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News

March 20, 2020

FilmOntario Update - March 20, 2020

COVID-19 Update

Over the past week, FilmOntario has been participating in a number of (virtual) meetings and calls with our industry and government partners, as the COVID-19 situation and its impact continue to evolve rapidly.

Minister MacLeod held a brief conference call for stakeholders just prior to the State of Emergency being called, as well as a larger cross-sector Town Hall on March 19. Her message to the industry is that she understands the enormous financial and human impact this is having on our sector. The government is committed to keeping all sources of funding in our industry stable and, in particular, to ensuring the tax credits remain intact.

Mayor Tory has created an Economic Support & Recovery Task force to help protect the City of Toronto's economy during this time. FilmOntario participated in a Film and TV industry roundtable on March 16th to provide input into industry challenges and potential solutions. The Mayor is committed to working with the industry to ensure that, when it is time for production to ramp up again, the City and the industry will also be ready to get to work.

The CMPA is also hosting weekly calls for all provincial industry associations, to share information, challenges and solutions, and we are pleased to be participating in those calls. A survey will from the CMPA next Tuesday to collect information on the financial impact of the current shutdown. We will be sharing this all members, so make sure to watch your inbox and participate if you can.

In addition to the formal meetings noted above, I have been having phone calls with MPPs and political staff from all parties, to discuss current challenges and convey possible solutions.

The FilmOntario office is now operating remotely. I can be reached by email.

Support for Industry Recovery

This morning Minister MacLeod convened a meeting of her Film and TV Advisory Panel to discuss impacts and potential solutions for the industry. This was our first opportunity to discuss possible solutions developed by the FilmOntario Board earlier this week. The preliminary proposals are:

-for right now, make sure that money flows to businesses and individuals as quickly as possible through the programs that have already been announced and any new programs, and provide clear communications about these programs and the rapidly changing environment

-accelerate payment of existing tax credit claims that are in the queue at Ontario Creates and CRA, and for claims that will be filed over the next few months for shows that had to shut down but may not yet be completed

-provide supports, such as (low- or no-interest) loans to businesses, that will allow people to keep their companies operating

-waive clawback of EI benefits if employers want to top up EI payments

-mitigate losses that some of our partners have suffered through the process

-continue to project the image that Ontario is a stable jurisdiction, and the government is committed to supporting the industry through this time

-when we are ready to go back into production, promote the message that we are a safe jurisdiction with safe workplaces and stable incentives

-ensure that we have space, people and equipment to manage a backlog of productions that were already underway potentially conflicting with the new productions that were scheduled to start production later this year

-explore ways that the government can backstop insurance or mitigate risk for insurance copies so that productions are able to obtain the required insurance for their projects

And once we are through this process, realizing that governments at all levels will be facing financial challenges as a result of the increased spending at this time, as an organization we will need to keep up our messaging about the economic and social importance of our industry and the importance of stable and effective tax credits to support the industry.

Many of you have reached out to offer your assistance in continuing to work on developing these solutions. These offers are greatly appreciated and you can expect to hear from me soon.

Government Programs and Supports

We have compiled a list of recent government announcements about supports to individuals and businesses on our website. This will be updated regularly so please check back often.

Staff at Ontario Creates are now almost entirely working remotely. If you have questions about programs or specific files, it is best to email them as that is the easiest way for them to respond to you.

2020 Membership Invoices

Invoices for 2020 membership fees will be going out next week.

To accommodate financial pressures that many of you are feeling at this time, we are extending our payment terms to 90 days (from 30). In addition, if you would like to arrange to pay by instalments or arrange some other flexible payment terms, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The work we do at FilmOntario would not be possible without the support of our members, and we appreciate your continued support during what are truly unprecedented times.

News to Share?

If there are any updates or announcements you would like to share with your fellow FilmOntario members, please don't hesitate to let me know at clynch@filmontario.ca and I will include it in the next member update.

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