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Frequently Asked Questions for Freelancers at CBC/Radio-Canada

Am I a CBC freelancer?

You are a CBC freelancer if you provide content, perform or make programming on a per occasion basis for the CBC. You are not staff and are not assigned to daily hours of work.

What kind of freelancer am I?

There are two kinds of CBC freelancers in the new contract:

Freelance Contributors are engaged for specific assignments; for example, a commentary, a single interview or a tape documentary. Your contract is based on delivering a contribution on or by a certain date, and not on the time it takes to produce it.

Freelance Specific Service contracts are occasionally used by CBC to hire people (eg. hosts, directors and researchers) for specific programs, items or segments. The contracts have no fixed term and are appropriate only in limited instances. If you are asked to sign a Freelance Specific Services contract, please contact the Guild (guild@interlog.com) before doing so.

“Occasional Contributors” are engaged for their expertise in a particular field. You do not provide recorded audio or video, or write a script, or do research. You may appear on CBC programming up to four times for the CBC within a 12-month period before you must be paid. (For exceptions see sections 31.4 and 31.4.1.) However, nothing prevents you from asking for payment before the fifth appearance. Any payment must be no less than the minimum rates set out for Freelance Contributors in the CBC/CMG collective agreement.

How much should I be paid?

Freelance Specific Services: You must be paid no less than the rate for the classification of a CBC employee doing the same work. Please contact the Guild for assistance in determining what category of work you fall into and a fair level of compensation.

Freelance Contributors: You should never be paid less than the minimum rates as set out in the CBC/CMG collective agreement (click here to view the rates). You also have the right to negotiate rates that are higher than the minimums suggested in the contract. This is entirely normal, does not offend any established CBC principles and should not negatively affect your relationship with your prospective contracting producer.

Can I negotiate a higher fee?

Yes. Rates in the CBC/CMG collective agreement represent minimums only.

Does the CBC deduct Income Tax, EI or CPP from my cheque?

No. Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance are not deducted from your payments.

Do I pay union dues?

Yes. Union dues of 1.55 per cent are deducted from your payments to a maximum of $1700 per year. You are entitled to be represented by the Canadian Media Guild in negotiations or grievances associated with your work for CBC. To receive a CMG member card or to take part in other CMG activities please contact membership co-coordinator Glenn Seymour at gs@cmg.ca

Who holds the copyright on my work?

You own copyright to the material you provide to the CBC. The CBC buys a license to use your contribution on its multiple platforms and to reuse the contribution in whole or in part.

There are two types of licenses:

License A allows the CBC to broadcast and distribute your contribution on CBC-branded programs in domestic and international markets. This means that your contribution may be used by another broadcaster, as long as it remains within a CBC-branded program.

License B allows the CBC the right to resell your contribution in whole or in part as unbranded content to third parties (ie. not part of a program which originally aired on the CBC). Should you choose to grant the CBC rights under Licence B, the CBC must pay you a premium of at least 10% based on the minimum rates set out in the CBC/CMG agreement.

Should the CBC request to purchase the copyright to your contribution, the rate for purchase is negotiable. Selling copyright is at your sole discretion.

Do I need a contract?

Yes. Before you commence work, you should sign a contract that stipulates the length, payment and subject of the work you are to do. In the event that work absolutely must start before a contract can be produced, make sure you document your communication of the understanding made between you and the commissioning producer.

What else is new in the collective agreement for freelancers?

· The Freelance Fixed Term classification has been eliminated.
· The Freelance Contributor rates and categories have been consolidated to simplify contracting. New categories have been created for television and the Internet.
· New contract templates are being created to reflect the changes in the collective agreement.
· Over the length of this collective agreement, (expires March 31/09) the minimum rates will increase by a total of 13.06%.

Who can help me?

Contact Don Genova, president of the CMG Freelance Branch, at freelance@cmg.ca or call the Guild’s national office at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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