January 21, 2022

Insight Lawsuit Sidelined Due to Technicality

The campaign to improve working conditions in factual TV continues

One of two class action lawsuits filed against Canada’s top media companies that specialize in factual TV production has been dismissed based on a legal technicality.

The multimillion dollar suit against Insight Productions filed by Cavalluzzo LLP claiming lost overtime and holiday pay for hundreds of workers has been set aside in an Ontario Superior Court ruling. A spokesperson for Cavalluzzo LLP says that the ruling followed a misunderstanding over deadlines in case management meetings. The court decision notes that while the decision is "inconvenient" it is "not particularly onerous — in the vast majority of cases, the dismissed proceeding can be refiled against the same defendants with just a change in the proposed representative plaintiff."

A similar suit filed by Cavalluzzo on behalf of workers at Cineflix Media has resulted in a $1 million settlement approved by the court in December.The Cineflix settlement has an option for the company to sign a collective agreement covering production workers at Cineflix by the end of March, 2022. Such a contract would be one of the first collective agreements in the factual TV industry in Canada.

Anna Bourque, the representative claimant in both suits, says the Insight ruling is terribly disappointing but will not derail efforts to improve working conditions in factual TV, which is one of the only non-unionized segment of Canada’s entertainment industry.

Both lawsuits allege the companies violate Ontario’s Employment Standards Act by misclassifying workers as independent contractors and failing to provide their employees with overtime, vacation and holiday pay, and in some cases compensation equal to or above minimum wage.

The unions backing the Fairness in Factual TV campaign, CWA Canada and IATSE, say they remain committed to supporting workers in improving working conditions in the factual industry. Anyone who has questions or who would like to get involved in the campaign can get in touch using this contact form.