News

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 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. 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. 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'

ArtistsHealthCentre

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.