The Vancouver branch of the Directors Guild of Canada has reached an agreement with the studios, averting a strike that threatened to shut down film and TV production in British Columbia.
The union issued a strike notice on April 26, after talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Canadian Media Producers Association reached an impasse. That followed the union’s first-ever strike authorization vote earlier in the month, which passed with 92.2% support.
In a statement on Wednesday, the union said it had reached a tentative agreement.
“As of this afternoon, the DGC BC has reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP and the CMPA,” the union said. “We are finalizing the language of the Memorandum of Agreement and will release further details as soon as that’s completed.”
The union represents about 1,700 directors and other film and TV workers in the Vancouver area. Negotiators have been working on a new contract since the last agreement expired in March 2021. The union has previously said that the studios were refusing to budge on issues including higher pay rates for low-wage workers, COVID testing compensation and making increases retroactive to the expiration of the last agreement.
British Columbia has become a hub for TV production in the last couple decades, thanks to generous subsidies from the provincial and federal governments. Production has continued during the negotiations, with producers signing “safe harbor” agreements that would allow them to continue in the event of a strike. However, no new safe harbor agreements have been granted since the strike notice was issued. Under Canadian law, the union was required to give 72 hours notice before going on strike.
The AMPTP and CMPA had earlier warned that the union’s approach risked forcing productions to relocate outside the province.