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ACTRA Likes First Liberal Budget

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(March 23, 2016 – Toronto, ON) The union that represents most of Canada’s professional performers, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, usually referred to simply as ACTRA, was quick to endorse the new government’s first budget. An announcement from the union came fairly quickly after details of the budget were announced yesterday in the House of Commons.

“After years of neglect, Canadians have a government that’s willing to invest in cultural creation once more. Today’s budget makes smart investments that will promote Canadian culture and create good jobs for performers,” said ACTRA National President Ferne Downey.

“We’re eager to work with the government to create effective policy that will grow Canada’s cultural industries,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA National Executive Director. “We still have a lot of work to do but today’s budget is a positive first step with the government to build Canada’s creative industries.”

The budget commits new funding for Canada’s cultural institutions including the CBC, National Film Board and Telefilm. The new funding for the CBC matches commitments made by the Liberals during the election campaign, while funding increases for Telefilm and the National Film Board fall short of the Liberal campaign commitments.

Re-investment in Canada’s cultural institutions was one of three main strategic priorities ACTRA outlined in its 2016 pre-Budget submission. ACTRA also announced that it will continue working with the government on the following issues:

– Reinvesting in cultural institutions to tell Canadian stories: ensure the government not only delivers on election commitments to increase funding from cultural institutions that have suffered from cutbacks – the CBC, National Film Board and Telefilm Canada – but linking that funding to new Canadian production;

– Reviewing broadcast regulation to protect consumers and support Canadian content creation: in a changing media landscape, Canada needs to ensure Internet broadcasters, like Netflix, pay their fair share when it comes to supporting Canadian culture;

– Protecting performers’ intellectual property rights: ensure audiovisual artists are granted the same protections as audio artists when the Copyright Act goes under review in 2017.

ACTRA is the national union of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada and represents the interests of 22,000 members across the country.