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November 24, 2009 – Ottawa – Today at a House of Commons committee, Canadian performers urged MPs from all parties to support a bill which would extend special Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to self-employed workers.

“ACTRA has been fighting for years to get governments at all levels to recognize that our members, like all self-employed Canadians, deserve the same rights and access to benefits as other workers. Simply put, if artists are to fully participate in the Canadian economy, we must be treated as equals,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President.

If passed, Bill C-56, the Fairness for the Self-Employed Act would extend special EI benefits, including maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits to the self-employed. The majority of ACTRA’s 21,000 members are among the 2.6 million Canadians who are self-employed and therefore have not been entitled to basic benefits such as Employment Insurance.

“Bill C-56 is a positive first step on the road to achieving full access to all EI benefits for self-employed workers in Canada. In this light, ACTRA is calling on all parties to support the extension of special EI benefits to self-employed Canadians by passing Bill C-56,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA National Executive Director.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada?s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

For more information:
Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer
(416) 644-1519, , cell: (416) 768-3336

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