A whopping 94 percent of Union of B.C. Performers (a branch of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists) members voted on December 19 in favour of a new contract that will include what the union is calling "precedent setting increased protections" against sexual harassment.
The British Columbia Master Production Agreement for 2018 to 2021 addresses issues and concerns raised in the wake of the #MeToo movement and a wave of sexual-harassment allegations raised against numerous screen-industry figures, including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and more.
Under the new agreement, producers are required to create a statement on anti-harassment and violence prevention that must be conveyed to cast and crew members either prior to or on the first day of production.
Performers will also be protected from retaliation from producers, or anyone acting on behalf of a producer, for filing a legitimate complaint about harassment with a zero-tolerance policy.
One of the new stipulations regarding audition environments states that auditions or meetings in private hotels or residences, in which a performer is alone with a production representative, are forbidden.
Specific definitions for sexual and racial harassment are listed, followed by a definition of personal harassment, which covers any comment or conduct that is known to be "unwelcome or offensive", "creates an unduly intimidating working environment", "denies individual dignity or respect", or "threatens the economic livelihood of that individual".
Following news in September that Riverdale actor K.J. Apa crashed his car while driving home after working on set, the new deal includes provisions that performers must be provided alternatives to driving themselves home after work.
Requirements for producers to provide a tutor for minors (from Grade 1 to 12) have also been increased, depending on the number of school days that the performer must miss.
Performers will also receive a nine percent increase in wages over the three-year term.
The new contract will take effect on April 1.
Meanwhile, UBCP/ACTRA is also offering free counselling services through Battered Women Support Services for members who have been harassed or assaulted.More