The Canadian Screen Awards will transition to gender neutral performance categories for lead and supporting performers in the film and television awards streams from 2023.

The move will see an increase in the number of nominations per category from five to eight. The change follows a large-scale five-year consultation effort, which included 40 key industry organizations.

The Canadian Screen Awards have awarded gender neutral performance categories in the digital media awards stream since 2019.

The performance categories in film and television for the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards will be presented as follows:

Best lead performer, comedy (Previously best lead actor/actress, comedy)
Best lead performer, drama series (Previously best lead actor/actress, drama series)
Best lead performer, TV movie (Previously best lead actor/actress, TV movie)
Best supporting performer, comedy (Previously best supporting actor/actress, comedy)

Performance in a leading role (Previously performance by an actor/actress in a leading role)
Performance in a supporting role (Previously performance by an actor/actress in a supporting role)

Louis Calabro, interim CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which presents the awards, said: “As the Canadian Academy, we recognize it is our duty to ensure that every performer has the opportunity to fully participate in our awards programs and the industry, in general, and this move brings us closer to that goal.”

John Young, chair, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, added: “It is with careful consideration and in-depth discussions that we made the important decision to implement gender-neutral performance categories in film and television at the Canadian Screen Awards. The Canadian Academy believes this is a progressive, necessary step towards an equitable screen-based industry by ensuring all Canadian performers are eligible to be honoured by their peers, and are thrilled to be among the first academies of its kind in the world to implement this format.”

The Canadian Academy’s decision to go gender neutral for performance categories reflects a growing trend. In 2021, the Gotham Awards went gender neutral, while the British Independent Film Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards are also implementing it.

Submissions for the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards will open on Sept. 14.

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