The Casting Directors Society of Canada has joined the call for racial and gender equality in films and TV shows that receive public funding. A recent report found that women landed only 17% of the directing jobs, 22% of the writing credits, and 11% of the cinematographer jobs on Canadian films and TV shows that received public funding last year.

“This issue is too important for us to ignore any longer,” said CDC co-chair Marsha Chesley. “We must have clear and decisive action now.”

Canada flag

The latest push for gender and racial equality on Canadian shows was launched in February by Women in View, a not-for-profit organization that has been gathering data on the underemployment of women writers, directors and cinematographers in publicly funded, screen-based Canadian media since 2012. In partnership with the Directors Guild of Canada, Women in View launched an initiative called 2X More to double the number of women directing live-action television in Canada from 17% to 35% over the next two years.

“The groundswell of support for this is unprecedented,” said Rina Fraticelli, executive director of Women in View. “Directors, producers, broadcasters and funders are collaborating to make gender equity as normal a part of the Canadian media landscape as hockey. Why? Because this influx of talent and energy will make our creative industries better, and equally important, because it’s time.”

“The scale of the racial and gender disparity will only rectify itself if direct action is taken,” said the CDC, which is calling on the industry to act together to encourage Canada’s two main funding organizations – Telefilm and the Canadian Media Fund – to subsidize films, TV shows and new media “in a way that represents all of Canada’s very diverse population – First Nations, racial minorities, along with an equitable gender split between women and men.”

The Canadian push mirrors efforts that have been going on in the U.S. for some time, and would only effect Canadian shows that receive public funding, not U.S. shows filming in Canada that receive tax incentives.