hailey%20-%20duncan-1As other provinces make changes to increase tax credits for their film industries, this year's budget maintains funding for Saskatchewan's film industries at 2009/10 levels.

 Yesterday Manitoba upped their Film and Video Production Tax Credit by 30 percent. The Sask Party kept the current rate of 55 per cent for Saskatchewan’s Film Employment Tax Credit at today’s budget reading.

 

Dustin Duncan Minister of Tourism,
Culture,Parks, and Sports answers
questions at the legislature on budget day.

Photo: Leila Beaudoin

 

 

Dustin Duncan, Minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sports, said the current tax credit isn’t the most lucrative.

“In talking with the industry, we know we need to look at that, because other provinces have made changes to theirs, while we haven’t. But that is going to be part of the discussion leading out of the budget,” he said.

The film industry in Canada has seen a 77 per cent decline over the past few years. 1800 films were produced in 2008 and this number fell by half in 2009.  2010 isn’t going to be much better according to recent projections.

 "We’re doing nothing. By holding the line we’re actually kicking the film industry in the pants,” said Danielle Chartier, NDP Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sports critic.

 Improvement in the tax credit is needed in order to keep the industry competitive said Chartier.

 Andrew Gordon, President of IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) Local 295, doesn’t think the industry needs more money. They need to re-brand the tax credit and make it better, so that Saskatchewan can sell itself in the global market.

“It’s really difficult to sit and watch one province over, one government that’s completely open for business and wants to develop their infrastructure. And here we’re being asked to hold the line when we’re not actually gaining any ground whatsoever.”

 The Regina operations of Gordon’s company shut down this week. They rented film and television equipment to producers in the area, but decided two weeks ago that there wasn’t enough business.

 “This budget is all about forward thinking, (and) trying to develop business, (but) for us today it was bad for culture and bad for business,” said Gordon.

 The film industry in Saskatchewan has been built over the past 20 years. In the 2007/2008 fiscal year the industry contributed $63 million to the economy. It also created 1200 full time jobs.

 The series Corner Gas made up 25 per cent of the film industry in Saskatchewan during its run. Duncan said that the hole left in the market after Corner Gas ended remains hard to fill.