There has been a flurry of activity around the Screen Industry Workers Bill in the last month.
On the 23rd of August the Bill had its second reading in the House.
Then it went to the Committee of the Whole House on the 31st of August.
We expect that the Bill will have its third and final reading in the house next week. We hope. It’s No. 5 on the Order Paper, so it may not be gotten to on the day if things drag out.
But if it doesn’t, what happens from there?
If the Bill gets its third reading, it is then destined to become law but not until it receives Royal Assent from the King’s (?!) representative, the Governor General. The Bill will come into force three months after it’s signed by the Governor General.
While we all prepare for collective bargaining, which the Act will allow for contractors in the screen industry, six new rules will come into effect immediately when the Bill comes into force:
- Duty of good faith applies between workers and their engagers
- Individual contracts must be in writing
- Engagers must follow process rules for making and varying individual contracts
- Individual contracts must contain mandatory terms. Existing contracts will have extra time – 12 months – to comply with this
- Terms must not be worse than any applicable collective contract (once it has been negotiated)
- Engagers can’t cancel contracts in retaliation for workers exercising their rights
If you are working as a contractor in the screen industry and are covered by the Bill, four of the above six rules will apply straight away, being 1., 2., 3., & 6.
Rule 4. will also apply if you enter into a new contract.
Rule 5. will apply when a collective agreement is negotiated.
These six rules change the dynamic of the relationship between you as the contractor and the person or company contracting you. They will be law. They must be abided by. And they are enforceable.
In other words, you will have protection as a contractor in your working relationship with the entity contracting you that you didn’t have previously.
This change in dynamic is going to take some time for everyone to get used to. It’s important however that everyone understands what it all means and how it will affect them.
We have published a simplified guide to what the Screen Industry Workers Bill means, with links to additional information.
Please take the time to read and learn about the Screen Industry Workers Bill because it’s going to become an important part of your working life.