Mandatory Background checks for agents working with youth in BC

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Families of child actors know that there is more to the entertainment industry than glitz and glamour. With the Weinsteins and Epsteins we have learned the hard way that not everyone is to be trusted. Many are on guard constantly to ensure the safety of their child actor and to make sure they are safe while practising their art. 

Meanwhile, it is in every sense of the word a job. Child actors, maintain their materials, go to auditions, learn their lines, show up on set and work as professionals in the industry. These young and vulnerable youths need to know they are working with people who are vetted and not out to exploit them. 

BC's Employment Standards Branch could easily make it mandatory for those signing up to be talent agents to undergo a background check. This does not yet exist. 

In Los Angeles, they have a Child Protection Act, designed to protect child actors from sexual predators. The law requires not only agents, but publicists, managers, acting coaches and headshot photographers who work with child actors to be fingerprinted and pass an FBI background check to screen out registered sex offenders. Only then will they be issued a Child Performer Services Permit.

In BC, the hub of the Canadian film industry, and largely across Canada, there is yet to put such a safety in place for the children 18 and younger. Not only should the agency owner be licenced, but so should any agent working with children. This would be to prevent , agency owners hiring unvetted people to work with children. 

This would include any touring talent "Audition" showcase. They would have to comply and apply for a special license, which would prevent criminals from having access to child actors and their families. 

If the safety of your child actor is important to you, please do sign the petition and share the word.

Thank you for making this industry a little safer for our vulnerable youth.