FilmOntario is an industry-funded, non-partisan screen-based (film/interactive/television) consortium 30,000 strong, of companies, producers, unions, guilds, financial services and organizations within Ontario, and almost $1.7 billion in direct economic activity annually.
Our emphasis is on marketing Ontario as a screen-based content creator and production jurisdiction, and working with all levels of government so that policies and programs ensure our international competitiveness.
2016 Another Record-Breaking Year for Ontario Production
On Monday, April 11, at an event at William F. White, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon announced that Ontario's film and television industry contributed almost $1.7 billion to the provincial economy, the third year in a row production levels have broken the previous record, and the sixth consecutive year that production spending has surpassed $1 billion. This production activity supports over 35,000 jobs in Ontario.
Spending was up in almost all formats across the industry, and was split almost equally between domestic and foreign productions. The greatest increase in spending was on television series, which saw an increase of 10.4% in foreign spend and 6.7% in domestic spend over the previous year. A complete breakdown of the spending can be found on the OMDC website.
Minister McMahon also noted the importance of tax credits to the province's film and television industry, and confirmed that they are "here to stay".
Provincial Budget 2017
FilmOntario has been participating in the Government's consultations on the 2017 Provincial Budget, with a continued focus on ensuring the stability of the province's film and television tax credits. In our written submission, we asked the government to do the following:
1. Maintain its commitment to stable tax credit rates;
2. Maintain budget levels for the OMDC and the NOHFC;
3. Improve tax credit effectiveness through modernization and streamlining; and
4. Enable the industry to invest in infrastructure.
We are working hard, in meetings with politicians from all parties, to convey the message that a stable business environment is a key factor in maintaining strong screen-based sector growth in Ontario. We look forward to seeing the government's budget sometime this spring.
Another Successful Annual General Meeting
Thank you to all the members who attended our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, November 30 at the Ritz-Carlton. We cover a lot of important business (review our 2016 Accomplishments here) in the first part of the meeting and then were pleased to hear from the Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport in the second part. The Minister's remarks, which were enthusiastically received, reinforced the message in her mandate letter that she is committed to working with the industry to promote our stable tax credit infrastructure and keep the Ontario industry busy and working hard. Special thanks to Wendy Crewson for joining us to introduce the Minister.
FilmOntario Response to Federal Consultation on Canadian Content in a Digital World
The Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, has committed to making a submission supporting the Ontario industry in response to the Federal Government's consultation. In support of this submission, the Minister hosted a roundtable of industry stakeholders on September 28th to gather input and information. FilmOntario was pleased to participate in this roundtable to and to provide these comments to the Minister on the consultation. Our comments highlight the importance of the screen-based industries to the provincial economy, ask that Minister McMahon convey the message that a stable business environment is a key factor in our current succes, and recommend that any restructuring of industry support mechanisms should build on that success.
New Ministerial Mandate Letter Cites Stable Tax Credit Infrastructure
On September 23rd, the Government of Ontario released its Ministerial mandate letters for the new session of the legislature.
FilmOntario was extremely pleased to see that the following priority was included for the Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport:
"Building on the best year on record for film and TV, market our talented film crews, world-class facilities, and stable tax credit infrastructure to the world."
FilmOntario has been working very hard to obtain a statement of stability on Tax Credits from the provincial government. We welcome this encouraging signal from the Premier's Office and will continue to work with Minister McMahon and her team to promote Ontario's screen-based industries at home and abroad.
You can read the full Ministerial mandate letter here.
Throne Speech - September 12, 2016
The Ontario Legislature re-convened on September 12, 2016, starting with a Speech from the Throne to launch the next session of Parliament.
FilmOntario attended the speech as a guest of the Premier's Office. As was widely expected, the Speech focused on the economy, with the Government stating that their top priority is job creation and economic growth.
While the Government did not mention film and television (or the wider creative industries) directly, they did highlight the importance of maintaining a competitive business environment in the province. We will continue to work with the Government, both through the Minister of Culture's Advisory Panel and in all of our government meetings, to ensure that the message that stable film and television tax credits are key to ensuring Ontario remains a competitive jurisdiction for production continues to be heard.
FilmOntario would like to thank the Government of Ontario for its continued support, and we look forward to continuing to work with them on growing the screen-based industry in Ontario.
You can read the entire Throne Speech here.
Premier Visits Northern Ontario
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, acccompanied by Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault, and Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle, visited the Letterkenney set on August 6th. While there, the Premier announced $2.3 million in funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation for five film and television projects shooting in Sudbury. Many thanks to the provincial government for continuing to support the Ontario film and television industry.
Suicide Squad opened in theatres on August 5th. Shot in Toronto, the production created 4,707 jobs and spent well over $80 million in Ontario. Check out this video for a behind-the-scenes look from some of the people who worked on the film.
Launch of Ontario's first Culture Strategy
Following a series of province-wide consultations which began in September 2015, the Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, launched Ontario's first Culture Strategy at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.
The final report, which can be found here, outlines four goals:
1. Promote cultural engagement and inclusion
2. Strengthen culture in communities
3. Fuel the creative economy
4. Promote the value of the arts throughout government
Goal #3 is of the most interest to FilmOntario members. Under this goal, the government is looking to modernize tax credits for the screen-based industries. A public/private film and television advisory panel has also been established under this goal, in order to collaborate on growth strategies for the sector and promote dialogue between government and industry. FilmOntario is playing a key role on the panel, with several board members participating and Treasurer John Weber acting as the panel's industry co-chair.
FilmOntario was pleased to participate in all phases of the Culture Strategy consultation. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and all our government partners as they begin to implement the Strategy.
2015 Provincial Budget
With a Provincial government in deficit, and a commitment to balance the budget by 2017-18, FilmOntario worked hard to deliver the positive economic impact evidence to Queens Park on our industry tax credits, outlining jobs, private sector capital investment, youth employment, innovation and international marketshare. Our work has been commended by the government, and, we are assured, prevented more significant changes from being proposed &/or implemented.
OFTTC - protected OFTTC from implementing grind on government equity
Commencing in the fall of 2014, we were in active discussion with the Ministry of Culture regarding the potential changes to the OFTTC (Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit) due to the Federal omnibus Bill C-43, and the existing Ottawa and Ontario harmonization of the definition of 'assistance'.
We asked the Ontario government to de-link our OFTTC legislation from the Federal definition of 'assistance', and our Board and stakeholders worked hard to show financial/accounting evidence, and bank opinion, to support our position. We met with senior political and bureaucratic officials at the Ministries of Culture, Finance, Treasury Board, and the Premier's office, presenting our case, and walking through the impacts. And our Members reached out to their MPPs to make the case as well.
The government listened, and in the April 23, 2015 Budget, the government stated their intention to file a regulation, effective after December 31, 2008, to de-link Ontario's definition of assistance in OFTTC, and protect the industry from unintended harm. You can read the Budget statement here.
OIDMTC - worked to focus the credit on entertainment products, and education for ages 12 and under
Commencing in early 2014, we were part of industry consultation with the Ministry of Culture regarding the potential streamlining of the OIDMTC (Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit), to explore ways to contain costs and modernize support to the innovative interactive component of Ontario's screen-based industry. We also worked closely with our valued Member, Interactive Ontario, and their team, throughout this process.
The government listened, and in the April 23, 2015 Budget, the government stated their intention to amend the OIDMTC by focusing the credit on entertainment products and on educational products for children under the age of 12. You can read the Budget statement here.
OPSTC and OCASE - developed 'sufficiently advanced' criteria and grandfathering of Budget changes for 7 months
FilmOntario was in budget lock-up; the budget included a 3.5% cut to OPSTC and 2% cut to OCASE effective immediately. Within minutes of the Budget being distributed, and hours before the public release, FilmOntario was talking to the Premier's senior staffers, and senior political and bureaucratic staff from Finance, Treasury Board, and Culture, about our concerns.
Over the course of several weeks, and in advance of the third reading of the Budget Bill 91, FilmOntario worked tirelessly with key Ministers, political and bureaucratic staff, Government Finance and Economic Affairs Committee, Opposition parties, and our Members and other stakeholders, to make the case for 'sufficiently advanced' and grandfathering amendments. We reported out to our Members each day - sometimes twice a day - with updates on our progress, and encouraging Members to reach out to their MPPs, and appear before the F&EAC committee.
By May 28th the House passed the recommendation from the Committee for the grandfathering recommendations, and on June 4th the Budget - with the amendments - received Royal Assent. You can read the Finance bulletin here.
2014 Annual General Meeting
Our 11th AGM was another terrific success - thanks to all of our members who came out to hear details about our work on your behalf, and to merrily connect with friends and colleagues, old and new. Our Guest Speaker was the Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance - and what a passionate advocate he is for our industry's stability and competitiveness! Members were able to have a chance to chat with him one-on-one about their business growth, and increased opportunities in Ontario and around the world.
You can view our 2014 Accomplishments here.
2014 Municipal Election: Welcome to our new Mayor, John Tory!
Mayor Tory has long been an active supporter of Ontario’s screen-based industry, and clearly stated so in his campaign work, including our September Mayoralty Candidate event. Mayor Tory also worked with FilmOntario’s team and stood up for increases to our tax credits, when he was Leader of the Ontario PC party.
This summer FilmOntario met with each lead candidate to review our industry success, reiterate that we are a for-profit business file with direct and growing impact on high level jobs, positive land development, private sector capital attraction and youth employment.
As in 2010, we hosted a Mayoralty candidate event, moderated by our own Jonathan Barker (FilmOntario Board member and President, SK Films). Our thanks go out to Paul Bronfman, Blake Steels and the folks at SIRT for allowing us to descend upon their studios for the event!
Our August 2014 Report is here.
Our April 2014 Report is here.
2013 Annual General Meeting
Our 2013 AGM was terrific - all thanks to our Members! Over 200 industry leaders attended the November 26th event.
FilmOntario members celebrated 10 years of successes - and once again we are #1 in Canada and # 3 in North America, behind LA and NY. And once again we are the second largest employer in the City of Toronto!!
Our thanks to Wendy Crewson and Peter Keleghan for their hosting duties - they brought the sizzle to our event!
Our Guest Speaker, Premier Kathleen Wynne, was clear about the importance of screen-based industries to Ontario's jobs and economy. She was also very generous with her time so that many of you had a chance to speak with her one-on-one. Minister Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, stayed on as well, reiterating his support for the industry, and thanking us for our industry-building work.
Here's a link to the Premier's website, featuring some pics from our AGM:
Our thanks to the Royal York Fairmont for enabling such a fun event. And congratulations to Rae Thurston of PS Production Services for winning the draw for a complimentary night stay!
FilmOntario Accomplishments for 2013 here.
Our December 2013 Quarterly Report is here.
Our September 2013 Quarterly Report is here.
2012 Annual General Meeting
Our 2012 year Annual General Meeting on November 20th was, once again, a packed room with over 100 industry companies present.
Our Guest Speaker was the Honourable Dwight Duncan, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister for Ontario. Our long-standing partnership style was evident in the introduction from co-Chair Brian Topp, and the Minister's speech. A thoughtful, balanced approach has produced the highest production volumes in Ontario's history, and the highest domestic/co-production volumes in our history as well! We are now #1 in Canada and #3 in North America, behind LA and NY.
FilmOntario Accomplishments for 2012 here
FilmOntario Accomplishments for 2011 as presented at the AGM, November 2011. here
FilmOntario Accomplishments for 2010 as presented at the AGM, January 2011. here
For tax credits, program information, digital location search services and more, please go to the Ontario Media Development Agency website at www.omdc.on.ca
For location permits and information for shooting in the City of Toronto, please go to the Toronto FIlm and Television office at www.toronto.ca/tfto/.
A common web portal for the TFTO, OMDC and FilmOntario, is www.you-belong-here.com.
Toronto Head Office
Managing Director and Counsel
625 Church St., 2nd floor
Phone : (416) 642-6704
E-mail : email@example.com
LA Development Office
A jointly funded partnership of
the Ontario Media Development Corporation,
the City of Toronto and
Phone : (310) 391-1868