It is no secret that Ontario’s film and television industry is booming – direct production spending hit a record $2.88 billion in 2021, supporting over 48,000 jobs related to the sector.
FilmOntario recently commissioned a study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to look a little deeper into that success, and explore the importance of provincial tax credits to the industry. The resulting Benefit Assessment of Ontario’s Film and Television Tax Credits (PDF) demonstrates that the film and television tax credits are a great investment for the province – delivering economic and cultural results.
The study shows that the industry grew by 70% between 2012 and 2019 (the last year for which numbers are available before production cycles were disrupted by Covid public health measures). This is a testament to Ontario’s talented on- and off-screen talent, our beautiful locations, and our stable and effective incentives.
According to the estimates provided by PwC, 86.5% of the production activity that happens in Ontario is directly attributable to the presence of our tax credits. This is because of the mobility of the industry, the financial benefit the credits have for productions, and the wide availability of tax credits in other jurisdictions. Simply put, the tax credits make Ontario a competitive filming jurisdiction in a global industry.
The tax credits are also money well spent. Every $1 the government pays out in tax credits increases the province’s GDP by $3.40 and labour income by $2.50. In addition, that $1 paid by the government in tax credits comes back into public coffers through federal, provincial and municipal taxes and fees – 49 cents to the federal government and 51 cents to the province and municipalities.
The study shows that tax credits play a significant role in deciding where to locate a production: jurisdictions that improve their credits see increases in production spending and when credits are cut, production levels fall. But more than that, stable tax credits create trust in the market, and allow large companies to make investments in infrastructure and technology. We have seen many of these investments lately with announcements of new studio projects across the GTHA and around the province. FilmOntario can’t wait to see the great stories that will be brought to life in these spaces.
Finally, a vibrant film and television industry supports growth and opportunity in other areas of the economy. In the fall FilmOntario released a video highlighting how Filming Is Good Business in Ontario; the study shows how other sectors, including tourism, benefit from film and television production.
FilmOntario is immensely proud of the industry our members have built in Ontario. We would also like to thank the Province of Ontario for its investment in the industry through the film and television tax credits, an investment this study demonstrates is money well spent. For further information about the study, please contact Cynthia Lynch.