Alberta Labour Relations Board Releases Promising “Forsaken” Decision

CALGARY, AB – On April 15, 2015, the Alberta Labour Relations Board released an important decision concerning the production “Forsaken” (aka “Redemption” or “John Henry Clayton”), which will likely have wider-reaching implications on the production industry.

A number of proceedings have been brought at the Alberta Labour Relations Board after the producers of the film went into major default while undertaking principal photography in Alberta in the summer of 2013. Large amounts of money remain owing in respect of cast and crew benefits, and many local vendors remain unpaid. Post-production work on the film continued in other jurisdictions, despite the large debts left behind. In addition to local producers, the proceedings also involve Camel Entertainment, Inc. Camel’s President, Kiefer Sutherland, has a starring role in the film.  

I.A.T.S.E. Local 212, with Assistance from the International Defence Fund, and together with the Directors’ Guild of Canada (Alberta District Council), sought to hold various companies, including Camel, responsible for substantial unpaid wages and benefits. On April 15, 2015 the Labour Board granted the application of IATSE Local 212 and DGC Alberta for an interim order. Further to this decision, four Canadian production companies, as well as Mr. Sutherland’s company, Camel, have been ordered to refrain from taking receipt of any Alberta Film Grant funds (estimated to total $1.7 M) payable in respect of the production of the film until the proceedings are completed or the Board orders otherwise.

The Board found that there was a danger of the film grant funds being removed from Alberta “with the stroke of a pen.” It agreed with the unions’ argument that they would be harmed, should that happen. This decision applies a broad definition when determining if multiple production entities and single-use production companies are a “common employer”. It may also make it more difficult for producers to place the liability onto the people working in the industry.  

Local 212 is gratified that the Board has put in place measures to protect the rights of its members as this important litigation continues.

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