News
Welcome to the Fairness in Factual TV campaign
•  Posted on  May 3, 2019  

A growing number of us are working together to improve conditions in our industry. We are the creative professionals who produce non-fiction television and film, including reality, lifestyle, and documentary work. We have many different titles and work for many different companies. Many of us are independent contractors, earning our living at several companies in a year. Some us are on staff at a single production company. All of us are concerned about how increasingly difficult it is to build a career in this industry.

WHAT WE WANT

Together we are in a strong position to make real change. We know we have been left out of the minimum standards and union contracts that are common elsewhere in the entertainment industry. We want fair pay, rules that are understood, safe sets, portable benefits and onscreen credits. All of this will benefit the industry as a whole, by stabilizing it and protecting it from a culture in which unreasonable budgets and deadlines are all too common.

The more people involved in this effort, the stronger it will be. If you work in the industry, sign on. It’s how you can find out about what’s going on and how you can be part of it. Note: We keep our list of supporters confidential.

HOW THIS STARTED

Our campaign began 5 years ago, when a group of workers in the industry started asking tough questions about largely unwritten rules, exceptionally long hours and arbitrary pay, and soon realized that their experiences were widespread. It also followed two high-profile fatal air accidents on reality TV shoots, one of them involving Canadian documentary cameraman John Driftmier who was killed in a plane crash in Kenya at age 30, while filming for a show for Discovery Channel. This group began a campaign with the help of the Canadian Media Guild/CWA Canada to change things and since then, more than 400 people working in the industry have signed up to be part of the change.

We have written a ground-breaking guidebook to the industry, collected data about pay rates, held events to bring the community of workers together, advocated for changes to labour law and in 2018, CMG’s law firm, Cavalluzzo LLP, filed a $35 million class action lawsuit against one of the biggest production companies, Cineflix, for unpaid holidays and overtime.

The film production union IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) Canada joined our effort early this year and our two unions have formed a partnership to ensure this campaign to get union contracts is successful, industry-wide, and reflects the needs of those who work on set as well as those in post-production and other work that’s based mostly in the production office.