COVID-19 Update and Resources

COVID-19 Update and Resources

COVID-19 Resources

Last Updated: December 21, 2020

The FilmOntario office continues to operate 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

Film and Television production has resumed in the City of Toronto, and continues to be allowed in the lockdown phase with additional restrictions related to the number of performers on set. As always, contact the Film Office with questions about permits and filming.

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 of Toronto has established the Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild. Film Commissioner Marguerite Pigott has a leadership role in this Office and will be instrumental in the City’s recovery. FilmOntario has also participated in consultations with the City on how best to support the industry through the recovery period. 

The Task Force issued its report on September 15. The report noted the economic impact of the industry and recognized the challenges of re-starting work, including the difficulties in finding appropriate insurance solutions and the high cost of implementing on-set health and safety measures. The report also needed that re-building the industry should include more environmentally sustainable production practices and a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

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.

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

 

PROVINCE OF ONTARIO

Film and television production has resumed across the province of Ontario, and will continue to be allowed as the entire province moves into lockdown, subject to additional restrictions related to the number of performers on set. Ontario Creates has launched Ready to Roll on their website as a resource with all the information you need on getting back to work in the province.

Ontario Creates staff continue to work 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 deadline for new applications is August 31, 2020; if you already applied and now wish to apply for the extended period which covers July, the deadline for an extension is September 14, 2020.

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.

The November 5th Ontario Budget proposed changes to the OFTTC and OPSTC, For the OFTTC, the deadline to apply for a certificate of completion and the “shown in Ontario” deadline will be extended by 24 months, and eligible expenditures can be claimed up to 48 months before principal photography begins. For the OPSTC, productions will be given an additional 24 months after principal photography begins to meet their minimum spending requirements, and companies will be allowed to claim otherwise eligible expenditures in the two years prior to the year in which principal photography begins. These changes apply to productions for which eligible expenditures were incurred in taxation years ending in 2020 and 2021.

 

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.

On October 28, Telefilm launched the Short-Term Compensation Fund for Canadian Audiovisual Productions. Through this Fund, Telefilm will indemnify eligible producers for production costs related to shutdowns due to COVID-19. To be eligible for this Fund, the production must be a Canadian production by a Canadian corporation, i.e., eligible for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. Producers must submit an application for pre-eligibility and enter into a pre-eligibility agreement with Telefilm before the start of principal photography and before the appearance of any case of infection on set.

In addition to having a pre-eligibility requirement, in order to receive compensation the project must have been interrupted by more than one day or abandoned by the applicant due to either a COVID-19 diagnosis of a performer or director declared on the insurance policy covering the project or of any other confirmed COVID-19 outbreak on set that requires a complete production shutdown. A full set of eligibility requirements and more details on the application process can be found here. Applications must be submitted through Telefilm’s Dialogue portal.

CAVCO  requirements with respect to the payment of application fees and the submission of attestation forms are returning to normal, and they ask that applicants who have submitted applications since March 20 without those documents submit them as soon as possible. Other rule and/or procedural changes still remain in effect.

CRA is also beginning to return to normal application processing and audit procedures.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has been extended to June 2021 and the method of calculating the top-up rate has been adjusted. Consult the website for more details on these changes.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ended for individuals on October 3, 2020. You can still apply for benefits retroactively.

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) has been introduced to provide income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 are not entitled to Employment Insurance benefits. Other supports may be available to those who are no longer eligible for the CERB; check the Government of Canada’s website for information on transitioning to the new benefits.

Details on these programs continue to be revised and modified; we will update this site as new information becomes available. A complete list of federal government support programs for businesses and individuals can be found here.

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.