With a wary eye on California’s pending tax incentives and the jobs it promises to drain from Canada, negotiations for a new set of contracts covering actors, directors and crewmembers working in British Columbia will get underway November 3.
During the last set of contract talks three years ago, the unions in BC expressed concern that the long string of steady employment there might be running out. Those fears proved unfounded: According to data compiled by the BC film office, 250 film and TV projects were shot in BC in 2011, 266 projects were filmed there in 2012, and 248 were shot there in 2013. Over the last two years that generated more than $1 billion (Canadian) in labor spending.
Now the worry up north is about California’s new $330 million tax incentives program, which kicks in next year. “They are concerned that the new California tax incentives will take work away from British Columbia,” said a source familiar with the BC unions. The unions in Vancouver are also concerned about losing jobs to Toronto, the third-largest production center in North America after Los Angeles and New York. “They’re very afraid of Toronto,” the source said.
All this should make for fairly smooth set of negotiations with little chance of a strike as both labor and management are looking for a deal that keeps BC competitive.
The first set of talks next week involve a contract covering Teamsters and two IATSE locals — camera and studio mechanics. When those negotiations are completed, talks will begin for a new Directors Guild of Canada contract, followed by talks for a new actors contract covering members of the Union of British Columbia Performers.
Management will be repped in negotiations by Hollywood’s AMPTP and by the Canadian Media Production Association.