There are a lot of acronyms in this business! For your convenience we've listed a number of them below and some commonly used terminology. If you can't find what you're looking for do not hesitate to give us a call at 416-928-2278.


A performance category in the IPA defined by speaking five lines or less


Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists. Dating from 1943, ACTRA is a national organization representing professional performers in the recorded, English-language media in Canada.


ACTRA Additional Background Performers are members who are working toward becoming apprentices as they accumulate background working hours.

ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society (AFBS)

AFBS administers the retirement savings plan and the insurance benefits for ACTRA members.


Assistant Director. Usually denoted by his/her listing with the production - as in 1st AD, 2nd AD, the assistant director is responsible for helping out the director in choreographing performers, arranging shots and other related tasks.

AFBS (see ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society.)


Apprentice Member

A member of ACTRA who is in the process of accumulating speaking roles (or silent on-camera in commercials) in order to fulfil the requirements of full membership. Apprentice members have the same rights as full members, except they can't vote in ACTRA elections or hold office with ACTRA.

Background Performer

A performance category defined by having no dialogue. Background performers on set come from two groups: cash extras, who receive hourly compensation, and ACTRA members, who receive minimum remuneration as outlined in the IPA.


Canadian Actors Equity Association. The organization representing professional stage performers in Canada.

Call Time

The specific time that performers are told to report for work on a production.

Cash Extras

Persons working as background performers who are not ACTRA members and are paid a cash hourly wage (see Background Performers).


The Canadian Industrial Relations Board now covers the work previously done through the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal (CAPPRT). The CIRB is charged with overseeing disputes between professional performers and engagers on productions and networks that are within the jurisdiction of the federal government.


The Canada Media Production Association (CMPA) represents the interests of Canadian producers and negotiates the IPA with ACTRA. Prior to 2010 it was known as the CFTPA (Canadian Film and Television Producers Association.)

Commercial Agreement (a.k.a. the National Commercial Agreement, the NCA)

The national agreement signed between ACTRA and the associations representing Canadian advertisers and advertising agencies. The Commercial Agreement sets minimum terms and conditions for the engagement of ACTRA members in radio and television commercials.


The physical piece of paper that outlines the specific conditions of engagement between a performer and a production. See also rider.


A time period, defined in the ACTRA commercial agreement, denoting the "run" of a commercial. The normal cycle of a commercial is 13 weeks, after which engagers have to pay performers again for the use of their performance.


Directors' Guild of Canada. The organization representing Canadian directors.


Entertainment Industry Coalition. The organization co-founded by ACTRA that is responsible for promoting a higher standard of ethical conduct for talent agents. Other major EIC members include TAMAC, the Casting Directors Society of Canada (CDC), CAEA and Theatre Ontario.


The person and/or company that engages performers to work on a production.




Federation Internationale des Acteurs. The international organization, based in London, UK, which represents professional performers' organizations from around the world. ACTRA, Screen Actors Guild and British Actors Equity are all members of FIA.


International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees. One of the organizations representing technicians and other on-set workers who are NOT in front of the camera. See also NABET and ACFC


Independent Production Agreement. The national agreement signed between ACTRA and the producers' association that sets minimum terms and conditions for the engagement of ACTRA members in films, independent television series and other non-network recorded media.


Movie-of-the-Week. Usually a smaller scale production geared to television distribution.

National Commercial Agreement (the NCA, the Commercial Agreement)

The national agreement signed between ACTRA and the associations representing Canadian advertisers and advertising agencies. The Commercial Agreement sets minimum terms and conditions for the engagement of ACTRA members in radio and television commercials.


On Set Liaison Officer. An ACTRA member who volunteers to visit sets to meet with other members and act as the "eyes and ears" of the stewards.


Production Assistant

PAL (Performing Arts Lodges)

Performing Arts Lodges Toronto creates affordable housing for artists with an equal commitment to sustain the activities, common history and familial ties which bond this unique community ([icon name=external-link]more).

PRS (Performers' Rights Society)

The organization set up by ACTRA performers to track residual monies and ensure that engagers abide by their agreements to pay ACTRA performers for future usage of their product.

Principal Performer

A performance category in the IPA defined by speaking six lines or more.

Remittance Statement

Paperwork received from the payroll company or directly from the production company that outlines what monies were earned by performers on that production and how percentages of those monies were allocated to benefits, administration fees, etc.


Payment owed to a performer for the use of his/her performance, often pre-paid for a set period of time after which they are due to be paid again if the production is still in circulation.


An addition to a contract that establishes additional conditions for the engagement of a performer. While the contract may contain information on a specific role, a rider may contain clauses, for example, on accommodation while filming, publicity related to the role, etc.


The union representing screen-based performers in the United States.


Silent On-Camera. A performance category defined in the Commercial Agreement in which ACTRA performers are visible in the finished production but have no dialogue.


A performance category whereby a performer is engaged to "stand in" for another performer for purposes of scene blocking, lighting, etc.


An ACTRA staff member who is responsible for liaising with productions to ensure that they comply with the terms and conditions of relevant ACTRA agreements.


Any action, required of a performer as part of an engagement, that is physically demanding and/or potentially injurious to the performer's health and safety.

Stunt Coordinator

An experienced stunt performer, hired by the engager, who is responsible for the safe execution of stunts. ACTRA Toronto has a registry of experienced and qualified stunt co-ordinators.

Talent Agent/Talent Agency

A person or organization that works on the behalf of performers and is responsible for promoting them for roles. Legitimate talent agents/agencies do not offer classes, take photographs in-house or offer services other than direct representation. See also EIC, TAMAC.


Talent Agents and Managers Association of Canada. The umbrella organization representing major Canadian talent agencies.


Union of British Columbia Performers. The ACTRA branch representing performers who work in British Columbia


Union des Artistes. The organization representing professional performers in the French language in Canada.


A form issued by ACTRA that serves as a contract for background roles under the IPA. Vouchers come in different colours which are used to distinguish between full members, apprentices and AABP members and non-members.

Work Permit

Authorization given by the local ACTRA office to non-members or apprentice members to work on a set that is signatory to ACTRA agreements. When productions agree to work under ACTRA agreements, they agree to give preference of engagement to ACTRA members. If they intend to use non-ACTRA performers in certain roles, the production or performer must purchase a work permit. Work permits act as an incentive for engagers to hire ACTRA members and for non-members to join ACTRA.


Writers Guild of Canada. The organization representing Canadian professional writers.