Fellow UBCP/ACTRA Members,

UBCP/ACTRA members and staff have successfully advocated for performers to earn modest incomes while still qualifying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). We are also amplifying our work to bring more Canadian content creation to British Columbia and pressure the Government to invest federal dollars in the BC motion picture industry. More details below.

As you may know, UBCP/ACTRA has been appealing to the Federal Government to make changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program to ensure that performers can qualify while receiving income from gigs, residuals (royalties), and other modest sources of income.

This past Saturday the Federal Government recalled Parliament to pass legislation to enhance Canada’s measures in response to COVID-19. After extensive negotiations between all parties, a motion was unanimously passed to address the gaps in the CERB and specifically to allow “those who continue to receive a modest income from part-time work, royalties, and honoraria” to qualify for the CERB.

The Federal Government needs to act on this motion, and once it does, we’ll be sure to send an update with more information. But for now, rest assured that the gaps that so many of you identified with the CERB have been noticed and are being addressed. We will continue to monitor all government programs related to COVID-19 and we will continue to push to make sure that not one performer falls through the cracks.   We thank the many members who spoke out about this issue, by social media, the press, those who signed petitions and contacted their Member of Parliament. 

Finally, while we are relieved that performers are included in the CERB, there are other issues that need to be addressed vis-a-vis the Federal Government. The impact of COVID-19 on BC’s foreign location service has underscored the importance of a homegrown film and television industry, and highlighted the disproportionately low amount of funding that BC gets from Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Media Fund. To this end, we are and will continue to advocate for BC to get its fair share of federal investments in local content creation, and we will keep you informed of our progress.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and take care of each other.

In Solidarity,

Keith Martin Gordey