President’s Message – August 2019

Labour Day Message

This year, ACTRA will be celebrating Labour Day from coast to coast. Why do we march and celebrate? Because actors are workers too. Arts workers have helped weave the fabric of our nation and project Canada to the world.

Participating in a Labour Day parade or event is not only fun but a great opportunity to network with your fellow ACTRA members and show you’re an important part of our strong cultural labour union. Events like this strengthen our industry and community and show the public that labour unions in Canada are enduring and still advocating on behalf of all workers.

Showing support for your union, industry and the broader labour movement helps send a powerful message to all levels of government that the rights of workers need to be protected. Our collective voices make us stronger, especially in an election year.

To me, participating in a Labour Day event means lending my voice, being an advocate, being an activist, being an ACTRAvist… getting out of my armchair to play one of the most important roles in my acting career. It’s about making sure politicians and the community know we’re more than characters on the TV. We’re their neighbours, their constituents, and we’re workers.

Canadians should be proud of the strong union presence we have in our country. Every job, union or not, has been made better by the work of unions. And with the federal election coming up on October 21, it’s a good time to remind everyone about the importance of having a government that puts the environment, social responsibility and the rights of workers above corporate profits.

Your professionalism and our work with governments and industry partners continue to attract production from around the globe. Last year we saw $9 billion in production and almost 179,000 FTE jobs in film and TV. There have never been more work opportunities for ACTRA members than right now. That’s worth celebrating!

Still, Canadian performers will face more bargaining challenges in the coming years. New, disruptive technologies are changing our industry, which makes it even more important our union stays relevant, adapts to change and remains a leader in bargaining. We will continue to unabashedly negotiate for better health and safety, respect on set and anti-harassment clauses, and fair compensation including future-proofing Use fees. Your performance has real monetary value. You should always share in it.

This Labour Day, take a minute to recognize the people – past and present – who have contributed to the creation and longevity of our business, our union and the labour movement in Canada, and the resulting rights and benefits now enjoyed by all Canadian workers and every ACTRA member. Have a wonderful and safe Labour Day!

In solidarity,

David Sparrow