February 28, 2013
Federal Government Supports for Screen-Based Content Production: Why Regionally-based Production Incentives are Counterproductive in the Digital Economy
Toronto – The Mowat Centre at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto has released a new report highlighting certain problems with the federal government’s film and television production incentives. As currently designed, some incentives serve regional economic and job development interests rather than focusing on supporting the country’s best creative content, and in turn, undermine the economic viability of Canadian productions.
Author Garry Neill suggests that though Toronto and Ontario are home to the leading firms in Canada’s English-language creative industries, regional bonuses are often provided to productions that occur anywhere other than Toronto.
“Essentially, these policies are discriminatory and counterproductive to the development of centres of excellence where the critical mass of talent, skills, knowledge, financing and specialized technology can be mobilized efficiently,” he says.
“They are not about bringing diverse Canadian stories to our screens, but rather about where the production takes place.”
The report examines the current state of regional production incentives and considers how they hinder efforts to maintain Toronto and Ontario as the centre of excellence in the production of English-language screen-based Canadian content
“Our report demonstrates that regional production incentives do not support the creation of cultural products, they simply redistribute the work and economic benefits away from centres with comparative advantages,” says Matthew Mendelsohn, Director of the Mowat Centre.
Favouring regional interests over excellence will simply put Canada at a disadvantage in the international marketplace for television and film production, says Mendelsohn.
Neil suggests that if governments wish to support globally competitive content markets, they must eliminate incentives, funding measures and regulatory policies that are based on the region where the production takes place.