#FIRSTLOOK: ACTORS’ FUND OF CANADA TO AID IN SAG-AFTRA AND WGA STRIKES
The ability to make films and television shows in Canada is in jeopardy as the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes continue in the US. Many of the shows that Canadian audiences love to watch (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” “Reacher” and “The Craving”) are shot in in this country with Canadian casts and crews, but the productions have shut down, leaving tens of thousands of Canadian film workers out of work and many ineligible for Employment Insurance. Many are in jeopardy of losing their homes, forcing them to switch careers in order to keep their families secure.
Enter The AFC (formerly known as the Actors’ Fund of Canada), a national charity that serves people working in the entertainment industry in Canada and is now functioning as the industry’s only emergency financial support. Since May, The AFC has provided $1.2 million in strike assistance, which exceeds the budget for their Emergency Financial Aid program for the entire year.
Unions such as ACTRA, IATSE and the DGC are not permitted to accept donations, but The AFC, which is supported by entertainment industry unions, industry organizations, companies and individuals, can.
To date, The AFC has received donations from the producers and cast of The Good Doctor and Fire Country, both filmed in British Columbia. The producers and cast of these shows understand the importance of helping the Canadian film industry stay afloat.
The AFC’s priority is to assist film workers who are most at risk by providing short-term emergency financial aid up to $2,000 per individual to help avoid eviction, buy groceries and meet immediate needs. The AFC also offers financial wellness webinars and sessions on finding temporary work to help film and TV workers survive what is expected to be a long period of unemployment.
Actor Julian Richings, most recently seen on “The Umbrella Academy” and “Reginald the Vampire” says, “In the 1980s I received support from The AFC when raising a young family and meeting rent by juggling various part-time jobs. I’ve never forgotten that sense of belonging, so necessary at the time. People in the entertainment industry take on a lifetime of gig work and insecurity and often have scarce personal resources. And the next generation, I’m sorry to say, will face even more challenges—inflation, spiralling housing costs, a fundamental change in the delivery of entertainment, and the emerging presence of AI. Canada needs its stories and its characters, and they too need to remain healthy and viable. There is a need for The AFC, and The AFC, if you are able, needs your support.”
Actor Jean Yoon, best known as Umma on “Kim’s Convenience”, says, “The SAG & WGA strikes have meant less work for Canadian actors here north of the border. Most of my actor friends are used to the feast and famine rollercoaster of revenue fluctuation, but my friends who are crew members, sound operators, grips, location scouts, production assistants, are really suffering. I am fortunate in that I don’t need any financial assistance, but I know friends who do and who have been helped by The AFC. Webinar workshops that The AFC provides – especially the Financial Wellness webinars – are a great help. I feel so grateful I work in an industry where so many artists before me committed their time and energy to create systems and safeguards for the rest of us.”
“At The AFC, we support Canadian film workers. If you think it’s important that film and TV continues to get made in Canada, support the people who make it and donate to The AFC today,” noted Executive Director, David Hope.
If you want to help the film and television workers in Canada make it through, please consider donating to The AFC. Especially for those of us who are still working, let’s show our crews some love. The more talent we retain through the strike, the faster our recovery will be.
ABOUT THE AFC
The AFC is the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry. Through compassionate support, we help Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity, and ability to work. With our emergency financial aid program and other services, we support the health and well-being of arts and entertainment professionals in times of crisis and help them live and work sustainably in the long-term.
Media Contact: Cynthia Amsden, Roundstone Communications, 416.910.7740 email@example.com