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IATSE local 669 Canadian cam. union a must?


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#1 Michael Lucas

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 09:15 AM

Hello,

So you've seen this a hundred times - not going to pretend you haven't.

Short and sweet, to the point;
Aussie jetting to Vancouver in September.
Not much happening down under so taking some time out.
Thought I'd get myself a working holiday visa and a SIN for my travels. Then I thought "hmm, wonder what the industries like in Canada"
Then I asked around. All responses pretty much said to join the union to get any serious work.
Firstly this is a little odd for me because (and this may sound odd to some of you) we don't really have unions in our 'film industry'. They're definitely not as prevalent, more groups or associations than unions really.
So what advice would you give to a young Aussie willing to haul ass on set and grind fingers away in the camera department.
Over at the IATSE 669 ( ia669 ) site they list a few courses to have under your belt to be considered for a trainee program, but is a trainee program what I want? I'm a year out of film school and my professional onset experience is not all the way up there with the Jones' (hence my Canadian adventure)

Regards
Mike

ps. Any Canadian DP's willing to take on an apprentice? I may be able to get wages subsidised with ScreenAustralia help.
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 12:02 PM

Thought I'd get myself a working holiday visa and a SIN for my travels. Then I thought "hmm, wonder what the industries like in Canada"
Then I asked around. All responses pretty much said to join the union to get any serious work.


My understanding is that in order to join IA669 in Canada, permanent residency in the country is a must. Don't know how easy it is for citizens of members of the Commonwealth to get that, or if I waiver exists.

http://www.ia669.com...px?code=ABOUTUS
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#3 Matt Read

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 04:02 PM

I'm a US citizen with what sounds like a similar level of experience and I was looking at doing something similar until recently. I actually had a job lined up at a camera rental house in Vancouver, but it fell through when they realized I wasn't Canadian (a friend had set me up with the job and I incorrectly assumed he had mentioned my citizenship and apparently the rental house assumed I was Canadian). They said that there was no way that the Canadian government would give me a work visa to work an entry level job as I would be taking a job away from a Canadian (they're pretty serious about protecting Canadian jobs). So that quickly shut down any hopes for getting an off set job.

I also looked into the IA 669 camera trainee program. From what I understand, the program is closed for the time being. With the economy and production down, they aren't taking any new recruits. And it also seems that to get into the union with no experience, you have to go through the trainee program.

As far as getting permanent residency, to qualify for it you need to have gone to school or worked in Canada for at least a year (but if you only have entry-level skills you won't be allowed to work because you'd be taking a job away from a Canadian) or have job skills which are in demand in Canada (which if you're looking for entry-level jobs, you don't). It's an unfortunate catch-22, you can't get work there without being Canadian, but you can't be Canadian without first working there.

I don't know if things would be any different for you, being from a Commonwealth country, for your sake I sincerely hope they are. I don't mean to piss on your plans, but I thought it'd be better for you to find out all of this now, rather than after you've flown halfway around the world.

If you're still serious about working in Canada though, I would suggest contacting Customs and Immigration Canada and find out more directly from them.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 08:19 PM

As far as getting permanent residency, to qualify for it you need to have gone to school or worked in Canada for at least a year (but if you only have entry-level skills you won't be allowed to work because you'd be taking a job away from a Canadian) or have job skills which are in demand in Canada (which if you're looking for entry-level jobs, you don't). It's an unfortunate catch-22, you can't get work there without being Canadian, but you can't be Canadian without first working there.


Why would you want to come to Canada Matt? We are going to ram free health care and a stable banking system down your throat. :D

American lead actors, DOPs, and producers, can work here with no issues at all on a film shoot. The forms are very simple and approval is always guaranteed.

Now the USA has no such provision going the other way. A Canadian DOP will not be authorized by ICE to go to Hollywood and shoot a movie.

So in actuality the US has much stricter laws to keep out Canadian film workers than the other way around.

I will say this though, it makes me mad as hell that Americans and Australians are not permitted to work here in these trainee positions while some guy fresh off the boat from a Third World hole is given "refugee" status. And then immediately authorized to work, collect welfare, and have free health care. It makes me so mad I am pounding the keys as I write this!!!

R,
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#5 Matt Read

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 12:51 AM

Why would you want to come to Canada Matt? We are going to ram free health care and a stable banking system down your throat. :D


And I was planning on working there despite that! Whatever was I thinking?

Seriously, though, it was a real bummer finding out I couldn't work there because I was actually interested in getting in on that stability and getting Canadian citizenship eventually.
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#6 Michael Lucas

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 07:35 AM

I will say this though, it makes me mad as hell that Americans and Australians are not permitted to work here in these trainee positions while some guy fresh off the boat from a Third World hole is given "refugee" status. And then immediately authorized to work, collect welfare, and have free health care. It makes me so mad I am pounding the keys as I write this!!!

R,


So what your saying is that I have a better shot at making it by first migrating to Sierra Leone then sailing to Canada on a bunch of popstickle sticks tied together with a dirty shoe lace? Great :/


So to be part of the union you need to first be Canadian.

Can you get work with out being part of the union? Like fairly substantial work?
What about smaller stuff even. I could work on some student projects to keep in the mind set I suppose - VFS shoots a good option? At the same time, that's what I've been doing here for a few years and I really want to step onto some paid gigs rather than just 'fed' gigs.

Are they're any Canadians here that can point me in the right direction?
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 10:12 AM

So what your saying is that I have a better shot at making it by first migrating to Sierra Leone then sailing to Canada on a bunch of popstickle sticks tied together with a dirty shoe lace? Great :/


Actually I wasn't going to put it that bluntly, I'd get in crap, but yes you have the idea. You could try claiming refugee status from the USA, we have a whack load of US army personnel living here that refuse to ship out to Iraq for example.

Can you get work with out being part of the union? Like fairly substantial work?
What about smaller stuff even.


Yes of course, if you can sort out the work permit thing, no problem. There are lot's of non-union shoots going on in Vancouver and Ontario. Plenty in the 500K-1M range that are non-union. The union of course covers all of the large scale Hollywood shoots going on here.

Here's the point though, it's a fallacy that any union can stop you from working on a shoot even if it's a union shoot. The union can not force the producers to hire only their people, the producers can hire who they want. The union can then give the person a permit for that particular shoot, or induct them as a full member. I love it when producers insist on full induction for the person, it drives the unions totally nuts!!

If you can get a dept head or producer to hire you onto a big union shoot, you'll be able to work on it in some fashion.

Say for example I want to cast a lead role outside of the union, the rule says I must audition at least two union members first, after that I can cast whom ever I want. The union will then give this person a union permit and away they go.

Bottom line is that as a producer I can cast or hire any one I please to. You will not find this info on any union website though!! :D

R,
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#8 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 01:00 PM

Bottom line is that as a producer I can cast or hire any one I please to. You will not find this info on any union website though!! :D

R,



I believe such information may be found on their website under the section: "Union Busting and other Scabs" :)
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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 01:17 PM

Such an emotive term.

Fortunately we did away with all that unpleasantness thirty years ago.
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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 03:00 PM

I believe such information may be found on their website under the section: "Union Busting and other Scabs" :)


And if the list of people the union gives me for a particular position are unacceptable to me, then what?

If I'm the one who signs the cheques, I have the freedom to hire who I want. This isn't China, not yet any way. Besides I'm not going around the union by doing this, permits for new members or one time hires are perfectly acceptable.

R,
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#11 Matt Read

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 02:17 PM

If I'm the one who signs the cheques, I have the freedom to hire who I want.


Well, if you'd ever like to hire me, you're perfectly welcome to do so. :)
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#12 Camelia Gliga

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 10:23 PM

So what your saying is that I have a better shot at making it by first migrating to Sierra Leone then sailing to Canada on a bunch of popstickle sticks tied together with a dirty shoe lace? Great :/


So to be part of the union you need to first be Canadian.

Can you get work with out being part of the union? Like fairly substantial work?
What about smaller stuff even. I could work on some student projects to keep in the mind set I suppose - VFS shoots a good option? At the same time, that's what I've been doing here for a few years and I really want to step onto some paid gigs rather than just 'fed' gigs.

Are they're any Canadians here that can point me in the right direction?


Maybe an entertainment lawyer will guide you in the right direction, without having to ask for just opinions. Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation. It does not hurt to contact one. Here is a good one: http://www.arenaltman.com.
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#13 Dwight Hartnett

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 02:54 AM

As an actual member of IATSE 669 I can confirm that you need residency to get in to the union. There is, however, a fair bit of (relatively poorly paying) independent film work in Vancouver as well. And yes, while the labour laws in British Columbia rank somewhere between Alabama's and Uzbekistan's for labour protection, the truth is that as a non-union camera assistant you will never work on a union show. Because the producers don't hire camera assistants. DOPs, Operators, and other camera assistants do. If a producer really wanted to get you on I suppose he could, but unless you're his favourite nephew it wouldn't be worth his trouble.

Keep in mind that you don't necessarily need citizenship, just residency.
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#14 Martin Hawkes

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 12:22 AM

As an actual member of IATSE 669 I can confirm that you need residency to get in to the union. There is, however, a fair bit of (relatively poorly paying) independent film work in Vancouver as well. And yes, while the labour laws in British Columbia rank somewhere between Alabama's and Uzbekistan's for labour protection, the truth is that as a non-union camera assistant you will never work on a union show. Because the producers don't hire camera assistants. DOPs, Operators, and other camera assistants do. If a producer really wanted to get you on I suppose he could, but unless you're his favourite nephew it wouldn't be worth his trouble.

Keep in mind that you don't necessarily need citizenship, just residency.


Producers will also be reluctant to hire you if you do not qualify for their tax credits - you filed tax as a resident the year prior to work starting.

M
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#15 Michael Lucas

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 03:39 AM

Ah nice - just a residency. I'll delve in to this one. Thanks


I just confirmed this with 669 the guys themselves. Canadian citizen or P.R can join the union after the standard exams and the WHMIS hazards test. Still doesn't solve the underlying problem that I'm new in town and don't know anyone... bugger.
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#16 Vincent De Paula

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 11:13 AM

PR is the minimum you need to apply for the union. I am moving to Vancouver in a few months and I am planning to join.
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