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Archive by year: 2019Return

Speak Your Mind: Equity’s Mental Health & Wellness Survey Launches November 11

Mental Health and Wellness Survey

Equity’s Mental Health & Wellness Survey launches next week! From November 11-30, members will have the opportunity to speak their minds on mental health issues relating to live performance work on and offstage, insurance coverage and more. Your voice is important in this breakout initiative to help Equity establish support strategies for artists to sustain healthy lives in healthy careers. More information is available in the Fall 2019 issue of EQ Magazine and in the Survey FAQ sheet.

All Regular, Extended Visa and Life members of Equity (including members on dues remission), in good standing, have been invited to participate. While participation is not mandatory, Equity members are strongly encouraged to take part. Data gathered through this survey will help Equity establish support strategies for artists to sustain healthy lives in healthy careers. It will also be a powerful tool for insurance planning.

2019-2020 Stratford Festival Addendum to the CTA up for Ratification

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Proposed amendments to the 2019-2020 Stratford Festival Addendum to the CTA are now subject to ratification by the affected Equity membership.

Background
As you may now have heard, after thirty-four days of negotiations, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) membership and Equity have been unable to conclude negotiations for a renewed CTA. In an attempt to move the negotiations forward, we have agreed to proceed to mediation on two key issues. Pending the successful conclusion of the mediation (three days beginning on March 11th, 2020), the parties will return to the table to conclude negotiating the nearly 200 outstanding clauses still to be discussed.

Given that CTA negotiations will conclude much later than expected, the Stratford Festival has offered a renewal of the current Addendum with a one-year 2% increase to minimum fees and other monetary amounts for 2019-2020. The “media use” side letter which was negotiated with ACTRA for use of material in publicity will also be renewed at the same terms and will stay in place until full negotiations begin next fall.

Ratification
Regular, Regular-extended and Life members, in good standing and who worked under the 2015-2018 Stratford Addendum (including the one-year roll-over 2018-2019) are eligible to vote on the proposed changes starting October 31, 2019. Voting will conclude on November 14, 2019 and will be conducted by online and telephone voting only.

The results of the ratification will be announced on e-drive and on Equity's website on November 15, 2019. Pending a successful ratification, the amended terms will take effect as of December 2, 2019.

Eligible voters should look for a ratification ballot in their email inbox on October 31..

Questions
If you believe you are an eligible voter and you have not received a ballot, please contact Equity's National Office by email (communications@caea.com) or phone (1-800-387-1856 or 416-867-9165 in Toronto) for assistance as soon as possible.

Please email Arden R. Ryshpan - Executive Director at execdir@caea.com, or Chris Blanchenot - Senior Business Representative at chris@caea.com or members may phone 1-800-387-1856 (416-867-9165 in Toronto) for any additional information or with any questions regarding the negotiation and ratification of this Agreement.

Council Elects New Officers for a Two-year Term

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At its meeting of October 28, 2019, Equity's national Council elected two new officers for a two-year (2019-2021) term.

Scott Bellis (Councillor for British Columbia and the Yukon) was appointed Council President for a second term. Mr. Bellis ran unopposed.

Erika Morey (Councillor for Stage Management) was appointed Secretary-Treasurer. Ms. Morey ran unopposed.

Commenting on the elections, Council President Scott Bellis said, "It is truly an honour and a privilege to help provide leadership for Equity's national Council. The past two years have flown by faster than I could imagine, and I am deeply grateful to my co-Councillors for allowing me another two years to guide the work forward. We have much to do over the rest of this Council term, and I am excited about the goals we are aiming to achieve for the benefit of the membership.

I offer my congratulations to Erika Morey, one of our Stage Management Councillors, who has stepped forward to take on the role of Secretary-Treasurer, and my sincere thanks to Diane Speirs (Western Opera Councillor), who has served the role with such diligence and skill for the last two years.

Equity's national Council is comprised of 23 energetic, intelligence and passionate souls. I believe our Association is in very good hands and look forward to continuing our work together."

All Equity Councillors may be reached here.

Updated Online CTA Fee Calculator

Fee-Calculator

Updates to Equity's online fee calculator reflecting recent fee increases to the Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) is now complete.

The calculators determine applicable dues and benefit deductions, agent's commission (if applicable), additional service fees, HST/GST, and fees paid to the artist.  Link to the fee calculator service.

Agreement of Continuance to the CTA in Effect as of Monday, October 14, 2019

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Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) have established an “Agreement of Continuance to the Canadian Theatres Agreement (CTA)” during which the parties will undertake an unorthodox mid-negotiation mediation process. Pending a successful mediation on two issues, Equity and PACT will resume negotiations on the over 200 remaining clauses.

Effective Monday, October 14, 2019, a 1.75% increase will apply to all minimum fees and other monetary amounts (all fees in fee booklet). Increases do not apply to any fee negotiated over scale unless the fee does not meet new minimum terms after the increase is applied. This minimum fee increase, coupled with the 2.75% increase in 2018 (fee rollover), makes for a 4.5% increase to CTA minimum fees in under two years.

As part of Equity’s acceptance of this rather unusual break for mediation, PACT has agreed to a 1.75% increase to select Minimum Fees only (a complete list is below) retroactive to June 24, 2019. Despite Equity’s best efforts, PACT would not agree to retroactively increase Minimum Fees under Article 55:00 Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA), even though there were likely very few contracts in force during the summer break. Note: Retroactive payments of less than $5 in total will not apply to those contracts completed prior to October 14, 2019.

Payment of retroactive fees owing to Artists and remittances owing to Equity on these retroactive amounts must be made no later than December 31, 2019.

Background: Despite Equity and PACT’s original agreement, bargaining did not resume mid-September. Instead, PACT approached Equity with an unyielding requirement to accept their 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.

Equity pressured PACT to return to the bargaining table to resolve these issues. PACT was resolute and would only agree to continue negotiations if these two issues were first resolved satisfactorily in mediation.

Equity’s Council, in consultation with its CTA negotiation team led by Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan agreed to proceed with this rather unusual mid-bargaining approach. Under the circumstances, it appeared to be the most responsible option for both Equity and PACT’s memberships, and the most conscientious path forward for all artists making theatre in this country. We will advise the Equity membership of mediation dates as soon as they have been determined.


Please contact a Business Representative with any questions.
Not sure who to email? Use busrep@caea.com.


A complete 2019-2020 CTA Fee Booklet is available HERE. Equity’s online Fee Calculators will be updated to reflect new minimums as soon as possible.


Please be advised: Equity will announce the planned changes and improvements to the Independent Theatre Agreement (ITA) in the coming days.


The Stratford Addendum to the CTA: As a result of the fact that CTA negotiations will not be concluded in the near future, the Stratford Festival has requested a one year rollover of their Addendum (which is on a slightly different schedule than the CTA). An announcement about this ratification will be made very shortly.


Retroactive increase of 1.75% applies to the following Minimum Fees for contracts in place as of Monday, June 24, 2019:

  • 16:14   Actor point of Origin Minimum Fees
  • 54:05   Actor Minimum Fees for a Joint Production
  • 57:01   Workshop & Readings Minimum Fees
  • 58:05(A)   Sector 2 Theatres – Minimum Fees
  • 58:25   Director Minimum Fees (Sector 2) – no change to Royalty
  • 58:27   Choreographer Minimum fees – no change to Royalty
  • 58:31(A)   Workshop and Readings – Sector 2
  • 58:38   Fight Directors (Sector 2)
  • 60:02   Director Minimum Fees
  • 61:04   Fight Director Minimum Fees
  • 62:04   Choreographer Minimum Fees
  • 63:07(A) & B)   Stage Management – Sector 1 Minimum Fees and Joint Production Minimum Fees (Clause 63:07(C) TYA excluded)
  • 63:07(D) & (E)   Stage Management – Workshop & Readings

A Message From Equity Regarding Theatre Ontario

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Equity recognizes the longstanding contribution of Theatre Ontario to the ongoing well-being and development of a vibrant and sustainable theatre community in Ontario.

The likely closure of this essential support organization, which has done so much to champion theatre in Ontario through education and advocacy, would be a major loss. In particular, Theatre Ontario's support to artists' training through the Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) will be a loss keenly felt.

Many Equity members have received the benefit of programs run by Theatre Ontario. Recent Ontario Arts Council cuts demonstrate how 'close to the bone' many arts organizations are operating. This demonstrates how a seemingly small cut from one funder can have a devastating impact resulting in the closure of a nearly 50-year arts service organization.

Equity urges the Government of Ontario, in light of the likely demise of this essential community resource, to consider providing transitional funding for Theatre Ontario so that future generations of artists can grow with the support of this important institution.

Please visit the Theatre Ontario website for updates on this matter.

Canadian Code of Conduct for the Performing Arts Launch

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On September 27, 2019, the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) launched the Canadian Code of Conduct for the Performing Arts in Ottawa, Ontario.

The Canadian Code of Conduct for the Performing Arts will affirms commitment of artists and arts organizations across Canada to ensuring workplaces are free of harassment.

Representing artists working in live performance, Equity's Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan will be speaking at the Code of Conduct launch. Equity is a founding member of the Respectful Workplaces in the Arts Coordinating Committee.

Respectful Workplaces in the Arts is a national campaign to build a sector-wide culture of fairness, dignity and respect. The campaign seeks to ensure that artists and arts organizations across Canada have the tools, resources and training to prevent harassment of any kind, and build respectful workplaces as the norm in the cultural sector.

Visit the Respectful Workplaces in the Arts page for more information.

2019-2022 OPA & COA Ratified by Membership

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The 2019-2022 Opera Agreement (OPA) and  the 2019-2022 Canadian Opera Agreement (COA) were both successfully ratified by the Equity membership in voting that concluded Thursday, September 19, 2019.

COA: Members voted 86.9% in support of the proposed changes recently negotiated between Equity and the Canadian Opera Company (COC). A total of 170 voters were eligible to vote and 69 Equity members cast a ballot. The voting return rate was 40.6%.

In recognition of the COC's continuing financial challenges, minimum fees will be frozen in the first year and will increase by 2% in each of the second and third years of the 2019-2022 Agreement. Other monetary amounts in place for the term of the Agreement will increase by 4% immediately and remain in place for the duration of the Agreement.

The ratified changes retroactively came into effect on July 1, 2019 and the Agreement will expire on June 30, 2022.

Read the detailed explanation of the proposed material changes to the COA

OPA: Members voted 96.6% in support of the proposed changes recently negotiated 2019-2022 Opera Agreement (OPA) between Equity and the Opera Producers (Calgary Opera, Edmonton Opera, Manitoba Opera, Opera Atelier and Pacific Opera Victoria). A total of 224 voters were eligible to vote and 60 Equity members cast a ballot. The voting return rate was 26.8%.

Ratified changes include minimum fee increases of 1% in the first year and 2% in each of the second and third years of the 2019-2022 Agreement. Other monetary amounts in place for the term of the Agreement will increase by 5% immediately and remain in place for the duration of the Agreement. 

The ratified changes retroactively came into effect on July 1, 2019 and the Agreement will expire on June 30, 2022.

Read the detailed explanation of the proposed material changes to the OPA

Notice to the Equity Membership Regarding Member Expulsion

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In accordance with Bylaw 65, acting on the findings of a Disciplinary Committee relating to a safe and respectful workplace complaint, Equity's national Council ratified the recommendation of the Committee and expelled Bob Baker from Equity membership on June 23, 2019. A possible appeal period has now closed.

Under Bylaw 61.1, following a proper investigation and hearing, a Disciplinary Committee duly constituted under Bylaw 46(i) may recommend a penalty of expulsion of a respondent from membership in the Association. In accordance with Bylaw 81.1, upon ratification by Council, in cases of expulsion from membership the name of a respondent is to be identified in a notice to the membership regarding the complaint and its disposition.

The investigation of this complaint by the Disciplinary Committee and the resulting report are confidential. In order to protect the privacy and identities of the complainants, Equity will make no further statement relating to this action. Equity's Standards of Conduct and the Disciplinary Process are available in our Constitution and Bylaws (see Bylaws 34 to 87).

Equity is firm in its resolve to ensure the safety of its members in the workplace. There is no place for toxic workplaces, bullying, personal or sexual harassment in Equity workspaces.
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Statement on behalf of Equity Council

Expelling a member from our Association is serious action not lightly undertaken by the national Council.
On behalf of Council I would like those who have concerns about this decision to understand the following: since the launch of Equity’s Not in OUR Space! campaign, Council has worked diligently to ensure that our members have the protections in place that are necessary for their safety, their dignity, and their creativity. We aim to maintain respect as a cornerstone of our community and our art form.

Council carries a high duty of care for Equity's disciplinary procedures. We are committed to continued development and ongoing improvement of this process in order to best serve members requiring assistance with incidents of workplace harassment.

The Council has witnessed a shift in the culture of our collective workspaces in the last few years, to the benefit of our members, and our goal is to see that change continue.  

Scott Bellis
Council President
On behalf of Equity's national Council

Canadian Content Matters: Equity's 2019 Federal Election Vision

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Equity continues to advance the call for improved working conditions, and work opportunities, for our members. Under the banner Canadian Content Matters, our 2019 federal election platform advocates for:

  • Continued growing investments in the Canada Council for the Arts, and a more equitable distribution of resources so as to positively impact pay equity, as well as an independent consultative process to evaluate and improve the new funding model.
  • Compliance by foreign players with our domestic rules, including online programming distributors. Transnational companies who profit from Canadian audiences should pay to play in our market. Revenues collected should be reinvested in culture including live performance production and capture.
  • Support for independent journalism coverage, including print, of news, arts, culture, and sports, to let Canadians know what's going on in their own backyard so they can discover Canadian talent. This includes support for the CBC.
  • Updates to cultural spaces that would make creative work spaces safer work places by bringing stages and backstage areas up to current accessibility standards that would support a safer work culture for all, and to expand digital capture technology in key performance spaces.
Read the full Federal Election Platform →

2019-2022 OPA / COA Ratifications Begin

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Equity announces that bargaining for the Opera Agreement (OPA) and Canadian Opera Agreement (COA) has successfully concluded.

 

COA: Equity and the COC entered into formal negotiations on November 20, 2018 and bargaining concluded on June 12, 2019. The agreement between the parties to specific negotiated language was confirmed on August 27, 2019.

Read the detailed explanation of the proposed material changes to the COA

OPA: OPA negotiations took place from May 7 to May 9, 2019. The agreement between the parties to specific negotiated language was confirmed on July 2, 2019. Negotiations pertaining to changes to the updated Categorization of Roles concluded on August 27, 2019.

Read the detailed explanation of the proposed material changes to the OPA


Ratification
Regular, Regular - Extended Visa, and Life members, in good standing and who were engaged under the applicable 2016-2019 opera agreement are eligible to vote on the proposed changes starting today, September 4, 2019. Voting will conclude on September 19, 2019 and will be conducted by online and telephone voting only. The results of the ratification will be announced on September 20, 2019. Pending a successful ratification, the amended terms of the OPA and COA will take effect retroactively as of July 1, 2019. Eligible voters should look for a ratification ballot in their email inbox today.

Questions
If you believe you are an eligible voter and you have not received a ballot, please contact Equity's National Office by email (communications@caea.com) or phone (1-800-387-1856 or 416-867-9165 in Toronto) for assistance as soon as possible.

Please email Arden R. Ryshpan - Executive Director at execdir@caea.com, or Ruth Leggett - Business Representative Manager - Ballet & Opera Agreements/Engagement Policies at ruth@caea.com or members may phone 1-800-387-1856 (416-867-9165 in Toronto) for any additional information or with any questions regarding the negotiation and ratification of this Agreement.

Equity Honours Awards Nominations are Open

EquityHonours

Nominations for the 2019-2020 Honours Awards are open! Nominate a fellow Equity member today for one of five special awards. Visit the Honours Awards page for more information.

ITA Update - August 21

EquityLogoPlease be advised that Equity is extending the current Independent Theatre Agreement (ITA) until the Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) negotiations have concluded.

Equity encourages ITA theatres to continue work as usual with Equity members and sign contracts for future engagements. Equity members should continue to provide service under ITA contracts as usual unless advised otherwise.

The 2018-2019 ITA minimum fees and other financial terms remain in force during this extension of the ITA. Potential fee increases, and when they might come into effect, will be announced as soon as possible pending the conclusion of CTA negotiations.

When the time comes to incorporate any material changes and fee increases into a future ITA, Equity will endeavour to make any transition period as smooth as possible for both members and theatres. Please contact Margaret Thompson, Business Representative Manager - Theatre Agreements at margaret@caea.com with any questions or for more information.

CTA Negotiations Update - August 20

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Despite Equity’s best efforts and 35 days of bargaining to date, Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) negotiations have not yet concluded. Bargaining will resume once again mid-September 2019.

While negotiations continue, Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) have agreed that the current CTA remains in force. Equity members should continue to provide service under CTA contracts as usual unless advised otherwise. The 2018-2019 CTA minimum fees and other financial terms remain in force while PACT and Equity are still in negotiations. Potential fee increases, and when they would come into effect, are part of the negotiation discussions still to come.

Throughout the negotiations, Equity has worked to find creative solutions addressing proposals from PACT relating to:

  • Produce/Present: PACT theatres presenting the work of other companies in their programming.
  • Community engaged activities: more flexible conditions for Equity members working on community centred activities.
  • New rehearsal models: allowing for flexible schedules to accommodate various ways of working.

Issues relating to Produce/Present remain a significant challenge as Equity works to ensure that all artists will continue to be protected when PACT theatres wish to present other companies.

Your CTA negotiating team, made up of a roster of 18 Equity members (including four of your national Councillors), has tirelessly supported the larger memberships’ concerns in the face of sometimes fractious and difficult negotiations. Equity’s bargaining team has respectfully continued to negotiate a fair settlement - for both sides - and Equity remains resolute in its determination to delivering a renewed agreement that the our membership can agree to ratify. Equity's Council has every faith in the CTA negotiation team and staff's ability to find innovative solutions to the complex issues under discussion.

We continue to keep an open dialogue and will entertain proposals from PACT that will not jeopardize opportunities for our members and which uphold healthy and constructive industry standards.

Equity is committed to continue keeping you informed about these negotiations as they evolve. Members may contact Executive Director and head CTA negotiator Arden R. Ryshpan, anytime at execdir@caea.com.

2019-2022 OPA and COA Negotiation Updates

Opera Agreement (OPA)
Formal negotiations for the Opera Agreement (OPA) between Equity and Calgary Opera Association, Edmonton Opera Association, Manitoba Opera Association, Pacific Opera Victoria and Opera Atelier have successfully concluded. The parties recently signed off on agreed proposed negotiated changes language. However, final agreement to an updated Categorization of Roles document for the OPA has yet to be reached, and discussions are ongoing.
 
Canadian Opera Agreement (COA)
Formal negotiations for the Canadian Opera Agreement (COA) between Equity and the Canadian Opera Company have successfully concluded although the parties have yet to sign off on final negotiated language. Discussions on agreed proposed negotiated changes language and bargaining for an updated Categorization of Roles document are ongoing.
 

Once all components of both negotiations have finished, Equity will undertake a ratification with ballots to be sent to Regular, Regular - Extended Visa, and Life members, in good standing and who were engaged under the applicable 2016-2019 opera agreement. Information on the ratification process and an explanation of the proposed material changes will be made public when available.

Both the OPA and COA ratification votes will be conducted online and by telephone voting only. Pending successful ratifications, the amended terms of each Agreement will retroactively take effect as of July 1, 2019.
 
Please email Ruth Leggett - Business Representative Manager - Ballet & Opera Agreements/Engagement Policies at ruth@caea.com for any additional information or with any questions regarding the negotiation and ratification of these Agreements. Members may also telephone 1-800-387-1856 (416-867-9165 in Toronto).

2019-2022 National Ballet of Canada Agreement Ratified by Membership

National Ballet of Canada (logo)

Recently negotiated changes for the 2019-2022 National Ballet of Canada Agreement (NBCA) were ratified by the eligible Equity membership in a vote which concluded on July 11, 2019.

Members voted 100% in support of the proposed changes. A total of 91 voters were eligible to vote and 24 Equity members cast a ballot. The voting return rate was 26.4%.

Minimum fees increase 2% in each year of the NBCA. Single monetary amounts for the term of the Agreement will increase by 6% immediately and remain for the duration of the Agreement.

The ratified changes retroactively take effect as of July 1, 2019, and the Agreement expires on June 30, 2022.

The new NBCA will be available online and in hard copy as soon as printing allows. Please contact Ruth Leggett - Business Representative Manager - Ballet & Opera Agreements/Engagement Policies at ruth@caea.com in the interim with any questions or inquiries.

Meet Your Equity CTA Negotiating Team

Your Equity negotiations team has been working hard to negotiate an updated CTA that addresses the issues that matter most to members. Take two minutes and meet your team members below:

We've just wrapped another week of progress with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT). Our next round of negotiations are expected to be underway again by August 22 (PLEASE NOTE: This date has changed and bargaining will now recommence on August 13). Equity would have preferred to meet again sooner but it was difficult to find dates when the members of both bargaining teams were all available.

In the interim, PACT and Equity have agreed that the current CTA will stay in force while we continue to work collaboratively to update our Agreement. You should continue to provide service under your CTA contract as usual.

Any questions may be directed to Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan (and lead CTA negotiator) or Business Representative Manager - Theatre Agreements Margaret Thompson.

Your negotiations team will continue working hard representing your best interests when we next convene at the bargaining table. We look forward to delivering a renewed agreement that you can agree to ratify.

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

CTA/ITA Update - June 28

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Your Equity negotiations team continues to work towards the development of an updated CTA - with our ongoing commitment to protecting the issues that matter most to members: protecting your right to work in an inclusive environment that is safe, secure, stable and reliable on stages across the country.

We’ve just wrapped another week of progress with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), and our next round of negotiations are expected to be underway again by August 22 (PLEASE NOTE: This date has changed and bargaining will now recommence on August 13). Equity was eager to meet sooner but it proved difficult to assemble key members of the PACT team any earlier than that.

Where we Stand Right Now

We’re happy to report that in the interim, PACT and Equity have agreed that the current CTA will stay in force while we continue to work collaboratively to update our Agreement. Equity members should continue to provide service under CTA contracts as usual.

We also want to provide an update for those members who use the Independent Theatre Agreement (ITA): The current ITA is extended until the CTA negotiations are concluded. We strongly encourage ITA Theatres to continue work as usual with Equity members and sign contracts for new engagements, and Equity members should continue to provide service under ITA as well.

We are sending you this update because we want to ensure members know what to expect about issues relating to your engagements under the CTA and agreements tied to the CTA.

In terms of fee increases, the financial terms will not be changing while PACT and Equity are still in negotiations. Discussion about fee increases, and when they would possibly come into effect, are all part of the broader conversations taking place during these negotiations.

Looking Ahead

We are proud of our history and legacy of supporting professional artists. From insurance and health benefits and retirement plans, to developing protective frameworks around discrimination and harassment, to equal engagement opportunities and inclusions, provisions and mechanisms to respond to breaches, breaks during the workday, payment requirements, rehearsal and work conditions.

We look forward to continued work opportunities for our members as we endeavour to deliver a renewed agreement.

2019-2022 NBCA out for Ratification by Membership

National Ballet of Canada (logo)

Bargaining for the National Ballet of Canada Agreement (NBCA) between Equity and the National Ballet of Canada recently successfully concluded.

Ballots were emailed to Regular, Regular - Extended Visa, Life and Associate (Apprentice) Equity members, in good standing and who were engaged under the 2016-2019 NBCA, earlier today. Eligible voters should look for a ratification ballot in their email inbox.

Information on this ratification vote, including an explanation of the proposed material changes, is available here (members only).

The ratification voting will be conducted online and by telephone voting only. Voting will conclude on Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. (ET). The results of the ratification will be announced here and via e-Drive on July 12, 2019.

Pending a successful ratification, the amended terms of the NBCA will take retroactively take effect as of July 1, 2019.

If you believe you are an eligible voter and you have not received a ballot, please email communications@caea.com or call (1-800-387-1856 or 416-867-9165 in Toronto) for assistance.

Please email Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan for any additional information or with any questions regarding the negotiation and ratification of this Agreement. Members may also telephone 1-800-387-1856 (416-867-9165 in Toronto).

CTA Negotiations Update - June 21, 2019

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Equity has been receiving many messages inquiring about the status of the ongoing 2019 Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) negotiations with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT).

The Equity negotiating team has been working hard to ensure that we protect the issues that matter most to members: protecting your right to work in a safe, secure, reliable environment in which to create on any stage in this country.

We continue to keep the values and issues that are most important to us at the forefront of all our decisions: to ensure that the CTA is protected in a manner that is inclusive for all professional artists regardless of ability, age, gender, geography, race, sexual orientation and religion.

In addition, we have listened to our members and continue to negotiate new terms regarding specific issues that you have raised, such as the need for intimacy training and strengthening anti-harassment and anti-bullying provisions.

We are proud of our history and legacy of supporting professional artists. From insurance and health benefits and retirement plans, to developing protective frameworks around discrimination and harassment, to negotiating agreements including day-to-day requirements that make your rehearsal and performance workday run without effort and allow you to concentrate on doing your best and most creative work.

We look forward to continued work for our members as Equity endeavours to deliver an updated CTA.

An Update for ITA Theatres and Equity Members with Upcoming ITA Contracts

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Historically the Independent Theatre Agreement (ITA) has closely reflected the terms of the Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA). As the ongoing CTA negotiations continue next week, it is highly unlikely that a new Agreement will be negotiated prior to the expiration of the current ITA on June 23, 2019 or that Equity will be in a position to release the 2019-2021 ITA before June 24, 2019.

Equity has been in bargaining with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres since early February and negotiation progress has been very slow.

As a result, please be advised that Equity will extend the current ITA until such time as the CTA negotiations are concluded. ITA Theatres are encouraged to continue to work with Equity members and sign contracts for new engagements as usual. Equity members should continue to provide service under ITA contracts until they are advised otherwise.

Equity members and ITA theatres should contact their Business Reps with any questions or for more information. When the time comes to incorporate any material changes and fee increases into the 2019-2021 ITA, Equity will endeavour to make any transition period as smooth as possible for Theatres and members.

Engagement Policies Review Period Extended

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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.

 

D•O•T
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. 

INDIE 2.2
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

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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 execdir@caea.com.

Yours in solidarity,

Arden R. Ryshpan
Executive Director and head CTA negotiator

International Dance Day 2019

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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

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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

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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 agreements@caea.com 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

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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 membership@caea.com with any questions regarding your tax receipts.

National AGM This Monday, February 25

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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

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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'

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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

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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 execdir@caea.com.

Voter Registration Now Open for Upcoming CTA Ratification

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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.