September 28, 2021

Victory! Lawsuit deal means $1M-plus for Cineflix workers, and a path to the first union contract in factual TV industry

The proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against Cineflix marks a real turning point in our campaign to improve working conditions for factual TV workers and we are excited to share more details about it.

The settlement means at least $1 million will be paid to employees or ‘independent contractors’ who worked at Cineflix from October 2016 onward. It is compensation for lost wages including overtime pay, vacation pay, and holiday pay.

More importantly, the settlement may include a collective agreement that has been negotiated between Cineflix and CWA Canada and IATSE. Under the terms of the settlement, Cineflix has until March to decide to either pay an additional sum of money or to allow current Cineflix workers to vote on the collective agreement.

The collective agreement would bring in minimum pay scales, overtime pay, vacation pay, meal breaks, travel time, health and safety, and other provisions. These are the issues we've been fighting to improve in our industry since this campaign began more than 8 years ago.

We are extremely grateful to Anna Bourque, the representative plaintiff in the class action lawsuit, for having the courage to speak out and publicly demand fair treatment and basic rights for all Cineflix workers. She has been joined by dozens of other factual workers who have worked behind the scenes on the campaign over the years.

This is a significant victory, but our work is far from over. While Cineflix workers have a rare chance to correct past wage theft and to improve future working conditions, it will be up to all of us to make sure those benefits are well understood and to create the best conditions possible for the deal to thrive at Cineflix. We will be holding town halls and information sessions in the coming weeks and months to talk about the settlement and the collective agreement. Stay tuned for more information about those sessions. Please contact to find out how you can help out!

In the meantime, if you're currently working at Cineflix, please add your name to this confidential pledge that you are in favour of improving your working conditions. We will keep in touch with you about further actions you can take to ensure you have fair working standards at Cineflix going forward.

More on the class action from the CWA Canada website:

Two of Canada’s top media and entertainment unions are welcoming a proposed settlement of a class action that would see factual TV company Cineflix pay workers at least $1 million and possibly sign a collective agreement that would be a first in the industry.

The agreement, submitted on Monday for court approval, follows three years of negotiations between the company, law firm Cavalluzzo, CWA Canada and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees).

The lawsuit was filed by Cavalluzzo LLP in 2018 on behalf of hundreds of current and former workers at Cineflix, which produces such TV shows as Property Brothers and Mayday. It came after a five-year Fairness in Factual campaign by CWA Canada to improve working conditions in the industry. IATSE joined the campaign in 2019, with the formation of the Factual Television Joint Council.

The proposed settlement would see $1 million in compensation for all employment standards entitlements (overtime pay, vacation pay, holiday pay) for nearly everyone who worked for Cineflix as employees or so-called independent contractors since October 2016.

Cineflix has until March to decide whether to sign a collective agreement that has already been negotiated or pay an additional lump sum. The collective agreement includes big improvements, including minimum pay scales, overtime pay, vacation pay, holiday pay, meal breaks, travel time, health and safety requirements, and other provisions.

CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said the deal is a big win for workers and “shows the power of coming together to fight for what’s right.”

“After years of being largely powerless to address issues such as long hours and declining pay rates, workers now know they can fight back and win,” O’Hanlon said. “It’s the first big step in improving an industry that has been operating like the Wild West and treating employees as second class compared to scripted TV.”

IATSE, North America’s largest entertainment union, represents factual / reality workers in the United States and a large majority of workers in scripted TV in Canada.

“Obviously I’m very pleased,” said Anna Bourque, the representative plaintiff in the suit. “As Jane Goodall says, ‘If you don’t have hope that your action is going to make a difference, why bother to do anything?’

“This is no overnight victory – owners and management have always been against workers organizing. So sometimes it takes a lawsuit to raise awareness and get things moving in the right direction.”

Bourque said it has “taken eight years to get to this point, and I can see that light at the end of the tunnel. Doing something makes a difference.”

Cavalluzzo has also filed a class action against Insight Productions seeking damages for alleged employment standards violations. That is still before the courts. Insight Productions is best known for producing Canadian versions of shows such as Amazing Race, Big Brother, and CBC’s Battle of the Blades.