Film Cut Good for Valley

An announcement by the provincial government to cut film and TV industry tax credits by five per cent is good news for the industry in the Okanagan.

Okanagan film commissioner Jon Summerland, says, despite the tax credit cut from 33 to 28 per cent, additional regional tax credits in the Okanagan will make this area even more attractive.

You have these companies in Vancouver that are not getting any regional tax credits, but they are still getting good (credits), but, if they go to the regions, they can add another 12 per cent,” said Summerland.

“If you are in B.C., you used to get 33 per cent just being in B.C. If you went outside of 200th Avenue, and you were Canadian, you got 12.5 more tax credits. That’s why you see more filming in Fort Langley and Mission.”

There is an additional six per cent for distance regions, such as the Okanagan.

The biggest benefit will come in the effects and animation industries where Kelowna already has the infrastructure in place.

Films, he said, will more often than not, go to where the location is more suited, not where the better tax credits are.

“Animation is ours to lose. We could have as much, or as little, as we wanted. Our issue is qualified labour.”

Summerland said many companies are ready to relocate to Kelowna but need the workforce the city just doesn’t have.

“If we could get the college to set up an animation course to feed into these jobs, we’d be set. We’ve been working on it for quite some time.

“I am hoping they will come through. They are talking about something starting very soon, but it could end up being another school coming in and setting up.”

He added the head of every major studio has been through Kelowna. They love it, he said.

“They will all move here, it’s not a difficult sell.”

The tax credit changes announced Monday, are scheduled to come into effect in October, once approved by the legislature.

Finance Minister Mike deJong says the subsidy was forecast to cost the government almost $500 million this year, up from the average of $313 million over the past three years, and the strong American dollar has made the province even more attractive to the industry.

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