Leap of faith for the loonie

Peg to dollar would aid U.S. pics

Relief might be at hand for Los Angeles producers who feel the wrath of the soaring Canadian dollar on their budgets while they shoot locally.

Leading British Columbia studio and production equipment suppliers are considering a move to peg the American dollar to the surging loonie.

"We have some good relationships with the studios, and we want to offer a film rate to attract the industry," Peter Leitch, chairman of the Motion Picture Production Industry Assn., said Friday.

The MPPIA will poll its members — which include local studios, post houses and unions and such guilds as IATSE, the Teamsters and the Directors Guild of Canada — on the dollar peg during the next week.

The initiative comes as the Canadian dollar has surged in value by about 25% compared with the American greenback in recent months.

The loonie hit CAN$1.10 in value compared with the greenback last week before retreating to CAN$1.06 on Friday. The sudden rise in the value of the loonie follows two decades in which U.S. producers enjoyed huge cost savings when they shot in Canada on the strength of a once-strong greenback.

Leitch said obstacles to accepting American dollars at par include the fact that some British Columbia suppliers already offer discounts to Los Angeles producers, and the loonie could retreat in value on its own as it tends to move in tandem with global gold and oil prices.