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Writers Guild of Canada votes strongly in favour of strike authorisation

Members of the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) have voted strongly in favour of authorising strike action against the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA).

Victoria Shen

The guild has issued a notice stating that 96.5% of the votes are in favour of authorising labour action, a percentage it called “unprecedented.” It also represents the highest voter turnout in the WGC’s history, with 70.2% of eligible voters casting their ballot.

Approval of the strike authorisation vote does not necessarily mean the guild will go on strike. Rather, it is intended to demonstrate resolve on the part of Canadian writers as they continue in the bargaining process.

“This strike authorisation vote, a first in the guild’s 33-year history, represents a pivotal moment for Canadian screenwriters. It underscores our members’ commitment to securing fair compensation and meaningful AI protections in an ever-evolving industry,” said WGC executive director Victoria Shen.

“While a strong strike mandate does not necessarily mean we will strike, it tells the producers we are ready to defend ourselves if necessary. We remain committed to negotiating a fair agreement for our members.”

The WGC and CMPA have now been bargaining for more than six months but have been unable to reach an agreement. Key sticking points in the negotiations are protections for writers against the use of artificial intelligence, increased pay for animation writers, overall pay for writers and the minimum number of screenwriters participating during production.

The WGC added that it is “committed to reaching a fair agreement with producers and keeping the industry working.” Negotiations broke down early in March, with the WGC earlier this month telling members it was considering moving to a strike authorisation vote.

“Our members understand what’s at stake in these negotiations and I am proud of the strength of their support in this vote,” said WGC president Alex Levine.

“We cannot let producers devalue us and our work. We are standing strong and together to secure a future for Canadian screenwriters.”

The CMPA responded by saying that it remains committed to reaching a deal with the WGC.

“The CMPA remains at the table and is committed to a negotiated settlement with the WGC,” said Sean Porter, the producer association’s VP of national industrial relations and counsel.

“Canadian producers value the work of Canadian screenwriters and sincerely believe that future Canadian projects should be written by humans, not AI algorithms. We believe a labour dispute would be extremely damaging to the domestic Canadian film and television production sector and we remain focused on successfully concluding negotiations.”

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