Members of the Directors Guild of Canada in British Columbia have voted overwhelmingly – 89.5% to 10.5% – to ratify a new three-year film and TV contract with the AMPTP and the Canadian Media Producers Association-BC.
The guild said that 64% of eligible members and permittees took part in the vote “to make their voices heard.”
The new contract, reached on June 8 after 15 months of on-again, off-again bargaining, ends an unusual labor dispute that saw the guild issue its first “strike notice” back in April. The guild, however, never actually went on strike because of a quirk in Canadian labor law that gives “safe harbor” to production companies so that they can keep shooting as long as they agree to sign a new contract when it’s finalized. All those companies that had been filming in the province had signed safe harbor agreements and are now bound by the terms of the new contract.
“Today is a momentous day,” said Allan Harmon, District Council chairman of the DGC BC. “It has been a long and challenging process. But thanks to the efforts of many, we have a deal we can be proud of. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the negotiating committee for their thoughtful representation of the membership at the table; the DGC National, and other District Councils for their solidarity; our expert legal counsel; and the DGC BC executive board and staff. But most of all, I want to thank our members for staying engaged over the past 15 months and for giving us the strike mandate. We could not have achieved these gains without their support.”
“Having a workforce that is being treated fairly, with respect, and provided with a safe work environment is key to industry stability,” said Kendrie Upton, executive director of the DGC BC. “The ratification of this agreement means that BC is open for business. We can’t wait to get back to partnering with our most valued clients and stakeholders and getting rolling on a busy summer of filming.”
Highlights of the agreement include:
• Wage increases of 3% each year, retroactive to July 11, 2021.
• Minimum wage differentials to ensure that, as minimum wage increases, the wage rates for positions just above minimum wage continue to increase as well.
• Outsized wage increase for location managers resulting in a 15.8% wage increase over the term of the agreement.
• Meal penalties that incentivizes producers to provide guild employees with meals in a timely manner, and a monetary penalty if they fail to do so. The guild called this “a huge gain.”
• Mandatory accommodation or transportation to be provided upon request at the employer’s expense for DGC BC crew who work 14 hours or more and are too tired to drive home.
• Full retroactivity on COVID-19 testing stipend payments.
• Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which honors the estimated 6,000-15,000 indigenous children who died under deplorable conditions at 140 federally run Indian Residential Schools from 1831-1998, will be recognized as a paid holiday every Sept. 30.