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Child labour?

By Op-Ed Editor | April 21, 2009

Not exactly a copyright issue, but there’s rights here, and it’s all a bit gobsmacking. Brings back the need for real State of the Artist legislation and not that fraud we got stuck with a couple of years ago.

Ontario government needs to legislate child protections, says ACTRA

Toronto – Ice cream giant Chapman’s is producing commercials in Toronto with child performers, potentially as young as four years old, while failing to adhere to the minimum terms and conditions of work that have been negotiated in the Canadian commercial industry’s National Commercial Agreement (NCA).

“This company generates millions of dollars targeting children to buy their products,” said Dan Mackenzie, a spokesperson for ACTRA Toronto. “It’s distressing that they can’t see fit to ensure that the child performers in their commercials receive the protections, wages and residual payments negotiated between ACTRA and Canada’s advertising industry representatives.”

Standard rates and conditions for all performers are part of the National Commercial Agreement (NCA) negotiated between ACTRA and the Institute of Communications and Advertising (ICA) and the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA). The ICA/ACA represents both advertising agencies and the companies that hire the agencies.

“ACTRA takes very seriously the need to protect children in the commercial industry,” stated Mackenzie. “Children are especially vulnerable to pressures from advertisers, agencies, producers, agents and parents. Doing commercials outside of the industry agreement means that producers are not bound to standards negotiated in the NCA for wages, safety, tutoring, nutrition and other rules that limit the hours and conditions under which children can work.

Employment legislation in Ontario has very little to say about children who work in the entertainment and commercial industry. That is one of the reasons high profile Canadian actors are leading ACTRA Toronto’s lobby of the Ontario government to bring in Status of the Artist legislation that would enshrine child work rules in law.

“Advertisers who do not want to adhere to the minimum terms and conditions of the NCA highlight are why it is so important that the Ontario government bring in strong and enforceable legislation to protect children in the commercial, film and television industries,” Mackenzie added.

ACTRA Toronto represents more than 15,000 professional performers. As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven organization that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of Canada’s English-speaking performers in recorded media.

For more information:
Chris Faulkner ACTRA Toronto Public Relations Officer
P: 416.642.6710
E: cfaulkner@actratoronto.com

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