Following the lead of Screen Slate and its partners in New York, we are starting a fund that can be accessed by Canadian cinema workers who will otherwise go uncompensated by their employers for the foreseeable future. This is a time when those of us who value movie theatres, as well as the communities they help create, can offer support to the workers who’ve kept theatrical exhibition alive across Canada.
While some amount of aid will be forthcoming from federal and provincial governments, it will only come after significant delay — and in many cases it will be insufficient to meet basic needs. Rent, bills, groceries, and other expenses are already adding up to a heavy burden for those affected. The immediate situation for cinema workers — many of whom rely solely on their theatre jobs for income — is one that calls for fast intervention.
This fund’s goal is to cover part, if not all, of one week’s wages for workers. While wages vary across provinces, the standard for full-time work in Canada is 30 hours. With a wage of $15/hour, that amounts to $450. Our initial goal of $22,500 would allow us to support 50 workers. Of course, as the situation develops, we will be responsive to the needs of our community and adjust the distribution accordingly. Our aim is to help as many people as we need to — and we’ll need a lot of support to do that.
The goal is for funds to be distributed starting March 25. In the interest of transparency, this page will be updated each week with a report on precisely how the funds raised have been allocated.
Am I Eligible?
All hourly workers at cinemas in Canada who are experiencing wage disruption because of COVID-19 closures are eligible.
How Do I Apply?
Sign up here: https://forms.gle/P4wcL6SAaJtTX1WcA
Who Are the Organizers?
Michael Scoular: I’m a cinema worker (VIFF’s Vancity Theatre) and freelance writer based in Vancouver. My particular situation — I’m not in as precarious a state as many are — means that I will not personally benefit from this fundraiser. I’m starting it in an effort to support the people affected by this crisis — both those I know and those I don’t.
Mike Archibald: I’m a freelance copywriter; among my yearly contracts are the Vancouver International Film Festival and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Most importantly, I’m a passionate moviegoer; for me, there’s nothing like the theatrical experience, and this crisis serves to remind me of the debt I owe to the many workers who sustain movie theatres throughout this country. By participating in this project, I hope to repay some of that debt.
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