News

Equity's Support and Advocacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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PHYSICAL OFFICES CLOSED: To protect our staff and in response to mandatory closure orders, Equity's two 'physical' offices have now closed until further notice. A reduced team of Equity staff is working remotely to provide essential service. (learn more)

CONTINUED MEMBER ADVOCACY: Equity has created a list of organizations, activities, and links that are aimed at assisting artsworkers in live performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. An archive of Equity's own updates and activities are available on this page as well. Finally, please check the news page for the most recent updates.

World Theatre Day 2020

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This year, World Theatre Day falls in the midst of a global pandemic crisis, which has shut down every theatre in Canada and most of the theatres around the world. To have every theatre dark on World Theatre Day is deeply depressing and even a bit frightening, as we have no idea when we will be able to resume work.

But … what we do know is that theatre has survived plagues, fires, natural disasters, wars, insurrections and coups, and any number of other disasters, man-made or otherwise, for the better part of two thousand years. We've even survived the advent of movies, television and the Internet! Audiences crave the connection that comes from sharing a live experience and we can expect them to be back.

So, this year, instead of going out to the theatre to celebrate World Theatre Day, share your love of the theatre with your friends and family in your homes by reading a play out loud, writing and performing one with your children or watching some of the many productions being made available to you for free through various streaming services.

From all of us at Equity, we wish you continued good health and we look forward to seeing you back in the theatre soon.

#EquityStrong

Arden R. Ryshpan
Executive Director
Canadian Actors' Equity Association

World Theatre Day was started by the International Theatre Institute and this year their celebratory message is from Shahid Nadeem, a leading playwright from Pakistan and head of the celebrated Ajoka Theatre.

This World Theatre Day celebrate Canadian playwriting talent with the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Play Reading Relay happening from 11AM-6PM EST today. 28 plays in seven hours all broadcast into your home through Zoom.

Our colleagues at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT),  l’Association des théâtres francophones du Canada (ATFC) and the Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC), offer an annual Canadian message celebrating World Theatre Day and this year’s message is from Geneviève Pelletier from Théâtre Cercle Molière.

COVID-19 Advocacy and Resource Links

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Equity has created a list of organizations, activities, and links that are aimed at assisting artsworkers in live performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. An archive of Equity's own updates and activities are available on this page as well.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Announced

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On March 25, Prime Minister Trudeau announced new plans for economic support for Canadians that are unable to work due to COVID-19 - including the self-employed. Please check out this government news release and this reporting from the CBC about the Government's newly announced Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) which replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. These links will help Equity members understand how they can directly seek assistance from the government in this challenging period. New information regarding this support will be added/updated as needed on our Advocacy and Resource Links webpage. (Please note:  The COVID-19 situation continues to change rapidly and Equity is doing its best to give members timely and accurate information. We appreciate members' patience in this regard.)

UNIFOR provides further clarification on CERB in their CERB FAQ.

Second Online COVID-19 Member Meeting March 25, 12:30 p.m. ET

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Equity is holding a second online video meeting with Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan and other staff to provide Equity members an update on advocacy work with multiple levels of government, answer member questions regarding live streaming of activities, recorded auditions, cancelled contracts and more.


Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Time: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Online via Zoom webinar

Video recording of the meeting is embedded below.

Text transcript

Questions may be sent in advance to communications@caea.com or will be fielded live. Transcription of the meeting statements and questions will be provided to all members as soon as possible.

Please note: Only Equity members in good standing may attend. Members must login to Equity’s website in order to attend the meeting.

#EquityStrong

Member Advisory #6 re: Advocacy - COVID-19

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This advisory offers Equity members an update on the limited new information we have regarding the Canadian government's plans for income support for Canadians affected by COVID-19. Information is being released daily, so we encourage members to bookmark the federal Government's website for further information as it is being released. Here are some updates known at this time:

  • The Emergency Support Benefit is $5 billion in funding specifically for Canadians who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and are unable to work due to COVID-19;
  • This benefit will be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA);
  • Specific details are fuzzy, but it appears they will offer $900 every two weeks for up to a 15 week term. They are assessing the situation and these terms may be extended if Canadians continue to be unable to return to work;
  • They are promising that the sign-up will be simple, through website or phone, and indications are that you will self-declare and payment will be made directly to you;
  • Parliament needs to be recalled to pass legislation for this to happen. That is anticipated to happen next week and they are suggesting benefits could be up and running within 2-3 weeks.

If you have not already seen it, members may be encouraged to read this public statement from Stephen Guilbeault, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, which was posted to Facebook and Twitter. In the Equity online member meeting earlier this week, we spoke about launching a letter writing campaign regarding income support to the Minister and MPs; however, given the swiftness of their response to the situation, we feel it is not warranted at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and if we feel a campaign from the membership would be of benefit, we will initiate something.

Inside Equity

Executive Director, Arden R. Ryshpan has had a number of phone conversations with provincial Ministers and local government officials over the past four days, all of whom are aware of the urgent issues facing the live performance sector and putting plans into place to offer support. Another online member meeting is in the planning stage for next week. Arden will report more on these meetings at that time. More details to follow.

Equity will be launching a Lost Work Opportunities Tracker shortly. Member participation will be essential in order to provide Equity necessary information to record the financial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our membership. Different levels of government need data to fully understand the scale of the situation so they can plan appropriate responses for the live performance sector. More details to follow.


Equity will continue to keep you up-to-date with developments as we know more. For now, we encourage members to stay positive, stay safe, and look after each other.

Please continue to visit www.caea.com to read regularly updated and new information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

#EquityStrong

Transcript and Video of March 17 Online Member Meeting

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On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Equity held an information and update meeting regarding the COVID-19 crisis and its far-reaching effects on the live performance sector. A transcript of the meeting including statements by members of Equity's management team and Council President Scott Bellis is now available HERE. Video of the meeting is embedded below.

 

#EquityStrong

Member Advisory #5 re: Advocacy - COVID-19

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With many of our members currently affected by theatre closures and cancelled/postponed contracts, we want to let you know about some of the advocacy efforts that Equity is undertaking on your behalf.

Government

Ensuring that our various levels of government are aware of the financial hardship that our members are facing with cancellation and postponement of contracts, as well as the general threat to engagers through loss of income from ticket sales, is being undertaken by Equity and our partner organizations across the Canadian arts and cultural sector.

On March 13th, Equity, along with fraternal organizations including ACTRA, the Canadian Federation of Musicians, CWA Canada, the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), and IATSE wrote to The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism advocating that given the importance of our industry and the precariousness of its workers, freelance workers in Canada's entertainment industry need to be included in any expansion of Employment Insurance income support coverage being offered by the Government.

Equity's Public Affairs Lobbyist in Ottawa is currently working daily on our behalf to ensure that the appropriate Ministers and Director Generals within the government are aware of the needs of our members and our wider industry. Our message appears to be getting through.

It's too early to jump to conclusions, but yesterday, March 18, the Prime Minister announced $27 billion in direct payments to Canadians, including reference to the 5.7 million Canadians who are not included in the Employment Insurance system (which would include self-employed cultural workers) as well as a further $55 billion in tax credits and deferrals. They were also clear that this was only phase one of support. The details are not completely clear, but this seems to suggest that EI benefits (or something resembling them) will be extended to those in need who may not have previously qualified for this benefit, including those who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19. Details are still evolving, but members are encouraged to visit the Government of Canada Department of Finance website for further information. As more specific information is announced, we will share available details with the Equity membership.

Equity's Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan is active in conversations daily with ministries and departments at the local, provincial and federal level across the country. We are in dialogue with other arts service organizations to discuss methods for collective data gathering and advocacy action. These groups are coming together to present a strong, clear and unified message to the government for urgent support for our sector.

Canada Council

On March 16th, Simon Brault, the Director and CEO of Canada Council for the Arts, released a statement affirming that they are aware of the devastating impact that isolation and social distancing will have on the arts and cultural sector. His statement says "we are working intensely with the Department of Canadian Heritage to develop proposals for short-term measures to help the sector get through this crisis […] I can assure you that you will be the first to be informed of these measures as soon as the government's decisions have been made, which will not be long in coming […] it is very important that you accurately document your lost revenues as a result of deferrals and cancellations directly related to the measures taken to control the spread of COVID-19."

Equity

Here at Equity we continue to come up with new strategies and pursue new avenues to ensure that the needs of the arts and cultural sector, and the many freelance artists that work within that sector, are not forgotten.

We are aware of the anxiety that the loss of these contracts and general uncertainty is having on our members. While we pursue assistance from government, we are also aware of the excellent work that is taking place at the grassroots level within our arts communities to support each other and we encourage all of our members to look after each other, including our engager colleagues, in whatever ways we can. It is essential to all of us that our delicate ecosystem remains as unscathed as possible so we can emerge on the other side of this with our arts and cultural sector intact.

These are uncertain times, but we commit to you that we will use all of our relationships and advocacy resources to ensure that the need for support for our industry and its self-employed independent contracts continues to be heard to all levels of government.

The situation is changing hourly, but we will keep in regular contact with you and update you as we have more information.

#EquityStrong

Member Advisory #4 re: Financial Issues - COVID-19

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Equity understands that our members are experiencing the financial brunt of COVID-19 production and contract cancellations. In addition to our advocacy for financial support from government for the membership, we want to take tangible steps to assist members directly in this difficult time.

Basic Dues

Equity is introducing some immediate measures that we believe will help members during this period. Effective immediately we will:

  • Delay the May 1 basic dues billing until June or until the many states of emergency have been lifted
  • Reduce the basic dues by $15 for every month until the many states of emergency have been lifted
  • Reach out to all artists currently in the process of joining to put their plans on hold and therefore delay the payment of initiation fees
  • Extend the duration of initiation permit credits/ apprentice credits that would otherwise expire

Questions regarding basic dues may be sent by email (only) to membership@caea.com.

Weekly Disability Insurance

Members have written asking if Equity's insurance plan offers wage replacement for this situation. Unfortunately it does not. The weekly disability insurance only covers members who are unable to fulfil the terms of their contract due to accident or illness and unfortunately this does not apply to the pandemic.

Association Finances

The COVID-19 pandemic will definitely have a negative impact on the Association’s finances. We are anticipating revenue to be down by approximately $250K a month for the duration of the pandemic, and we anticipate that it will also take a long time for revenue to return to previous levels once the situation is over. Fortunately, Equity has a healthy reserve fund that will help us maintain essential services during this period. We are also looking at ways to reduce our costs as much as possible while supporting the membership and our staff during these uncertain times.

Please visit www.caea.com to read more information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

#EquityStrong

Call to extend income support for those not eligible for EI Sickness Benefits

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Earlier this week, a coalition of creative industry unions and guilds wrote to your Cabinet colleagues, Ministers Hadju and Qualtrough, on behalf of workers in Canada’s entertainment industry who would be left out of the Employment Insurance (EI) supports announced as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 response package. Read the letter here (PDF)

Equity's National and Western Offices Closed Until Further Notice

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To protect our staff and responding to provincial advisories regarding COVID-19, Equity's two 'physical' offices have now closed until further notice. A reduced team of Equity staff is working remotely to provide essential service. Today, March 17, we are getting "virtual" offices up and running today in order to continue to support our members.

Please be advised that email is now Equity's primary communication method. Please consult the Contact Us page.

During this period you may not hear from your usual Business Representative or staff person, but be assured the counsel provided will be the same.

Please be advised that e-Drive is temporarily suspended, and submissions will not be reviewed or released for the time being. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.

This is an unprecedented and evolving situation. Equity is committed to doing the best job we possibly can to serve our membership under the circumstances. Given the volume of recent correspondence, all emails are being triaged. A staff person will respond to you as soon as time permits. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Online COVID-19 Information Meeting March 17, 1:00 p.m. ET

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Online Zoom COVID-19 video information meeting for Equity members-only
Date: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Online  video meeting via the Internet (Zoom webinar)

Log in to join the meeting HERE (member login required)

Questions may be sent in advance to communications@caea.com or will be fielded live. Transcription of the meeting statements and questions will be provided to all members as soon as possible.

Please note: Only Equity members in good standing may attend. Members must login to Equity’s website in order to attend the meeting.

Member Advisory #3 re: COVID 19 - Message from Scott Bellis

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During this unprecedented time, your national Council wishes to express our solidarity with fellow Equity members across the country and to our colleagues internationally.

As we all grapple with the spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding production and contract interruption and cancellations, I urge members to look after themselves and their health and continue to take reasonable precautions as necessary.

Watch Council President Scott Bellis' video statement to Equity Members below.

Statement Transcript:

Hi, I'm Scott Bellis, Council President of Equity. The national Council wishes to express solidarity with our members across the country and our colleagues internationally. We know that behind the headlines, there is a human cost to how COVID-19 has affected our industry; the cancelled productions and contracts mount, and behind each and every one there is an Equity member who is affected emotionally, physically, financially and mentally.

These are unprecedented times that affect Equity staff, Council, and members alike. Equity is planning a Zoom member-only meeting to discuss your questions about the COVID-19 situation with Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan and others on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (ET). Details are still being worked out. Please check caea.com tomorrow, March 16, for more information.

You may sometimes have seen the online hashtag #EquityStrong, usually used in discussion around labour issues, but now more than ever we need united strength. From yesterday’s informative primer by our communications staff, to Councillors going above and beyond to support members, to our ED Arden and the Business Reps taking your calls, and the members themselves, #Equity Strong means that we are looking out for each other when we need it. If you have questions, concerns, or needs, please know that Equity is here for you.

Member Advisory #2 re: COVID 19

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The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to assess the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada. However, recent developments will have a significant impact on the Equity membership. As we all grapple with the spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding production and contract interruption and cancellations, we urge members to look after themselves and their health and continue to take reasonable precautions as necessary.

Statement from Equity's Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan

At Equity we are doing everything we can to stay in touch with Engagers and to stay on top of this ever changing situation. There are no road maps for how the live performance industry should respond to such an unprecedented crisis. At this moment, our primary concern is to ensure that our members receive any appropriate termination or cancellation payments owed to them, based on the agreement or engagement policy they are working under.

We are reaching out to the Government to request that the conditions to access funds made available to support workers whose earnings are interrupted by the pandemic are extended to independent contractors in the arts and culture sector. Further, we are investigating the ways in which the streaming of live performances to paying audiences might be facilitated, as a way of keeping people working and under contract.

While Equity cannot control how this situation progresses, we promise that we will provide as much information and support to the membership as we can during this very challenging and unpredictable time.

Responding to Enquiries

As the COVID-19 situation unfolds, we encourage all members to remain calm and seek news information from reputable sources. This is a rapidly evolving situation and Equity is responding to all enquiries as soon as possible but it should be recognized that it is clearly not business as usual. As you may expect, members and Engagers both have urgent questions. We have been informed that some productions may close early and others may delay opening. As a result we are working hard to provide you with timely and accurate counsel.

Restrictions on the Size of Public Gatherings

In light of recent events including provincial voluntary or mandatory restrictions on the size of public gatherings, Equity is aware of the significant impact this may have on our members who are currently, or about to begin, working under contract. As of now, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario have announced a voluntary restriction on the size of public gatherings and British Columbia and Quebec have enacted mandatory restrictions. We expect that other provinces may follow suit with restrictions and it is possible that voluntary restrictions may become mandatory.

Given that each circumstance is different, we urge our members to speak to the Engager of a production and also contact Equity, (Contact Us) so that we can respond based on your specific circumstance. Please also refer to Equity's Member Advisory of March 12 regarding obligations while under contract.

Equity Member-Only COVID-19 Information Meeting

Equity will be holding a Zoom webinar member-only meeting to discuss the COVID-19 situation with Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan, Director of Finance & Administration Marion (Maz) Magoris, CPA, CMA and Associate Executive Director Steven Sparling, on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (ET). Members in good standing may attend by signing into Equity's website.

Details are still being worked out. Please check www.caea.com on the afternoon of Monday, March 16 for more information. Questions may be sent in advance to communications@caea.com or will be fielded live.

Industry Partners

Equity has reached out to our major industry partners and has been in contact with many of our Engagers. We are staying abreast of their various plans. Equity, its members, Engagers, and partner organizations must work together during the coming days and weeks in order to manage this situation.

Advocacy for Independent Contractors

Many Equity members (with the exception of some stage managers) are independent contractors and are not eligible for Employment Insurance benefits that may be available to workers who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Equity is collaborating with our fraternal colleagues ACTRA, the Canadian Media Guild, the Canadian Musicians Association, CWA Canada, Directors Guild of Canada and IATSE on an advocacy campaign directed at the federal Government urging income support for independent contractors. Equity will do everything within its power to advocate on behalf of the precarious independent contractor workforce affected by COVID-19.

 

CTA Negotiations to Resume

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Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) have reached agreement on two key issues in a mid-negotiation mediation. The mediation began March 11, 2020 and took one-and-a-half days.

Negotiations for a new Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) are set to resume April 21, 2020 (TBA). As is a standard part of a collective bargaining process, the mediation settlement will not be made public until negotiations successfully conclude. Pending a successful conclusion to the CTA negotiations, the mediation settlement will form part of the final negotiated package presented to Equity members for ratification.

Equity's CTA negotiation team, led by Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan, will continue its hard work to ensure protection of a member's right to work in a safe, secure, reliable environment in which to create on any stage in this country.

Member Advisory #1 re: COVID 19

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At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada. The Government of Canada is confident that the Canadian public health system is prepared to respond to any outbreak of COVID-19 and is reassessing the public health risk, based on the best available evidence, as the situation evolves.

Members should be reassured that proactive arrangements are being made for Equity staff to continue the business of the Association. We understand that the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) as well as many other Engagers share our concerns for healthy public gatherings and ensuring the health and wellbeing of all live performance workers and are making their own plans.

This is an evolving situation and member advisory updates will be issued as necessary. Please check www.caea.com regularly for the most current information.

We have recently begun fielding a number of COVID-19 questions from members. We have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

What are members' obligations while under contract?

Until advised otherwise by Equity, members and other artists signed to Equity contracts (presently or in the future) are responsible to fulfil their contractual obligations.

In the situation where a statutory Government declaration due to COVID-19 forces the cancellation or shutdown of a production or activity (including touring), thereby preventing a member from continuing service, the member should advise Equity immediately (Contact Us). Each situation must be reviewed on its own merits. This situation may constitute a reasonable work stoppage but Equity (only) should make this determination.

A statutory Government declaration may be made by the applicable municipal, provincial or federal government or Public Health Authority for a region. Mandatory compliance with a statutory declaration could force the cancellation or shutdown of a production or activity. In the case of touring productions, it may include the applicable governing body having jurisdiction over the tour destination, and it may extend to include cancellation or shutdown of transportation and accommodation providers, such as airlines and hotels.

What if a member becomes ill due to COVID-19?

Nothing is more important than a member's health and safety. Equity encourages members to follow the prevention and risk guidelines available on the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Prevention and Risks webpage.

If an Equity member or other artist signed to an Equity contract becomes ill they should avail themselves of the Sick Leave or Termination Due to Illness provisions of the applicable agreement or engagement policy. Members with questions about these provisions should advise Equity immediately (Contact Us).

What if I am quarantined due to COVID-19?

In the case where an Equity member or another artist member is exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace they should follow the counsel provided by the applicable Public Health Authority and the Engager regarding quarantine. Members should also advise Equity immediately (Contact Us).

What are an Engagers' obligations?

An Engager must provide a safe and sanitary workplace to all members and artists working under an Equity contract. Any concerns in this regard should be forwarded to Equity immediately (Contact Us).

In the situation where a statutory Government declaration due to COVID-19 forces the cancellation or shutdown of production or activity (including touring), thereby preventing a member from continuing service, the Engager should immediately advise Equity (see below). Equity will work with the Engagers affected by COVID-19 to ensure that the terms and conditions of the applicable agreement or policy are enforced, particularly in a situation which may constitute a reasonable work stoppage.

More information is available on Equity's website www.caea.com.

What are Equity’s plans?

At present Equity is preparing an internal response plan in the event that the COVID-19 situation worsens or if there is a widespread closure of public spaces. Our intent is not to alarm, but to have a plan in place as a responsible business practice. Members are encouraged to contact us with any questions (Contact Us).

Engager Obligations re: COVID 19

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All signed engagement contracts remain in full force and effect and Equity has advised artists signed to Equity contracts to continue to fulfil their contractual obligations unless advised otherwise by Equity.

In the situation where a statutory Government declaration due to COVID-19 forces the cancellation or shutdown of a production or activity (including touring), the provisions set forth in the Performances and/or Rehearsals Lost and/or Force Majeure provisions of a negotiated agreement* will be deemed to apply.

Engagement polices such as the DOT and the INDIE do not include Force Majeure language. In the unlikely situation where a statutory Government declaration forces the cancellation or shutdown of a production or activity (including touring), contractual obligations will be determined between Equity and the Engager if required. 

A statutory Government declaration may be made by the applicable municipal, provincial or federal government or Public Health Authority for a region. Mandatory compliance with a statutory declaration could force the cancellation or shutdown of a production (including a tour). In the case of touring productions, it may include the applicable governing body having jurisdiction in the tour destination, and it may extend to include cancellation or shutdown of transportation and accommodation providers, such as airlines and hotels.

Equity expects that all Engagers will heed any travel health advisory notices for COVID-19 posted by the Government of Canada Travel Advice.

* Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA), Equity Second City Agreement (ESCA), Independent Theatre Agreement (ITA), Stratford Festival Addendum to the CTA, Canadian Opera Agreement, Opera Agreement, Vancouver Opera Agreement, Alberta Ballet Agreement (ABA), Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal Agreement (LGBA), National Ballet of Canada Agreement (NBCA), Royal Winnipeg Ballet Agreement (RWBA) 

Equity to Enter into Mediation with PACT on March 11

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As reported last fall, Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) established an Agreement of Continuance to the Canadian Theatres Agreement (CTA) which included an agreement that the parties would undertake a mid-negotiation mediation process. 

This mediation begins March 11, 2020. Three days of talks between Equity and PACT are scheduled.
 
Pending a successful mediation on two specific issues (see below), Equity and PACT will resume negotiations on over 200 remaining clauses at the end of April.

Background: Despite Equity and PACT’s original agreement, bargaining as planned did not resume last September. Instead, PACT approached Equity with a requirement to mediate the proposals on Produce/Present and non-member filing fees before they would agree to continue negotiations.

•    Produce/Present refers to how a PACT theatre may present a non-PACT company in their season. Equity and PACT have significant differences of opinion about what fees and conditions should apply when a PACT theatre contracts out to another company to provide programming.

•    Non-member filing fees are deductions equivalent to those made from members, and are credited towards a non-member's eventual initiation fees. Unlike many other organizations, Equity does not charge non-members a work permit fee on top of these filing fees.

The CTA negotiation team, led by Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan, will continue its hard work to ensure that we protect the issues that matter most to members throughout this mediation and hopefully into continued negotiations that will recommence thereafter. Our job, as it has been for over 15 months of bargaining with PACT, is to protect your right to work in a safe, secure, reliable environment in which to create on any stage in this country.

Equity will advise the membership regarding the result of the mediation as soon as information is available.

National AGM of March 9, 2020 Successfully Attended

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Equity's first online-only National AGM took place March 9, 2020. The were 80 participants from coast-to-coast in attendance.

Members wanting to attend read the Council President and Executive Director reports and Financial should click HERE

Video of all reports will be available soon.

Equity Honours 2020 (Video)

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Video presentations from Equity Honours 2020 are now available on the Honours Committee page. Watch all the honoree introductions and acceptance speeches here.

2019 Receipts for Tax Purposes

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For quick and easy access, receipts for Equity working dues and insurance premiums paid in the past calendar year are now available to Regular, Life and Extended-Visa members for download here (member login required).

Hard copy receipts are only mailed to Equity members without a current email address on file or upon request. View, update or amend your receipt mailing preferences online here.

Please email membership@caea.com with any questions regarding your receipts for tax purposes.

Members were advised regarding off-contract insurance eligibility earlier this year, by mail or email depending on communication preference. A member’s insurance eligibility status is always available on your member profile page (member login required).

Whistleblower Research Project Survey to Include Equity Members

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Equity to collaborate with the Centre for Free Expression (CFE) at Ryerson University on a Whistleblower Research Project survey. 

All Regular, Regular-Extended Visa and Life members of Equity, in good standing as of February 28, 2020, who worked under an Equity agreement of longer than two weeks over the past two years will be invited to participate. Beginning Wednesday March 4, invitations will be sent out over a few days. The survey will be in place over four weeks in March 2020.

Headed by Dr. James Turk, Director of CFE with a team of experts from Ryerson, Wilfrid Laurier, and Saint Mary’s, the research will be seeking to learn more about the extent of harassment and bullying in the live performance industry, how it is being dealt with, the effectiveness of current anti-harassment and whistleblowing initiatives, and what can be done to improve them, as well as what might be helpful for organizations beyond the live performance industry. This information will also assist Equity in understanding the effectiveness of its "Not in OUR Space!" anti-harassment campaign and continue to build a better understanding of harassment issues for our membership.

The online survey will be administered by York University's Institute for Social Research (ISR), a leading academic survey research organization in Canada. The ISR will contact Equity members asking if they are willing to participate in the research. Having been assured that any personal information provided will be used in accordance with Equity's privacy policy, Equity is providing members' email contact information to the ISR in order to facilitate members' participation in this important survey.

While participation is not mandatory, Equity members are strongly encouraged to take part in the survey. Your participation benefits not just Equity but will assist the valuable research as part of the CFE’s broader work on whistleblowing and protection for whistleblowers. For more information on the Centre, please visit the CFE website.

Any comments or questions regarding Equity’s collaboration with the CFE on the Whistleblower Research Project survey may be forwarded to the Association at communications@caea.com.

Council Connect - February 2020

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Stay up to date with Equity Council with the latest installment of Council Connect.

Equity Welcomes Steven Sparling, Associate Executive Director

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Equity announces that Steven Sparling will join the senior management team of the Association in the position of Associate Executive Director on February 18, 2020. He will work closely with Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan providing staff support to the work of Council and its committees. This new position also incorporates many aspects of the Special Projects Manager role, and Steven will assume responsibility for a number of new and ongoing project initiatives enhancing member services.

Steven has been a member of Equity since 1991 and has performed on stages across Canada and the UK in dance, opera, theatre and musical theatre productions. For the last decade he has been employed in academia, teaching actors/singers/dancers in Canada and the UK, as well as guest teaching in South Africa, Holland and Lithuania.

Steven is in the final stages of completing a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London, looking at barriers to professional sustainability in mid-career UK actors. Working out of the National Office, he looks forward to bringing his advocacy for performing arts workers to Equity.

RRSP Plan Provider Update

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Equity's group retirement savings plan provider Great-West Life is rebranding under the new name of Canada Life Assurance Company. Equity is beginning to reflect this change on its website and in its documents.

Members should experience no substantive change to Equity's retirement policies, plans and service resulting from the change of name. The Canada Life logo is now displayed on Equity's Benefits & Services web page, and will soon replace the Great West Life logo on all of Equity's retirement materials and forms.

While updates are being made, please note that any mention of Great-West Life or London Life now refers to Canada Life. Learn more about the change at canadalife.com.

Please direct any questions or comments regarding this name change to Equity's Director of Finance & Administration, Marion (Maz) Magoris, CPA, CMA maz@caea.com.

Equity Honours 2020 - Monday February 24

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On February 24, 2020, join and celebrate with fellow Equity members, Council and staff to honour some of Equity's most outstanding individuals. All Equity members in good standing are invited.

*** Award winners will be announced very soon. ***

Are you an Equity member in Good Standing? RSVP here!

Equity Honours 2020 Invitation

Registration Now Open: National AGM March 9, 2020

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Equity's first online-only National AGM will take place March 9, 2020 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. The meeting will be live-stream-only, hosted by via Zoom Webinar.

Only Equity members in good standing may attend. Access to the National AGM registration page is restricted to members in good standing only. 

Registration is required. Members wanting to attend should register HERE. Follow the instructions on Equity's website for quick and easy Zoom app download and installation.

Why you want to attend this National AGM: You will have the ability to ask questions, raise your concerns, and participate in discussions affecting your industry and your career from home, work or wherever you find yourself.. There will also be reports from Equity's Executive Director and Council President regarding current and upcoming projects such as the Mental Health and Wellness Survey, Not In OUR Space! and CTA negotiations.

Agenda:

  • Council President report and questions
  • Executive Director report and questions
  • Presentation of the financial report and Audited Financial Statement and appointment of the auditor for the coming year
  • Committee and Task Force reports

 

Equity's Member Advantage Program to Undergo Review

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Equity's Member Advantage Program (MAP) in its current format is coming to a close and will be undergoing a benefit analysis. Potential new and valuable changes to the program may result. The timeline for the internal review is 60 days.

Equity member access to the current MAP will end as of January 31, 2020.

This action has been necessitated by ACTRA National's recent decision to change their MAP provider. For the past several years ACTRA has managed the MAP program on behalf of a number of arts service organizations. Equity thanks ACTRA for administering this service on behalf of our membership over the past several years.

The additional insurance coverage for critical illness, hospital expenses, accidental death/dismemberment and funeral expenses provided by Chubb Life remains available, as does Equity members' preferred access to the Spencer Health dental and vision network.

Eligible Equity Members May Now Register to Vote in Upcoming CTA Ratification

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Negotiations for the Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) between Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) will continue in 2020. According to the 2019 Agreement of Continuance signed by Equity and PACT, the CTA will stay in force while the parties continue to negotiate the Agreement. To that end, Equity and PACT have three upcoming mediation dates scheduled March 11-13, 2020. Equity members are advised to continue to provide service under CTA contracts as usual.

In anticipation of the successful conclusion of CTA negotiations in 2020, and in accordance with Bylaw 106, Equity members who are not automatically enumerated may now register to vote in the upcoming CTA ratification.

A Regular or Life Equity member is automatically enumerated to vote if they are a member in good standing AND were engaged under the CTA or another theatre agreement or policy (Artists' Collective Policy and Festival Policy excepted) between April 30, 2014 and April 30, 2020). This criteria is in accordance with Equity Bylaw 106(a)(iii).

Any Regular or Life Equity member may register to vote if they are not already automatically enumerated AND they are a member in good standing. This criteria is in accordance with Equity Bylaw 106(c).

CTA RATIFICATION VOTING REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. Visit this page to verify or amend your registration (login required)The registration period will close Sunday, April 15, 2020.

Please note: All members must be in good standing during the CTA ratification voting period to receive and cast a ballot. Check your current membership status here.

Please contact Equity at communications@caea.com for further information regarding CTA ratification voter registration.

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year to all Equity members! Equity's offices are now back to regular office hours at both the National and Western offices.

Retroactive Fees Owing for CTA Contracts

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According to the Memorandum of Continuance signed by Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), an Artist working under a CTA (Canadian Theatre Agreement) contract during the period Monday, June 24 to Sunday, October 13, 2019, may be entitled to a 1.75% increase. Payment of retroactive fees owing must be made not later than December 31, 2019. More information regarding the Agreement of Continuance is available here.