Ontario judge fails to end strike

TORONTO — An Ontario judge failed to end the Canuck actors strike on Tuesday, instead referring thesps’ contract dispute with producers to arbitration.

Both sides declared victory: Actors union ACTRA underscored that producers did not get the injunction they’d sought to halt the strike, while producers said they’d wanted arbitration all along.

News is bad for anyone hoping for a quick end to the strike. Arbitration can be a lengthy process, and an ACTRA release pointed out that an arbitrator’s decision can be appealed.

ACTRA and orgs repping producers in Quebec and the English-language provinces outside British Columbia have been locked in an acrimonious battle over the terms of the Independent Production Agreement since October. It expired Dec. 31.

The two sides have been unable to settle their differences over wages and the contentious issue of new-media rights.

Meanwhile, thesps in British Columbia, who are repped under a different contract with the Union of B.C. Performers, have resumed negotiations with producers. The current IPA covering performers in B.C. expires at the end of March.

Talks between performers and producers, spearheaded by the Assn. of Motion Picture & Television Producers repping the Hollywood studios and the Canadian Film & TV Production Assn.’s B.C. division, are scheduled to run until Thursday.

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