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Ont. film/tv tax cuts a threat to B.C. � MPPIA
12/21/2004

 
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VANCOUVER - The BC Motion Picture Industry Association (MPPIA) is calling on the British Columbia Government to take immediate action to match recent changes to the Ontario tax credit program.

The Ontario Government today announced wide-sweeping enhancements to its film and television tax incentive program that places British Columbia at a competitive disadvantage. Ontario has increased its tax credits for domestic film and television productions from 20% to 30% and for foreign productions from 11% to 18%.

"The British Columbia Government must ensure that our industry is on a level playing field with our main competitor," said Peter Leitch, Chair, MPPIA.

The B.C. film industry, unlike Ontario, receives an 11% provincial labour tax credit on foreign film and television productions and 20% on domestic film and television productions and is struggling to remain competitive with the rest of Canada. Tax credits play an important role in attracting foreign production as well as sustaining the indigenous film industry in B.C. Tax credits are revenue positive for the government as they are calculated based on labour expenditures in the province and attract over $1 billion into the economy and employ over 30,000 British Columbians.

"The local indigenous community needs to be strategically nurtured and grown by keeping the best and the brightest the film community develops. Ontario has recognized the value and benefit of an indigenous industry in today's announcement, and the B.C. government must immediately follow suit," said Arthur Evrensel, a member of the Board of Directors of MPPIA.

B.C. is especially dependent on US films and television series for a significant portion of its work. Currently approximately 85% of the annual production expenditure in B.C. comes from Los Angeles. With the high dollar, aggressive tax credits and intense competition from other provinces and U.S. states, the industry is down 30% this year.

The BC government needs to react quickly to this announcement to ensure our province remains competitive in attracting films and TV series from LA and continue to nourish domestic production. "The major film production companies in Los Angeles are currently deciding where the new television pilots will be filmed which determines where all the new TV series will end up. If we do not react quickly, Ontario, with this competitive advantage over BC, will attract a significant amount of the productions earmarked for BC and will undermine the development of a strong indigenous film community," says MPPIA Chair, Peter Leitch.


 
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