With many film and TV productions paused by coronavirus restrictions and lack of insurance, Quebec’s cultural ministry is offering a multi-million dollar economic stimulus program
The Province of Quebec is implementing a temporary program to support the film and TV industry, which is slowly resuming after coronavirus forced productions to halt.
In fact, many U.S. film and TV productions are now able to resume filming in Canada, provided they have no COVID-19 symptoms and have a plan to quarantine for 14 days.
Many Canadian film and TV companies, however, are unable to resume filming due to a lack of insurance coverage for COVID-19. Quebec’s Minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy, announced the $51 million program on Monday, July 13, to address the issue.
The program will facilitate the preparation of financial arrangements that will allow for all phases of production to resume, according to a media release. Details of the program are currently being drafted by the Society for the Development of Cultural Enterprises (SODEC).
Filming the TV Series District 31 resumed on Monday to end the current season. Filming had been interrupted due to the pandemic.
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The program is part of the province’s Cultural Economic Recovery Plan to help the audiovisual industry get back on its feet after being affected by coronavirus restrictions. There are two components:
- Temporary aid relating to the maintenance of the audiovisual sector’s production capacity; and
- Temporary aid for productions to resume activities after being interrupted since March 14.
More details on what assistance is being provided through these two components will be announced by SODEC on Wednesday July 15.
“The audiovisual production sector is an essential lever for creativity and innovation in Quebec and we are very proud of it,” Roy says in the French media release.
The Quebec Association of Media Production (AQPM), which represents over 150 independent production companies, saluted the Quebec government in a statement.
Hélène Messier, president and CEO of AQPM, said in the French statement that this program will relieve a significant amount of pressure felt by French-language producers who are “suffering from significant under-funding.”
“Thanks to this new program… independent producers will be in a better position to offer Quebecers quality production with high potential for influence on national and foreign markets,” Messier says in French in the AQPM release.
Filming in Quebec
Foreign film and TV workers destined for Quebec do not need a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) in order to work in the province legally.
These workers can come to work in Quebec under the Significant Benefit Work Permit. This means that employers in the industry need not apply for an Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), on the basis that granting work permits to workers in the film industry provides a significant economic and cultural benefit to Canada.
An LMIA is a document that employers generally need to obtain before hiring a foreign national, proving that there is a need to hire a foreign national for the position, rather than a Canadian or permanent resident.
Canada and Quebec understand that the economic and cultural benefit gained from providing LMIA-free work permits are more important than the possible negative outcomes from not requiring an LMIA.
As such, many popular Hollywood films were shot in Quebec, including Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), and The Trotsky (2009), starring Montreal’s very own Jay Baruchel.