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Bill C-10: Canada’s Film and Television Producers ask Senate to include Criminal Code reference

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OTTAWA  - The Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) and the Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec (APFTQ) have asked the Senate to make a simple amendment to Bill C-10 to include references to the Criminal Code of Canada. This will ensure the continuation of the objective nature of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit program that enables Canadian productions to receive the upfront financing from banks and other lenders. Without this amendment, the business viability of the Canadian film and television production sector is at risk.

Bill C-10, the omnibus income tax bill before the Senate of Canada, currently includes language that permits any Minister of Canadian Heritage to establish and arbitrarily modify as yet undefined guidelines that determine if a film is “contrary to public policy,” thereby denying federal tax credits that are vital to the financing of productions, after productions have been financed and completed.

“Canada’s producers put forward a simple and practical legislative amendment today that would include a reference to the Criminal Code of Canada in Bill C-10,” said Sandra Cunningham, Chair of the Board of the CFTPA. “From a business financing perspective, it would be devastating for the industry if subjective and arbitrary decision-making related to content is allowed to remain a part of Bill C-10,” Cunningham added.

“It is imperative for the production sector that the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit remains an objective and predictable cultural support program for made-in-Canada productions,” said Guy Mayson, President and CEO, CFTPA. “Without this predictability, there’s serious concern in the industry that banks and other lenders won’t advance the money to make films.”

A producer who qualifies for the federal tax credit receives the money approximately 18 months after the production has been shot when they file their corporate tax returns. To shoot and complete a production, producers typically obtain a bank loan against the estimated tax credit.

If passed unamended, Bill C-10 would entrench subjective criteria in the tax credit program that could be applied after a production has been shot. Banks and other funding institutions will hesitate to finance a production that could be derailed after the fact by the cancellation of the tax credit.

“We have collaborated closely for many years with the Departments of Canadian Heritage and Finance to make changes to Canada’s income tax laws that enable the film and television industry to survive and thrive,” said Claire Samson, President and CEO, APFTQ. “These positive provisions are reflected in Bill C-10 and, with the exception of the ‘contrary to public policy” provision, they largely reflect the realities of our industry. The simple amendment we have proposed to the Senate establishes and entrenches the clear parameters of the Criminal Code that Canada’s producers already live and work by every day.”

The Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) is a non-profit trade organization that works on behalf of almost 400 companies engaged in the production and distribution of English-language television programs, feature films, and interactive media products in all regions of Canada. The CFTPA promotes the general interests of members provincially, federally, and internationally; negotiates and manages labour agreements with guilds and unions; administers copyright collectives; trains new industry entrants through several national internship programs; and undertakes a number of other specific initiatives that help increase awareness and enhance communication within the Canadian and international production communities.

The Association des producteurs de films et de television du Quebec (APFTQ) represents more than 130 independent film and television production companies in Quebec. These corporations are specialized in feature film, advertising film and any genre of TV production (animation, drama, documentary, variety). The Association negotiates all collective agreements with artist and technicians’ associations and acts on behalf of its members with government and industry organizations.

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