Sask industry launches one-day support campaign

The Saskatchewan film industry is taking to social media in a one-day campaign to drive support for the industry’s tax credit fight.

Launched Wednesday, members of the Saskatchewan industry are asking colleagues and fellow industry professionals across Canada to change their profile pictures and post messages on Twitter and Facebook in an effort to urge Premier Brad Wall to reconsider a refundable tax credit.

“It was suggested to us by people across Canada who wanted to do something to show their support. The people who work in arts and culture need to take a stand when one of their own is targeted and show that people do care, that it’s not okay to take from this group with one hand while giving huge tax breaks to big business with another,” said Annelise Larson of Veria Search Media Marketing in a statement.

The Saskatchewan provincial government in March dropped the bomb that its latest budget would terminate the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit (SFETC) program.

The province in May then unveiled a new Film/TV and Digital Tax Credit (FTDC), a 25% non-refundable tax credit on all production expenses, including labour costs.

The province’s industry hit back against the new, non-refundable, program, arguing that it would not work to sustain the local industry.

Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, recently criticized the province’s decision to cut the SFETC program, following the unveiling of a study commissioned by Sask Film and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce on the film sector’s impact on the province.

“In this case it is very clear that the process used by the province to cut this program had many flaws. Key facts were missing and no consultations were done before the announcement of what some thought would be a simple program cut. The decision represents a substantial lack of sector-specific knowledge and policy transparency on the part of the provincial government,” said McLellan in a statement via the Sask Chamber.

According to the report, the SFETC had a net cost of $1.3 million, as compared to the $3 million to $8 million the government had estimated (view the report here).