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Press release graphic Second $35-million lawsuit hits Canada’s reality TV industry - TORONTO – A class action has been filed against a second Toronto-based reality TV production company, seeking damages stemming from alleged employment standards violations. The $35-million suit against Insight Productions was filed in Ontario Court on Friday by law firm Cavalluzzo LLP. It claims Insight owes hundreds of workers unpaid overtime, vacation pay, and holiday premiums because of contracts that did not comply with Ontario’s Employment Standards Act. It was filed on behalf of current and former employees and so-called independent contractors. Insight Productions is best known for producing Canadian versions of shows such as Amazing Race, Big Brother, and CBC’s Battle of the Blades. The lawsuit was welcomed by unions CWA Canada and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), which are working together to support workers in factual and reality TV who want union contracts similar to those in the scripted movie and TV industry. “This part of the industry can no longer be some kind of isolated island where anything goes when it comes to work rules and pay,” said Denise O’Connell, an organizer with the ‘Fairness in Factual TV’ campaign. The new legal action comes about 16 months after a similar lawsuit was filed against Cineflix [...]
CBC/Radio-Canada building CBC union urges caution on reforms to broadcast rules - The main union at CBC/Radio-Canada is advising the federal government to proceed with caution as it considers recommendations for major regulatory reform of the broadcast and telecom sector issued by an independent panel on Wednesday. Among the sweeping changes the panel proposes are an end to advertising on a publicly funded CBC and that it be a leader in local, regional and national news. The Canadian Media Guild (CWA Canada Local 30213) said the report recognizes that the CBC is underfunded compared to public broadcasters in other countries and that its mandate is to provide programming in English, French and Indigenous languages across six time zones. The network receives $29 per capita in public funds while its counterparts in the U.K. and France get $105 and $73 respectively. “Like many Canadians, the union representing workers at CBC/Radio-Canada has long called for better funding,” said CMG President Carmel Smyth. “CBC is the largest news organization in the country, and it provides a crucial public service that Canadians appreciate for quality news and local programming. This is especially critical today when the internet is full of unverified fake news that divides us and damages healthy debate and our democratic tradition.” Kim Trynacity, [...]
Canadian journalists eligible for prestigious Hillman Prize - The call for entries for the 2020 Canadian Hillman Prize, which honours excellence in journalism in service of the common good, is now open. There is no fee to enter work that was published or broadcast in Canada in 2019 and was widely accessible to a Canadian audience. Deadline for submissions is Jan. 15. The winner receives $5,000 and a certificate at a reception in Toronto on March 26 and will be invited to attend the U.S. awards ceremony in New York City on May 4. Last year’s Canadian prize went to the team at CBC’s The Fifth Estate for its 2018 investigation Unbuckled: School Bus Safety. Sharing the honours were CWA Canada / Canadian Media Guild members Harvey Cashore, Bob McKeown, Kimberly Ivany, Aileen McBride, Saman Malik, Doug Husby, and Lisa Mayor. The Hillman Prize “seeks out investigative reporting that draws attention to social or economic injustice and hopefully leads to corrective measures. We strive to recognize discernment of a significant news story, resourcefulness and courage in reporting, skill in relating the story and the impact of the coverage.” The Sidney Hillman Foundation, established in 1946 as a memorial to a union leader who had become “the spokesman for [...]
Members at APTN ratify new contract - Workers at the Aboriginal People’s Television Network have voted 98 per cent in favour of ratifying a new collective agreement. The three-year deal, which comes into effect tomorrow, sees significant improvements to the existing pay grid and in working conditions for 72 members of the Canadian Media Guild, CWA Canada’s largest Local. In most cases, pay scales will now start at a higher level and salary steps will rise over two years. Pay rates will increase 3.5 per cent on the anniversary of the APTN hire date as well as on that date the following year. The agreement also provides additional market-rate wage adjustments for video journalists, reporter / correspondents, investigative journalists and graphic artists. There will also be across-the-board annual increases of 1.25, 1.0 and 0.75 per cent. APTN, which has more than 160 employees (including part-time and casual), also agreed to have workplace problems dealt with through a union-management joint committee, with the aim of resolving issues as they develop. Online voting took place from April 17 to 23 following an information meeting at a Winnipeg hotel, that members could attend or call in to participate. Of the 40 CMG members who cast ballots, only one voted against [...]
What Justin Brake’s recent win means for press freedom in 2019 - GRANT BUCKLER | J-Source Commentary [~] Justin Brake, a former reporter for the Newfoundland news site The Independent, wasn’t the only winner when the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal cleared him of a civil charge of contempt last week. The ruling — an encouraging one for a news media that has undergone a spate of legal battles in recent years that call into question their rights as independent watchdogs — affirms the right of journalists to do their jobs. Brake – who now works for the Aboriginal People’s Television Network – is still facing criminal charges of mischief and disobeying a court order, which the Canadian Association of Journalists has said should be dismissed immediately. So the story isn’t over. But this decision is a bit of good news, and a sorely needed one given recent examples of the law being used to make it harder for reporters to gather information firsthand. Brake was charged in October 2016 after Indigenous protesters at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador broke a lock and entered the property of Nalcor Energy. He was there as a reporter covering the protests. When the protesters went through the gate, he followed the story [...]

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Offsite Insight

18.12.06 J-Source – When not to publish graphic images

18.11.15 Global News – CRTC won’t yet rescind order that lets Canadians watch U.S. Super Bowl ads

18.11.14 – Federal review of broadcasting and communications faces stiff headwinds

18.11.01 Financial Post – ‘It’s not a tax’: CRTC chair defends proposal for internet providers to contribute to Canadian content

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