Many physically challenged actors and actresses are shut out of the film and television industry due to the lack of accessibility. It's time that the industry become accessible and inclusive. So please consider taking a stand and fight for change to our great industry. And ensure that all talents rights to work are protected. By taking a stand you show Actra and the industry that this will no longer be tolerated.
I am a physically challenged member of ACTRA Toronto. I rely on a scooter and a walker for mobility.
My story is the story of disabled ACTRA union members across this country.
Disabled ACTRA members are missing out on job opportunities in the Canadian film and television industry as a result of television and film productions not being made accessible.
When you see a physically disabled character in a movie or a television show they are usually being played by an able-bodied ACTRA union member who is only pretending to be disabled.
This saves television and movie productions the time and money that it would take to make sets accessible to those of us who are genuinely disabled.
ACTRA promotes diversity and inclusion on the large and small screen, but the union has been working at cross-purposes in regards to including physically disabled ACTRA members in the film and television industry workplace.
ACTRA supplies the able-bodied ACTRA members who pretend to be disabled to the producers who aren't making their sets accessible to disabled people like myself. .
Disabled ACTRA members are getting left out of the making of the picture as a result. That leaves us dealing with the consequences of chronic unemployment.
There's no sense of urgency on the part of ACTRA or the producers to change the status quo because they aren't adversely affected by the status quo.
The work is getting done and the television shows and movies are getting made without us. We are 'there' in the union, but we are nowhere near 'there' on set.
The odds of a physically challenged ACTRA member securing employment in the precarious Canadian film and television industry are obviously much lower than those of an able-bodied ACTRA member.
It would be entirely unreasonable for anyone to suggest otherwise, and yet ACTRA, my union, is doing exactly that with its horribly unfair 'attachment to the workplace' rule.
ACTRA's 'attachment to the workplace' rule stipulates that every ACTRA member must have worked a certain number of days during a current IPA and NCA to be eligible to vote on an upcoming IPA and NCA.
Every ACTRA union member in good standing is eligible to work under an IPA and an NCA.
IPA = Independent Production Agreement. NCA = National Commercial Agreement.
As any chronically unemployed person will tell you, being eligible to work is not the same as being employed.
I have not worked the required number of days that I need to vote on the upcoming IPA or on an upcoming NCA. That was through no fault of my own. I have always been available and more than willing to work.
Disabled ACTRA members don't have any control over whether or not ACTRA sanctioned television and film productions make their sets accessible to disabled ACTRA members.
We certainly can't be blamed for the producers' failure to do what needs to be done to allow disabled union members to participate in the production of movies, television shows and commercials in Canada.
We definitely can't be blamed for able-bodied ACTRA members getting hired to pretend to be disabled characters in Canadian movies, television shows, and commercials for the sake of saving the time and money that it would take to of make sets accessible.
This raises the question: Why is ACTRA, my union, treating disabled ACTRA union members as if they have the same chance of getting work as an able-bodied ACTRA union member ?
It's cruel and unfair of ACTRA to deny disabled ACTRA members the right to vote on an IPA and an NCA on the basis of how much work we aren't getting.
How can we get work on movies, tv shows, and commercials that aren't accessible to us?
ACTRA's 'attachment to the workplace' rule was brought to ACTRA National Council less than a year ago where it was debated, considered and passed.
An unfair rule that was passed by ACTRA National Council can also be removed by ACTRA National Council. That rule can and should be removed immediately.
There is nothing stopping ACTRA from doing the right thing for those of us who have been wronged and are being wronged by an unfair rule.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration,
To all the amazing individuals that have taken the time to sign this petition thank you. This is very serious in today's age to still be taking place as individuals facing disabilities and to still be discriminated against is so wrong. We must all work together to ensure things are changed. Thank you everyone for all your continued support it means a lot to me. We are all in fight this together. . Because at any given time a perfectly healthy individual can be facing the very real possibility of having their whole world changed be it by health or by accident.