Frequently Asked Questions

What is IATSE 891?

IATSE is the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts. IATSE 891 is the union of 9,000 professional artists and technicians working in the film and television industry in BC and the Yukon. Ours is the largest IATSE Local in Canada and our well trained, world-class members help attract high budget feature films and many acclaimed, long-running television series to BC. We represent members that work in 19 creative departments, all essential to film and television production: Accounting, Art, Construction, Costume, Editing, First Aid/Craft Service, Greens, Grip, Hair, Lighting, Make-up, Paint, Production Office, Props, Script Supervisors, Set Decorating, Sound, Special Effects, and Visual Effects.

How can I join?

Each department has its own application form -- you can get the one you need here. Each role has its own qualifications and the application will outline what you need in order to become an IATSE 891 permittee -- the first step to becoming a full-fledged member. For those just keen to be part of the industry, IATSE 891 has developed a skills calculator which tells you the role to which you’d be best suited. Enter your collection of skills into the Calculator you’ll find here. If you don’t have the necessary qualifications yet, you can see where you need to build them.

How long does the application process take?

There are a lot of variables that influence the time it takes to process the applications. The industry has times of high activity and times where there is a definite lull. Few applications are processed during slow times. Also, if the demand for a certain set of skills is greater than the supply -- you can expect it to move quickly. It can vary from a few weeks to a few months. While you wait, keep building your knowledge and skills. Creative BC has put together great resources for continuing to learn about the industry and film production. Find it here: Getting Started.

What happens after my application is approved?

If your permittee application is accepted, you will be eligible to be called for work. We call members first, then we call permittees. When we are busy, permittees can expect to be busy too.

Once you have worked for 90 days on productions signed with IATSE Local 891, you can apply for membership and start to enjoy all the benefits.

What Benefits will I get as a member?

Unlike most other types of contract workers, working IATSE 891 members* are eligible for benefits for themselves and their families provided by the union. We believe everyone should be paid well and have the security of benefits. On our members’ behalf, we worked hard to create a great package -- as outlined below:

  • Health benefits, including extended medical, dental, life insurance, short-term disability, long term disability, and counselling services
  • Retirement Plan, funded through RRSP contributions
  • Free or subsidized* skills and safety training
  • Financial assistance for qualified members
  • WorkSafeBC support including assistance in filing claims and appeals
  • Scholarships for members and their dependents
  • Discounts and promotions for various goods and services.

*Health benefits, retirement contributions and training subsidies are linked to working hours.

What does it cost to become a permittee?

There is no cost to becoming a permittee. If you work on a production signed with IATSE Local 891, 2% working dues are deducted at source.

What does it cost to become a member?

There is a one-time application processing fee of $880. As your status changes from permittee to member, you will be invited to the initiation event and be welcomed into the IATSE family of members.

What are the union dues?

Each member pays quarterly dues of $80 per quarter (a rate that hasn’t increased since 1988). Pay all four quarters by March 31st each year, and you get a 10% discount. If you work on a production signed with IATSE Local 891, 2% working dues are deducted at source. The dues go to pay for the valuable benefits and services provided to our members.

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