CWA Canada and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) are welcoming a proposed $1 million settlement in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada.
Filed in 2018 on behalf of hundreds of current and former workers, the $35 million class action’s statement of claim was based around the experience of Property Brothers story editor Anna Bourque, who routinely worked 50 to 70-hour work weeks without overtime, vacation or premium pay. The claim alleged that independent contractors working for the company were denied basic minimum standards under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000.
The agreement, submitted on Monday for court approval, follows three years of negotiations between Cineflix and law firm Cavalluzzo, CWA Canada and IATSE. The proposed settlement would see $1 million in compensation for all employment standards entitlements (overtime pay, vacation pay, holiday pay) for nearly everyone who has worked for Cineflix as employees or independent contractors since October 2016.
Cineflix has until March to decide whether to sign a collective agreement that has already been negotiated or pay an additional lump sum. The collective agreement covers improvements including minimum pay scales, overtime pay, vacation pay, holiday pay, meal breaks, travel time, health and safety requirements, and other provisions.
CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said the deal is a big win for workers.
“After years of being largely powerless to address issues such as long hours and declining pay rates, workers now know they can fight back and win,” said O’Hanlon, in a release. “It’s the first big step in improving an industry that has been operating like the Wild West and treating employees as second class compared to scripted TV.”
Cavalluzzo has also filed a class action against Insight Productions seeking damages for alleged employment standards violations, which is still before the courts. Insight Productions is known for Canadian adaptations of shows like Amazing Race, Big Brother, and CBC’s Battle of the Blades.
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