About Minors’ Trust
IF YOU’RE A PARENT AND/OR GUARDIAN OF A CHILD PERFORMER IN CANADA, HERE’S SOME INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW.
CHILDREN HAVE PROPERTY RIGHTS IN CANADA.
DID YOU KNOW that as a parent and/or guardian who receives money or property on behalf of a minor in Canada, you may have specific obligations under the law?
DID YOU KNOW that it’s up to you to know and understand those obligations and to act in accordance with the law?
ACTRA PRS cannot provide you with legal advice but there may be resources available to you in your province – ACTRA PRS encourages you to seek out those resources.
Saving our kids’ futures
ACTRA protects the unique interests of minors – a responsibility that your union has always taken seriously. Prior to the establishment of the Minors’ Trust we were hearing too many stories about parents using their children’s earnings so that there was nothing left for the child when they reached the age of majority. We decided that these vulnerable members need to be protected and negotiated provisions in our IPA and National Commercial Agreement to ensure that 25% of all minors’ earnings will be held in trust and available to the performer when she or he reaches the age of majority (in B.C. and California, the government administers minors’ trust programs).
Once a minor’s earnings reaches $5,000, 25% are remitted to ACTRA PRS. As of today, ACTRA PRS administers 1,437 minors’ trusts, with a book value of almost $8,550,000. *(figures change)*
Under the direction of ACTRA PRS, Creative Arts invested the Minors’ Trust Funds in Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) where both the principal and the interest earned on the investment are guaranteed and every dollar invested in the Trust Fund is protected and guaranteed.
The Minors’ Trust provision
The provision first came into effect in the 1999 Independent Production Agreement (IPA), when ACTRA negotiated the following language to secure income earned by a performer who had not reached the age of 18:
A2716 Trust Account After a Minor’s total lifetime remuneration reaches $5,000.00, twenty-five percent (25%) of the Minor’s gross remuneration shall be deducted from the total payment due to the Minor by the Producer and remitted to the ACTRA PRS, which shall hold such monies in trust for the Minor upon terms and conditions consistent with the obligations of the ACTRA PRS to act as a Trustee. The ACTRA PRS shall keep track of the Minors’ earnings to determine whether the $5,000.00 level is reached.
As of June 2002, ACTRA’s National Commercial Agreement also contains the same Minors’ Trust provisions.
ACTRA’s Minors’ Trust is inspired by the California ‘Coogan Law’, enacted in 1939 to protect child performers from financial abuse. Coogan Law ensures that the earnings of a minor are the legal property of the minor and not his parents. The law resulted from the experience of silent picture star Jackie Coogan who earned millions as a child, but was left broke at the age of 18 because his parents had squandered his earnings. Coogan is best remembered for his role as Charlie Chaplin’s sidekick in The Kid, for the title role in Oliver Twist and was the first star to get heavily merchandised.
To the Legal Guardians of Performers who are part of ACTRA PRS Minors’ Trust:
ACTRA PRS’ banking service provider Creative Arts Savings & Credit Union merged with First Ontario Credit Union on October 6, 2020, resulting in account changes.
As a result of the move, for the time being, guardians are no longer able to log in and review the balance of a Minor’s Funds in Trust.
We ask that if you need to find out the balance of funds held in trust you contact Minors’ Trust Administrator Patricia Lanca by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with proof of guardianship.
We are working to replace the online balance reporting service over the coming months and will reach out when we have more information.
If you have any questions about the Minors’ Trust please contact our Administrator Patricia Lanca or 416 489 1311 ext 5022.