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Professional Standards

Overview

Professional standards often include ethical standards, standards of practice and professional frameworks. They are frequently discipline specific. They describe the goals, principles and aspirations of professionals working within that discipline and cover both the rights and responsibilities of those professionals. Often these are created by professional associations and unions.

It is important to know that these standards cannot override provincial labour laws.

Conditions of Engagement

You should consider and detail these items in your engagement contracts.

Minimum Rates

Minimum rates are the minimum wage of the discipline. As artists don’t often work in the same ways as labour laws were created, as such these minimum rates define what is considered minimum wage by the industry. These are just the minimum rates, you are absolutely welcome to pay your performers more than the amounts stated should you choose to do so.

There are often different minimum rates for hourly, weekly and exclusive engagements. An hourly engagement will often have a minimum call time, such as three hours. A weekly engagement could be for 5-6 days a week. An exclusive engagement is often weekly, but does not allow the artist to have other work during that time, as such exclusive engagements are often paid more.

Organizations that publish minimum rates
ProfessionOrganization
Theatre PerformerCanadian Actors Equity (CAEA)
Film & TV PerformerACTRA
UBCP (BC)
Dance ArtistCADA-ON
CADA/West
CAEA
Opera SingersCAEA
MusiciansAmerican Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM)
ComposersCanadian League of Composers
Theatre DirectorCAEA
Theatre TechniciansInternational Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
Theatre Designers (set, costume, lighting, projection and sound designers)Associated Designers of Canada (ADC)
Stage ManagersCAEA
DramaturgsLiterary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA)


Royalties

These are sums of money (flat fee or percentage) that are negotiated for a creator when their creation is shared in subsequent events such as a playwright or designer. Read more here.

Schedule Notice & Changes

These standards outline when you must be given your work schedule and what amount of notice must be given for it to change.

Hours, Length of shift and Duration of Work

This will outline the hours of work with in a day and/or week.

Amount of breaks

Breaks will vary by discipline. Many discipline require more breaks than mandating by provincial labour laws.

Types of Work

There may be different work provisions outlined for rehearsal and performance. For example, some disciplines will include warm-up periods before performance and some will not.

There may also be provisions for other activities such as costume fittings, photo calls, notes sessions, technical sessions, production meetings, hair and makeup calls, etc, which may take place within the rehearsal hours.

Call

This is the time at which you must arrive at work before the activity is starting.

Absences

Some professional standards have provisions for allowing absences such as illness - others do not. It is important to know if absences will be paid.

Overtime

Overtime is time in addition to what is normal, as time worked beyond one's scheduled working hours. There may be different rules on when overtime is required, how the artist is asked to work overtime, and how they are compensated for the additional time.

Physical Environment

Health and Safety

All engagers must offer a safe and sanitary work environment. This includes everything from first aid supplies and individuals with training, to a clean environment to appropriate ventilation, temperature, lighting, waste disposal, washing facilities, drinking water, etc. Further, this also includes the assurance that people with disabilities are safe and able to access all health and safety measures.

In BC there is an organization focused on these standards called Actsafe Safety Association. They publish many guidelines on entertainment industries and keeping workers safe.

Workplace Insurance

The workplace should carry General Liability Insurance which cover bodily injury and property damage to third parties arising from your workplace, operations, products and completed operations. This may not include an artist on the job. Find out if there is workplace safety insurance in place as well, such as Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and/or alternative workplace safety insurance and /or third party liability coverage.

Rehearsal and Performance Space

In the performing arts. the space(s) you work in is especially important. The space you rehearse and perform in must meet building code standards and should be equipped with proper equipment and be large enough for the performance that it is intended for. For example, a dance performance should have larger space requirements due to the movement that dancers perform; a small, closed space would not be suitable for a dance rehearsal or performance. Performance space must also be accessible for all performers with disabilities.

Floor Surface

Floor surface is an important consideration. For example, dance artists may refuse to work on a concrete surface and require a wooden, sprung floor with a marley floor surface.

Temperature

The temperature can be a major consideration for some disciplines.

  • Surface Temperature - This will reference the temperature range allowed for the surface that the artists are working on.
  • Air Temperature - This references the temperature range allowed for the air temperature.

Facilities and Dressing Rooms

This may be as simple as listing the need for the space or, you may have specifications on what the space must be like. Either way, performers should have access to a closed dressing room, and all workers must have access to washroom facilities.

AODA

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act should be taken into consideration for all workplace environment matters. It is required that the standards set out in this act be in effect and implemented to ensure that spaces are accessible for all performers, staff and patrons.

Work Environment

Harassment & Discrimination

All individuals have the right to work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination. Some disciplines will have specific processes for how to keep the workplace free of harassment and discrimination. And some disciplines will have internal processes for how to make a complaint. It is important that these processes are in place and that the entire team is made aware of how to proceed should there be an instance of harassment and/or discrimination.

Right of Refusal of Work

All employees at all times have the right to refuse unsafe work.
Here is a useful guide for each province.

Touring

Transportation Methods

It is important to know what transportation methods are being used. If your are touring in a vehicle, what is the processes being used to ensure its safety?

Housing Accommodations

This will outline where you are staying and what is being covered. This may be covered fully or offered as an amount per day.

Per Diem

This is the daily allowance given per day to cover living expenses when traveling for work. The CRA publishes an amount annually for travel within Canada and Internationally. This may be taxable income.

Notice of itinerary

Like with Schedule Notice and Changes, this outlines when the schedule is given to the artists and how much notice required for a change.

Travel and Health Insurance

This will outline if travel and health insurance are required, in what amounts and who is responsible for securing and paying for the coverage.

Visas and Permits

When travelling abroad visas and permits may be required. This will outline timelines and who is responsible for securing and paying, when applicable.

Allowable Hours for travel

Travel should be considered part of the work day. There should be guidelines outlining the amount of travel plus rehearsal and/or performance in a day and the breaks between travel and performing.

Other Considerations:

Additional Protection

Sometimes a process will have elements that go above and beyond the normal workplace. These could include heights, working on surfaces outside of the professional standards or fire. In these circumstances, you may be given additional equipment as part of the agreement.

Dispute Resolution Procedures

Each engager should include a process by which disputes will be resolved.

Sex, Nudity & Obscenity

No artist is required to participate in activities that make them feel unsafe or working outside of their values. Often when a performance deals with sex, nudity and/or obscenity there will be a process discussed in advance of rehearsal starting. Some disciplines have a specific process around it.

Film and Video Tape

Recording for use in production

Recordings for publicity, promotional and archival purposes

Program & Credit

How your work will be listed in any publicity or program can be negotiated in advance. This may be particularly important for artists who are working with royalties as the future program and credit may also want to be noted.

Resources

Canadian Dance Assembly (CDA) - CDA offers a comprehensive list of resources for standard wages and minimum fees for dance artists.