The Writers Guild of Canada Votes in Favor of Strike Action

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The Writers Guild of Canada recently conducted a vote to authorize strike action in response to ongoing talks with the Canadian Media Producers Association. Overwhelmingly, 96.5% of guild members voted in favor of a strike mandate, signaling a strong message to producers about their commitment to fair compensation and protections in the industry. This marks a significant moment in the Guild’s history, with the highest turnout of eligible voters at 70.2%.

In response to the strike authorization vote, the CMPA expressed its commitment to negotiating a settlement with the WGC. The organization emphasized the value of Canadian screenwriters and the importance of human-written projects over AI algorithms. A labor dispute is seen as detrimental to the Canadian film and television production sector, and the focus remains on reaching a successful conclusion to the negotiations.

The negotiations between the WGC and CMPA have been ongoing for months without a resolution. Issues such as AI, compensation (especially for animation writers), and minimum participation levels have been at the center of the deadlock. Unlike in Hollywood, residuals are not part of the discussions as the CMPA does not represent streamers and Canadian networks. The looming threat of a strike has intensified as both parties struggle to find common ground on key financial and work-related matters.

The Path Forward

The strike authorization follows months of discussions aimed at renewing the Independent Production Agreement (IPA). Concerns about a strike have been mounting, as both producers and writers face challenges in finding a compromise. While the previous IPA expired on December 31, 2023, an extension was granted in the hopes of reaching a new agreement. The WGC, representing 2,500 professional English-language Canadian screenwriters, is working to schedule future negotiations to address the outstanding issues.

Support for the WGC

Various industry organizations, including the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of Canada, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and the media technicians union NABET 700-M UNIFOR, have been backing the WGC in its negotiations. The support from these groups underscores the solidarity among Canadian industry professionals in advocating for fair treatment and recognition of their work.

The Writers Guild of Canada’s decision to authorize strike action reflects the challenges faced by screenwriters in the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry. The vote sends a clear message to producers about the importance of addressing key issues related to compensation and protections for writers. As negotiations continue, the focus remains on finding common ground to secure a sustainable future for Canadian screenwriters. Support from industry allies and the commitment of guild members highlight the resilience and determination to advocate for their rights and interests.

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