film industry ontario

Ontario's film and TV production industry raked in a record $2.88 billion last year

New film and television studios are popping all over Toronto, the epicentre of a provincial boom in content production that soared to record levels in 2021.

The province's Ontario Creates agency is reporting record-shattering film and television production statistics from last year, almost 400 productions combining to inject $2.88 billion in production spending into the provincial economy and bolstering Ontario's presence on the global entertainment stage.

Aside from the obvious COVID bounceback, competitive tax credits and incentives — including those offered by municipalities including Toronto — are being cited as a draw for the record 394 productions last year, which represented 48,135 full-time equivalent direct and spin-off jobs, 38 per cent higher than the 18,468 jobs supported by the industry in 2020.

Roughly one-third of that spending, or $965 million, came through domestic film and television production, the majority from the 115 TV productions that combined for over $707 million in expenditures in 2021.

Foreign production in Ontario is also on the rise, especially in the television industry, with total expenditures tallying up to a whopping $1.9 billion last year.

Television has become the dominant force in this industry, accounting for 361 of 394 productions last year.

As impressive as these figures seem, Ontario Creates stresses that these numbers are conservative to say the last, only focusing on money spent within the province on film and television productions, and not the total value of these productions.

And while the provincial government is proudly touting this record year as an accomplishment for all of Ontario, it's important to remember that the bulk of this production activity is concentrated in Toronto.

Toronto hit a record $2.2 billion in productions in 2019, a figure the city expects to break in 2022. The city is projected to experience a 63 per cent increase in studio space by 2025, and the industry is growing so fast that the workforce is struggling to keep up.

The world is taking notice, too, Toronto skyrocketing to #2 on a recent list of the 25 best large cities for film workers to reside.

So while Ontario is indeed breaking records, it sure feels like Toronto is doing a large share of the heavy lifting.

Lead photo by

Jason Cook

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