Tag Archives: Industry News

Class action lawsuit a big step toward fairness in factual and reality TV

From a media release:

The Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada is welcoming a $35-million class action lawsuit [http://www.cavalluzzo.com/factual-televison-classactionfiled by law firm Cavalluzzo on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada, which produces such TV shows as Property Brothers and Mayday.

The legal action follows a five-year campaign by CMG and its parent union CWA Canada to bring fair working conditions to this part of the entertainment industry.

“Reality and factual TV are the wild west of the entertainment world,” said Lise Lareau, a co-ordinator of the CMG’s Fairness in Factual TV campaign. “People working in this area of production are cut out of labour laws. They don’t have the rights of other employees, and historically they’ve been left out of union contracts enjoyed by the rest of the entertainment industry.”

Most reality and factual TV production companies make their workers set up their own corporations or sign contracts saying they are “independent contractors” and then don’t provide overtime pay, vacation pay and paid holidays. The failure to pay these basic entitlements is the basis for the Cavalluzzo class action lawsuit.

The statement of claim for the suit is based on the experience of Anna Bourque, a production worker whose most recent contract at Cineflix was September 2017 to February 2018.

“Picture editors and story editors work together taking hundreds of hours of footage and sharpening it into 43 minutes or so of entertaining television, but as schedules get squeezed our hours expand and there is never compensation for that, so our pay becomes inversely proportional to the hours worked,” Bourque said.

The ‘Fairness in Factual TV’ campaign began five years ago when a group of reality and factual TV workers decided enough was enough and sought the support of the Canadian Media Guild / CWA Canada. More than 400 people have signed up as supporters since the campaign began.

“Since these workers aren’t covered by union contracts, production companies often use them as a way to create less expensive but still lucrative programming,” said CMG organizer Denise O’Connell, who has spent 20 years in the industry.

Kat Lapointe, an organizer with CMG / CWA Canada, said the fact that you sign a contract that calls you an independent contractor does not mean that you are not entitled to basic minimum employment standards.

“It is not that simple. Treating people as outside of employment laws keeps people vulnerable and unable to build sustainable careers.  It means they’re forced to deal one-on-one with the company — putting each individual worker at a disadvantage — rather than having a collective voice to win fairness and respect at work.”

The Guild is urging people in the industry to talk about this issue at work and join our campaign www.fairnessinfactualtv.ca. If you feel your work conditions have been unfair, contact the union at factualtv@cmg.ca. Write a few lines about your experience and attach a recent contract. It will be held in complete confidence.

Those who have worked at Cineflix, Boat Rocker Media, Insight Productions or other companies who want more information about class action lawsuits can visit the Cavalluzzo LLP website at [http://www.cavalluzzo.com/factual-televison-classaction] or email factual-televison-classaction@cavalluzzo.com.

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CTV’s delectable new original series Mary’s Kitchen Crush begins production

From a media release:

CTV, in association with Proper Television, announced today that production has begun on MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH. The all-new, thirty-episode, half-hour series will air on CTV, Gusto, and ultimately stream on demand from the new CTV Super Hub, as part of the new lifestyle brand, CTV Life.

MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH features Canada’s culinary sweetheart and MASTERCHEF CANADA Season 3 winner Mary Berg as she shares her delicious twists on home-cooked classics inspired by her family and friends. The series, produced by Proper Television, is currently shooting in Toronto and will premiere as part of CTV’s 2019 midseason schedule. MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is currently available for customized brand partnership opportunities.

Mary Berg has spent most of her life cooking and baking for those she loves and building a strong appreciation for the connective powers of beautiful, home-cooked food. In each episode of MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH, she demonstrates her culinary skill and creativity with three to four original recipes – inspired by someone who has made a meaningful impact on her life. The resulting meal is like an edible love letter for family members and close friends. We’ll hear about the memories that motivated her menu choices as she guides viewers clearly through her recipes, offering up plenty of illuminating tips, and take-aways.

Mary Berg’s meteoric culinary journey took off after capturing the Season 3 title of MASTERCHEF CANADA. She can be seen regularly as a food expert on CTV’s YOUR MORNING and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW and can be found developing recipes for shows, food, beverage brands, and her blog A Small Stove. Berg has also started working on her first of two cookbooks to be released in September 2019 and Spring/Summer 2021.

MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is produced by Proper Television (MASTERCHEF CANADA). Cathie James, Allison Grace, and Lesia Capone serve as Executive Producers and Garrett Wintrip as Series Producer.

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Scott Moore to step down as president of Sportsnet, end of October

From a media release:

Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet & NHL Properties, has announced his decision to leave the company at the end of October.

During his eight-year tenure, Moore repositioned the sports and TV businesses to address the evolving media landscape and viewing habits.  He championed the acquisitions of The Score and Grand Slam of Curling; brokered the deal that brought the FX brand to Canada; launched North America’s first direct-to-consumer mainstream sports product with SN NOW; created Rogers Hometown Hockey; and played a key role in helping Rogers secure the blockbuster 12-year NHL deal.

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Sportsnet is well positioned for continued growth and success, with a strong team in place to carry the momentum forward.

The search is underway for Moore’s successor.  In the interim, Brace will oversee Sportsnet in addition to his current role.

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CBC/Radio-Canada reaffirms commitment to diversity and inclusion with new 2018-21 plan

From a media release:

CBC/Radio-Canada today unveiled its 2018-21 Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The new three-year plan sets out our strategy to better serve all Canadians by reflecting the full range of Canadian perspectives through our content, workplace culture and workforce. The Plan was launched at CBC/Radio-Canada’s Annual Public Meeting in Edmonton, where diversity and inclusion inspired this year’s conversation with Canadians on the importance of public broadcasting in today’s environment.

Building on past efforts and accomplishments, including those resulting from our previous 2015-2018 strategy, the new plan lays out the objectives for the coming years, provides workforce results for all our main business units, and details action plans by major services.

This plan also complements the Diversity and Inclusion section of the career page of our corporate website. Both convey the importance of diversity and inclusion and share the many things we’re doing to make our programming content even more relevant, foster greater inclusiveness in our workplace culture and ensure our workforce fully reflects Canada’s demographics.

About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic and Chinese, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

Diversity and inclusion fact sheet: Our progress so far
Below are highlights of some of the initiatives that have resulted from our ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in our content, workplace culture and workforce:

Content

  • CBC North has been serving Canadians across the territories and in Northern Quebec since 1958. It provides radio, television and online services to seven communities (Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Kuujjuaq) in eight Indigenous languages. In addition to offering services on CBC North, our main networks and regional stations also showcase Indigenous news, issues, and culture.
  • Our award-winning Indigenous Unit is both a resource and a catalyst for more coverage across CBC/Radio-Canada. Recently expanded to more communities, it is helping us identify, recruit and develop Indigenous talent. It’s creating programs like Unreserved on CBC Radio, a powerful one-hour platform on our national radio network for Indigenous voices. The Legends Project digitizes traditional oral stories, legends and histories of Canada’s Inuit and First Nations Peoples from communities across the country. Our CBC Indigenous and Radio-Canada’s Espaces autochthones websites are ensuring more Canadians learn more about this country’s legacy and its future.
  • Since December 2017, Radio-Canada makes it compulsory for independent producers who submit a project to present a “diversity inclusion plan” with the objective of improving diversity in all its content.
  • CBC Films (CBC Breaking Barriers Film Fund) is a narrative feature film fund that supports the production of English-language films from filmmakers and creators who bring diverse voices and stories that engage and reflect Canadians on the big and small screens. We look for projects that are written and directed by Canadian women, Indigenous persons, visible minorities, LGBTQ persons and persons with a disability.
  • For the past four years, Radio-Canada has been leading a TV industry working group aimed at increasing cultural diversity in French-language fiction. The group has implemented a series of actions such as the Auditions de la diversité, which provide performance training for actors from visible minority communities. The working group also supports coaching for young scriptwriters and tours high schools, in order to encourage diversity students to pursue careers in TV production.

Workplace culture

  • A number of internal initiatives foster greater inclusiveness in our workplace culture, including:
    • The Developing Emerging Leaders Program equips an annual cohort of 15 diverse employees with insights, tools and strategies to skillfully take their careers to the next level.
    • Employee Resource Groups (bring together employees who share common backgrounds and experiences, and provide mutual support and a greater sense of belonging, ex. women in technology and employees with physical or mental disabilities and their allies.)
    • Both CBC and Radio-Canada offer paid journalism internships to Indigenous recruits with partners such as the First Nations University of Canada, Nunavut Sivuniksavut/Algonquin College and the First Nations Education Council (FNEC). Radio-Canada also collaborates with the Kiuna Institution (the Quebec post-secondary Indigenous college) to offer an initiation to journalism for Indigenous students.
    • Our senior leaders learn about inclusive leadership and unconscious bias. That awareness fosters a culture of inclusiveness—one of our core values. Similar training is provided to other employees across the organization.

Workforce

  • While our focus is not on targets, we do still monitor to measure our performance and the impact of our initiatives.
    • The new diversity hires (Indigenous Peoples, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities) result for Q1 2018-2019 of 27.2% exceeded our target of 25.4%. This is our best first quarter result since we started measuring this index in 2015-2016.
    • We are the gender parity leader in the Canadian media industry with 48.9% women employed across CBC/Radio-Canada (+6.1% above the external labour force).
    • We reached our Strategy 2020 goal of 2.1% for Indigenous representation, meeting the external labour force availability and the hiring rate of 3.1% surpassed this goal between April 2017 and March 2018.
    • Between April 2015 and 2018, we saw over 40% increases for both the number of members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities.
  • With a view to increasing the diversity of its News staff, Radio-Canada revamped its hiring process for journalists at the network and regional levels over the last year, and we have removed potential obstacles for diverse candidates in our general knowledge and language proficiency exams.
  • The candidates for the first-ever paid CBC Placements for Persons With Disabilities started in mid-September 2018 and a national launch is being considered if deemed successful.
  • We are the first Canadian media company to add gender and sexual diversity (i.e., LGBTQ+) to its voluntary workforce tracking metrics.
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Global greenlights new primetime medical drama Nurses

From a media release:

Adding to its acclaimed roster of Canadian original series, Global proudly announces new primetime medical drama Nurses (working title), set to premiere on the network in 2019. From independent studio Entertainment One (eOne), the 10×60 series is executive produced by Ilana Frank (Rookie Blue), of ICF Films and Vanessa Piazza (Dark Matter) of Piazza Entertainment, with Adam Pettle named as writer, showrunner, and executive producer, and Tassie Cameron serving as executive producer. The series follows four young nurses working on the frontlines of St. Jude’s hospital dedicating their lives to helping others, while figuring out how to help themselves.

Stationed in every tendril of a busy downtown trauma centre and thrust into frontline medical action, Nurses sees four recent graduates beginning their careers in a high-stakes hospital with pressure cooker training. Forming an inextricable bond, the nurses struggle to find a work-life balance that matches and counters the intensity of their new job. Their interaction with patients, relatives, and staff quickly leads them to the discovery that nursing isn’t just about biology, chemistry, and anatomy, it’s also about psychology, compassion, and romantic complications.

Nurses executive producer, Ilana Frank, appears today on the Corus Entertainment-sponsored panel, The Future of Scripted: Women in Power Tell All. Hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Toronto, the panel takes place during C21 Media’s Content Canada conference, a part of TIFF’s industry offering. With opening remarks from Corus’ Executive Vice President and COO, Barb Williams, and moderated by Divya Shahani, Entertainment Lawyer, Hall Webber LLP, the featured panelists are: Ilana Frank (Rookie Blue, Nurses), Sheila Hockin (Vikings), Tassie Cameron (Mary Kills People), Julia Sereny (Ransom), and Alex Zarowny (Private Eyes). For more information visit www.contentcanada.net.

This newly greenlit series comes on the heels of Global’s recent renewals for Ransom, Mary Kills People, Private Eyes, and Big Brother Canada.

Nurses is produced by ICF Films, in association with eOne and Corus Entertainment, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

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