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ACTRA Lobbies Ottawa for Global & Domestic Support for Canadian Performers

October 19, 2012

OTTAWA – Actors from across Canada this week met with Members of Parliament and Senators on behalf of ACTRA’s 22,000 professional performers. ACTRA urged MPs and Senators from all parties to support a bill that would deliver income averaging for artists and called on the Canadian government to sign and ratify the Beijing Treaty.

Bill C-427, the Reflecting the Realities of Canadian Artists Act, introduced by Tyrone Benskin, MP from Jeanne-Le Ber and former ACTRA National Vice-President, is up for second debate in the House of Commons on Thursday, November 1, 2012. The bill reflects the unique reality of professional artists by allowing them to average their incomes over a period of five years and exempt the first $10,000 of residual and/or royalty earnings in a tax year from taxation. In addition to having wildly fluctuating incomes, self-employed performers, musicians and other artists do not have the full, automatic access to programs such as Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan that full-time employees do. They also face a tax system that is geared towards ‘employees’ and doesn’t address the unique needs of self-employed creative entrepreneurs.

“We are so proud to have Mr. Benskin in the House of Commons, a performer who understands the reality of life as a self-employed artist. We have good years, and not so good years – income averaging will even things out and ensure our tax burden is predictable and fair,” said Downey. “We’re asking MPs to put the interests of working artists before partisan interests and support C-427 on second reading and bring it to Committee.”

ACTRA was also on the Hill to urge the federal government to sign and ratify the Beijing Treaty, concluded by the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization in Beijing on June 26, 2012. This critically important treaty will bring audio-visual performers the same standing as audio performers in international law, giving them IP rights to make a living from their work and protect their image.

“It took twenty years of performers and producers working together and represents a great triumph of international consensus.  We needed a global framework that supports our creative audio-visual work and supports our shared IP rights in that work. In a digital world where content theft has been extensive, thanks to the Beijing Treaty we have a new global understanding,” continued Downey. “Now we need to make it real and we urge the Canadian government to sign and ratify the Treaty.”

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 22,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

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Contact: Carol Taverner, ACTRA, 416.644.1519, ctaverner@actra.ca


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