TORONTO, ON (MAY 17, 2022) – ACTRA, the union representing professional performers who make commercials, today filed a complaint that the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) and several of its ad agencies bargained in bad faith during recent contract negotiations.

The complaint, filed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, alleges the ICA — which bargained on behalf of nine large ad agencies—committed bad faith bargaining by insisting ACTRA reduce the scope of its bargaining rights. The ICA started and ended the year long negotiations insisting it determine when and if it would comply with the NCA and when it would choose not to.

“The strategy seemed more about breaking the union then it was about working with our professional performers to create high quality commercials for their advertising partners,” said Marie Kelly, ACTRA National Executive Director and Lead Negotiator.

It was a strategy that would have brought inequity and unfairness to the industry had ACTRA agreed to the ICA’s demand to place 16 ICA ad agencies in a better position then its competitor ad agencies when contracting ACTRA members.

“We were shocked and opposed to the ICA’s proposal to create favourable terms in our collective agreement for 16 ICA ad agencies,” said Kelly.  “We could not agree to assist the ICA agencies in outbidding other ad agency partners; ad agencies that ACTRA has worked with for decades.

“It is clear the ICA never intended to successfully negotiate a renewal of the contract. It bargained in bad faith and is now engaged in an unlawful lock-out of ACTRA performers. The ICA’s strategy is to bust the union and we look forward to the Labour Board stepping in to correct this unlawful conduct and to properly compensate ACTRA and our members.”

Despite the ICA’s efforts to end commercials being made with ACTRA performers, ACTRA and the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA), which represents Canada’s principal advertisers, agreed to bring stability to the industry with a one-year renewal of the National Commercial Agreement (NCA), including the Local and Regional (L&R) Commercial Addendum. It has been ratified by both the ACA’s board and ACTRA members. Under the renewal contract ACTRA members continue to provide exceptional performances for our partners in the commercial industry.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national union of professional performers working in English-language recorded media. ACTRA represents the interests of over 28,000 members across the country – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.


Media Contact: Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer, ACTRA National, tel: 416-644-1519, e-mail: