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Canada’s cultural industries will continue to thrive if government supports creative talent: ACTRA

Internet Broadcasters like Netflix can’t be exempted from broadcast regulation, says performers’ union

TORONTO, ON (November 25, 2016) — The Canadian union representing 23,000 performers in film and television from across the country has laid out its submission for Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly’s Canadian Content in a Digital World consultations.

“Working with government, Canada’s creative talent has built an internationally-renowned creative sector,” said ACTRA National President Ferne Downey. “It generates thousands of jobs and millions in economic activity, and helps shape our national identity. We have to keep building on an already successful system that continues to work in the 21st century.”

National Executive Director Stephen Waddell noted that while Canada’s system of government support has led to success, the emergence of new Internet-based players have to be addressed.

“Our system of balanced regulation has created a world-class industry — if new Internet-based broadcasters don’t have to play by the same rules, this system won’t work in the future,” said Waddell. “Netflix hauls $620 million out of the country every year without paying a dime in sales tax or having any obligation to contribute to our country’s production ecosystem. This has to change.”

Among its recommendations, ACTRA calls for:

  • Maintaining core policies and putting creators at the heart of the process. The key principles of the Broadcasting Act remain maintaining a sound foundation for government audiovisual policymaking, including in the digital world. While the digital age poses new challenges, the solution is not to use less Canadian creative talent – but the opposite. We should celebrate and support Canadian creative talent and give them the tools to succeed.
  • Bringing emerging Internet broadcasters, like Netflix, into the system so that they play by the same rules as traditional broadcasters and make the same contributions. As viewing habits change, the government must take steps to adapt our successful system to new technologies, and ensure the corporations profiting from the digital shift make fair contributions to Canadian content production.
  • Embracing our diversity as a competitive advantage in the digital world. Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world. We should embrace this diversity. Canada’s screen-based industries are far better positioned to tackle inequality in the recorded media industries than any other country in the world.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national union of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 23,000 members across the country – the foundation of Canada’s highly-acclaimed professional performing community.

ACTRA’s submission is available to download HERE.

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