Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia adds tax break to attract and retain film, video workers under 30

The Houston government has announced a tax break for young people working in film and television. It's a move designed to lure more young workers into a growing industry that's facing a labour shortage and keep them from leaving the province.

Those eligible will get a tax rebate on their first $50,000 of income earned

From left, Laura MacKenzie, executive director of Screen Nova Scotia; Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage Minister Pat Dunn; and Sullivan's Crossing set dresser William Greig. They posed for a photo after the tax incentive announcement in Halifax. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government announced a tax break Wednesday for people under 30 who work in film and video.

It's an expansion of the More Opportunity for Skilled Trades (MOST) program. Those eligible for this program will get a tax rebate on their first $50,000 of income earned. It will allow a maximum $2,700-tax refund for those eligible.

The idea, according to the province, is to attract and retain more people in the film and video industry — a sector facing a labour shortage.

"We're trying to keep young people in our province," Culture, Tourism and Heritage Minister Pat Dunn said during the announcement from the set of the television series Sullivan's Crossing in Halifax.

A Finance Department official says the province has budgeted a loss of $270,000 in revenue because of the tax break.  According to Statistics Canada, there are currently about 50 people working in the industry under 30. The hope is this incentive will double that figure.

William Greig, a 23-year-old set dresser on Sullivan's Crossing, said $2,700 is persuasive.

"That's a very important thing, especially for young workers such as myself who would love to see other young faces in the industry," Greig said.

Labour shortage

Laura MacKenzie, executive director of Screen Nova Scotia, said there are only about 650 people in the province working in the industry and the incentive could help address that labour shortage.

"The film industry lost many film and television graduates to greener pastures over the past years," MacKenzie said during the announcement.

"And now thanks to Premier [Tim] Houston and his government, not only are we rebuilding the volume of production and the economic impact we have, but we're rebuilding the reputation and vitality of the cultural economy as one that has incredible untapped potential to grow this province's tax base."

According to the province, the film industry pumped $180 million into Nova Scotia's economy over the past fiscal year — more than double its value from two years ago.

With files from Jean Laroche

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