Talent agencies

Talent agencies must be licensed in B.C.

A talent agency is a person or organization who charges a fee to offer, promise or try to get employment for actors, performers, extras or technical creative film personnel involved in a production of a film, video, television show or television commercial.

Getting licensed

Every talent agent, director, officer, partner or person who directs the affairs of a talent agency must provide a signed statutory declaration as part of a talent agency licence application.

Complete an Application for Talent Agency Licence (PDF, 346.4KB).

The form should be signed by the director(s), officer(s), and owner(s) of the agency. Include a copy of your standard contract when you submit your application.


Pay the non-refundable application fee and prepare the bond

Submit payment along with your application. Renewals can by paid by phone.

$100 non-refundable application fee: Follow the instructions in the application. You can pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) or cheque payable to the Minister of Finance. Debit cards (such as Interac or Visa Debit) cannot be used to pay the fee for a new application.

$725 bond: You can pay the bond using a cheque or other security payable to the Minister of Finance. The bond cannot be paid by credit card. The bond is retained for up to 12 months after the talent agency’s licence expires. The bond may be returned prior to the 12 month period if:

  • There are no outstanding complaints against the talent agency

  • No complaints are received against the talent agency within the statutory complaint period of 6 months after their licence expires

Mail the completed application, bond and fee (if paying by mail) to the address below.

Mailing address

​Employment Standards Branch
Victoria, BC  V8W 9K1

Before a licence is issued, each application is assessed to make sure that an agency will operate in the best interests of clients and employers. The review process can take several weeks.

If you are applying for the first time, someone will contact you to schedule an interview, either by phone or in person.

If your licence is not approved, someone will contact you by phone (and follow-up with a letter) to let you know the reasons why your licence was not approved. Your bond will be refunded. Applicants who previously had their licence cancelled may be refused another licence.

Talent agencies must:

  • Display their licence number on all public advertising and any contract or written agreement made with a client
  • Provide information to the Employment Standards Branch, if requested
  • Deliver wages to clients that have been collected on their behalf

The Employment Standards Branch investigates all complaints about talent agencies. If a complaint is received about your agency, someone will contact you to get more information and try to resolve the complaint. If it is determined that you owe a client money, the Director of Employment Standards may initiate collection to recover funds.

Attend an education seminar to find out about the responsibilities of talent agencies under the Employment Standards Act.

Licences can be cancelled or suspended and a talent agency could be fined for:

  • Making a false or misleading statement in its application for a licence
  • Contravening the Employment Standards Act or Regulation
  • Display their licence number on all public advertising and any contract or written agreement made with a client
  • Being involved in any activity that is illegal, dishonest, fraudulent or deliberately misleading, and which is related to the operation of the talent agency

If your licence is suspended because you do not meet a condition of the Employment Standards Act or Regulation, your licence can be re-instated once you are in compliance with the Act. If your licence has been cancelled, you need to reapply.

If you work with children, comply with the guidelines of the Code of Conduct for Working With Child Performers (PDF, 376.3KBKB) developed by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Talent agency licences must be renewed annually. Submit your renewal application before your licence expires. If not, you could get fined for operating without a licence. You will not receive a renewal notice.

Renewal checklist

  • The application form must be signed by the director(s), officer(s) and owner(s) of the talent agency
  • Submit the $100 non-refundable application fee (payable to the Minister of Finance)
  • Do not submit a bond with the renewal application: a bond is only required for a new licence application
  • Submit a current version of your standard contract

If you're paying the application fee using a credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express)follow the instructions in the application to pay by phone and reduce processing time. Email your application to Employment Standards before you pay by phone.

It takes about two weeks to review and approve renewal applications. During the review process, someone may contact you for more information.

Talent agencies can charge a 15% commission fee to clients

Agencies can charge fees to help clients find employment

Once the agency fee is deducted, clients must get at least minimum wage plus 4% vacation pay. If the client works overtime, payment must equal at least minimum wage, plus overtime pay and vacation pay after the agency fee is deducted.

Example: A client earns $20 per hour from a producer. Their total earnings for one hour of work equals $20.80 ($20 plus 4% vacation pay). The agency deducts a 15% fee which equals $3.12. The client receives $17.68 per hour.

Photo fee: Agencies can also charge $25 per year for taking or providing photos. This fee can only be deducted once a client is paid for doing work through the agency.

Agencies charge their fee based on a client's wages

Wages include money paid or payable by an employer for work or incentives related to hours of work, production or efficiency. For example:

  • Pay for straight time or overtime
  • Payments for use fees
  • Meal penalties
  • Wardrobe calls
  • Travel time
  • Audition fees
  • Improv or stunt fees
  • Residuals or earnings from commercials
  • Vacation pay

Wages do not include allowances or expenses. For example:

  • Per diems
  • Travel or mileage expenses
  • GST
  • Retirement payments
  • Insurance benefits
  • Wardrobe fees
  • Compensation for specialized items
  • Late payment penalties
  • Delay/recall fees
  • Callback fees

Booking fees are not part of a client's wages and should not show on the their pay statement. These fees must be processed separately.

Agencies cannot charge other fees

Agencies cannot charge other fees like annual fees, registration fees, modelling school fees or fees for advertising.

If the agency would like to use a specialized third party service, clients must decide if they want to use the service and pay for it directly (e.g. to use online photo services such as The Casting Workbook or The Link).

Agencies can pay for advertising for a client, but they cannot pay someone else (directly or indirectly) to help get employment for a client.

Agencies can receive wages on behalf of clients and deduct their fee from them

The agency makes sure the terms of the contract with an employer/producer (or "deal memo") are met, calculates their fee and then pays the client:

  • The client is given payment from the agency with their fees already deducted
  • The client is given a cheque from the producer and is required to pay the agency fee

Clients must get their wages within five business days of the agency receiving payment. If the payment is from outside of B.C., the agency has 12 days to pay the client. If the client cannot be located within 60 days, their wages must be sent to the Employment Standards Branch where they're held in trust for the client.

The Employment Standards Branch can collect unpaid wages from agencies, including interest. Directors and officers of the talent agency are personally liable for unpaid wages.

Talent agencies must keep accurate records of the clients they serve

A talent agency must keep a record for each actor, performer, extra or technical creative film person employed through the the talent agency. This includes:

  • The amount of money received on behalf of the client from the employer
  • The amount the talent agency claimed as its fee
  • The amount paid to the actor, performer, extra or technical creative film person
  • The name and address for each employer for whom the talent agency provides a service
  • The name and address of each client employed as an actor, performer, extra or technical creative film person through the efforts of the talent agency, or who is provided with information about employers seeking actors, performers, extras or technical creative film persons

Agency records must be kept in English at the talent agency’s principal place of business in B.C. for two years.

If a talent agency has employees, they must also keep payroll and employment records for each employee for four years.

Ask for help

Clients and talent agencies can get advice and information to help deal with issues.

Talk to someone

Make a complaint

Submit a formal complaint about an issue or dispute with a talent agency.

Start the complaint process

You can also report problems to the Better Business Bureau or the Talent Agents & Managers Association of Canada.