MONTREAL — British Columbia is set to extend its film and TV tax credit for five more years in an effort to offset the impact of the soaring Canadian dollar.
The credit had been set to expire next year, but, after consulting with Canuck and foreign producers, premier Gordon Campbell decided to extend the program to 2013.
“An extension was widely supported by industry representatives, who reported the program increased employment and stimulated growth of the industry in British Columbia,” said B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor. “By announcing our intentions now, we send a clear message that we want British Columbia to remain a location of choice for film and television production.”
The loonie — as the Canuck buck is known here — recently reached parity with the American dollar, the first time that has happened in over 30 years, and that has many in the production biz in the country worried that American producers will stop shooting their pics and TV shows in the Great White North. As little as four or five years ago, the Canadian dollar was worth around 65 cents U.S. and so American producers would save big-time shooting here.
The question now is whether other Canadian provinces will follow B.C.’s lead and extend their film and TV tax credits as well.
The B.C. program includes a credit of 30% on qualifying labor expenses and an additional credit of 12.5% for productions lensed outside the Vancouver area. The western Canadian province also has a digital animation and visual effects credit of 15%.
B.C. remains Hollywood’s favorite place to shoot in Canada and is particularly popular with TV producers. Last year, the province hosted 53 feature films, 39 TV series, 63 TV movies, 33 docus, 18 animation projects, 13 TV pilots and 11 shorts for a total of $1.2 billion in production.