Implementation Plan for Achieving Gender Parity in Key Creative Positions involved in Canadian Film and Television Productions

By September 30, 2019News

Blue Ant’s goal is to achieve gender parity in key creative positions in Canadian
commissioned original productions for its eight discretionary television services by the end
of broadcast year 2024.

The focus of Blue Ant’s gender parity plan is on the following key creative positions that are
essential in the production of factual programming:

– Broadcast Executive
– Executive Producer
– Series Producer
– Director
– Head of Production (Line Producer)
– Story Editor

In order for gender parity to be achieved in Canadian production, the industry as a whole
needs to collaborate to address and correct the systemic obstacles that are currently
impeding the creation, training, employment and promotion of the female production talent
pool. Gender parity cannot be achieved by broadcasters alone. Accordingly, Blue Ant’s
achievement of its gender parity goals will depend on the cooperation of producers, guilds,
unions, private enterprise and government to increase the education, training and
promotability of female production talent.


I Introduction

1. Blue Ant Media was pleased to participate in the Women in Production Summit hosted by the
CRTC on December 13, 2018 and enthusiastically supports the industry’s commitment to the
goal of achieving gender parity in the key creative positions involved in Canadian film and
television productions.

2. Blue Ant Media is the licensee of eight discretionary television services; HiFi, Love Nature
Smithsonian Channel, BBC Earth, T+E, A.Side, Makeful and Cottage Life. For those services,
Blue Ant commissions approximately 85 hours per broadcast year of original production from
the Canadian production community mainly in the lifestyle and documentary/factual unscripted

3. Blue Ant’s plan is to achieve gender parity in key creative positions in our Canadian
commissioned original productions by Broadcast Year 2024, as more fully set out below.


II Key creative positions in unscripted programming

4. The creative positions that are considered “key” in the production of factual/unscripted
programming are different in many cases from those identified in drama productions. For
example, there is no “showrunner” in a documentary production.

5. Accordingly, Blue Ant has identified the following production roles as the senior key creative
positions involved in producing the programming that is commissioned for its channels (mainly
in the lifestyle and factual genres):

– Broadcast Executive
– Executive Producer
– Series Producer
– Director
– Head of Production (Line Producer)
– Story Editor

6. With the exception of the Broadcast Executive Role, these key creative roles are ultimately
selected by the Canadian producer based on a number of factors including; availability of talent
given the timing/timeline of a production; agreement by all financing broadcasters over talent
selection and past experience working with talent/minimizing risk.


III Challenges

7. As it is the producer that ultimately selects the key creative talent for a production, in order to
achieve its goals for gender parity, Blue Ant will require the cooperation of Canadian producers
and will require producers to commit to this important initiative.

8. However, even with a firm commitment from producers, there are many systemic challenges to
achieving gender parity that must be taken into account in any gender parity plan.
These challenges all feed into each other, and while they can be addressed, it will likely take
some time to see an effect on the female key creative representation in Canadian production.

9. Although not exhaustive of the systemic issues in achieving gender parity in production, the
following are some illustrative examples. Firstly, there is a limited supply of female key creative
talent from which a producer can choose. This will be amplified by the fact that all Canadian
broadcasters will roll out a gender parity plan at the same time. Given the realities of tight
production timelines, there may just not be any female talent available when a producer needs
them for a production. Secondly, much of the female key creative talent is unknown to the
international broadcast community, making it difficult for Canadian producers to get approval
from international financiers for such female talent. Additionally, many production companies
are currently owned and run by men, and the gender of the producer typically has a significant
impact on the gender of the key creative team.

10. As an industry, we are taking the first important step in dealing with these systemic issues by
developing a plan to achieve gender parity. As more female talent are given key creative roles,
giving them an opportunity to develop profiles for themselves in the production community
and to be recognized as leaders in their field, the more they will be sought out by producers,
resulting in more young women seeing great opportunities in the industry and pursuing careers
in production. This will slowly, but eventually increase the pool of available, experienced
female talent.

11. However, broadcasters cannot do it alone. Targeted initiatives, including public/private
partnerships are necessary in order to alleviate the current system barriers faced by women in
production. Additionally, guilds and unions to be proactive in their development programs for
women and their entry mechanisms for new female membership. As an industry, we have to
invest in specific and deliberate training for women to assist them in gaining more experience
in their chosen field and learning the necessary business and entrepreneurial skills to occupy
key leadership rolls and start up their own production companies. In this regard, Blue Ant is
exploring ways to work with organizations such as the CMPA and WIFT to create relevant and
meaningful training and mentorship opportunities for women in production.


IV Rollout of Blue Ant’s Gender Parity Plan

12. Currently, approximately 50% of Blue Ant’s commissioned productions have women occupying
50% of roles identified by Blue Ant as being the key creative positions. In light of the challenges
to achieving gender parity identified above, Blue Ant anticipates that achievement of full
gender parity in the relevant key creative positions will take up to 5 years to implement*.
Accordingly, Blue Ant plans to achieve gender parity according to the following phased-in

2020 > 50% key creative positions occupied by women; 60% Blue Ant commissioned programs included

2021 > 50% key creative positions occupied by women; 70% Blue Ant commissioned programs included

2022 > 50% key creative positions occupied by women; 80% Blue Ant commissioned programs included

2023 > 50% key creative positions occupied by women; 90% Blue Ant commissioned programs included

2024 > 50% key creative positions occupied by women; 100% Blue Ant commissioned programs included

* Blue Ant will revisit this plan after 3 years and adjust timing if necessary