Archive by year: 2019Return

Engagement Policies Review Period Extended


Due to a very heavy agreement negotiation schedule to date in 2019, where bargaining for only one of five concurrent negotiations has successfully concluded, the renewal process for engagement policies currently under review has been delayed. In addition, decisions on some changes under consideration may be dependent on the outcome of CTA negotiations, which may not be known for some time.


The renewal process has been extended to November 17, 2019. New fees come into effect September 2, 2019 through to September 5, 2021. An updated D•O•T Policy, including fee tables until 2021, is now available online in a 'small booklet' format. 

Artists' Collective Policy and Festival Policy
The renewal process has been extended to November 17, 2019. 

The renewal process has been extended to November 17, 2019. INDIE 2.2 minimum fees will be unchanged for the extension period.

CTA Negotiation Update with Arden R. Ryshpan and Ryan G. Hinds

Equity's Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan and Second Vice-President / Ontario Councillor Ryan G. Hinds provide a brief update on the slow negotiation progress between Equity and PACT (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres) as the two associations continue to bargain but remain far apart on several key issues.


Click here for CTA Ratification information and updates (member login required).

CTA Negotiations Update - May 2019


After 24 days of slow progress, Equity and PACT (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres) continue to bargain but are far apart on several key issues. The two parties have agreed that the current Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) will stay in force as long as bargaining continues.

It is highly unlikely that a new Agreement will be negotiated prior to the expiration of the current CTA on June 23, 2019. Equity members are advised to continue to provide service under their CTA contracts as usual unless otherwise advised by Equity.

PACT has brought several challenging issues to the table, including produce/present, community engagement, and the scope of the CTA. Equity’s Council is regularly updated on all issues under discussion and has every faith that your negotiating team is working in the best interest of the membership.

Negotiations resume on Monday, June 17 for six days.

Equity is committed to keeping you informed about these negotiations as they develop. Members may contact me anytime at

Yours in solidarity,

Arden R. Ryshpan
Executive Director and head CTA negotiator

International Dance Day 2019


Equity wishes all of its members a happy International Dance Day on April 29, 2019. The 2019 IDD Message author is Karima Mansour - dancer, choreographer and educator from Egypt.

Funding for the NAC Indigenous Theatre Section


Like many colleagues in the live performance industry, Equity was recently disappointed to learn that the new Indigenous section at the National Arts Centre (NAC) would not receive a significant Canadian Heritage grant for its inaugural and subsequent seasons.

Canada’s current federal government has made reconciliation with Indigenous peoples a priority. The creation of and financial support for Indigenous theatre at the NAC was an important step towards meeting that goal in the arts and culture sector.

As a rule, Equity does not take a position on support for (or against) funding for any specific individual theatre, opera, dance or ballet company, at any government level, with whom we have a contractual or bargaining relationship. That is not our place. Our job is to lobby for support and funding for the live performance sector as a whole and for the health of the industry and Equity members.

However, in this situation Equity feels the need to add our voice to a growing list of dispirited artists across the country. The Canadian arts community was excited to see the Indigenous theatre initiative take shape and this action has made us concerned about the commitment of the federal Government to arts funding and support for Indigenous artists and stories.

Margaret Thompson to Join Equity as Business Representative Manager

Margaret Thompson

Equity is delighted to announce that Margaret Thompson, former Agent and Artist Manager for the Talent House Inc. (Toronto & New York), will be joining Equity as the new Business Representative Manager - Theatre Agreements.

Margaret has a wealth of experience with the Canadian and Independent Theatre Agreements (CTA/ITA) having worked in the unique position of heading the Creatives Department for a prominent North American talent agency and representing an exceptional roster of live theatre directors, choreographers, fight directors, musical directors and designers. In addition, Margaret has been a professional negotiator and arts manager for over 15 years whose international experiences include supporting artists as a casting director, film and theatre producer and music festival manager. Margaret holds an MA in Performance Studies from the Central School of Speech & Drama (London, UK) and continuing education certificates in Entertainment Law through Osgoode Hall Law School. Margaret has fostered deep connections in the arts and theatre sectors. She is looking forward to bringing her partnership building skills to Equity and championing artists on a national level.

"We are delighted to have someone of Margaret’s knowledge and experience join our staff. Her experience of working with both members and theatres is unique and will be an asset to the Association. She has a great sense of humour and will fit in very well with her new colleagues and members alike." states Equity's Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan.

Margaret will join Equity on April 15, overlapping for a month with Dustyn Wales who will be leaving Equity to return to his passion, stage managing. Margaret will immediately join Arden in the ongoing CTA negotiations with PACT. She will work closely with Ruth Leggett, Business Representative Manager - Ballet & Opera Agreements/Engagement Policies, who has been ably leading her Business Representative team since August 2018.

March 27 is World Theatre Day!

World Theatre Day 2019

Dear Equity members,

March 27th is World Theatre Day. Recognized and celebrated around the world since 1962, this day is a wonderful opportunity for theatre organizations, theatre artists, and theatre lovers of all kinds to celebrate our chosen art form, and to promote its inherent value and importance to those who have not discovered its potential. In this rapidly changing world, our work as artists in the arena of live performance remains vital and transformative.

Scott Bellis
Council President

This year's World Theatre Day Message comes to us from Cuban director, playwright, and educator Carlos Celdrán.

Happy Anniversary to Equity's Safe Space!

Equity Safe Space on Facebook

Exactly one year ago today (March 20), Equity launched Equity’s Safe Space - a Facebook page dedicated to sharing news, information and ideas about building and maintaining safe and respectful workspaces in Canadian professional theatre, opera and dance.


Weekly postings have covered a range of topics including:


  • Discipline-specific information resources & links to stories of world-wide actions
  • Training videos for Boards, Engagers and Artists
  • National legal and counseling resources
  • Not in OUR Space! information
  • Definitions
  • Reference Guides for Training and Resources for developing policies and processes to prevent harassment or dealing with it should it happen
  • Sample harassment policies
  • Intimacy Direction
  • Local educational events, panels, etc.
  • Facebook Live Q & A with specialists


We’re already hearing stories of change happening across the country. We want to keep the momentum going.


Here’s how you can help:

  • Visit Equity’s Safe Space Facebook page and read our weekly posts
  • Like, Follow and Share the page
  • Engage in discussion – let us know what you think about the posts & make suggestions for what you’d like to see
  • Spread the word and help us change the culture!

ITA Review and Revision Consultation


Equity members are encouraged to contribute to the review and revision to the 2019-2021 Independent Theatre Agreement (ITA). This review will commence immediately, no longer waiting until after the completion of ongoing Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) negotiations (as previously announced).

Suggested proposals should be emailed to or by telephone to 1-800-387-1856 (416-867-9165 in Toronto) as soon as possible and by no later than March 25, 2019 (note: revised deadline).

Topics under consideration for revision include but are not limited to:

  • Auditions
  • Marketing & Publicity
  • Workshops & Readings
  • Understudies
  • Child Performers
  • Stage Management
  • Terms negotiated in Equity's 2018 CTA negotiations with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (unratified).

Please note: suggestions received are confidential but will be shared with Equity staff working on this review.

2018-2019 National Annual General Meeting Presentations

February 25, 2019 - YWCA, Nancy's Room - Toronto, ON


Council President's Report - Scott Bellis

Equity Council President Scott Bellis welcomed all members and delivered the President's Report. View the report in written format here.

Executive Director's Report - Arden R. Ryshpan

The Executive Director's Annual Report was delivered by Equity's Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan. View the report in written format here.

2017-2018 Financial Statement - Marion (Maz) Magoris, CPA, CMA

The 2017-2018 Financial Statement, presented by Equity's new Director of Finance and Administration, Marion (Maz) Magoris, provided a detailed run-down of Equity's financial position, presenting an accurate picture of Equity's finances, and demonstrating organizational compliance with generally accepted accounting principles.

ASL services provided by:

Anna Lee, American Sign Language-English Interpreter
Adra Magidsohn, American Sign Language-English Interpreter

2018 Tax Receipts for Equity members


For quick and easy access, tax receipts for Equity working dues and insurance premiums paid in the past calendar year will be available to Regular, Life and Extended-Visa members for download on Equity's website as of March 1, 2019.

Equity members under 80 will also be advised of their eligibility for current year-round sickness coverage on their 'insurance premiums paid' tax receipt.

Printed tax receipts will only be mailed to Equity members without a current email address on file or by request. Please view, update and amend your tax receipt mailing preferences online here. Please email with any questions regarding your tax receipts.

National AGM This Monday, February 25


Want to learn more about how your Association operates and have a chance to get to know some fellow members? Join us for Equity’s National Annual General Meeting on Monday, February 25. Please bring your up-to-date membership card to show at the door.

National Office Closing Early on Tuesday, February 12

Due to the increasing winter storm activity in Toronto, Equity's National Office will be closed from 2:30 p.m. onwards on February 12. Regular business hours will resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. In the event of a production emergency, please contact the National Office at 1-800-387-1856 and follow the emergency prompts.

Online Memorial Submissions Now Open

Equity Members in good standing can now honour the lives and careers of fellow members with online memorials. Submit a memorial statement and photograph to honour a member in your theatre or community who has recently passed away. Memorials are published on Equity's In Memoriam web page.

Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan on CTA Negotiations


As much as we want to keep the membership informed on negotiation issues, it is inappropriate for Equity to comment on our ongoing negotiations with PACT at this point. The negotiation process is confidential because openness and idea-sharing at the bargaining table leads to resolution and a successful conclusion for both sides. We are in the very nascent stage of our 19 planned days of CTA bargaining. During negotiations we will first communicate with your Council as needed, and then to the membership, when we either reach a negotiated agreement or an impasse. Council as a whole will be asked to weigh in on an issue if needed.

The makeup of any negotiating committee is unique. This is one of the most important volunteer roles a member can ever take on. We always try to have a Councillor available. There are other conditions for putting together a committee as well. A negotiation team member must have recent and ideally extensive experience working under the agreement.

An ideal participant is rational, level headed, experienced and has a large circle of colleagues whom we can reach out to if we need to check in on some issues during the process. Of course, we must also have representatives from all the disciplines on an as needed basis. I believe we have assembled a CTA negotiation core team that reflects these qualities.

As a side note: it's not appropriate to have a member of a negotiation team who also engages members, particularly if they engage under the agreement in question or a mirror agreement. Some people may think that it is helpful to have an engager on our side to better understand their side of the table, however it is our job to be well acquainted with the concerns of our bargaining partners.

It is also not appropriate to have a team member focused on a single or very personal issue, and of course I am not inclined to bring anyone on to a team who has been angry or hostile towards Equity or towards the engager.

It is my firm belief that even given the upheaval of PACT's rejection of last year's negotiated agreement, I have faith that staff and your team will do its best on behalf of the membership.

National Office Closing Early on Monday, January 28

Due to the increasing winter storm activity in Toronto, Equity's National Office will be closed from 4:00 p.m. onwards on January 28. Regular business hours will resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. In the event of a production emergency, please contact the National Office at 1-800-387-1856 and follow the emergency prompts.

Equity Council and Matthew Eldridge (MSW, RSW) Discuss 'Mental Health First Aid'


On November 27, 2018, Matthew Eldridge (MSW, RSW), Clinic Coordinator for the The Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre, was invited to Equity Council to present an Education Session surrounding Mental Health in the workplace. The session was recorded and edited into five parts which are available for viewing on Equity's website.

Please note: Equity has shared these video resources for the convenience of members. Information therein is not intended to be a substitute for information provided in a professional counselling situation. Equity has prepared a list of regional support services now available on its website. The services identified in this resource document are provided for member benefit and are not endorsed by Equity.

Senior Staffing Changes at Equity

Two of Equity's senior staff members recently announced their intention to move on from the Association.

Dustyn Wales, Business Representative Manager - Theatre Agreements, has decided to return to his first love - stage management. Dustyn will continue his work on the Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) negotiations until his last day in the office, May 17. His knowledge of the CTA and his dedication to improving working conditions in theatre will be missed by members and engagers. A search for Dustyn's replacement has begun. Senior Business Representatives Chris Blanchenot, Miriam Newhouse (part-time), Samantha Niaraki and Jennifer Riedle will continue to well serve the Equity membership throughout this transition.

Kristian Clarke, Senior Projects Manager, has announced that he will be leaving Equity to take up the position of Executive Director at the Dancer Transition Resource Centre. His last day in the office will be March 1. Kristian was the architect of the Not In Our Space! campaign and Respectful Workspace Policy, both important achievements for Equity and the live performance industry. He too will be missed by colleagues, Councillors and members.

In other staffing news, Ruth Leggett stepped into the new senior position of Business Representative Manager - Ballet & Opera Agreements/Engagement Policies in early fall 2018. Ruth has a wealth of experience with the ballet agreements and dance membership, and was one of the creators of the DOT Policy. She now heads a team including Senior Business Representatives Jennie Apps and Robert K. Scott and Business Representative Sigrid Velis.

Business Representative Meg Preston continues her maternity leave until June 2019. In the interim, Tamara Weisz will move into the role of Business Representative for engagement policies on an interim basis.

Equity recently welcomed Christian Martius as Administrative Assistant and Michelle Retterath and Stephen Davis (part-time) as Contract Administrators.

Lauren McCauley will join the Association as Assistant Business Representative (interim) starting January 28.

Any questions related to staffing may be directed to Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan at

Voter Registration Now Open for Upcoming CTA Ratification


The Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) is set to expire June 23, 2019. Negotiations between Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres will begin this month. Voting on the negotiated changes will commence as soon as possible after a successful conclusion of negotiations and as printing allows.

All Life and Regular Equity members, in good standing and who were engaged under the CTA or another theatre agreement or policy (Artists' Collective Policy and Festival Policy excepted) within a six-year period (e.g. after June 23, 2013), will be automatically enumerated to vote on the CTA ratification in accordance with Equity Bylaw 106(a)(iii).

Life and Regular Equity members, in good standing but who are not eligible for automatic enumeration, may register to vote on the CTA ratification in accordance with Equity Bylaw 106(c). To register to vote, visit the CTA voter registration page (requires member login) and follow the instructions.

The CTA ratification voting registration period closes Monday, April 15, 2019.

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