President’s Message – October 2020

October 2020

Hello ACTRA Members,

As the weather slips all too quickly toward winter, I hope you, your friends and families are well.

Work opportunities are returning all across this great country. Foreign service productions are choosing to shoot here because Canada is seen to be handling the pandemic more responsibly than many other jurisdictions, but they’re also here because they know ACTRA members are professionals who take this industry and their careers seriously. They know we can be relied upon to partner with them in observing on-set health and safety protocols that will protect productions as well as the casts and crews who bring those productions to life.

And now, domestic producers creating Canadian productions can also have the financial confidence necessary to get back in the game. Following months of industry-wide lobbying by ACTRA, IATSE, the DGC, the CMPA and so many others, we were pleased to see our federal government step up to support our industry by implementing temporary backstop production insurance to protect against COVID-19 shutdowns. Administered by Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund, this additional level of insurance will specifically support lower budget Canadian Content producers as they return to tell great Canadian stories.

Judging by reports from our members on social media, self-tape auditions and bookings are running at a fever pitch. Still, I know for some of us, underlying health conditions will slow our return to set or even make it impossible until the pandemic is finally over. Following the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit in September, the government introduced the Canada Recovery Benefit, which provides income support to workers who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance. We were able to ensure self-employed and gig-economy workers are eligible to apply for this benefit to help them through the pandemic recovery process.

As we all know, infection rates continue to rise across the country. We are in the second wave. For this reason, we all need to double down on our professionalism. Check out ACTRA’s new ACTSmart! page for tips on how you can think, work and live smart. It’s more important to our industry than ever before that Canada continues to be seen as a safe and responsible shooting location. A place where talent recognizes their health and behaviour on set is supported best by their health and behaviour at home. By working together, we can keep the cameras rolling and the work opportunities growing.

Let’s make the last two months of 2020 count for Canadian performers.

Keep being awesome.

In solidarity,
David Sparrow