In the early 1940s, radio performers were forced to work long hours for as little as $15 a day. This prompted a small group of performers to get together and form the Radio Artists of Toronto Society (RATS). They fought long and hard to win better fees and improved working conditions for their members.
By 1943, radio artists in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver were also organized. They joined with RATS to form the first national performers’ organization, the Association of Canadian Radio Artists. This organization evolved to become the Association of Canadian Radio and Television Artists; then the Canadian Council of Authors and Artists; then the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists …. and finally in 1984, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists – ACTRA.
ACTRA and its predecessor organizations have fought hard to protect the rights of Canadian performers. Over the years, ACTRA has made important gains including: regulated work hours, minimum pay rates, safer sets, meal periods, residual and use payments, comprehensive health and insurance plans, and protection for children and other performers on set.
In 2007, ACTRA members went on strike for their first time in our history. ACTRA won the strike, securing ground-breaking new media provisions in the Independent Production Agreement.
Today ACTRA is a strong national union. Members are proud of the work we have done together to ensure dignity and respect for performers, a safe and supportive working environment, fair compensation, and recognition of the important role performers play in Canada’s dynamic production industry.
Want to learn more about ACTRA’s history? Read the InterACTRA 60th Anniversary Edition