Nov 27, 2020
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Actors say Ont. Liberal govt. broke promise

TORONTO (CP) _ Some well-known Canadian actors said Thursday that Ontario’s Liberal government broke a campaign promise to help artists qualify for the same labour protections and training programs as other workers.

Wendy Crewson, Sonja Smits and Tonya Lee Williams joined ACTRA Toronto President Karl Pruner at a news conference at the Ontario legislature to complain about so-called Status of the Artist legislation.

The actors said the Liberals promised a bill that would also extend labour protections to child actors and give artists tax breaks and housing supports.

But instead, the government quietly buried legislation in last month’s provincial budget that gives artists nothing but a weekend celebration in June.

"Let me tell you I felt angry," said Crewson, known for her roles in the television programs ’24’ and ‘ReGenesis.’

"Angry that I and all artists in this province had been duped. Angry that a government in haste to check off something on its to-do list felt that it could be done with such a vacuous piece of legislation."

Smits, the former star of popular Canadian programs ‘Street Legal’ and ‘Traders,’ said the Liberals failed to follow through on any of the key recommendations from the actors’ union.

"This act as presented offers nothing more than platitudes," said Smits.

"It does absolutely nothing to relieve the challenges that are faced by artists, and it does not fulfill the government’s commitment to artists."

Williams, who stars as Dr. Olivia Winters on the popular American soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless,’ said artists can take advantage of the fact this is an election year in Ontario to press the Liberals for changes to the bill.

"Over the years, a lot of those in the Canadian political arena have not taken seriously the voting power of the artists," said Williams.

"I think they do in the U.S. I think they fear it in the U.S."

Smits said she hoped the Liberals could be embarrassed into making improvements to the bill.

"I always think shame is a good (motivator)," she said with a laugh.

Pruner, a former star of television’s ‘ENG,’ called on Premier Dalton McGuinty to amend the legislation to add real supports for actors, dancers and other artists.

"Who thinks it’s a good idea that a very highly educated, highly motivated part of the workforce _ who because of the nature of their work has to transition out of it _ shouldn’t have access to training funds," asked Pruner.

"The province has a job to do here, and it ducked it."

NDP critic Cheri DiNovo said the Liberal government had clearly failed artists, and predicted there would not be any major changes to the bill before the Oct. 10 election.

"This is worse than inaction," said DiNovo.

"It’s a slap in the face to deliver an act called Status of the Artist and then have nothing in that act but a weekend celebration."

ACTRA said artists earn on average 24 per cent less than other Ontario workers, and are not protected by the province’s Employment Standards Act.

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Headline, Industry News

Actors say Ont. Liberal govt. broke promise

TORONTO (CP) _ Some well-known Canadian actors said Thursday that Ontario’s Liberal government broke a campaign promise to help artists qualify for the same labour protections and training programs as other workers.

Wendy Crewson, Sonja Smits and Tonya Lee Williams joined ACTRA Toronto President Karl Pruner at a news conference at the Ontario legislature to complain about so-called Status of the Artist legislation.

The actors said the Liberals promised a bill that would also extend labour protections to child actors and give artists tax breaks and housing supports.

But instead, the government quietly buried legislation in last month’s provincial budget that gives artists nothing but a weekend celebration in June.

"Let me tell you I felt angry," said Crewson, known for her roles in the television programs ’24’ and ‘ReGenesis.’

"Angry that I and all artists in this province had been duped. Angry that a government in haste to check off something on its to-do list felt that it could be done with such a vacuous piece of legislation."

Smits, the former star of popular Canadian programs ‘Street Legal’ and ‘Traders,’ said the Liberals failed to follow through on any of the key recommendations from the actors’ union.

"This act as presented offers nothing more than platitudes," said Smits.

"It does absolutely nothing to relieve the challenges that are faced by artists, and it does not fulfill the government’s commitment to artists."

Williams, who stars as Dr. Olivia Winters on the popular American soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless,’ said artists can take advantage of the fact this is an election year in Ontario to press the Liberals for changes to the bill.

"Over the years, a lot of those in the Canadian political arena have not taken seriously the voting power of the artists," said Williams.

"I think they do in the U.S. I think they fear it in the U.S."

Smits said she hoped the Liberals could be embarrassed into making improvements to the bill.

"I always think shame is a good (motivator)," she said with a laugh.

Pruner, a former star of television’s ‘ENG,’ called on Premier Dalton McGuinty to amend the legislation to add real supports for actors, dancers and other artists.

"Who thinks it’s a good idea that a very highly educated, highly motivated part of the workforce _ who because of the nature of their work has to transition out of it _ shouldn’t have access to training funds," asked Pruner.

"The province has a job to do here, and it ducked it."

NDP critic Cheri DiNovo said the Liberal government had clearly failed artists, and predicted there would not be any major changes to the bill before the Oct. 10 election.

"This is worse than inaction," said DiNovo.

"It’s a slap in the face to deliver an act called Status of the Artist and then have nothing in that act but a weekend celebration."

ACTRA said artists earn on average 24 per cent less than other Ontario workers, and are not protected by the province’s Employment Standards Act.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Actors say Ont. Liberal govt. broke promise

TORONTO (CP) _ Some well-known Canadian actors said Thursday that Ontario’s Liberal government broke a campaign promise to help artists qualify for the same labour protections and training programs as other workers.

Wendy Crewson, Sonja Smits and Tonya Lee Williams joined ACTRA Toronto President Karl Pruner at a news conference at the Ontario legislature to complain about so-called Status of the Artist legislation.

The actors said the Liberals promised a bill that would also extend labour protections to child actors and give artists tax breaks and housing supports.

But instead, the government quietly buried legislation in last month’s provincial budget that gives artists nothing but a weekend celebration in June.

"Let me tell you I felt angry," said Crewson, known for her roles in the television programs ’24’ and ‘ReGenesis.’

"Angry that I and all artists in this province had been duped. Angry that a government in haste to check off something on its to-do list felt that it could be done with such a vacuous piece of legislation."

Smits, the former star of popular Canadian programs ‘Street Legal’ and ‘Traders,’ said the Liberals failed to follow through on any of the key recommendations from the actors’ union.

"This act as presented offers nothing more than platitudes," said Smits.

"It does absolutely nothing to relieve the challenges that are faced by artists, and it does not fulfill the government’s commitment to artists."

Williams, who stars as Dr. Olivia Winters on the popular American soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless,’ said artists can take advantage of the fact this is an election year in Ontario to press the Liberals for changes to the bill.

"Over the years, a lot of those in the Canadian political arena have not taken seriously the voting power of the artists," said Williams.

"I think they do in the U.S. I think they fear it in the U.S."

Smits said she hoped the Liberals could be embarrassed into making improvements to the bill.

"I always think shame is a good (motivator)," she said with a laugh.

Pruner, a former star of television’s ‘ENG,’ called on Premier Dalton McGuinty to amend the legislation to add real supports for actors, dancers and other artists.

"Who thinks it’s a good idea that a very highly educated, highly motivated part of the workforce _ who because of the nature of their work has to transition out of it _ shouldn’t have access to training funds," asked Pruner.

"The province has a job to do here, and it ducked it."

NDP critic Cheri DiNovo said the Liberal government had clearly failed artists, and predicted there would not be any major changes to the bill before the Oct. 10 election.

"This is worse than inaction," said DiNovo.

"It’s a slap in the face to deliver an act called Status of the Artist and then have nothing in that act but a weekend celebration."

ACTRA said artists earn on average 24 per cent less than other Ontario workers, and are not protected by the province’s Employment Standards Act.

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