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Canadian task force to count dollar impact of COVID-19

The coalition says exploring the impact of the virus on the TV and film industry is critical at this time.
March 20, 2020

Funding agencies and production associations, including the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Canada Media Producer’s Association (CMPA), Indigenous Screen Office and Telefilm have formed a task force to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Canadian industry.

“An assessment of the national impact, as quickly as we can determine it, is critical at this time,” said a joint statement from the task force, which will inform the Canadian government at the federal, provincial and municipal level of the urgent need for support.

Other members of the coalition include Association of Provincial and Territorial Funding Agencies (APTFA), Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM), City of Toronto Film Office, Creative BC, NFB, Ontario Creates and SODEC. All of the organizations remain operational, with staff working remotely.

While the task force does not include all of Canada’s industry organizations, a CMF spokesperson confirmed the data will be available to the entire industry. Toronto-based business management consultant Nordicity has been commissioned to carry out the work.

Canadian productions that have either been postponed or suspended as a result of COVID-19 include NursesWynonna EarpBlood and WaterUnsettled and Departure. Meanwhile, international shows like the CBS pilot Good Sam and Apple TV+’s See have also temporarily shut down.

Since the extent of the business impact became apparent a little over a week ago, the Canadian industry has scrambled to limit the damage of the production shutdown and understand the financial impact. While some provincial bodiessuch as Screen Nova Scotiahave solicited feedback on the business impact, the task force represents the first cross-Canada initiative to weigh the damage to the sector.

“We will be reaching out to other key stakeholdersour broadcaster, distributor, union and guild, and independent production fund partnersto exchange information and collaborate on common industry solutions. Each of them, and the thousands of artists, employees, and workers they represent, play an essential role in our system,” said a statement from the task force.

Elsewhere, Ontario Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture, Lisa MacLeod on Thursday held a virtual teleconference to discuss the short- and long-term ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the call, McLeod assured the provincial industry that all funding to Ontario Creates is secure, and that all the sectors within her portfolio will remain stable.

In addition, the Ontario government is scheduled to release a revised fiscal plan for the coming year on March 25. The revised plan is expected to include aid measures that are being implemented at the provincial level.

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