B.C. film industry seeks tax break in 'bad year'
Ontario pulling ahead of B.C. in production ranking thanks to tax credits
Officials in B.C.'s movie and television industry are in talks with the provincial government, hoping to slow the number of productions heading to Ontario.
The $1-billion B.C. industry has shown little growth over the last few years, and for the first time in nearly a decade, B.C. has fallen behind Ontario in the North American production centre rankings.
Officials say Ontario is already as much as eight-per-cent cheaper because of tax credits, and Ontario's advantage will grow to about 10 per cent when the PST returns to B.C next April.
In hopes of staying competitive, the industry is trying to convince the provincial government that it is a manufacturer, which would allow PST exemptions, said Peter Leitch, president of North Shore Studios and the Chair of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of B.C.
"Our main goal is to make sure that we remain competitive," Leitch said.
Major series rumoured cancelling
Leitch said his studio has been holding its own, but others are having a difficult time.
"There's been a number of people out of work, so if you're on that side of the ledger, it's been a bad year," he said.
Adding to the woes is Alcatraz, one of the high-profile series being filmed in Vancouver, which is now reported to be on the verge of cancellation.
For nearly a decade, B.C. trailed only California and New York in the amount of production business, but Leitch said the province’s ranking is slipping and it could get worse if nothing is done.
"We're no longer the third-largest production centre in North America," said Leitch. "And Louisiana has some very attractive tax credits."
With files from the CBC's Robert Zimmerman