DGC announces member census

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The detailed enumeration allows members to self-identify across a variety of demographics with the goal of inclusion and better representation in the industry.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) is the latest organization in the industry to use data collection in its commitment to become more inclusive.

The DGC launched the “DGC Census” on July 15, a report that allows members to voluntarily self-identify under a variety of demographic characteristics.

The organization, which represents more than 5,500 key creative and logistical personnel in the screen-based industry, is working with research firm Nordicity for the collection of data. The hope is that members will openly self-identify within demographics such as region, age, cultural community, gender and gender identity, disability status, sexual orientation and family and marital status.

According to a release the census is a first step in assessing the state of representation in the industry. The findings will help guide the DGC towards better equality and inclusion, as well as the creation of more effective programs and benefits for members. Data will be collected on an ongoing basis, a DGC spokesperson told Playback Daily, with the expectation that the majority of its members will have submit to the census by the end of the year, with the results to be published in a statistical report to members and the public.

“This is a big step forward for the guild and a comprehensive assessment of representation in our industry,” said DGC president Warren P. Sonoda in a statement. “Accountability is key. We can’t know if our efforts are having the impact we all want without measuring what concrete progress we’re making towards a more inclusive industry. This data will allow us to do just that.”

“This census will be invaluable in identifying the relevant outreach, training and programs needed to ensure our industry reflects both the communities our stories serve as well as the growing global demand for diverse content,” added R.T. Thorne, chair of the DGC’s BIPOC Members Committee. “We hope members from all walks of life will participate in this project that will benefit our membership as a whole.”

The DGC census comes at a time when more organizations are collecting data in order to better serve underrepresented communities. In April, the Writers Guild of Canada released its first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Report, in which the WGC found that although the overall percentage of writers from underrepresented groups is increasing, a decline in commissioning has resulted in fewer opportunities.

In May, the Black Screen Office partnered with Telefilm Canada (with assistance from the Bell Fund) to launch the national consultation, Being Seen: A Directive for Authentic and Inclusive Content. From launch until September 2021 the initiative is looking into how underrepresented communities want to be seen and represented, and using those findings to provide industry recommendations and guidelines. A full report is expected in February 2022.

Last month, the CMF also released the Spark Courage: What We Heard Report, a 27-page document that summarized its findings after months of consultations with nearly 1,000 participants representing a variety of stakeholders, including those from Indigenous, Black and racialized communities.

Also in June, Women in Film and BIPOC TV & Film released the second part of the On Screen Report on the significant gaps in terms of funding allocation and opportunities for non-white women. In order to address the disparity and invoke change, the non-profit released 10 recommendations including recognizing the importance of creative leadership and the collection of data.

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