ACTRA members ratify new Independent Production Agreement

"I think it will help shift the culture forward, as we're looking to do in the entirety of the industry," said ACRTA National president David Sparrow of the issues addressed in the IPA.

David Sparrow picture 2ACTRA has voted to ratify a new Independent Production Agreement (IPA), with the introduction of a number of new measures and provisions around harassment prevention, workplace language and improved protections for fatigued performers.

Negotiations over the new deal took place between ACTRA, CMPA and AQPM over nine days in November, with 85.8% of ACTRA members voting in favour of the new three-year IPA, which comes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

ACTRA National president David Sparrow (pictured) told Playback Daily that many of the changes instituted in the new IPA were a result of the work ACTRA and others have done while working on the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct.

“The work we’ve been doing in the industry began to move even beyond what our [current] contract spoke to, so when we got together with the CMPA and AQPM we found that they were very open to discussing changes within the contract that would bring in some of those understandings [from the Code of Conduct],” he said.

Among the measures introduced are new provisions stating that auditions can no longer be held in private between one member of production and a performer, nor in a hotel room. New provisions will also be introduced around nudity to ensure it is consent-based and that the performer has adequate warning and the opportunity to be a part of the discussions, said Sparrow.

“This is absolutely a positive step forward in our work together to try to reduce harassment on our sets, to shift the culture on our sets to one of more respect and less harassment” he added.

As well, performer fatigue on film and TV sets in Canada is addressed in a side letter in the new IPA. Under the new agreement, performers will now be able to flag with a producer at the end of the working day that they are too tired to drive themselves home, and it be incumbent on the producer to provide alternate means for the performer to get home. That could include, for example, putting them up in a hotel room, providing transportation to a nearby transit stop, or having someone else drive them home.

“Fatigue is a huge problem on our sets. Not just in terms of the catastrophic failures, such as someone falling asleep at the wheel or someone falling off a scaffold, but also that their ability to provide their best work is diminished when they become overly fatigued,” said Sparrow.

In addition, the new IPA includes a rate increase of 9% over the three-year term of the new deal, as well as an increase to performer work opportunities through an addition to the Background Performer Count.

“The positive ground that we’ve made in terms of harassment issues and the positive dialogue that resulted from both sides is probably the lasting legacy of this round of contract negotiations, and I think will help shift the culture forward as we’re looking to do in the entirety of the industry,” said Sparrow.