Joining Equity - Theatre

Becoming a member of Equity is a big career step. Membership opens up opportunities and provides certain rights and protections, but it also means certain responsibilities. Becoming a member at the first available opportunity may or may not be an advantage. Make the decision that serves your interests best. Remember, Equity will always be there. If you don’t join today, you can join tomorrow.

The information provided is an overview of Equity’s Bylaw provisions. Please contact Equity's National Office at 1-800-387-1856 (416-867-9165 in Toronto) and speak with the Membership Administrator or email membership@caea.com with any questions regarding membership rights, responsibilities and joining options. 

 

Performers

An artist working as a performer who is citizen of or (a) permanent(ly) resident in Canada, wishing to pursue a career within the jurisdiction of the Association has two separate but compatible streams for joining; either by signing an engagement contract under a scale agreement or through the accumulation of engagement permits and/or apprentice credits.

Performers, who have signed a contract under the Canadian Theatre Agreement (CTA), the Independent Theatre Agreement (ITA) or the Stratford Festival Addendum are eligible to join Equity at any time.

Performers who are contracted under or working on a production governed by one of Equity's engagement policies may not join Equity at that time. Please review the Apprentice credit options and email membership@caea.com to discuss joining options.

A performer is permitted to join Equity by signing a contract under the CTA, ITA or Stratford Festival Addendum, unless they decide not to join and work under an engagement permit instead.

See below for the cost of joining Equity and the joining process options.

Please email membership@caea.com for confirmation of the initiation amount owing.

An artist, who has a signed contract under the CTA, ITA or Stratford Festival Addendum, and who is not ready to join the Association, may work under an engagement permit.

Engagement permits are available to non-members to facilitate initial engagements under an Equity contract. Permits offer access to professional experience while not immediately binding artists to the obligations of membership at a time when a future career path may be uncertain.

Engagement permits may also be appropriate to facilitate the engagement of a professional artist not ordinarily working in a discipline within the jurisdiction of the Association and who does not wish to pursue a career as an Equity member.

Artists on an engagement permit work under the same terms, conditions and protections as Equity members but are not eligible to vote for or serve as a Deputy. In addition, they do not have access to membership rights or benefits such as RRSP and insurance plan coverage. Non-members are free to accept future work and are not limited to engagements only under Equity contracts.

Filing Fees, per Engagement, up to Four
8.25% of the weekly fee, plus an amount equal to the applicable insurance premium, totalling the same amount paid by Equity members.
Up to $333 of the filing fee for each contract will be credited to offset an artist's eventual initiation fee.
Fees paid in excess of $333 per contract, or of the total initiation fee, are non-refundable, except that excess initiation fee payments made up to the point where the non-member was eligible to join shall be refunded once the artist joins Equity.

Filing Fees, per Engagement, Five or More
It is anticipated that Artists will choose to join the Association after accumulating four engagement permit contracts. Artist's choosing to work on their fifth or engagement permit pay an increased filing fee.


12.5% of the weekly fee, plus an amount equal to the applicable insurance premium.

An artist may be required to join in certain circumstances.

  • If the artist is a member of another performing arts association or union with which Equity has a reciprocal agreement regarding membership.

ACTRA
A member of ACTRA may join Equity at the choice of the artist. They will be given a $475 reduction to the Equity initiation fee upon presentation of proof of membership in good standing with ACTRA at the time of applying to join Equity. A member of ACTRA who chooses not to join Equity will work as a non-member under an engagement permit while signed to an Equity contract.

AEA
A member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA) must join Equity by virtue of the reciprocal agreement with AEA (U.S.). Depending on the initiation fee paid to AEA you may entitled to a discount of up to half of Equity's $1,000 initiation fee.

UDA
A member of Union des artistes (UDA) in good standing may be eligible to work under a "Courtesy Work Permit." A Permit must be filed before they begin work. If the artist is not eligible for a Work Permit they must join Equity. There is no discounted initiation fee for UDA members.

  • If the artist has a significant existing professional career in live or recorded performance.
  • If the engagement is in excess of 10 weeks.
  • If the engagement is on a commercial (Sector 2) contract.

Please email membership@caea.com to confirm your situation if one of these circumstances applies.

An Apprentice is a citizen of or permanent resident in Canada wishing to pursue a career within the jurisdiction of the Association. Apprentices must be sixteen years of age or older and not a member of any professional performing artists’ association or union. Apprentice credits are granted to non-members, in recognition of experience gained while working on productions governed by Equity’s scale agreements or engagement policies.

A non-member performer may apply to join Equity, without reference to a contract, upon acquisition of three apprentice credits. Performers may accumulate both engagement permits and apprentice credits. An engagement permit counts as an apprentice credit

First Credit
A first apprentice credit may only be acquired for participation in productions governed by the CTA, ITA, Stratford Festival Addendum or one of Equity's other scale agreements. An engagement permit counts as a first apprentice credit.

CTA Actor apprentice credits exist only under the Stratford Festival Addendum and for CTA/ITA Theatre for Young Audience engagements (only upon request to Equity).

Acquiring Subsequent Credits
An artist may acquire subsequent credits under the theatre agreements listed above or one of Equity's other scale agreements. Artists may also work under on productions outside of the umbrella of Equity, without consequence, in order to gain experience.

Upon application to Equity, an artist who has completed their first apprentice credit, may be granted subsequent credits in recognition of work on productions governed by an engagement policy (Artists' Collective Policy, D•O•T, Festival Policy and INDIE 2.2), including retroactively, where:

  • 50% plus one of the participants are Equity members and two-thirds of the performers are Equity members; and
  • the stage manager and director are Equity members.
Apprentice Credit Fees

Apprentice credit fees expire three years after the start of the associated engagement but the credit remains in perpetuity. If extenuating circumstances prevent the acquisition of apprentice credits to join in a timely manner and avoid expiry of contributions, an artist may apply to the Executive Director to have the expiry period of the contributions extended. A $25 extension fee applies.

Performers may acquire an unlimited number of apprentice credits and credits do not expire.

An artist with an established professional career in live or recorded performance now living in Canada may apply to join Equity. Membership may be approved after receipt and review of an artist's application and curriculum vitae. Membership in the Association does not supersede any requirements for applicable work visas in Canada.

 

Directors & Choreographers

A director or choreographer, who is a citizen of or permanent resident in Canada wishing to pursue a career within the jurisdiction of the Association may join Equity by signing a contract under the CTA, ITA or Stratford Addendum, unless they decide not to join and work under an engagement permit instead.

Many director and choreographers choose to accumulate a wide range of practice and wealth of experience by working under Equity’s agreements and polices before deciding to join. Non-members may also work under on productions outside of the umbrella of Equity, without consequence, in order to gain experience.

Training and professional development of Canadian directors and choreographers is recognized in the CTA and ITA where emerging directors and choreographers are permitted to work without reference to a contract (but must be offered the opportunity to be engaged under a contract if they wish). There are no specific minimum fee requirements in this circumstance.

Equity's Directors, Choreographers, and Fight Directors (DC&FD) Committee is currently looking in to expanding available training, apprenticing and joining opportunities and options for directors and choreographers and their assistants across all disciplines.

Artists on an engagement permit work under the same terms, conditions and protections as Equity members but are not eligible to vote for or serve as a Deputy. In addition, they do not have access to membership rights or benefits such as RRSP and insurance plan coverage. Non-members are free to accept future work not limited to only engagements under Equity contracts.

Filing Fees, per Engagement, up to Four
8.25% of the weekly fee, plus an amount equal to the applicable insurance premium, totalling the same amount paid by Equity members.
Up to $333 of the filing fee for each contract will be credited to offset an artist's eventual initiation fee.
Fees paid in excess of $333 per contract, or of the total initiation fee, are non-refundable, except that excess initiation fee payments made up to the point where the non-member was eligible to join shall be refunded once the artist joins Equity.

Filing Fees, per Engagement, Five or More
It is anticipated that Artists will choose to join the Association after accumulating four engagement permit contracts. Artist's choosing to work on their fifth or engagement permit pay an increased filing fee.


12.5% of the weekly fee, plus an amount equal to the applicable insurance premium.

A director or choreographer who is not a member of Equity, but who is a member of another performing arts union or association, shall be signed to a CTA, ITA or Stratford Festival Addendum contract and become a member of Equity for the duration of his/her engagement.

 

Fight Directors

Under the a CTA, ITA and Stratford Festival Addendum, a member Fight Directors Canada and/or the Society of Canadian Fight Directors and/or any other affiliated fight directors society shall be defined as an Equity fight director.

A fight director, who is a citizen of or permanent resident in Canada wishing to pursue a career within the jurisdiction of the Association, may join Equity by signing a contract under the CTA, ITA or Stratford Festival Addendum.

A theatre must first give consideration to hiring existing Equity member fight directors, however, a Theatre is not obliged to engage a fight director whom it judges to be incompatible with its needs. If a fight director does not want to join Equity, they may work under an engagement permit instead.

Equity's Directors, Choreographers, and Fight Directors (DC&FD) Committee is currently looking in to expanding available training, apprenticing and joining opportunities and options for fight directors across all disciplines.

Artists on an engagement permit work under the same terms, conditions and protections as Equity members but are not eligible to vote for or serve as a Deputy. In addition, they do not have access to membership rights or benefits such as RRSP and insurance plan coverage. Non-members are free to accept future work not limited to only engagements under Equity contracts.

Filing Fees, per Engagement, up to Four
8.25% of the weekly fee, plus an amount equal to the applicable insurance premium, totalling the same amount paid by Equity members.
Up to $333 of the filing fee for each contract will be credited to offset an artist's eventual initiation fee.
Fees paid in excess of $333 per contract, or of the total initiation fee, are non-refundable, except that excess initiation fee payments made up to the point where the non-member was eligible to join shall be refunded once the artist joins Equity.

Filing Fees, per Engagement, Five or More
It is anticipated that Artists will choose to join the Association after accumulating four engagement permit contracts. Artist's choosing to work on their fifth or engagement permit pay an increased filing fee.


12.5% of the weekly fee, plus an amount equal to the applicable insurance premium.

A director who is not a member of Equity, but who is a member of another performing arts union or association, shall be signed to a CTA, ITA or Stratford Festival Addendum contract and become a member of Equity for the duration of his/her engagement.

 

Stage Managers

An artist wishing to pursue a career within the jurisdiction of Equity as a stage manager in theatre, may only join through demonstrated experience gained when working in Equity’s jurisdiction.

There are two separate but compatible streams for joining; through either the accumulation of apprentice credits or engagement permits. Stage managers may accumulate both permits and credits as and engagement permits count as apprentice credits, including retroactively.

Non-member stage managers may apply to join Equity, without reference to a contract, upon acquisition of:

  • eight apprentice credits, where those credits have been acquired with a single engager, including at least two credits acquired on productions governed by a scale agreement; or
  • six apprentice credits, where those credits have been acquired with at least two different engagers, including at least two credits acquired on productions governed by a scale agreement.

An apprentice stage manager acquires apprentice credits in recognition of experience gained while working on productions governed by Equity’s scale agreements or engagement policies. Apprentices must be sixteen years of age or older and not a member of any professional performing artists’ association or union.

First Credit
A first apprentice credit may only be acquired for participation in productions governed by the ITA or CTA or one of Equity's negotiated scale agreements.

An engagement permit counts as a first apprentice credit. The artist must file a Registration Form for each eligible apprentice credit (per production).

Acquiring Subsequent Credits
An Apprentice may acquire subsequent credits under the CTA, ITA, Stratford Festival Addendum or a dance or opera agreement. They may also work under on productions outside of the umbrella of Equity, without consequence, in order to gain experience. The CTA, ITA, Stratford Festival Addendum state that a theatre should remunerate a stage management apprentice a fee commensurate with the work they are responsible to undertake.

Upon application to Equity, an artist who has completed their first apprentice credit, may be granted subsequent credits in recognition of work on productions governed by an engagement policy (Artists' Collective Policy, D•O•T, Festival Policy and INDIE 2.2), including retroactively, where:

  • 50% plus one of the participants are Equity members and two-thirds of the performers are Equity members; and
  • the stage manager and director are Equity members.

An apprentice, who has graduated from an accredited post-secondary theatre program and who has completed their first apprentice, may retroactively apply for an additional apprentice credit:

  • to recognize completion of stage management training at an accredited university, college or conservatory theatre program; or
  • to recognize work done as a stage management apprentice on a professional production while enrolled in an accredited university, college or conservatory theatre program.

Apprentice credit recognition for professional work done outside of the umbrella of Equity (“body of work)” credit, shall be considered upon application to the Executive Director.

Apprentice Credit Fees

* Under the CTA, ITA and Stratford Festival Addendum, a theatre is required to pay this fee on behalf of an artist.

Apprentice credit fees expire three years after the start of the associated engagement but the credit remains in perpetuity.

If extenuating circumstances prevent the acquisition of apprentice credits to join in a timely manner and to avoid expiry of contributions, an artist may apply to the Executive Director to have the expiry period of the contributions extended. A $25 extension fee applies.

Non-member stage managers may acquire a maximum of eight apprentice credits, where those credits have been earned with a single engager, or a maximum of ten apprentice credits, where the credits have been earned with multiple engagers.

Where an undue restriction (geographical or other) prevents an artist from completing the required number of apprentice credits, an artist, at least four credits, may apply to the Executive Director to join the Association without reference to a contract.

Artists on an engagement permit work under the same terms, conditions and protections as Equity members but are not eligible to vote for or serve as a Deputy. In addition, they do not have access to membership rights or benefits such as RRSP and insurance plan coverage. Non-members are free to accept future work not limited to only engagements under Equity contracts.

 

Filing Fees, per Engagement, up to Four

 


8.25% of the weekly fee, plus an amount equal to the applicable insurance premium, totalling the same amount paid by Equity members.
Up to $333 of the filing fee for each contract will be credited to offset an artist's eventual initiation fee.
Fees paid in excess of $333 per contract, or of the total initiation fee, are non-refundable.

Filing Fees, per Engagement, Five or More
It is anticipated that Artists will choose to join the Association after accumulating four engagement permit contracts. Artist's choosing to work on their fifth or engagement permit pay an increased filing fee.

 

Initiation Fee

The cost of joining Equity is a one-time initiation fee of $1,000, plus payment of $90 for a half-year of basic dues, for a total payable of $1,090.

Previously paid permit filing fees and/or apprenticeship credit fees, will be applied towards the artist's initiation fee thereby reducing the one-time payment. Any remaining initiation fees owing, plus current basic dues, must be paid when an artist applies to join the Association or an artist may provide the Theatre with written authorization to deduct an initiation fee and remit it to Equity.

If an artist completes the joining process (including submitting the necessary paperwork) before the end of the first two weeks of a CTA, ITA or Stratford Addendum contract, will benefit from RRSP contributions and applicable insurance coverage for that entire contract. Otherwise, access to insurance and RRSP benefits will not begin until the next engagement.

If an artist completes the joining process after the first two weeks of a contract, the filing fees deducted for that contract will be applied as for an engagement permit contract.

Please email membership@caea.com for confirmation of the initiation amount owing and for answers to any membership questions.