In what’s seen as a victory for IATSE, a long-simmering dispute between Quebec’s film technicians union and the IA over representation of crew on American film shoots in the Canadian province was resolved late last month.Under the terms of the compromise, producers from the US and elsewhere who spend at least 51 percent of their production budget in Quebec will be in control and have the right to choose technicians and crew, without respect to union affiliation. The exact details of the agreement to divide jurisdiction were held back until a vote to ratify was conducted by each side.Approval should clear the way for a return of US productions to Montreal, the province’s entertainment center, as well as other parts of Quebec. A number of shoots originally set for Montreal were put off by the fractious quarrel and shifted to other Canadian cities like Toronto.The IA has been working to rep crew in Quebec since 2005 when it opened a new local in Montreal. But it was thwarted by the Alliance quÃ©bÃ©coise des techniciens de l’image et du son or AQTIS which claimed exclusive jurisdiction based on the province’s unusual “Status of the Artist” law, which protects media and entertainment organizations and workers from competition.The deal was reached after Line Beauchamp, Quebec’s culture minister, intervened in mid-February, at the request of AQTIS, by appointing a mediator.“It’s incumbent for us to participate in the search for long-term solutions to help foreign production and to maintain jobs,” the minister said at the time.The agreement comes at the same time that a pact between ACTRA, the Canadian actors union, and the Canadian Film and Television Production Association was also reached. That dispute along with the IA-AQTIS tussle had deterred major US productions from shooting in Quebec, in particular.
Written by Jack Egan