Talent Agency Frequently Asked Questions

Talent agencies play a vital role in British Columbia's film and television industry and it is important that all aspects of the industry reflect the kind of professionalism for which B.C. is known.

In response to entertainment industry requests, the B.C. government put regulations in place that would provide a framework to protect performers and ensure the film industry in B.C. continues to flourish.

In most cases the Employment Standards Branch will contact you to get more information and try to resolve the complaint.

If the complaint cannot readily be resolved, the Branch will conduct an investigation. When the investigation is complete the Branch can issue a Determination (a decision).

If it is determined that a talent agency owes a client money, the Director of Employment Standards may initiate collection action to recover funds.

In some sectors of the industry, a producer may pay a talent agency directly for providing talent. This is sometimes called a "booking fee."

Booking fees are not part of a performer's income and should not show on the performer’s pay statement. They are not subject to the requirements of the Employment Standards Act.

Producers, talent agencies and their payroll departments or services must ensure these payments are processed separately.

Talent agencies can charge performers a fee on any service they provide to the performer. However, the total amount of fees charged cannot exceed 15 percent of the performer’s "wages" as that term is defined in the Act. For this reason many talent agencies only charge a fee on amounts that fall within the definition of “wages”. “Wages” includes any money paid or payable by an employer for services rendered or labour provided, or incentives that relate to hours of work, production or efficiency; but does not include allowances or expenses.

Wages for performers typically includes pay for straight time, overtime, use fees, residuals, meal penalties and vacation pay.  Other payments that also meet the definition of wages include wardrobe call, travel time, audition fees, improv fees, stunt fees and use of TV commercials in a program.

Performers receive a number of payments from production companies that do not meet the definition of wages under the Act. These payments will typically include per diems, travel or mileage expenses, GST, retirement payments, insurance benefits, wardrobe fees, compensation for specialized items, late payment penalties, audition delay/recall fees and callback fees. As these payments are not “wages” as defined in the Act, they cannot be included in the amount the employment agency uses to calculate its maximum fee.

Some agencies may deposit your earnings in an agency account and write a cheque to you after deducting their commission amount. Others may give you a cheque made out to you directly from the producer when you pay them commission on that amount.

If you haven't been paid, or have been overcharged for fees, and you cannot resolve the matter between yourself and the agency, you should contact the Employment Standards Branch located at:

200 - 880 Douglas Street
Victoria, BC V8W 2B7

Mailing address: PO Box 9571 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC V8W 9K1 

Employment Standards Information Line: 1-800-663-3316

You can also report problems with talent agencies to the Better Business Bureau and the Talent Agents and Managers Association of Canada (TAMAC) at (416) 963-0100.

A list of licensed talent agencies is available online. Other sources of information about talent agencies are:

Union of BC Performers
400 - 1155 Pender St. West
Vancouver, BC V6E 2P4
Phone: (604) 689-0727 Fax: (604) 689-1145

The Talent Agents and Managers
Association of Canada (TAMAC)
19 Isabella St.
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1M7
Phone: (416) 963-0100

The Better Business Bureau of Mainland British Columbia
404-788 Beatty St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 2M1
Phone: (604) 682-2711