Member Handbook – 1 – Introduction


What is ACTRA?

A message from ACTRA Toronto President, David Gale:

ACTRA is a member-driven union that secures the rights of, and promotes respect for the work of professional performers in the recorded media across Canada, in languages other than French. ACTRA represents more than 21,000 professional performers across Canada. In Gordon Pinsent’s words, “ ACTRA is the house that Canadian performers have built for themselves.”

Representing 15,000 Ontario performers, ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA and a strong voice for all Canadian Performers. ACTRA Toronto is the engine that powers our national union’s fight for better rates and working conditions at the bargaining table and for legislative and regulatory changes that create more work opportunities for our members and our industry.

ACTRA members can be proud of the work they have done together. Achievements such as regulated working hours, meal periods, residual payments, safe sets, health and insurance plans and better protection of child and other performer's rights have all been enormous gains, won through collective action and the dedication of ACTRA members.

Since 1943, ACTRA has been working with one goal: to make things better for performers. With your help, we will continue to make good on that promise.

Table of Contents

1 - Introduction

  • About Us
  • What we stand for
  • Membership
  • History

2 - How to join

  • There are four ways to join ACTRA
  • I Work ACTRA - The ACTRA Member's Pledge

3 - What ACTRA does for you

  • Bargaining the contracts
  • Legislative advocacy
  • Anti-harrassment, Equality and Inclusion policies

4 - The ACTRA Advantage

  • Member Education
  • Health Retirement and other benefits
  • Member conferences
  • Discounts
  • ACTRA Awards in Toronto
  • Gordon Pinsent Studio
  • Talent Databases

5 - When you need help

  • Creative Arts Savings & Credit Union
  • The AFC
  • Agent Directory
  • Safety
  • Counselling Services
  • Minors
  • Senior Artists

6 - Friends and Alliance partners

  • FilmOntario
  • Labour Partners

7 - Governance

  • Constitution and By-Laws
  • Council
  • Get Involved
  • Parades
  • Maintaining your membership

8 - Nuts & Bolts

  • Yours Stewards and OSLOs
  • Performers' Rights Society (PRS)
  • Communication

About Us

ACTRA Toronto is the largest branch within ACTRA, the union representing Canada’s professional performers working in recorded and live-broadcast media in languages other than French. As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven union that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of professional performers.

ACTRA members are principal performers, background performers, voice artists, stunt performers, announcers, singers, dancers, hosts, models, narrators, panellists, puppeteers, choreographers, and dialogue coaches.


Your ACTRA Toronto membership card is the proof that your work has met professional standards and that you have made a commitment to being a professional performer. It is a badge of pride which identifies you a member of a community of professional performers who stand together for fair pay and decent working conditions.


ACTRA is a federated national union with nine independent branches. The Toronto branch was the seat of the union’s creation in 1943 when CBC radio artists demanded more than “a dollar a holler.” Since the foundation of the union, nearly 75 years ago, ACTRA members have gone out on strike only once, in 2007, when producers asserted that performers' work could be distributed on the Internet for free. The strike was successful and, today, performers are routinely compensated for work made for and distributed on the Internet.

  • ACTRA advocates for you so you don’t have to!
  • ACTRA members work in all formats: film, TV, web, animation, commercials, video games, industrials and educational programs, non-broadcast demos, radio drama, audio books, telephony, CDs and more.
  • ACTRA asserts that a performance is a performance regardless of how and when the performance is viewed or heard.
  • ACTRA is committed to negotiating fair session fees, residuals, RRSP contributions and extended health care benefits for its members.
  • ACTRA insists that performers share in the success of programs containing their work in the form of residuals or Use Fees.
  • ACTRA seeks to organize all recorded and live-broadcast performance work and expand work opportunities for its members.