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Northern Ontario film union says Hollywood strike hits home | CBC News

Unions representing film workers in northern Ontario say Hollywood’s latest strike could send ripples during what is supposed to be a busy time for crews.

“There’s a price to be paid when it’s to be paid,” said Scott Thom, a film construction co-ordinator and member of Local 634 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

A strike was voted in favour by The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) last week.

Talks between the American unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke down over wage gaps as more films hit streaming services and artificial intelligence use in movies.

Both writing and acting unions are also striking together for the first time in 63 years.

Despite no strike action or picket lines in Canada, a shortage of U.S. crew members could slow down a few local productions, Thom said.

“We have people we’ve convinced over the past few years with the expansion of our industry in northern Ontario, to commit more and more of their time and their year to our industry,” he said.

“Then to have a summer where we lose a good chunk of earnings.”

A large portion of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was filmed in Greater Sudbury in 2020.
A large portion of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was filmed in Greater Sudbury in 2020. (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Slowdown for northern Ontario ‘started immediately’

Canadian unions representing northern Ontario crews including IATSE Local 634 and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) tell CBC News they are most concerned about artificial intelligence automating performers and the rise of streaming services.

“Even with the pronouncement there might be a writer’s strike, it started immediately and we started to see a slowdown,” said Alistair Hepburn, executive director of ACTRA Toronto.

Hepburn added the strike has already had a “dramatic effect” on northern Ontario, where a number of films including Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, Bad Blood, Letterkenny and its spinoff Shoresy, which takes place in Sudbury.

“While they are slightly farther away from us, they are not farther away when it comes to their rights, their roles, their responsibility and our responsibility to them as members. So truly, this is a fight,” he said.

Hollywood’s latest strike hurts northern Ontario staff who jump from one production to the next, Thom added.

“This is our busy time,” he said.

“The book will be written there and we’ll be reading it and moving forward based on those decisions made.”


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