New Brunswick's Axed Tax Credit Returns to Life

The Canadian province agrees to cover up to 30 per cent of local film and TV production expenditures to stem a talent exodus.

TORONTO – Frugal New Brunswick is back on Canada’s film tax credit gravy train.

The Canadian province in March 2011 stunned local film and TV producers by phasing out a 40 percent tax credit to cut the provincial debt.

But, faced with a talent exodus to rival provinces, New Brunswick has followed up months of negotiations with local industry players by reintroducing a tax credit that covers up to 30% of eligible expenditures.

The new incentive gives 50% of the government coin to indie producers up front to subsidize pre-production or production costs, with the other half coming when a project is completed.

The revived film subsidy in New Brunswick follows Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia juicing their film tax credits as cash-strapped U.S. states reduce or scrap their Hollywood tax breaks.

Foreign producers can tap the new subsidy, though New Brunswick rarely gets on Hollywood’s radar.

And the revived New Brunswick tax credit from the government’s Regional Development Corporation remains modest.

The province has been putting an average $4 million annually into local film and TV production, and looks set to maintain that investment level.

Film and TV production activity is far higher in British Columbia and Ontario, the country’s biggest shooting locations that depend on generous tax breaks for Hollywood and other foreign producers as their lifeblood.

And U.S. foreign location shooting is on the increase in Quebec after that province introduced an all-spend film TV credit to keep it competitive with Ontario and British Columbia.