Friday, March 1, 2013

Did you know? - Fee security

Did you know that Council requires Equity staff to ensure secured payment of a portion of most contracts? The principal exceptions to this rule are fringe and certain independent/small-scale productions, where no security is held. This security is variously managed by having the engager place a deposit with Equity, equivalent to the fees and benefits for part of the contract, or by prepayment of fees to the artist and the applicable benefits to Equity. 

As of the end of the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Equity held a total of $7.5M in security for your fees. The vast majority of that is in the form of letters of credit and similar pledges, with only about 25% being actual money held on deposit. Still, that is a lot of production money tied up, and has understandably been a matter of some contention with engagers over the years.

So, why do we do that?

The need to hold security is not a theoretical one. Over the same fiscal year, Equity used those funds to distribute $46,205 in unpaid fees, and a further $101,376 in benefits deducted from artist paycheques, but not sent in to Equity. That's close to $150,000 of your money, for one year alone, that we otherwise would have little chance of collecting, or would be able to collect only at significant expense and trouble.

That's why.

In the grand scheme of all engagers and all productions the need is thankfully rare, but it is unquestionably a chronic one. There are more than a few members out there this past year, and every year, who are grateful that security was held. Speaking from experience, I count myself among them.


  1. As an engager, I agree that it can be frustrating, but as a member, I fully endorse and appreciate this benefit of having an Association like Equity looking out for my money.

  2. Your ability to speak to both sides of the equation is appreciated. Thank you!


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