TORONTO, ONTARIO – The IATSE is voicing its opposition to an omnibus bill which is now receiving its third reading in Senate. An amendment to Bill C-10 calls for changes to the Income Tax Act which would allow Heritage Minister Josée Verner to deny tax credits to any project the ministry deems offensive. Charles Drouin, spokesperson for Canadian Heritage, said the amendment “would allow the Minister of Canadian Heritage to deny eligibility to tax credits of productions determined to be contrary to public policy.”
The current system already excludes granting tax credits for pornography. The proposed bill would go even further by excluding anything that is deemed offensive or not in the public interest.
Implications to the industry are far-reaching, affecting artistic freedom and injecting a lack of stability into the financing of productions. Eligibility for tax credits is to be determined after the production has wrapped. The Heritage Minister will have the ability to deny tax credits to Canadian productions even if federal agencies such as Telefilm and the Canadian Television Fund have approved of and invested in the production.
John Lewis, a Vice President of the IATSE as well as its Director of Canadian Affairs, commented, “The effects of Bill C-10 would be disastrous to arts and culture in Canada. Make no mistake – this is blatant censorship disguised as tax policy. Even from a purely economic perspective, it just doesn’t add up.”
Mr. Lewis added, “What responsible financial institution would assist in the financing of a production with the threat that its tax credits will be pulled after the project has been completed?”