FilmOntario – Who We Are • June 25th – official launch of FilmOntario (The Ontario Film and Television Consortium) • An industry-oriented and industry-driven consortium, comprising Producers, Labour Organizations, Suppliers • Committed to improving Ontario’s competitiveness in the highly globalized film and television market. • $1 Billion industry in Ontario • Directly employs over 35,000 people A SARS Response for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario
Ontario Production – From Feast to Famine • Ontario has had a decade of sustained growth followed by a levelling off of production in 2001 and 2002. • Further pressures in early 2003: • Iraq war • Decline in Made for Television Movies (staple of the Toronto industry) • Federal government’s decreased the Canadian Television Fund to the disadvantage of the indigenous television industry. • The rising Canadian dollar A SARS Response for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario
Ontario Production Decline (cont’d) • But mostly SARS • In the month of June alone, there was a 70% drop in the number of people employed in the film and television industry in Ontario from 2002, while business in all other Canadian provinces increased significantly. • An overall decline of50% employment since the beginning of 2003. • We estimate a decline of over $10 million in Ontario income tax in the first 6 months of 2003. • A further decline in Ontario government revenues due to PST, EHT, and other spin-offs. • Direct effect on 35,000 people in this billion dollar industry A SARS Response for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario
Ontario Production Decline (cont’d) • Productions moved to other jurisdictions: For example, Miramax’s ‘Shall We Dance’ moved to Winnipeg.,This meant a direct loss of 250 jobs and direct expenditures of more than $20 million lost to Manitoba from Ontario. • Production loss represents a direct loss of more than $100,000,000 to Ontario in the balance of 2003. Estimated spin-off hit to the economy is $250,000,000 this year alone. • Six other productions are known to have moved. Many others simply never came. • This is a trend that will take years to reverse. The damage is even harder to undo as Producers become used to shooting in other locales. A SARS Response for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario Danger: We need to reverse this trend in order to avoid loss of production to other jurisdictions.
The Competitive Environment • International competition for the Hollywood business: Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Malta, Lithuania, and various U.S. states • Domestic competition from other provinces. Many provinces offer generous tax credit programs (Nova Scotia 30%, Newfoundland 40%, Manitoba 35%, Saskatchewan 35%) A SARS Response for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario • Through various regional incentive programs, the Federal government rewards Ontario based producers who take their projects to other provinces • Infrastructure investment in Quebec and Vancouver for high budget productions
The Solution • A temporary (2–3 year) increase in the Production Services Tax Credit to match the Federal Government program, from 11% of Ontario labour, to 16%. • Solution is cost neutral due to increased tax revenues over the next 3 years • FilmOntario will also provide other means to enhance Ontario’s reputation as the location of choice for producers: A SARS Response for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario • Marketing: partner with Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) to establish a full time presence in Los Angeles • Lobby the Federal Government to remove regional incentives • Work with the Municipal government to create a film friendly environment
Conclusion • While SARS has had a devastating effect on our industry, we still have the ability to rebuild our sector and re-enter the competitive market • Time is of the essence: Producers are making their decisions now for the next 6-12 months • We already have the co-operation of the industry, the OMDC and City of Toronto • The industry downturn will continue without financial incentives. This is a very bottom-line oriented, and very mobile, industry A SARS Response for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario We urge the Government of Ontario to join in this partnership by matching the Federal Government’s Production Services Tax Credit of 16%.