Thanks to Vancouver extras casting director Andrea Brown for information regarding the casting of background actors in Canada. Andrea Brown has cast dozens of top television shows and feature films including The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
The following information also applies to the other provinces of Canada.
In British Columbia, Canada, extras can be represented by "Extras Agents", which differ from Extras Casting Directors. Agents charge a 15% commission fee for their services, as well as a yearly photo fee of $25.00. Casting Directors such as Andrea Brown (who are contracted by the production company) hire the vast majority of their extras through Extras Talent Agents such as these reputable companies (only people LOCAL to the filming areas are generally hired):
A Tactical Actions Group
There are two types of calls that extras talent agents make. One type of call is to book you for the job. The other type is to check your availability. It is common practice to check your availability before submitting pictures to the extras casting directors. A call to check when you are available is not a booking. If you are chosen by the extras casting director, the extras agency will call you back to confirm the booking. When They call to book you, they let you know the exact date(s) they need you. They usually call the day before you work, they rarely get much notice. When they call to book you, they need a yes or no, not a maybe-depending-on-the-time answer. When they are booking you they do not know the start or end time of the shoot. You need to be completely free on the day of filming with absolutely no other commitment. Under no circumstances can you be late to the set or leave early once you are on set. You will get a phone call later in the day from the production company, usually the second assistant director or extras coordinator, to give you the exact call time and location.
You must have a social insurance number or a work permit to work in Canada. More information regarding "Extras Agents" can be found here:
You can find information on how to obtain a Canadian Work Permit here: