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Canadian actors’ strike ends

Deal includes 10% raise for thesps

The Canadian actors’ strike is over, and for real this time.

After a tentative deal late last week fell through at the behest of Hollywood studio bosses, ACTRA, the union repping most Canadian thesps, and the CFTPA and APFTQ, associations repping producers in most of Canada, finalized the terms of a new Independent Production Agreement late Tuesday.

Deal, described by CFTPA chief negotiator John Barrack as having been “designed to create work opportunities,” will go before the CFTPA board for ratification Wednesday and will be mailed out to ACTRA members for their OK in several weeks.

It includes a 10% raise for thesps over three years and a formula for residuals on new-media use. There are also provisions for documentaries, low-budget and lifestyle production and a sunset clause allowing the new-media agreement to be revisited after guild negotiations south of the border later this year.

“We’re pleased that we got the monetary package we were looking for,” said ACTRA chief negotiator Steve Waddell, “and overall, we’re very pleased with the new-media provisions. They will provide certainty with respect to new-media production and use and, for that, we think it’s helpful and encouraging for new-media production.”

The tentative deal Canadian thesps and producers reached late last week was nixed by Hollywood studio bosses worried that the new-media residual formula would act as a disadvantageous precedent when the actors, directors and writers guilds go to the table later this year.

Revised agreement includes some “structural changes” that Barrack said have received the OK of his colleagues to the south. The Hollywood studios are not signatories to the Canadian IPA, but given their significant contribution to the industry here, Canadian producers have afforded them full bargaining status at the table.

“We’re ecstatic with the new-media deal,” said Barrack. “It recognizes that we’re in an evolving world, and it doesn’t slow us down, plus it allows us to study this, so we don’t find ourselves ever again grasping at straws.”

In a three-way conference call, Waddell and Barrack declined to comment on what kind of precedent the new IPA may set for negotiations later this year south of the border. They agreed that much of the friction in the negotiations resulted from the fact that new media is uncharted territory.

“I think we’re being realistic with this agreement,” said Waddell. “It’s a reflection of some of the production realities that exist in this country and globally. We have to understand that. Our membership will understand that.”

CFTPA is the Canadian Film & Television Production Assn., and the APFTQ is the Assn. des producteurs de films et de television du Quebec.

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