Sun. Jun 7th, 2020

Canada to Pay 75 Percent of Wages for Entertainment Producers Hit by Pandemic

The Canadian government’s bailout of a virtually idle film and TV production sector is gathering pace.

Ottawa’s latest cash drop for content producers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will see 75 percent of the wages paid by entertainment companies subsidized so they can stay in business. To qualify, locally-owned companies must show their revenues have fallen by at least 30 percent and must keep paying their employees and not lay them off.

“This will help everyone affected to bridge to better times,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a press conference in Ottawa on Monday.

Mark Bishop, co-CEO of marblemedia, said his Toronto-based indie producer and its distribution arm, Distribution 360, will apply for the 75 percent wage subsidy. “The fund’s goal is similar to ours: to keep as many people employed as possible during this crisis,” he told THR.

Details on the plan are expected on March 31, but the wage subsidy, capped at $847 per week for each worker, is expected to be paid for up to three months and backdated to March 15. The Canadian feds’ rescue effort follows Hollywood location shooting in Canada shutting down to help contain spread of the novel coronavirus, leaving a reeling production  sector seeking an industry bailout.

A delegation of Canadian representatives of IATSE International, whose unionized crews work on major Hollywood shoots in Canada, late last week met with federal heritage minister Steven Guilbeault to discuss emergency support for film and TV workers left jobless by the industry shutdown.

And Valerie Creighton, president and CEO of the Canada Media Fund, the biggest financier of Canadian TV, in a statement said over 1500 local projects her fund supports have been impacted by the pandemic shutdown.

“We will work with our clients to ensure maximum flexibility as we consider relief measures, wind down and start-up costs,” Creighton wrote. The CMF head added the fund is seeking “additional relief measures” from the federal government.

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:  AP

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