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NABET 700-M UNIFOR represents over 3000 Film, Television and New Media Technicians in the province of Ontario.

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100 Lombard Street
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M5C 1M3
Tel: 416-536-4827
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Email:
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News

April 20, 2020

April 20 FilmOntario Update

Tax Credit Updates 

FilmOntario continues to work with Minister MacLeod's Film and TV Advisory Panel, as well as our other government partners, on streamlining tax credit processes and ensuring that applications and payments are processed promptly. 

In our conversations with government, we are communicating the importance of cash flow to all of our members in maintaining the strength and well-being of our industry, with the goal of ensuring our businesses are in a position to hit the ground running when production resumes. Tax credit refunds directly benefit those of you who receive them (mainly producers, VFX, animation and postproduction houses), but also indirectly have a positive impact industry-wide, including service providers, suppliers, and workers.

We also recognize the challenges faced by all levels of government in designing and implementing new support programs, and maintaining service levels on existing programs, while at the same time adjusting to having staff working remotely. We greatly appreciate these efforts - especially those at Ontario Creates, CAVCO, and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Ontario Creates has adjusted their application process to accommodate the staff and applicants who are working remotely. A full list of these adjustments can be found on their website. They are encouraging all stakeholders to register for electronic payments and submit their processing fees electronically, however, if that is not possible, a Certificate of Eligibility can still be issued provided applicants acknowledge in writing that outstanding fees must be settled before any new applications (made after the return to normal business) will be processed. Ontario Creates is also continuing to look at ways to streamline their review process in order to issue Certificates as quickly as possible.

CAVCO has similarly moved to have all of their employees working from home. While operations continue to operate as normally as possible, they do suggest that they will be able to respond more quickly to email inquiries rather than phone. They also encourage applicants to upload videos to their web portal at the Part B stage, instead of submitting by mail.

CRA has confirmed that its Toronto Film Services Unit is operational. CRA has indicated it: 
a) will not initiate any new Film & TV Tax credit audits, 
b) will work on completing audits which were in process pre-shutdown as quickly as possible, and 
c) will take steps, where possible, to move files through the system to the assessment/refund stage.

CRA encourages tax credit applicants to register under the My Business Account and to use the direct deposit feature in order to facilitate the efficient processing and payment of refunds.

FilmOntario is also working with our government partners to adjust eligibility requirements, on a temporary basis, to ensure all productions that were underway at the time of the production shutdown will be eligible for tax credits on costs incurred to date, including costs that were incurred as a result of the shutdown. These costs represent investments already made by the industry in the province's economy.

Thank you to Board member David Carter and other members of the Film and TV Advisory Panel for their work on this file. We will provide further updates on this work as it continues, but please don't hesitate to be in touch with any questions or concerns.

Federal Support Programs – Let Us Know How It's Going 

On Friday, the federal government announced that $500 million would be directed to the Department of Canadian Heritage to create an Emergency Support Fund for cultural, heritage and sport organizations to address industry needs. More details on how these funds will be allocated will be coming soon. 

More detailed information about other federal government programs to support businesses, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and interest-free loans available through the Canada Emergency Business Account is available now. Business Development Canada has also developed a chart of all business support programs available across the country.

Similarly, the CMF has launched an Information Hub for Canada's Screen-based Industries, which includes both individual and business support programs, as well as some industry-specific information. 

We encourage all FilmOntario members to inform themselves about available programs and apply where you are eligible. Please share your experiences with us – both good and bad – so that we can advocate on your behalf to improve existing programs and to identify gaps in the federal programs where provincial intervention may be more suitable. A reminder that Cynthia Lynch is working remotely but can be contacted by email or phone at 416-906-5408.

Health and Safety 

Many of you have reached out to express concerns or share ideas about what actions will need to be taken in order to ensure that the workplaces we return to are safe for everyone when production begins to get up and running again. 

The industry's Section 21 Committee, which includes management, labour and government representatives, has established a COVID-19 Sub-Committee to consider these concerns and develop a return to work plan. FilmOntario is pleased to be part of this Sub-Committee and will provide updates when they are available. Please don't hesitate to be in touch with Cynthia if you would like to share ideas or concerns.

CBC Creative Relief Fund 

On April 9, the CBC launched The CBC Creative Relief Fund, which will provide $2 million in development and production funding for a diverse range of innovative, original Canadian storytelling, including scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted entertainment, kids and young adult programming, podcasts, play adaptations and short documentaries. 

Applications are open until Friday, April 24 for projects in three different streams: Innovation Stream, Playwright Pilot Stream and CBC Short Docs Stream. Be sure to check the full set of guidelines for application requirements and funding details.

Thank you for Attending the Front Row Insurance E&O Webinar 

Thank you to Front Row Insurance for providing an exclusive E&O Webinar for FilmOntario members. It was a well-attended and very informative session. If you missed the webinar, you can find it online here

We are open to suggestions for further member-focussed webinars – please don't hesitate to be in touch with your ideas. 

And remember, it's always better to do business with a fellow FilmOntario member ...

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 them in the next member update.

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