Status of the Artist Act-Scale agreements and Bargaining

Under the Status of the Artist Act, an artist, an artists’ association, a producer, or a producers’ association can ask the Canada Industrial Relations Board (the Board) to make a decision in relation to a number of questions. A producer under the Status of the Artist Act is a federal government department or broadcasting organization. For a full list of federal government departments, click here. Examples of federally regulated producers include radio and television broadcasters.  

Scale Agreements and Bargaining

What is a scale agreement?

  • A scale agreement is a written agreement between a producer or a producers’ association and an artists’ association.  
  • It sets out the minimum terms and conditions for the provision of artists’ services.  
  • Scale agreements are entered into for defined periods of time, and, during those periods, the parties to the agreement must respect its terms.  
  • Scale agreements do not prevent producers and artists from agreeing to terms and conditions of work that are more favourable to an ​​artist.   

What is Notice to Bargain?

  • Once an artists’ association has been certified to represent a sector, either the artists’ association or a producer/producers’ association can give the other party written Notice to Bargain. The delivery of this notice starts the process to negotiate a scale agreement. 
  • The notice can be given to enter into a first scale agreement, to renew or revise a scale agreement or to enter into a new scale agreement.

When can a Notice to Bargain be given?

  • Where the parties already have a scale agreement, Notice to Bargain can be given during the three-month period before the scale agreement expires. Some scale agreements include a term that allows for bargaining during the term of the scale agreement.
  • Parties are expected to start bargaining within 20 calendar days of the delivery of the Notice to Bargain, unless they agree otherwise.

Can terms and conditions of work be changed during bargaining?

  • During bargaining, producers and producers’ associations cannot change the terms or conditions of work that are contained in a scale agreement, unless the artists’ association agrees.  
  • Producers and producers’ associations can, however, change the terms and conditions of work during the period in which pressure tactics are permitted.

Applications to the Board

  • An artist can make an application to the Board to determine whether a right or benefit under a contract between an artist and a producer is more favourable to that artist than the provisions of the scale agreement that applies to the engagement.
  • An artists’ association and a producer or producers’ association can, by joint application, ask the Board to change the termination date of a scale agreement.
  • For more information on how to make an application to the Board, click here.