about the union, to participate in stimulating professional development workshops and master classes, to connect with fellow members and to provide feedback to ACTRA Toronto’s elected leadership and professional staff.
Before the pandemic, Members Conferences were held twice per year at a public venue. The Conference Committee successfully piloted an online version and plans are underway for future online events.
(Director: Judy Barefoot)
The Commercial Department stewards the National Commercial Agreement (NCA), receives cheques from all commercial productions and passes them on to members. Commercial Business Representatives and the Associate Business Representatives work with advertising agencies and production companies to ensure proper adherence to the collective agreement through pre- production meetings, work permit administration, set visits, review of footage and follow up on session and post-production issues. The Business Representatives also respond to member inquiries and complaints.
Audition call-back payments and issues relating to those payments are administered by the Commercial Associate Business Representative.
Commercial Examiners and Coordinators respond to member inquiries and complaints and keep track of all the paperwork generated by commercial production. The Coordinators work with the engagers on issues such as delinquent residual payments. The Senior Commercial Coordinator in conjunction with other commercial staff generate the raw data for the statistical analysis which not only allows the department to spot industry trends but also provides a vital tool to the NCA negotiating team during bargaining. One statistic every Toronto member should know: Over 80% of all earnings under the National Commercial Agreement (NCA) are generated by Toronto performers!
(Director: Karl Pruner)
Solidarity is ACTRA Toronto’s most valuable asset. ACTRA Toronto’s Communications Department makes sure that our members know what’s going on with the union through an effective website, media relations, internal publications and member events. Outreach to other unions and guilds, government lobbying, political outreach, policy and issue campaigns are also co-ordinated through this department.
ACTRA Toronto also has two receptionists and a clerk/floater who provide our members and the public with general information and steer requests to the proper department.
The Communications Department provides information to members in several ways:
Performers Online & Performers on Set:
The ACTRA Toronto members’ magazine Performers, formerly published twice a year, has been discontinued and replaced by Performers Online. The Performers on Set newsletter is published four times a year. Content is determined by the publication’s editor and the editorial committee. In addition to interesting articles about the industry, Performers Online and Performers on Set contain notices about upcoming meetings, the operation of ACTRA Toronto and other info relevant to working performers.
www.actratoronto.com is ACTRA Toronto’s website and online membership office. Visitors can check out general information about ACTRA Toronto and download copies of ACTRA’s collective agreements, while members and production personnel can access specific functions and download specialized information.
In addition to Performers magazine, Performers on Set and Performers Online, we communicate to our members through the mail with inserts in dues mailings, infrequent issue-specific mailings and occasional referenda and/or surveys.
Information in the form of handouts and related material is sometimes distributed through the On- Set Liaison Officer (OSLO) volunteers (See Film, Television & Digital Media Department above).
Email and fax broadcasts to agents:
Through email and Converse-Smith’s breakdown service, we also distribute information to agents who, in turn, pass it along to our members.
The Communication Department arranges press releases, interviews, media events and handles all media inquiries.
REMINDER: Members of Council and committees are NOT empowered to make statements to the media unless directed to do so by the President or ACTRA Toronto staff.
ACTRA Toronto sends broadcast emails (or e-blasts) to members from time to time to inform members of important deadlines, provide notice of upcoming events and communicate information and voting credentials for our on-line elections and referenda.
NOTE: Having a current email on file with the union and consenting to the receipt of union communications is a requirement of ACTRA membership.
Member Services Department
(Director: Nicole Valentin)
Member Services is the front line of our union – handling member and agent queries in person on the phone and by email. The staff deal directly with thousands of members every year, processing permit requests, sending invoices, collecting dues and fee payments, updating address and agent information, producing member work histories and assisting people who are interested in joining ACTRA or looking for information about our industry.
Full Member Session, Apprentice Member Orientation Session and AABP Orientation Session:
The Director of the Member Services Department has administrative responsibility for our Member Education program which offers in-class and online courses to help Full Members, Apprentice Members and ACTRA Additional Background Performers become familiar with our union, our industry and the rights and responsibilities that come with ACTRA Membership.
Special Advisor Maxine Bower works with the ACTRA Toronto Council and staff to advance efforts to prevent and deal with harassment and systemic discrimination and to further develop member services, including counselling provided by the HAVEN Helpline, education and policies that lead to positive systemic change
The Director of the Member Services Department is ACTRA Toronto’s designated Charging Official for the purposes of ACTRA By-Law No. 7 – MEMBER CONDUCT, RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND DISCIPLINE PROCESS.
WORKING WITH STAFF
ACTRA Toronto staff are committed to serving all members in a fair, professional and efficient manner. Councillors with a concern related to an engagement, dues, membership status or any other problem are helped by staff in the same manner as all other members and do NOT receive special treatment or access that other, unelected members do not have.
NOTE:It is NOT your job as a Councillor to tell the staff directly what to do or how to behave. It is the job of the professional administrator – the Executive Director – to monitor how well staff do their jobs and to correct any behaviour they deem inappropriate.
If you have a problem with how a staff person has treated you, bring it up with the Executive Director in private – NOT at the Council table.
ACTRA is a federated union of autonomous branches with common interests. ACTRA National isn’t “head office” but rather the coordinating body through which the branches work together in five key areas of common interest:
In Canada, the provincial labour board in each province governs collective agreements within the province. ACTRA National’s primary function is to coordinate the efforts of the branches to establish and maintain jurisdiction in all parts of the country.
ACTRA National also provides regular communications and holds regular staff conferences to establish national standards for interpretation of the agreements and to ensure that all branches are working with accurate, current and consistent information.
ACTRA’s national bargaining committee, composed of representatives from the branches, negotiates various collective agreements that establish the minimum terms and conditions of engagement for its performer members. Unlike traditional collective agreements, the agreements negotiated between ACTRA and engager groups establish only minimum conditions and rates of remuneration. Our members are encouraged to negotiate rates above these minimum terms.
Two agreements cover almost all of the work done by ACTRA Toronto members.
The Independent Production Agreement (IPA) covers the independent production sector and is negotiated with independent producers represented by the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), the Association des Producteurs de Films et de Télévision du Québec APFTQ) and representatives of the American Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Most of Canada’s production of films, television shows and digital media applications falls under this agreement.
The National Commercial Agreement (NCA) is negotiated with the Institute of Canadian Advertising (ICA) and Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA). It covers work done in Canada’s busy radio and television commercial sector. Historically, 85% of the work done under the NCA is done by ACTRA Toronto members.
National Political Action
National and international lobbying initiatives are also coordinated through the national office to bring about legislative and regulatory changes that strengthen our industry and increase work opportunities for Canadian Performers.
National and International advocacy, liaison and communications
Globalization of the film industry and sweeping technological changes mean that effective strategic alliances, partnerships and coalitions play an ever-increasing role in safeguarding the well-being of Performers. This work is coordinated through the national office and includes our participation in the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), our membership in the Fédération Internationale des Acteurs (FIA) and our international advocacy work at the World Intellectual Property Association (WIPO).
Rights and Residuals
ACTRA Performers Rights Society (PRS)
ACTRA Performers’ Rights Society is the arm of ACTRA that collects and disburses Use Fees, royalties, residuals and all other forms of compensation or remuneration that performers may be entitled to as a result of their work.
Recording Artists’ Collecting Society (RACS)
The Recording Artists’ Collecting Society (RACS) is a division of ACTRA that collects and distributes equitable remuneration (neighbouring rights and private copying) to eligible recording artists.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Actor - A performance category defined by speaking or signing five lines or less.
ACTRA - Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. Dating from 1943, ACTRA is the national union representing professional performers in the recorded, English-language media in Canada.
ACTRA - Additional Background Performer A member of ACTRA who works primarily in background roles and has yet to obtain a credit toward full membership.
Actra Fraternal Benefit Society (AFBS) - The organization set up by ACTRA members, that administers the pension, retirement and benefits plan for professional Canadian performers. AFBS is not administered by ACTRA Toronto.
ACTRA Performers’ Rights Society (PRS) - The organization set up by ACTRA members to track residual monies and ensure that engagers abide by their agreements to pay ACTRA members for future usage of their product.
AFBS - see Actra Fraternal Benefit Society.
Apprentice Member - A member of ACTRA who is in the process of accumulating speaking roles (or silent on-camera in commercials) in order to fulfil the requirements of full membership. Apprentice members have the same rights as Full members, except that they can’t vote in ACTRA elections or hold office with ACTRA.
AQPM - Association québécoise de la production médiatique (formerly APFTQ) The AQPM represents Québec French language producers during IPA bargaining.
APFTQ - Association Des Producteurs De Films et De Télévision Du Québec - see AQPM.
ArtsVote - municipal arts organization who work to discover the cultural policies of candidates running in the City’s municipal elections.
Business Representative - (Formerly, Steward) An ACTRA staff member who is responsible for working with productions to ensure that they comply with the terms and conditions of relevant ACTRA agreements.
CAB - Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
CAEA - Canadian Actors’ Equity Association is the professional association of performers, directors, choreographers, fight directors and stage managers in English Canada engaged in live performance in theatre, opera and dance.
CAPPRT - Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal. A federal body charged with overseeing disputes between professional performers and engagers on productions and networks within the jurisdiction of the federal government. CAPPRT was replaced by the the Canada Industrial Relations Board by virtue of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, S.C. 2012, c. 19, s. 532
CCAU - Canadian Coalition of Audio-visual Unions.
CDC - The Casting Directors Society of Canada (CDC) represents professional casting directors working in every medium where professional actors are required; film, television, commercials, theatre, industrials, and trade shows.
CMPA - Canadian Media Producers Association represents Canadian producers working in languages other than French in IPA negotiations.
CIFTC - Canadian Independent Film & Television Consortium.
CLC - Canadian Labour Congress.
CMF - The Canadian Media Fund fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms.
CMG - The Canadian Media Guild. A trade union representing 6000 members working in the Canadian media under collective agreements with: the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio- Canada (CBC/SRC), The Canadian Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse (AFP), TVOntario (TVO), the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (aptn), Vision TV, CW Television and CJRC Radio Gatineau (Québec). CMG also have several hundred members who work at CBC on a freelance basis. The CMG is one local of CWA/SCA Canada, which is in turn affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which has a membership of over 600,000 workers across North America.
CRTC - Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission.
Cycle - A time period, defined in the ACTRA commercial agreement, denoting the “run” of a commercial. The normal cycle of a commercial is 13 weeks, after which engagers must pay performers again for the use of their performance.
DGC - Directors Guild of Canada. The organization representing Canadian directors and logistical personnel working in film and television.
EIC - Entertainment Industry Coalition. The organization co-founded by ACTRA that is responsible for promoting a higher standard of ethical conduct for talent agents. Other major EIC members include EICAA, CAEA, CDC, TAMAC, Theatre Ontario and Uda.
EICAA - Entertainment Industry Coalition Agency Association. A trade association of non-TAMAC Talent Agents.
Engager - The person and/or company that engages ACTRA members to work on a production.
Equity - See CAEA.
FIA - International Federation of Actors (Féderation internationale des acteurs). The international organization, based in London, U.K., that represents professional performers’ organizations from around the world. ACTRA, Screen Actors Guild and British Actors Equity are all members of FIA.
FIA-NA - FIA’s regional group in North America. Currently gathers affiliated performers’ unions, guilds and associations in Canada, Mexico and the USA.
Fidec - Numerous Québec firms operate in the culture and communications sector. To enable them to further develop on international markets, various partners in the financial and cultural sectors have joined forces with the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles du Québec to establish FIDEC, a limited partnership with a capital of CAN $45.5 million. These partners, which share the same confidence in Québec’s artistic potential, are pooling their complementary skills in the realms of finance, world markets and key creative trend
Film Board - The Toronto Film, Television & Digital Media Board
FilmOntario - an association of interested Film /TV industry partners set up to lobby for and market Toronto and Ontario as a world-class film and television production centre for both domestic and service work.
Green Screen Initiative - Toronto Union and services alliance to make Toronto the world leader in environmentally responsible film production.
IATSE - International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees. One of the organizations representing technicians and other on-set workers who are NOT in front of the camera. Other unions representing these workers include NABET and ACFC.
IPA - Independent Production Agreement. The national agreement signed between ACTRA and the producers’ associations (CMPA and APFTQ) that sets minimum terms and conditions for the engagement of ACTRA members in films, independent television series, digital media and other recorded media.
MOW - Movie-of-the-Week. Usually a smaller-scale production geared to television distribution.
NABET 700-M UNIFOR - was formed in 1970 to provide video tape technicians, but later expanded to provide television and film technicians to Toronto’s growing production industry. In 1994 Nabet 700 merged with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP). In 2013 The CEP and the CAW came together to form UNIFOR.
NCA - National Commercial Agreement. The national agreement signed between ACTRA and the associations representing Canadian advertisers and advertising agencies. The Commercial Agreement sets minimum terms and conditions for the engagement of ACTRA members in radio and television commercials.
OFL - Ontario Federation of Labour.
Ontario Creates Formerly the OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation), Ontario Creates is an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and is the central catalyst for the province’s cultural media cluster including book publishing, film and television, interactive digital media, magazine publishing and music industries.
OSLO - On Set Liaison Officer. An ACTRA member/volunteer who acts as the onset “eyes and ears” of the business reps.
PAL - PAL Canada Foundation is a national organization dedicated to providing affordable housing and care for older members and associates of Canada’s entertainment industry, especially in the areas of health and well-being. The first residence, PAL Place, was built in Toronto in 1993 with PAL Vancouver opening their doors in May 2006. PAL Canada is rapidly expanding with chapters in five cities: Halifax, Toronto, Stratford, Calgary and Vancouver and most recently, Winnipeg. Edmonton has been meeting with the various areas of the arts industry with a view to attaining PAL chapter status in that city.
PRS - Performers’ Rights Society. See ACTRA PRS.
Principal Performer - A performance category defined by speaking or signing six lines or more.
Remittance Statement Paperwork received from the payroll company or directly from the production company that outlines what monies were earned by performers on that production and how percentages of those monies were allocated to benefits, administration fees, etc.
Residual - Payment owed to a performer for the use of their performance. Residuals owed under the IPA are often pre-paid for a set period of time (usually four years), after which they are due to be paid again if the production is still in circulation.
SAG-AFTRA - Union representing film and television and new media performers in the United States. Created out of the merger in 2012 of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
SOC - Silent On-Camera. A performance category defined in the Commercial Agreement in which ACTRA members are visible in the finished production but have no dialogue.
SODEC - Societe de developpement des entreprises culturelles. A funding body financed by the province of Quebec for film and TV development monies – similar to Telefilm/CTF.
Talent Agent or Talent Agency - A person or organization that works on behalf of performers and is responsible for promoting them for roles. Legitimate talent agents and agencies do not offer classes, take photographs in-house or offer services other than direct representation. See also EICAA, TAMAC.
TAMAC - Talent Agents and Managers Association of Canada. An umbrella organization representing several major Canadian talent agencies.
Telefilm - An arms-length government regulated Funding body for Canadian Film.
TTAA - Toronto Talent Agent Association. Represents Toronto background agents.
TYRLC - The Toronto and York Region Labour Council is a central labour body that combines the strength of hundreds of local unions representing 195,000 working men and women and their families. Its mandate is to organize and advocate on issues that are vital to working people throughout the region.
UBCP/ACTRA - Union of British Columbia Performers. The ACTRA branch representing performers who work in B.C.
Uda - Union des artistes. The organization representing professional performers in the French language in Canada.
USW - United Steel Workers. ACTRA and the USW are Strategic Alliance partners and work together in a variety of ways.
Work Permit - Authorization given by the local ACTRA office to non-members or apprentice members to work on a set that is signatory to an ACTRA agreement. When productions agree to do their production under ACTRA agreements, they agree to give preference of engagement to ACTRA members. If they intend to use non-ACTRA members in certain roles, the production or performer must purchase a work permit. Work permits act as an incentive for engagers to hire ACTRA members and for non-members to join ACTRA.
WGA - Writer’s Guild of America
WGC - Writers Guild of Canada. The organization representing Canadian screenwriters working in film, television, radio and multimedia in Canada.
WIPO - Headquartered in Geneva Switzerland, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established by the WIPO Convention in 1967 with a mandate from its Member States to promote the protection of intellectual property (IP) throughout the world through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations.
AABP – ACTRA Additional Background Performer
ACA – Association of Canadian Advertisers
ACTRA – Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists
ADISQ – Association Québecoise de L’industrie du Disque, Du Spectacle, et de la Vidéo
AFM – American Federation of Musicians
AFBS – ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society
AFL-CIO – American Federation of Labour – Congress of Industrial Organizations
ALAI – Association Letteraire et Artistique Internationale
AMIS – Acting and Modelling Information Service
AMPTP – Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
AMS – ACTRA Membership System
AQPM - Association québécoise de la production médiatique (formerly APFTQ)
APFTQ - Association Des Producteurs De Films et De Télévision Du Québec - see AQPM.
ASL – American Sign Language
AVOD – Advertising based Video on Demand
QITCT – Association Québecoise des Industries Techniques du Cinema et de la Television
AVLA – Audio-Visual Licensing Agency Inc.
BEM – UBCP/ACTRA Background Extra Member (equivalent to AABP)
CAEA – Canadian Actors Equity Association
CCAU – Coalition of Canadian Audio-Visual Unions CAVCO – Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office CBC – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
CCC – Coalition of Copyright Creators
CCA – Canadian Conference for the Arts
CFC – Canadian Film Centre
CFTIC – Canadian Film and Television Industry Coalition
CFM – Canadian Federation of Musicians
CHRC – Canadian Human Resources Council
CIMA – Canadian Independent Music Association
CIPIP – Canadian Independent Production Incentive Program
CLC – Canadian Labour Congress
CMG – Canadian Media Guild
CMPA – Canadian Media Production Association
CMRRA – Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd.
CPCC – Canadian Private Copying Collective CPE – Canadian Programming Expenditure CRA – Creators Rights Alliance
CRC – Canadian Retransmission Collective
CRIA – Canadian Recording Industry Association
CRTC – Canadian Radio-Telecommunications and Television Commission
CUPE – Canadian Union of Public Employees
DGA – Directors Guild of America DGC – Directors Guild of Canada EIC – Entertainment Industry Coalition
EST – Electronic Sell Through (iTunes, Netflix…)
FIA – Federation International des Acteurs (International Federation of Actors)
FIM – International Federation of Musicians
GRP – Gross Rating Point
IATSE – International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees
ICA – Institute of Communication Agencies
IPA – Independent Production Agreement
IPDA – International Performers’ Database Association
IPN – International Performer Number
LGBTQ – Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer
LWG – Legal Rights Working Group
MDC – Ontario Media Development Corporation MPAA – Motion Pictures Association of America MROC – Musicians Rights’ Organization of Canada
NABET – National Association of Broadcasting Employees & Technicians
NSI – National Screen Institute
Ontario Creates – formerly the Ontario Media Development Corporation
OTT – Over-the-top services (Netflix, Apple TV etc.)
PNI – Programs of national interest (CRTC term for TV drama, comedy, awards shows)
PAL – Performing Arts Lodges
PRS – Performers’ Rights Society
RACS – Recording Artists’ Collection Society (previously SRD & NR)
RAWG – Rights Administrative Working Groups
Re:Sound – Re:Sound Music Licensing Agency – (previously NRCC)
RRM – Revenue Receiving Module
SAG-AFTRA – Single union from merger of Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
SAMI – Swedish Artists & Musician Interests Organization
SCAPR – The Societies’ Council for the Collective Management of Performers’ Rights
SOCAN – Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada
SODRAC – Société du Droit de Reproduction des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Éditeurs du Canada Inc.
SOGEDAM – Société de Gestion des Droits des Artistes-Musiciens
SOPROQ – Société Collective de Gestion des Droits des Producteurs de Phonogrammes et de Vidéogrammes du Québec
SVOD – Subscription Video on Demand
TAMAC – Talent Agents and Managers’ Association of Canada TIPPS – Total Integrated Payroll Planning System (CBC – payroll slips) TJC – Technical Joint Committee
Tri-Guild Audit Group: – SAG-AFTRA/WGA/DGA
UBCP – Union of B C Performers
UdA/ARTISTi – Union des Artistes
UNIFOR – Result of merger of Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) with Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP)
USW – United Steelworkers
VOD – Video on Demand
WGA – Writers’ Guild of America (East and West)
WGC – Writers Guild of Canada
WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization
ACTRA STAFF Unions: – COPE – Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union; USW – United Steel Workers; Unifor Local 3000– UBCP/ACTRA
AGM – Annual General Membership Meeting
CDI – Compact Disc Interaction EDI – Electronic Data Interchange GM – General Membership
MOW – Movie of the Week OSLO – On-Set Liaison Officer VB – Visual Basic
NATIONAL COMMERCIAL AGREEMENT – TELEVISION SECTION:
AWT – Additional Work Time – covers 9th & 10th hours of work
C – Cartoonist
DEMO – Demonstrator
E – Extra
GD – Group Dancer Grp E – Group Extra GS – Group Singer
NCA – National Commercial Agreement
NS – Network Spot-Cycle of use
O/T – Overtime – covers 11th hour of work and on
P – Program-Cycle of use PP – Principal Performer PT – Puppeteers
SA – Speciality Act
SB – Standby
SD – Solo Dancer
SI – Stand-in
SOC – Silent-On-Camera ST-C – Stunt Coordinator ST-P – Stunt Performer US – Understudy
VO/SS – Voice Over or Solo Singer
WS – Wild Spot-Cycle of use
NATIONAL COMMERCIAL AGREEMENT – RADIO SECTION
SV/SS – Single Voice or Solo Singer
MV/GS – Multiple Voice or Group Singer
INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION AGREEMENT:
A, M, S, D – Actor, Model, Singers or Dancers in groups greater than four (4)
BGP – Background Performer
CP – Chorus Performer
N or C – Narrators and Commentators – Off Camera.
PA – Principal Actor, Includes: Announcer, Cartoonist Dancers (1 or 2), Host, Narrator, Commentator, Puppeteer, Singer (1 or 2), Specialty Act, Sportscaster, Stunt Performer, Panelist.
PD – Photo-Double
S or D – Singers or Dancers in groups of up to (4)
SI – Stand In
SS – Special Skill
ST-A – Stunt Actor
ST-C – Stunt Coordinator
VRA – Voluntary Recognition Agreement
VP – Variety Principal
A – Accountant
AD – Associate Directors
PC – Production Coordinator
PM – Production Manager
CONSTITUTION & BY-LAWS
ACTRA is described in its Constitution as “a federation of Branches/Local Unions, national in scope, representing performers in the live transmission, recorded and digital media.”
ACTRA Toronto is an independent branch or local union of ACTRA, the Alliance of Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. It is governed by a Council of elected members of the union with the support of union staff, in accordance with the ACTRA Toronto By-Laws and with the ACTRA Constitution and ACTRA National By-Laws.