Renewal agreement provides stability for commercial sector

ACTRA and the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) agreed to a one-year (June 1, 2022, to May 31, 2023) renewal of the National Commercial Agreement (NCA), including the Local and Regional (L&R) Commercial Addendum, to provide stability for the industry. On June 1, the Association des agences de communication créative (A2C) joined ACA and ACTRA in the renewal of the NCA to ensure Quebec advertising agencies will continue to have access to ACTRA’s professional performers.

The NCA establishes the terms and conditions for on- and off-camera performers engaged in English commercial production and ensures reasonable pay, benefits and retirement contributions. The NCA was ratified on May 2, 2022, by ACA’s Board of Directors and by eligible ACTRA members on May 12, 2022. The renewal agreement came into effect on June 1, and provides a two per cent increase to rates and fees, and gives all parties a window to jointly work towards modernizing and simplifying the agreement.

Negotiations Timeline

August 2020: ACTRA and the Joint Broadcasting Committee of the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) agree to extend the terms and conditions of the current NCA, including the Local and Regional (L&R) Commercial Addendum, for a one-year term without any changes or concessions to support the commercial industry in its pandemic recovery.

April 2021: ACTRA and the Joint Broadcasting Committee of the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) commence negotiations to renew the NCA, including the L&R Commercial Addendum.

March 2022: The ICA triggers a lockout of ACTRA Performers, initially as of midnight ET on April 2, 2022, but later extended to 12:01 a.m. ET on April 26, 2022.

April 2022: The ICA seeks terms unacceptable to ACTRA and the ACA only to leave the bargaining table and subsequently deem the contract has expired.

April 2022: ACTRA and the ACA reach a tentative agreement to renew the NCA for a one-year term (June 1, 2022, to May 31, 2023) with a 2% increase to rates and fees over which time the two parties will work together to simplify and modernize the agreement.

May 2022: The ACA’s Board of Directors and ACTRA Members ratify the renewal agreement.

May 2022: ACTRA files 14 grievances in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver seeking full compensation for performers who had their union contracts pulled out from under them and to cease-and-desist engaging in non-union operations in violation of the NCA.

May 2022: ACTRA files a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board that the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA), and the nine ad agencies it represented in negotiations, bargained in bad faith over the past year as ACTRA sought to reach an agreement on the renewal of the National Commercial Agreement (NCA). ACTRA is also seeking damages in the form of wages, benefits, and retirement contributions lost as a result of Engagers unlawfully making non-union commercials.

June 2022: The Association des agences de communication creative (A2C) joined ACA and ACTRA in the renewal NCA, ensuring that Quebec advertising agencies will continue to have access to ACTRA’s professional performers.

June 2022: The renewal NCA, including new rates and fees, takes effect on June 1.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the renewal agreement

1. What is the status of the National Commercial Agreement?
The renewal NCA is now in effect.

ACTRA and the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) agreed to a one-year (June 1, 2022, to May 31, 2023) renewal of the National Commercial Agreement (NCA), including the Local and Regional (L&R) Commercial Addendum, to provide stability for the industry. On June 1, the Association des agences de communication créative (A2C) joined ACA and ACTRA in the renewal of the NCA to ensure Quebec advertising agencies will continue to have access to ACTRA’s professional performers.

The renewal agreement provides a 2% increase to rates and fees and gives all parties a window to jointly work towards modernizing and simplifying the agreement.
2. Does the renewal agreement also apply to the Local and Regional (L&R) Commercial Addendum?
Yes. The NCA and L&R Commercial Addendum are one collective agreement containing all of our workplace terms and conditions. The 2% increase also applies to the rates and fees outlined in the L&R Commercial Addendum.
3. What are the ACA, A2C and ICA?
The Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA), Association des agences de communication créative (A2C) and Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) are organizations that do advocacy work on behalf of their commercial industry members.
The Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) represents Canadian advertisers. Advertisers hire ad agencies to produce their commercials.
The Association des agences de communication créative (A2C) represents over 85 advertising agencies with diverse profiles throughout the province of Quebec.
The Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) historically negotiated the NCA on behalf of advertising agencies. Not all ICA agencies are signatory to the NCA. Not all NCA signatories are members of the ICA.
4. The Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) says the NCA has expired. Is this true?
No. Previously, the ICA and ACA were co-administrators of the NCA. But the ICA was seeking terms and conditions unacceptable to ACTRA and ACA and ultimately left the bargaining table. The ICA declared the NCA had expired. This is incorrect. The previous NCA remained in effect until May 31, 2022. The renewal agreement, including the 2% increase to rates and fees, took effect on June 1, 2022. ACA is continuing as the renewal NCA’s sole administrator.

Work questions

1. Who can ACTRA performers work with?
ACTRA performers working on commercials must do so under the NCA with signatory engagers. Be careful to ensure that when you accept work, you are working on an ACTRA contract under the NCA.
2. What do I do if I am unsure a work opportunity is being shot under an ACTRA contract?
Casting breakdowns sent for a specific commercial production should highlight that the production is union. Since ACTRA Members are not permitted to audition for non-union commercials, if you or your agent are unsure, please contact your ACTRA Branch directly to confirm if a production is being shot under a union contract.
3. Can I work on non-union commercials?
No. ACTRA performers can only work on commercials being made under the terms and conditions of the NCA.
4. How can ACA and A2C bind agencies to the NCA?
ACA and A2C have not bound agencies to the NCA. Each advertiser or advertising agency makes its own determination to partner with ACTRA to become a signatory to the NCA. Each successive renewal of the NCA binds existing signatories to the terms of the agreement. Agencies and advertisers that sign on to the NCA want the same stability as performers – and need the quality performances only ACTRA performers can provide. And they know ACTRA performers make commercials that deliver results.
5. What happens if a signatory engager wants to make both non-union commercials and ones through the NCA?
A signatory engager that makes non-union commercials will be declared a Locking Out Engager. ACTRA members cannot work for Locking Out Engagers.

About the complaint filed against the ICA and ICA agencies

1. What does it mean when ACTRA says it is seeking damages in the form of wages, benefits, and retirement contributions lost as a result of an Engager unlawfully making non-union commercials? Would members receive this compensation?
ACTRA is seeking damages on behalf of our members for loss of compensation and benefits (including wages, and health and retirement benefit contributions) resulting from an Engager that has terminated a contract with an ACTRA Member to shoot non-union. Any remuneration resulting from this complaint under a provincial labour relations board would be paid to members.