Writers Guild Of Canada Members Ratify New Contract With Producers – Update

UPDATED, 10:25 AM: The Writers Guild of Canada members have ratified the union’s new contract with the Canadian Media Producers Association. The three-year deal takes effect today and runs through January 31, 2027.

Here are some of the terms:

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  • Live-action script fees will increase by 5%, 4%, and 3.5% over the next three years.

  • Animation script fees will increase by 5%, 11.5%, and 3.6% over the same period.

  • A new minimum staffing provision requires two Story Editors to be engaged during the bulk of principal photography on productions commencing on or after January 1, 2025, for one-hour productions with budgets over $2.5M per episode and half-hour productions with budgets over $1.5M per episode.

  • New AI protections require producers to disclose and contract under the IPA when providing writers with AI-generated materials, as well as no reduction in existing writer credit or compensation.

  • Expanded protections against discrimination and harassment in the workplace are in place.

“Bargaining this agreement was extremely challenging, but it has resulted in a more united and engaged membership,” WGC President Bruce Smith said in a statement. “Our work will continue on many fronts, including fighting for equal compensation and protections for animation writers, advocating for a better funding system to address the needs of feature film writers, and ensuring our industry can flourish.”

Added WGC Executive Director Victoria Shen: “These achievements would not have been possible without the solidarity demonstrated by our membership. Special thanks to the Negotiating Committee, who volunteered months of their time, passionately represented the interests of screenwriters, and stood their ground to reach this deal.”

PREVIOUSLY, May 7: There won’t be a strike in Canada after all. The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) and the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) have reached an agreement in principle on terms for a new Independent Production Agreement (IPA).

The pair jointly announced they had successfully concluded negotiations and reached terms on a three-year IPA. The agreement, details of which will emerge over coming hours and days, covers terms, conditions and rates for writers, story editors and story consultants.

This comes after Deadline last week revealed talks had resumed amid an increasingly nervous industry environment following news the WGC had for the first time in its history approved strike action. Our sources said the approval was being seen as a last-ditch ploy to bring the CMPA back to the table and hash out a deal. Looks like it worked.

The terms of the IPA will now be sent to the CMPA’s board of directors and distributed by the WGC for ratification among its members. The previous agreement had ended on December 31, 2023, replaced by an interim pact while a new long-term deal was negotiated. Before this most recent round of talks began, we understand the negotiating table had remained empty since February.

“We are proud to have come to terms on an agreement that truly values the important alliance that exists between Canadian screenwriters and independent producers,” said Sean Porter, the CMPA’s Vice-President of National Industrial Relations and Counsel. “I want to thank the individuals on both sides of the bargaining table for their commitment to finding solutions that serve to benefit the future of our sector and Canadian storytelling on screen.”

“We are pleased to have reached a fair agreement with the CMPA that will protect the livelihoods of our screenwriter members and maintain stability in the Canadian film and television industry,” said Victoria Shen, WGC Executive Director. “We feel the new agreement includes important protections for Canadian screenwriters and balances the concerns of our producer partners.”

The agreement avoids a writers strike, which would have been most unusual for Canada but was beginning to appear the most likely outcome. Some within Canada’s writers community felt the CMPA wasn’t negotiating in good faith, while many producers felt the terms demanded were unrealistic and unreasonable. Issues such as AI, remuneration for animation scribes and the number of writers on sets were among the most concerning to writers, sources told us.

Writers and actors strikes paralyzed the U.S. industry last year, and it was unknown how brutal action would be the smaller, more fragile Canadian market. However, writers were ready to test the waters, with 96.5% of those who voted on strike authorization being in favor, come what may. One source we spoke to last week said the volume of the ‘yes’ vote had surprised the CMPA, demonstrating “a determination to stand firm in our commitment to achieving a fair deal for screenwriters.”

Different to the U.S. is the fact that the CMPA does not represent broadcasters or streamers in the way the AMPTP did in its talks with the American writers and actors unions.

Canada’s production sector remains in flux, with networks impacted hard by ad downturns and the recent introduction of the Online Streaming Act resulting in streamers reticent to commission new films and shows. However, today’s news is a major relief for an industry that didn’t need any more bumps.

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