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ACTRA

Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists

How did ACTRA come into


existence?

It all started in 1940 when the Radio


Artists of Toronto Society (RATS) was
formed. Shortly after the formation of
RATS, radio artists from Vancouver,
Montreal and Winnipeg formed their
own union councils. In 1943 a loosely
formed national union was created that represented all English-speaking performers,
called the Alliance of Canadian Radio Artists (ACRA). The union changed names many
times over throughout the years going from the ACRA to the Association of Radio and
Television Artists, to the Canadian Council of Authors and Artists, to the Alliance of
Canadian Authors and Artists, and finally settling on the most appropriate title in 1984,
the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists.

ACTRA’s Raison D’Etre

ACTRA was created to protect and promote the rights of English-speaking performers in
Canadian film, television, and radio. ACTRA has established eleven collective
agreements including the Independent Production Agreement, Commercial Agreement,
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Television Agreement, Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation Radio Agreement, CTV Agreement, City TV Agreement, and the Vision TV
Agreement.

In 1975 union members formed their own self funded benefit plan called the ACTRA
Fraternal Benefit Society. The plan provides a wide range of services including medical,
dental, and retirement benefits and is tailored to meet the unique needs of performance
artists.

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ACTRA National Offices

ACTRA operates ten branches across Canada, in the major city centres. ACTRA
represent over 20,000 artists across Canada; including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton,
Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and St. John’s. Members in each
local elect their branch council representatives. It is through these branches across
Canada that local and national policies, benefits, and services are adopted, carried out
and managed. To keep the organization truly national, there are no defined
headquarters. The local branches vote-in National Council who represents the collective
ideals of all its members.

ACTRA’s Role in Canadian Culture

ACTRA plays a leading role in the development and preservation of Canadian culture,
an issue that continues to be the core value of the union. In an effort to support cultural
and economic efforts across Canada, ACTRA is also affiliated with the Canadian Labor
Congress and the United Steelworkers.

Members of ACTRA are professional artists from all walks of life in the media and
entertainment industry including; film, television, radio, voice overs, digital media,
comedians, singers, dancers, stunt performers, puppeteers and more.

ACTRA’s Affiliation with Other Unions

ACTRA has agreements with many other unions on an international level, giving
performers in Canada a voice beyond its boarders. ACTRA sister organizations include
the Canadian Actors Equity Association (CAEA), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and the International
Federation of Actors (FIA).

ACTRA Membership

There are three different levels of membership with the union. You can join as a back
round performer, an apprentice performer, or a full member. Cost of memberships may
vary depending on your location, and are often more affordable in less populated areas.

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Back Round Performers (Extras) are eligible for membership if they have worked as an
Extra on ACTRA approved productions for at least 24 days during the last twelve month
period. Applications are taken in person at the nearest branch. A current resume and
headshot must be provided (a digital picture will be taken if the applicant doesn’t have a
headshot). The cost for membership is $75 for initiation, plus basic dues of $30. To
maintain membership it is necessary to work at least fifteen days during the twelve
month period beginning March 1st.

Full Membership in ACTRA is available to any performer who is enrolled in the


Apprentice Membership Program and has worked on at least six ACTRA productions in
the last twelve months, or, in the reorganization of overcoming barriers, visible
minorities and disabled persons can join with just three working engagements on
ACTRA productions. Full membership in ACTRA is also available to people who have a
full membership in its sister organizations.

ACTRA Apprentice Memberships

Apprentice memberships are available to those who hold at least one work permit for a
principal role, acting role, or stunt role. Back round performers are not eligible for the
apprentice membership. There is an initiation fee of $75, plus the basic dues which are,
at this level, $75. Apprentice members enjoy all the rights, privileges, and benefits of full
membership, with the exception of voting privileges. Apprentice Members are given full
access to all available ACTRA productions. Members can list themselves on-line in
“Face to Face”, the union’s national database where headshots and resumes are
shared with the world.

All members must only work for productions that are signed to an ACTRA Collective
Agreement under ACTRA jurisdiction, and may only work with performers who are also
ACTRA members in good standing. They must uphold their agreement to the union at
all times and never work for less than the minimum fees or work under any conditions
that are not acceptable as outlined in the collective agreement at any time while they
are a member of the union.

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ACTRA Member Benefits

The benefits of being a Full or Apprentice member are the right to a fair wage, residuals
and royalties, safe and acceptable working conditions, artistic freedom, the right to
maintain artistic output, respectful treatment as an important part of production and
playing an important role in the contribution to Canadian culture.

More Information About ACTRA

To find out more about the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists
please visit their website by clicking on this link: www.actra.ca

*Information source www.actra.ca *

About The Author

Lin Parkin lives in London, Ontario, Canada where she is an Account Manager and
writer for Voices.com, the #1 online market place for voice overs. Voices.com is home to
over 15,000 voice actors from around the world representing over 100 languages and
services over 60,000 clients who need voice overs recorded for their projects.

About the Article

Category 1: Business/Advertising
Category 2: Internet/Technologies/Multimedia
Category 3: Internet/Technologies/Audio

Keywords: actor, acting, voiceover, voice talent, voice talent agent, audio, video, radio,
television, broadcast, advertising, commercials

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