Vancouver is coming off its biggest year ever for film and TV production in 2015, and its provincial government today voted to lower the generous tax incentives that help draw projects to Hollywood North. Effective October 1, the subsidies available to the industry in British Columbia will shrink from 33% to 28%.
The move is expected to save Canada’s westernmost province an estimated $100M a year. B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Monday, “Our objective here was to work with the industry to arrive at a reasonable place that recognizes the importance of the film-television production sector to B.C., recognizing the tens of thousands of jobs associated with the sector, but is fair to other sectors of the economy.”
De Jong said the tax credit was expected to cost the government nearly $500 million this year, up from the average of $313 million of the past three years, fueled by the American dollar’s strength against the Canadian currency.
Production in Vancouver, which is B.C.’s largest city, saw a 40% surge last year over 2014 — fueled by Deadpool and more than two dozen other feature films, 158 commercials and 309 TV episodes. With a total of 353 productions last year and 1,518 filming days, Vancouver is the No. 3 production hub in North America after Los Angeles and New York City.
CBC News reported that British Columbia initially considered a cap system for production tax credits, meaning the province would give out a certain amount each year, and no other company would be eligible for a break. But the news service said that industry players who were consulted before B.C. made the change frowned on that option because it would have created a “first come, first served” model that would not allow producers to plan ahead.
“B.C.’s $2-billion film and television industry is built on three decades of collaboration private-public investment and represents thousands of B.C. jobs,” the Motion Picture Industry Association of B.C. said in a statement. “Together we have a vested interest in its long-term growth and sustainability.”
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