News

Upcoming Online Member Meetings - March 17 and 31

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Equity is happy to announce the next two events in our Spring Season of online member information sessions on March 17 and March 31 - mark your calendars now.

Safer Workspaces
Join us on March 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET to learn more about anti-harassment and anti-bullying initiatives in our workplaces. We will be joined by James Turk from Ryerson's Centre for Free Expression to discuss findings from their Harassment and Discrimination in Canada's Live Performance Industry report, we will have a presentation from Equity Councillors about our improved Complaint and Disciplinary Process, and then we will have a panel discussion including special guests Kate Cornell from Aftermetoo and Grégoire Gagnon from the Cultural Human Resources Council to discuss how we can collectively improve on standards of respect and safety in our workspaces.

Log in and register for Safer Workspaces

Equity's Insurance Explained
Join us on March 31 at 3:00 p.m. ET to learn about Equity's insurance - particularly as it applies to pro-rated contracts, non-standard contracts and contracts of under a week, with a focus on readings and workshops.

Equity has received a number of enquiries and your Councillors have shared with us many recent questions about insurance for short engagements. This presentation will take members through the basics. Arden R. Ryshpan (Executive Director), Ruth Leggett (Business Representative Manager - Ballet & Opera Agreements/Engagement Policies), Margaret Thompson (Business Representative Manager - Theatre Agreements), and Maz Magoris (Director of Finance & Administration), will walk members through the various policies and agreements to better understand Equity's non-standard insurance and answer related questions.

Log in and register for Equity's Insurance Explained


Please note: Only Equity members in good standing may attend. A video recording of the meeting will be made available to all members as soon as possible after the meeting takes place. ASL interpretation will be provided.

Equity Advocacy Update - March 2021

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March 3, 2021 - On Tuesday March 2, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced a further $181.5 million of support for arts and live performance workers in 2021-22 - something Equity and its coalition partners (IATSE, the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) and the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC)) have been collectively advocating for since August 2020.

These funds will be directed towards short-term work opportunities for artists, technicians, cultural workers, and arts groups/organizations in a number of artistic practices helping to ensure stability in the live performance sector and provide Canadians with continued access to arts and culture.

As a signal that Equity's advocacy is working, much of what has been announced were requests Equity made in our Priorities for the 2021 Federal Budget, submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Proposals for Recovery submission to Canadian Heritage, both made in August 2020.

Breakdown of the Funding

The Canada Council for the Arts will receive $116.5M for two programs:

  • A new, one-time digital innovation fund that will enable recipients to adapt or create works to be shared with audiences online ($50.5M).
  • Explore and Create program that will enable individual artists and organizations to research, create, produce, and disseminate new works ($66M). This investment is in addition to the existing envelope, which will more than double the number of project grants available.

Department of Canadian Heritage will receive $65M for two purposes:

  • New funding for COVID-19-safe live arts or music events that can be virtual or physically distanced ($40M will be delivered through Building Communities through Arts and Heritage, Canada Arts Presentation Fund, and the Canada Music Fund via FACTOR and Musicaction). Maximum funding is $100,000 per eligible applicant and can cover up to 100% of eligible project costs. Funding agreements for BCAH and CAPF will require recipients to dedicate at least 50% of their funds to paying artists, workers, and support staff. We hope this will help absorb some of the risk and create some job opportunities.
  • Extension of Budget 2019 funding for Building Communities through Arts and Heritage, Canada Arts Presentation Fund, and the Canada Music Fund via FACTOR and Musicaction in 2021-2022 ($25M).

For further information please check out the news release and backgrounder.

Further Advocacy News

At the provincial level, Equity's Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs - Proposals for Recovery to the Ontario Government in August 2020 along with similar submissions from our arts service organization partners, also appears to have resonated. On Tuesday, March 2 the Ontario Government announced details about how the $25 million to help artists and arts organizations survive the COVID-19 pandemic, remain solvent and prepare for a time when they can fully re-open their facilities, resume full programming and welcome back their visitors and audiences, will be delivered.

The Ontario Government has now named 140 arts organizations in Ontario who will be the beneficiaries of $24 million in pledged support, and a further $1 million will be provided directly to artists and creators from across the province. More information on the artists and creators support, including eligibility requirements and application deadlines, are promised to be available soon on the Ontario Arts Council website.

Equity continues to advocate for our members and for our sector and we will continue to issue updates as we make further gains.

2020 Official Receipts Now Available Online

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March 2, 2021 - Official receipts for working dues and/or medical insurance premiums paid by Regular, Life, and Regular Extended-Visa Equity members in the past calendar year are now available on Equity's website. View, download and/or print a PDF copy of your official receipts for tax purposes here (member login required).

Online official receipts are available for the past three calendar years. Email membership@caea.com with any questions.

Please note, hard copy official receipts are only mailed to Equity members without a current email address on file or by request. View, update or amend your official receipt mailing preferences for future years here.

Please note: A member's off-contract accident and sickness insurance eligibility for 2021 is available on the member profile page (member login required) of Equity's website.

Non-members who paid permit fees in 2020 will be mailed receipts.

Online Member Meeting - Effective Grassroots Advocacy - March 3, 2021

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Join Council President Scott Bellis and Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan for the first of Equity's 'spring season' of online member information sessions: Effective Grassroots Lobbying. Equity will be joined by special guests Don Moors (President) and Ryan Singh (Senior Consultant) from leading government relations consultancy Temple Scott Associates. There will be a presentation on how local advocacy and action can effect change in government policy, followed by a Q&A forum.
 

Wednesday, March 3
Time: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. ET
Platform: Online via Zoom webinar
ASL interpretation will be provided

Register at here (Member login required). Please note: Only Equity members in good standing may attend. A video recording of the meeting will be made available to all members as soon as possible after the meeting takes place.

This session on Effective Grassroots Lobbying will provide members with the tools needed to advocate for themselves and for the live performance sector collectively. Topics will include: how COVID-19 has changed the political landscape, why local issues matter, turning arts & culture priorities into election issues, and much more. Review the agenda and learn more about our special guests here.

 

Update on Federal Government CRB and EI Income Support Benefits

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February 19, 2021 - The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, has announced the Government of Canada intends to introduce regulatory and legislative amendments to increase the number of weeks of benefits available for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and to Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits.

This is welcome news to Equity and its coalition partners (IATSE, the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) and the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC)) who have collectively lobbied the Government to keep the income support benefits in place until venues can re-open and our members can safely return to working in live performance.

CRB: weeks available under the CRB will be increased by 12 weeks, extending the maximum duration of the benefits from 26 weeks to up to 38 weeks.

EI Regular Benefits: the number of weeks of EI Regular Benefits available will be increased by up to 24 weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks, for claims made between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

"We created recovery benefits and introduced flexibilities to the EI program so that workers who needed support in this new phase of the pandemic could continue to provide for their families. By increasing the number of weeks available for these important benefits, we are easing a big financial stress for workers and giving them the certainty they need.” – Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Read the Employment and Social Development Canada news release here.

Specific regulatory and legislative amendments are pending and will be subject to Royal Assent. Equity will provide updates as they become available.

Some Self-Employed Canadians Won't Have to Repay CERB

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February 9, 2021 - The Government of Canada has announced that previously announced clawbacks to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from self-employed recipients who applied based on incorrect eligibility information, will not proceed.

Since December Equity and our coalition partners (IATSE, theCanadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) and the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC)) and other associations, unions and guilds have lobbied the Government to allow these individuals to keep the benefit, after incorrect or unclear information about eligibility for self-employed applicants originally led them to believe they qualified. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that people who accessed CERB based on their gross self-employed income instead of net will not have to return those payments, as long as they meet the other criteria.

Those who already repaid the benefit will have those payments returned to them. Read more from the CRA media release.

"This announcement is giving certainty to self-employed Canadians who applied for the CERB in good faith, while also protecting their financial well-being. We have gone to great lengths to support workers during this pandemic, and will continue to do so as we build back better together." - Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

Specific details on how this decision will be enforced and if a repayment is to be reimbursed, is pending. Equity will provide updates when they become available.

Financial Update and a Virtual Western Office

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February 6, 2021 - Financial Update: Equity remains operating on only 15-20% of normal earned revenues plus Federal Government supports like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) and more recently the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). These subsidies have together represented $1.2 million or 55% of our operating budget for 2020-2021. It is important to note that even with the government subsidies we are anticipating a significant deficit for the fiscal year and will have to draw from our operating stabilization fund to cover a 30-35% revenue shortfall.

The COVID-19 pandemic second wave has hit many provinces and members hard. More productions have been cancelled and contracts terminated. Work week numbers remain low and all of Equity's savings and revenues found have not replaced our income lost from working dues. Just as our members have been badly affected, so has the Association. Our members' generous response to the November 2020 basic dues billing certainly helped but has not generated enough revenue to stave off making more difficult decisions.

The Government wage subsidy support is scheduled to end in June and we must plan accordingly. The Association has already laid off staff and reduced the hours and wages of those that remain. At this point, with no existing places from which to save, the Association is now forced to look for new ways to reduce costs. It remains our intention to have Equity emerge at the end of the pandemic, when live performance returns to the stage, ready to serve the needs of working members. We are on track to do that but some difficult choices lie ahead.

Western Office to Close
With regret, Equity has made the difficult decision to not renew the lease for the physical Western Office in Vancouver. By June 1, 2021, we will switch to providing virtual service to the western region. The nature of our work had radically changed in the last 10 years. Email, scanning to PDF, digital contracts and forms and electronic conferencing, have reduced member foot traffic in the office to almost nil. The past 10 months have taught us that it is possible to effectively do the business of Equity remotely and our current western region staff will remain in place. This decision will amount to an annual cost savings of over $40,000 a year.

"This pandemic has forced us to make many difficult and unpleasant decisions, and the decision not to renew the lease on the Vancouver office when it expires at the end of May is one of them." acknowledged Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan. "The members in the western region are attached to their office and worked hard many years ago to get Equity to open one so that they could be serviced in their own time zone and by staff who they knew and who had developed relationships with members and engagers alike. Our two dedicated staff people, Senior Business Representative Jennifer Riedle and Office Manager Jessica Tan are valued members of the Equity staff and they will continue to provide excellent service, just as they have already offered remotely since March of 2020."

A Zoom meeting was held in early December with Equity members, elected representatives and staff to hear member input on the future of the Western Office and to answer questions.

"I was deeply appreciative of our conversation with my fellow Western members and the perspectives shared. Some of those present had pushed for the opening of an office in the West back in the 80s, and to hear them speak with pride about their efforts was special." shared Council President Scott Bellis. "Our discussion was thorough, informative and respectful. I believe the members understood the challenges Equity is currently facing and felt that the decision would be, with some regret, accepted and respected by the members. Clearly, closing the physical Western Office is not an outcome anyone wants. The pandemic has forced Equity into some hard corners, and this is one of them. Equity's national Council has been consulted on this matter, as they are with all issues that could affect member services. We acknowledge and support this decision with the hope of better times to come."

The Western Office will officially close in the last week of May, COVID-19 restrictions permitting. More information about the practicalities of the new remote western workspace, will be released as soon as it becomes available.

This decision does not preclude Equity from re-opening an office in Vancouver in the future. It is impossible to predict how long it will take for production levels to return to pre-COVID-19 levels or when Equity's revenues will sufficiently recover making it financially prudent to consider a new lease. Reinstatement of full time hours and the restoration of complete services to members will be Equity's most immediate future priority. A new Vancouver office will be on a list of items to consider in the next phase of our rebuilding efforts.

Let's Talk Budget 2021: Tell the Federal Government What Matters to You!

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February 5, 2021 - The Government of Canada is asking for your input ahead of the 2021 Federal Budget. This is an opportunity to speak up about Canada's economic priorities for the next year.

Take five minutes and let the Federal government know that our live performance sector needs to be prioritized.

Complete the government's questionnaire before February 19, 2021 to make your voice heard.

At the end of the questionnaire, there are write-in answers where you can speak up for our industry. The questionnaire asks:

  • If you were designing the Federal budget, what would you like to see in it to help create jobs and grow Canada's economy?
  • When we are able to safely re-open the economy and COVID-19 is under control, what is one idea you have for how the Federal government can help you or your community?

The government wants to hear from you, so tell them what matters to you in Canada's budget. If you are looking for some points, please consider the following:

  • Prioritize the re-opening of arts and culture sector. $53.1 billion was generated by the Canada's arts and culture sector in 2017 making arts and culture an important contributor to our economy.
  • Extend and/or increase Employment Insurance (EI) / Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) benefits for artsworkers until restrictions on audience size are lifted, and continue to provide clarity to benefit recipients when necessary.
  • Ensure that theatres have additional funds for ongoing health and safety requirements and to help them rebuild audience confidence in the safety of an indoor performance space.
  • Review Canadian Actors' Equity Association's 'Priorities for the 2021 Federal Budget', submitted to the Standing Committee on Finance (link: https://www.caea.com/Portals/0/Documents/News/2020/Equity-Pre-Budget-Consultation-Submission-2020.pdf) and 'Proposals for Recovery' (link: https://www.caea.com/Portals/0/Documents/News/2020/HeritageSubmission-08-26-2020.pdf) submitted to Canadian Heritage, both in August 2020.

The questionnaire closes February 19th, 2021. Now is the time to let our government know YOUR priorities for Canada's next budget

Get started here: https://letstalkbudget2021.ca/pre_budget_consultations

e-Drive Archive and Subscribe Functions Temporarily Offline (Service Restored on February 2)

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January 28, 2021 - e-Drive's list provider is currently performing website updates which are resulting in the 'subscribe' and 'e-Drive Archive' features being offline this week. We anticipate the archive to be back up and running in a day or two while the updates are being made. We apologize for any inconveniences this issue may have caused.

Update on Equity Advocacy and Federal Government Mandates

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January 19, 2021 - On January 15, 2021, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, published updated mandate letters for many government ministries. These letters outline the objectives that each minister will work to accomplish, as well as the pressing challenges they will address in their roles.

Original mandate letters were issued in 2019. Prime Minister Trudeau has sent supplementary mandate letters to outline further responsibilities and prioritize key areas of focus for the government to fight COVID-19 and ensure a strong economic recovery in Canada.

Equity and our coalition partners (IATSE, the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) and the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC)) have been actively advocating the government on a number of issues relevant for our members and our sector. We are heartened to see that many of the changes we've been calling for are reflected in these updated mandate letters.

Within the letter to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion can be found these two new mandates:

  • Complete the implementation of the Canada Recovery Benefit and make appropriate adjustments as the pandemic response warrants.
  • Bring forward and implement a plan to modernize the Employment Insurance (EI) system for the 21st Century. This should include a plan to make EI the primary delivery mechanism for employment benefits, including for the self-employed and those in the gig economy.

Within the letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage can be found these three new mandates:

  • Support the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to introduce sector-specific measures for industries that have been hit hardest by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the art, cultural, heritage and sport sectors.
  • Support the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to levels prior to the pandemic using a range of tools, including direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly up-skill workers and incentives for employers to hire and retain workers, with a focus on the art, cultural, heritage and sport sectors.
  • With the support of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, work to ensure that the revenues of web giants are shared more fairly with our creators and media, and require them to contribute to the creation, production and distribution of our stories on screen, in lyrics, in music and in writing.

This is positive acknowledgement that the government is taking notice of the needs of cultural workers and the cultural industries in Canada.

Equity will continue to advocate to ensure that the needs of our members and our sector remain on the radar of the relevant ministries. We will continue to update you as we learn more.

 

Equity SM Contractual Issues Survey (CLOSED)

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January 18, 2021 - Today Equity launched a survey of Stage Manager members to gather SM contract compliance experiences in the areas of overtime, penalties and appropriate compensation. This information will help Equity Council and staff to better support Stage Manager members.

The survey link has gone out directly via email to members in good standing with a permanent address in Canada who have had an SM contract since 2016.

If you meet these criteria, and did not receive a link to the survey, please contact communications@caea.com.

The survey will close at midnight on January 31, 2021.

 

2021-2024 Canadian Theatre Agreement Now Ratified by All Parties

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January 11, 2020 - Proposed changes for the negotiated 2021-2024 Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) negotiated between Equity and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) has now been ratified by the eligible PACT membership.

The Equity membership previously ratified the Proposed changes to the Agreement in a vote which concluded on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

The 2021-2024 Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA) comes into effect today, January 11, 2021 and the Agreement will expire on June 28, 2024.

The CTA consists of the CTA Material Terms Booklet (agreed changes) and the CTA Fee Booklet. These newly-ratified documents should be used in combination with the 2015-2018 CTA until a final 2021-2024 Agreement is available. As of January 2021, the COVID-19 Addendum to the CTA is also in effect indefinitely.

Equity and PACT have agreed to a three-and-a-half-year agreement, with financial increases of 1% in 2021, 1.75% for year-2 starting on June 28, 2021, 2% for year-3 starting on June 27, 2022, and 2% for year-4 starting on June 26, 2023 applying to all minimum fees and other monetary amounts.

Video now available: November 25 - Online Member Meeting with Siobhan Richardson

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Equity is happy to announce that our next online member meeting will be with Siobhan Richardson, Amanda Liz Cutting and Megan Gilron.

 

National Society of Intimacy Professionals (NSIP)
Scenes or Moments of Intimacy
- and -
Support for Performers Mental Health in the time of COVID


Two versions of the recorded education session are below. Downloadable materials follow below the videos.

Video 1 | includes PowerPoint Presentation

 

Video 2 | includes ASL Interpretation

 

Before the pandemic, Intimacy Directors came into industry awareness as specialists who help navigate scenes or moments of an intimate and/or vulnerable nature. Additionally, this included specialization in helping to support creative workspaces in the wake of #metoo.

In the "new normal" of producing during a pandemic, the Intimacy Direction role is again expanding, now including awareness of the impact that the current stressors (mental and physical) can have in our workplace.

In the ever-changing landscape of the live performance industry, and as we return to work during COVID-19, Intimacy Directors can offer various ways to support performers within the role and perspective of Intimacy Direction.

Save the Date: Wednesday, November 25
Time: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. ET
Platform: Online via Zoom webinar *

ASL interpretation will be provided

Due to technical difficulties, a written transcript will not be available.

This session offers insight into the role of Intimacy Directors, and how we all can enter into this new working environment with a clearer understanding of approaching scenes or moments of intimacy at this time.

* Please note: Only Equity members in good standing may attend. Transcription and a video recording of the meeting will be made available to all members as soon as possible after the meeting takes place. 

Anti-Oppression Training Online Member Meeting August 26

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On June 9, 2020, Equity Council convened a special meeting to discuss the current state of the community in relation to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and commit to action in response to the urgent needs of the membership. From that meeting, Council committed to four actions.

The final of these commitments was that the next Online Member Meeting would be dedicated to Anti-Oppression training. After a summer hiatus, Equity is proud to offer this important training for our members.

Save the Date: Wednesday, August 26
Time: 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET
Platform:
Online via Zoom webinar
ASL interpretation will be provided

Our guest trainer is Douglas Stewart. Douglas has worked as an equity trainer, dispute resolution officer and Chief Human Rights Advisor and has done extensive work with Equity over the last few years.

A video recording of the seminar is below. A transcript of the meeting is available here. The materials and resources from the meeting are available for download HERE (member login required)

Money Matters: Online Information Meeting June 3, 2:00 p.m. ET (Special Guests)

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Join Council President Scott Bellis and Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan at Equity’s seventh online video meeting looking at your personal finances in these challenging and uncertain times.

Recently, Financial Health came up as one of three top concerns of our members right now. We heard you, and we are dedicating our next Online Member Meeting to helping manage your personal finances more effectively.

Topics for discussion include: how to plan and manage cash flow, how to determine expenses, how to cut expenses, how to create a draw-down strategy, when to consider debt, how to consider the pros/cons of drawing from RRSPs and how to clean up your tax record with the Canadian Revenue Agency. Our special guests to guide us on this financial exploration are:

Chris Enns – Opera Singer and Financial Planner 
Chris’s mission is ‘helping creatives and other money ‘misfits’ build financial stability’ and he does this through coaching and DIY tools on his website Rags to Reasonable. Chris has built his practice for people with variable income, hard to predict expenses, and no built-in safety net.

(Expense Worksheet and Money Matters - Chris Enns Outline)

 

Tova Epp – Actor and Senior Tax Preparer
Tova Epp is a tax preparer/actor/wildlife rehabilitator-in-training. She’s been working at Artbooks, the cosy tax office for artists, for 12 years, preparing the tax returns of many diverse and exciting artists from across the country. She holds a BFA with Distinction from Concordia University.

Date: Wednesday, June 3 2020
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Online Zoom webinar

Video recording of the meeting is available below.

Online COVID-19 Information Meeting May 4, 2:00 p.m. ET (Special Guests)

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Equity is holding a fifth online video meeting with Council President Scott Bellis and special guests and mental health experts Stephanie Kersta MSc RP and Carolyn Plater MSW RSW, who will share valuable information on building and strengthening resiliency during COVID-19.

Date: Monday, May 4, 2020
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Online video meeting via the Internet (Zoom webinar)

Video recording of the meeting is embedded below.

PART 1/2 (Discussion):

PART 2/2 (Meditation):

Meeting Resources

Staying Warm - A Guide to Allyship in Action - June 29

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June 23, 2020 - Equity’s national Council invites Equity members to attend an online Council education session held as part of Council’s two-day June meeting. This information session has been opened up to members-at-large as part of Council’s ongoing commitment to dismantling systems of oppression within our Association and industry.

The Staying Warm: A Guide to Allyship in Action seminar will be presented by Jacquelyn Cardinal and Equity member Hunter Cardinal from the Naheyawin Centre. It approaches Indigenous allyship through action, courage and humility, and meaningful change. The Staying Warm A Guide to Allyship in Action presentation guidebook is available HERE

Date: Monday, June 29, 2020
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET
Platform: Online via Zoom webinar.

A video recording of the seminar is below. A transcript of the meeting is available here.