Canadian Screenwriters Ratify New Deal With Producers

The Writers Guild of Canada membership has ratified a new three-year contract deal.

The new Independent Production Agreement for Canadian screenwriters, to come into effect on May 22, 2024, includes script fee increases, minimum staffing requirements and artificial intelligence protections. The new IPA, negotiated with the Canadian Media Producers Association, representing local indie film and television producers, sees live action script fees increase 5 percent, 4 percent, and 3.5 percent over the next three years.

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Animation script fees will rise by 5 percent, 11.5 percent, and 3.6 percent over the same three-year period. The IPA covers rates and workplace conditions for Canadian writers, story editors, and story consultants.

As part of the agreement, new minimum staffing requirements call for two story editors to be working during most of the principal photography on productions starting on or after January 1, 2025, for one-hour productions with budgets over CAN$2.5 million (US$1.85 million) per episode, and half-hour productions with budgets over CAN$1.5 million (US$1.1 million) per episode.

The new IPA deal also has AI protections that include producers having to disclose and contract under the labor deal when they provide writers with AI-generated scripts, while also not reducing existing writer credits or compensation.

Expanded protections against workplace discrimination and harassment were also negotiated. “We are pleased to have negotiated meaningful protections and fee increases for our members,” WGC executive director Victoria Shen said in a statement on Wednesday.

Issues on the table for the WGC during recent IPA negotiations with local producers like AI protections, compensation for writers, and minimum TV writing staff sizes also figured in negotiations last year involving the Writers Guild of America and the AMPTP, which led to a prolonged Hollywood writers strike before a new contract could be agreed on.

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