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Urgent action needed to support creation, production and discoverability of Canadian content: ACTRA

TORONTO, ON (January 16, 2019) — The Canadian union representing over 25,000 English-language performers in film, television and digital media has laid out its future vision in its submission to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel.

“ACTRA believes urgent change is needed to adapt Canada’s legislative framework to the digital age,” says Stephen Waddell, ACTRA National Executive Director. “All players in the Canadian market should be treated fairly and equitably, and in a manner that levels the playing field. To maintain sustained funding for Canadian content production and to increase discoverability, we need to ensure both foreign and Canadian online streaming services fund and feature Canadian content.”

In its submission to the Panel, ACTRA reviewed issues related both to the legislative framework as well as policies and programs dealing specifically with the theme of supporting creation, production and discoverability of Canadian content.

Key recommendations include:

  • Valuing and supporting artists to nurture their creativity. Writers, showrunners, directors and performers should have direct access to funding to develop the story, initiate the partnerships essential for any audiovisual work, and find the producer and distribution channel most appropriate for the work.
  • Amending the Broadcasting Act so it applies to all programming content provided to Canadians, regardless of the services and technologies used to produce the content or to make it available.
  • Providing the CRTC with the tools needed to regulate all Canadian and foreign services providing programming content to Canadians.
  • Requiring all players in the Canadian market – traditional broadcasters, OTT and music streaming services, Internet Service Providers and Wireless Service Providers – to contribute to the creation of Canadian content.
  • Requiring all services offering online programming to Canadians, including OTT services and music streaming services, to: register for, collect and remit the GST/HST on their Canadian subscriptions, and to pay corporate taxes on Canadian revenues.
  • Increasing Canadian content discoverability options by requiring: all services offering on-demand programming content to Canadian consumers to maintain a Canadian content minimum in their program selections; Internet search engines to tweak their algorithms to ensure Canadians are offered some Canadian choices when they search for cultural/artistic content.

ACTRA applauds the 2,000 interested parties that participated in this consultation process and looks forward to reviewing the Panel’s report before June 30, 2019.

While the ultimate goal is to create updated legislation inclusive of all players in today’s broadcast landscape, ACTRA urges the government and the CRTC to make any changes that would expedite the implementation of these much-needed improvements to our legislative framework.

To read ACTRA’s submission, click here.

 About ACTRA
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 over 25,000 members across the country – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

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Media Contact:
Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer, ACTRA National, tel: 416.644.1519, email: ctaverner@actra.ca


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