Changing Channels: The Future of Film and TV Production in Toronto

On August 12th, Mary Young Leckie, candidate for the federal Liberal nomination in Parkdale-High Park, will host a round-table discussion about the future of Toronto’s film & television industry. Guest speakers Martin Harbury (Film & TV Producer, OMDC Consultant) and Robin Duke (SCTV/SNL Alumni, Humber Professor) will discuss how the Harper Conservatives have made intentionally harmful policy choices which jeopardize tens of thousands of jobs.

In 2011 The Canadian Film & Television industry generated $5.49 Billion and employed 128,000 skilled workers. Nearly 40% of Canada’s Film & Television industry is based in or around Toronto. Today, politically motivated federal policies threaten the survival of this vital Canadian industry.

• Since 2006, CBC/Radio Canada has lost $227 million in parliamentary appropriations (an 18% budget cut), $7 million with the reduction to the Canadian Media Fund, and $47 million as a result of the CRTC’s decision to end the local programing improvement fun. Last year 657 full time positions were lost; 1,500 more are being phased out over 5 years.

• Budget cuts to Telefilm Canada & the National Film Board have left these agencies with skeleton staffs who struggle against budget gaps to fulfill their agency mandates. Today, the “most” Canadian stories are LEAST likely to get funded as producers must rely on international co-productions for funding—resulting in generic work tailored to foreign audiences.

• The CRTC, now stacked with Conservative appointments, is attempting to open up the marketplace to foreign ownership of media outlets with no obligation to fund or carry Canadian content.

Our panelists will look ahead to 2015 and beyond for policy solutions to protect well paying, creative sector jobs here in Toronto.