The Film and TV industry is BIG BUSINESS in the City of Toronto
$2.5 billion in spending in 2021
7,800 shooting days
Ask your local candidate if they will support the industry by:
continuing the Film, Television and Digital Media Board as a Council Advisory Board
advocating on behalf of the sector to other levels of government
continuing to work with community and industry partners on training opportunities for film and television production, with a focus on continuing to diversify the industry in front of and behind the camera
supporting the industry in its efforts to become more sustainable
building on opportunities for studio development and working to ensure announced infrastructure gets built across the City
A full list of mayoral candidates, and their contact information, can be found here.
Listed below (alphabetically by last name) are the commitments candidates have made to the industry. Where no information was publicly available, we have reached out to individual candidates for their positions.
Chloe Brown’s Arts and Culture platform is centered around re-organizing the City’s Economic Development and Culture department in order to create an “Arts, Culture and Entertainment Office” at the City of Toronto. While this platform does not address film and television directly, it does address issues related to cultural workforce development and commits to working with industry on solutions and initiatives.
Sarah Climenhaga’s website can be found here. She provided the following statement in response to an inquiry about her film and television platform: “I believe film and the arts in general should be considered essential activities for not only the economic well being of our city, but also the social health of our residents. I would support working with the film, television and digital media representatives in whatever way is most effective for supporting the industry. I would be a strong advocate for the industry with other levels of government and other potential funding partners. I would work to ensure the industry receives support for important industry training initiatives so that Ontario film-makers remain competitive nationally and internationally. My platform involves integrating environmental health with all city decisions, so I would naturally support all initiatives to make film a more sustainable industry. Finally, I would like to work with your members on ensuring studio infrastructure is widely available and accessible across Toronto.”
Robert Hatton’s website can be found here. He provided the following statement in response to an inquiry about his film and television platform: “This area is not one I know a lot about. So I would support the status quo until a revised plan emerges or urgent response is required. I do think there is possible cooperation with the City providing land for studios. This approach requires the City to own land – something successive administrations seem to think is wrong. I don’t. The City is a player in land (for parks for services) and creates value by building amenities and transit etc. I think it is folly to sell or worse give City land to developers. I think having tenants on that land for studios could be a win win.”
Kris Langenfeld’s website can be found here. He provided the following information (edited for length) in response to an inquiry about his film and television platform: “I can unconditionally commit to ensuring that the industry’s ability to access, and liaise with, the city will not decrease. All those who are members of Toronto’s current Film Board will continue to have a voice in City Hall; just as the voices of those in the industry, who weren’t previously part of that Board, will also be heard. … On your question of advocating on behalf of the industry with other levels of government, I expect that to be one of the easier and more enjoyable discussions with provincial and federal counter-parts, as the film industry is a triple win that bolsters all three levels of government; all significantly benefiting from national and international film and television productions in Toronto. Such advocacy is something I will be happy to do. …. Digital media, television, and film industry are a significant employer of Torontonians, contribute their fair share of taxes dollars to keep the city running, and have been an intrinsic part of building Toronto’s prestigious international reputation. Naturally those are all things that I want to recognize and support, and that means working cooperatively to address the priorities that you, the industry, identify as being most in need of attention, areas where government action will generate beneficial results.”
John Letonja’s website can be found here. He provided the following statement in response to an inquiry about his film and television platform: “I want to make a new TV an film studio in Toronto and call it TOTV or Toronto TV a low budget TV station were everyone can participate and half of the proceeds of money will go to the developers through commercials and cinemas that we show on the big screen you can make a low budget movie and make it into big Dollars for your self and the crew this is one way I have to make new money for the city of Toronto instead of taxing people to run this city of Toronto plus I am going make a new sport game called fastball and no it’s not baseball this definitely would make big money for the city and show the games on TV well we have the facility all you need to do is to make a great show or movie so I can show it on TV or Cinema.”
Ferin Malek’s website can be found here. She provided the following information in response to emailed questions from FilmOntario, including a commitment to “serve on the Television and Digital media board as an Active member so that [she] can learn more about the needs and wants of the industry. She also committed to advocating on behalf of the industry with other levels of government, supporting the industry in its efforts to become more sustainable (including making sure portable charging stations and other facilities are built across the City), ensuring studio infrastructure continues to get built across the City, and, in regards to support for training, stated that she “will provide continuous support for industry training initiatives and would love to know more about the current budget of the TV industry allocated by the Film board and Mr. John Tory.”
Gil Penalosa’s Arts & Culture for Everyone Plan includes affordable housing for artists, a City of Toronto museum and a commitment to reinvigorate Toronto’s live music scene. This platform does not address film and television directly; it focusses on artists and the not-for-profit sector, but overall does commit to affordability so that arts workers and organizations can continue to live and work in Toronto, and highlights the importance of making arts experiences available to everyone.
Stephen Punwasi’s Reviving Our Arts & Culture acknowledges the economic contribution that the culture sector makes to the City. It includes City-owned housing and workspaces for artists, supporting local small businesses and promoting local festivals, and support for the library system. It does not mention film and television specifically.
Mayor Tory’s Lights Camera Jobs plan makes specific commitments to the film and television industry. This four-point plan includes: (1) ensuring planned film production infrastructure growth comes to fruition; (2) continuing to emphasize attracting and training new, diverse talent; (3) harnessing sustainable innovation and technology to continue ‘greening’ the industry; and (4) bolstering Torontonians’ pride in having a bustling, creative industry that reflects the global nature of the city.
Reginald Tull’s platform includes a commitment to bring more film productions to and build the entertainment industry in Toronto, as part of a plan to bring tourism back to Toronto.