OTTAWA, ON – Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly unveiled Canada’s new cultural and digital content strategy yesterday in Ottawa, following more than a year of consultations and review by the government. Through different means, the plan calls for increased investments to support both domestic production as well as the promotion of Canadian content abroad.
One of the key points for the film and television sector was the announcement that the federal government has negotiated an agreement with Netflix that will see the company investing a minimum of $500 million in Canadian productions over the next five years. This is a good step for Canadian culture and something for which the IATSE had advocated, both in its formal submissions to government through meetings between individual members of the Heritage Committee and Local and International IATSE representatives.
For the first time in its history, Netflix will open a film and television production house in another country, to be known as Netflix Canada. Netflix will also invest $25 million in a market development strategy for French-language content and production – both within Quebec and in Francophone communities across Canada.
The Canada Media Fund, which supports the country’s television and digital media industries, has experienced declining revenues over the last few years. This is due to decreased contributions from Canadian cable companies as more Canadian viewers have “cut the cord” and switched to alternative viewing platforms. These declining CMF revenues will be addressed beginning in 2018 by increasing government contributions to maintain the organization’s level of funding, in turn, bringing more consistency to the funding of Canadian productions.
International Vice President Lewis said, “The IATSE is pleased that many of the concerns we raised during consultations have been addressed with this uniquely Canadian solution. Netflix is a major employer of Canadian members and the IATSE has always believed that contributing to the Canada Media Fund is not the only method by which companies can support the domestic industry. Netflix has created tens of thousands of jobs for Canadians, which result in huge economic boosts for Canadian workers and local businesses. The IATSE does applaud the government, however, for ensuring further stability for Canadian production through its own commitment to the Canada Media Fund; an innovative solution for all involved, and we welcome the announced reviews of both the Broadcasting Act and the Copyright Act.”