Hundreds of current and former Cineflix contract workers will share $2.5 million in a class action settlement negotiated by CWA Canada and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees).
The suit was filed in 2018 by Toronto law firm Cavalluzzo LLP on behalf of independent contractors for years of unpaid overtime, vacation pay, and holiday premiums – basic minimum standards under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.
Cineflix, which produces series like Property Brothers and Mayday, had a choice between paying $2.5 million or paying $1 million and signing a collective agreement that proposed improvements to wages, benefits and work hours. The settlement does not prevent Cineflix workers from forming a union and negotiating a collective agreement.
The 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 weeks without overtime, vacation or premium pay. Bourque called the settlement “a win-win” for workers.
“I think it could actually be the best result for all workers. Cineflix decided to pay $2.5 million to all the people in the class action, none of which hinders the Cineflix workers from organizing, unionizing, and getting a collective agreement anyway,” said Bourque, in a statement.
CWA Canada has been running its Fairness in Factual campaign for the last six years to raise awareness of working conditions in the industry. IATSE, North America’s largest entertainment union – representing factual/reality workers in the U.S. and more than 30,000 members in Canada – joined the campaign in 2019.
Cavalluzzo has also filed a $35 million class action against Insight Productions seeking damages for alleged employment standards violations. Insight is known for Canadian adaptations of shows like Amazing Race, Big Brother, and CBC’s Battle of the Blades.
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