Canada's COVID-19 Relief Fund for Film Producers Gets $19 Million Injection

Toronto April 1 2020
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Ottawa's latest cash drop comes as the Canadian industry slowly reopens after Coronavirus-related production shutdowns

As Hollywood location shooting in Canada slowly reopens, the country's overstretched COVID-19 rescue funds for indie film and TV producers has received another injection from the federal government.

The Canada Media Fund, a key investor in local TV series using in part public funds, announced another $19 million for its COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund on Thursday. The CMF offered another $88.8 million to local producers as part of its emergency relief fund in May.

The latest cash drop for pandemic-challenged film and TV producers will go to those who have yet to receive emergency support from the feds in Ottawa. To qualify, locally-owned companies must show their revenues have fallen by at least 25 percent and requires funds to remain in business and safeguard jobs.

In Canada, as elsewhere in the global industry, insurers refusing COVID-19 coverage to indie film and TV shoots has left many local producers with little cash coming in.

"Canada’s audiovisual sector continues to be heavily impacted by the pandemic. This additional support by the government of Canada is a most welcome lifeline to hundreds of production companies across the country. These businesses are the bedrock upon which our industry is built. Their preservation is both a cultural and economic imperative," CMF president and CEO Valerie Creighton said in a statement.

On Sept. 16, federal heritage minister Steven Guilbeault held a virtual town hall to in part discuss emergency support for film and TV workers impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The latest rescue package from Ottawa includes $12 million in emergency support funds and an additional $7 million top-up to earlier earmarked monies.