Task force sets out to count dollar impact of COVID-19 crisis

"An assessment of the national impact, as quickly as we can determine it, is critical at this time," said the coalition, which includes CMF, CMPA, ISO and Telefilm.

Funding agencies and production associations including the CMF, CMPA, Indigenous Screen Office and Telefilm have formed a task force to assess the local impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early next week, the coalition will put out a survey to gather feedback on the projected impact on Canadian production.

“An assessment of the national impact, as quickly as we can determine it, is critical at this time,” said a joint statement from the task force, which will inform the government at the federal, provincial and municipal level of the urgent need for support.

Other members of the coalition include Association of Provincial and Territorial Funding Agencies (APTFA), Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM), City of Toronto Film Office, Creative BC, NFB, Ontario Creates and SODEC. All of the organizations remain operational, with staff working remotely.

While the task force does not include all of Canada’s industry organizations, a CMF spokesperson confirmed the data will be available to the entire industry. Nordicity has been commissioned to carry out the work.

Canadian productions that have either been postponed or suspended as a result of COVID-19 include NursesWynonna EarpBlood and WaterUnsettled and Departure. Meanwhile, international shows shot in Canada such as the CBS pilot Good Sam and Apple TV+’s See have also temporarily shut down.

Since the extent of the business impact became apparent a little over a week ago, the Canadian industry has scrambled to limit the damage of the production shutdown and understand the financial impact. While some provincial bodies – such as Screen Nova Scotia – have solicited feedback on the business impact, the taskforce represents the first cross-Canada initiative to weigh the damage to the sector.

“We will be reaching out to other key stakeholders – our broadcaster, distributor, union and guild, and independent production fund partners – to exchange information and collaborate on common industry solutions. Each of them, and the thousands of artists, employees, and workers they represent, play an essential role in our system,” said the task force in a statement.

McLeod pledges continuity of Ontario film and TV tax credits

Elsewhere, Ontario Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture, Lisa MacLeod on Thursday held a virtual teleconference to discuss the short- and long-term ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the call, McLeod assured the provincial industry that all funding to Ontario Creates is secure, and that all the sectors within her portfolio will remain stable.

In addition, the Ontario government is scheduled to release a revised fiscal plan for the coming year on March 25. The revised plan is expected to include aid measures that are being implemented at the provincial level.

Image: Unsplash