Second $35-million lawsuit hits Canada’s reality TV industry

2020.02.24 | NEWS RELEASE

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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 Productions. That suit is still before the courts.

“In the weeks following the Cineflix lawsuit, many people contacted us with similar complaints about Insight,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, a lawyer at Cavalluzzo who has been assisting with union efforts to help factual TV workers.

“We heard about very long workdays, six- and seven-day workweeks with no overtime, and no extra pay for holidays. We are putting the reality/factual TV industry on notice that it can no longer deny workers their basic employment rights.”

The ‘Fairness in Factual TV’ campaign began six years ago when a group of reality and factual TV workers decided enough was enough and sought the support of CWA Canada. The IATSE joined the campaign last year.

We urge people in the industry to talk about this issue with your colleagues and join our campaign: FairnessInFactualTV.ca . If you feel your work conditions have been unfair, contact us at: factualtv@cmg.ca. Write a few lines about your experience and attach a recent contract. All contact is completely confidential.

Those who have worked at Insight Productions, Cineflix, Boat Rocker Media or other companies who want more information about the class actions can visit the Cavalluzzo LLP website or email factual-television-classaction@cavalluzzo.com .

For more information:

Kat Lapointe, CWA Canada organizer: kat@cmg.ca; 416-795-8598
Krista Hurdon, IATSE international representative: khurdon@iatse.net

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