Toronto board to boost business

Unveils new plan to stop slide in film industry

The city of Toronto and the Toronto Film Board unveiled a plan Tuesday to halt a slide that has seen the value of film and TV production in the city fall from C$1.2 billion ($1.1 billion) in 2000 to $667 million last year.

The partnership blames “ill-conceived public policies, intense foreign and domestic competition and the rising Canadian dollar” for creating a “perfect storm.”

The group is calling on all three levels of government as well as regulatory and funding agencies to work together to correct “the disastrous current state of the industry.”

A somewhat vague and non-binding list of recommendations calls for an infusion of public and private equity; rejigging provincial tax credits to make Toronto more attractive; urging exhibitors to schedule Canadian fare; forcing the broadcast regulator to reverse its 1999 policy revisions that cut the financial commitment for local production; and more forums for new media.

“There needs to be a New York, there needs to be an L.A.,” said city councilor and Toronto Film Board member Shelley Carroll. “What is our role in the city of Toronto, and what is standing in the way of us being an equal partner?”

Carroll noted that some recommendations, such as the need for more studio space, are already being addressed with the construction of the Toronto Filmport.

The report is expected to be passed by the city council this month.

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