COVID-19 Update and Resources

COVID-19 Update and Resources

The FilmOntario office is now operating remotely. Cynthia Lynch, Managing Director and Counsel, can be reached as always by email at clynch@filmontario.ca or by phone at 416-906-5408.

FilmOntario is working with our industry and government partners to provide solutions and support to the industry through this period of shutdown and lack of work. The provincial government has committed to maintaining support for our industry and the film and television tax credits. Check your email for member updates to get the latest information on this work.

Please find below a list of resources available to individuals and businesses from all levels of government. This list will be updated as more information becomes available.

 

City of Toronto

Mayor Tory has created an Economic Support & Recovery Task force to help protect the City’s economy during the global pandemic. FilmOntario participated in a Film and TV industry roundtable on March 16th to provide input into industry challenges and potential solutions.

The City has created a central resource for the actions it is taking. The page also includes links to supports from other levels of government. The BusinessTO Support Centre also provides one-on-one virtual support to help businesses, not-for-profits and creative/culture organizations complete applications for Government of Canada COVID-19 funding programs.

On March 20th the Mayor announced a 60-day grace period for City of Toronto property tax, water and solid waste utility bill payments for all residents and businesses.

Toronto City Hall is closed, but Film Office staff are working remotely; contact them with any permit-related or other location questions.

The City of Toronto has released a video detailing how the film and TV community has come together to provide support for those who need it. Please continue to share these stories with us. 

 

Province of Ontario

Ontario Creates staff are working remotely and can be reached by email and phone, although email is the preferred method of communication. For updates on industry programs and other activities, refer to the Ontario Creates website. Tax credit applications continue to be processed, with e-transfers being preferred for application fee payments. Please see your April 20 member update for a full update on tax credits.

The province announced the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program on April 24 to provide rent relief to small businesses. Funded jointly with the federal government, the program covers 50% of a commercial tenant’s rent, with the landlord and tenant agreeing to split the remaining 50%.

The March 26th Ontario Economic and Fiscal Update and Action Plan in response to COVID-19 included a series of business supports, including:

  • a five-month interest and penalty-free period to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes, including the EHT;
  • the ability to defer employer WSIB payments for up to six months; and
  • a temporary increase to the EHT exemption to $1 million for companies.

There was also an update to the OPSTC legislation. Check your member update for more information.

On March 23, the province declared that all non-essential businesses must be closed. Businesses that can operate remotely are permitted to do so under this order. If you have questions about your specific business, please call 1-888-444-3659.

On March 19th, the Province passed legislation protecting the jobs of employees who need to miss work due to COVID-19 quarantines for them or their families.

Many productions have already collected Personal Protective Equipment to donate to hospitals who are running short on these supplies. The government of Ontario has created a central website where companies can submit ideas on how to draw on the province’s resources to find other innovative ways to meet the current demands. Visit Ontario Together to see what is needed and how you can help.

 

Government of Canada

The Canada Media Fund is maintaining a COVID-19 Information Hub for Canada’s Screen-based Industries. Telefilm is also maintaining a dedicated information page with COVID-19 updates and is providing regular updates about project financing.

The Department of Canadian Heritage has created an information page for those who receive grants and other funding.

CAVCO is continuing to process applications even where payment has not been received; payment must be received before a certificate can be issued. They have also asked that, when submitting videos for Part B applications, that videos be sent through the web portal rather than the mail.

CRA has confirmed that its Toronto Film Service Unit is operational and they are taking steps to process returns promptly. See your April 20 member update for more details. CRA encourages tax credit applicants to register under the My Business Account and to use the direct deposit feature to facilitate the efficient processing and payment of funds.

Applications are now being accepted for the Federal Government’s industry-specific COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund. Funding is available to parent corporations who, over the past three years, have received funding from either the Canada Media Fund (CMF) or Telefilm. Companies can apply to either the CMF OR Telefilm – whichever organization has provided the greatest amount of support to the company over the past three funding years. Applications are being accepted until June 12, 2020.

For individuals:

  • For those who are eligible for EI benefits, the 1-week waiting period and the need to provide a medical certificate to qualify for sickness benefits have been waived.
  • A new benefit, the Emergency Response Benefit of up to $2,000 a month for up to 4 months, will be available to those who do not qualify for EI sickness benefits (including independent contractors and the self-employed) and who are sick or quarantined due to COVID-19, or have lost employment income due to having to provide childcare because of school shutdowns. 
  • Additional supports to individuals through an increased Canada Child Benefit, a special GST credit payment, mortgage support, and supports to students and seniors are also available.

For businesses:

  • Corporations eligible for the small business deduction, non-profits and charities are eligible for a wage subsidy. The government will provide eligible employers with a subsidy equal to 75% of remuneration paid over a three-month period, retroactive to March 31, 2020. The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $65 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses. These programs will include interest-free loans to small businesses and not-for-profits, and loan guarantees to small- and medium-sized businesses. To determine which program is best for you, Innovation Canada has created a self-assessment tool.
  • HST payments are deferred until June 30, 2020.

Individual and business tax returns will not need to be filed until June 1, 2020, and payments on taxes owing have been deferred until after August 31, 2020.

Details on these programs continue to be revised and modified; we will update this site as new information becomes available.

Note: many of these individual and business programs may be administered through CRA. It may be a good time to make sure your tax status is up to date. You can set up or check a CRA Account now.