So what makes it Canadian?
TV programs and films are recognized as “Canadian” based on criteria that have been around in some form or another since the 1920s.
What is Canadian certification?
Canadian Program Certification helps independent Canadian producers and broadcasters obtain recognition for productions that use mainly Canadian crews and talent. This certification allows broadcasters to meet their Canadian content regulatory obligations, including their on-screen quotas.
The CRTC certifies a Canadian television program or series that meets the following criteria:
- the producer must be Canadian and is responsible for monitoring and making decisions pertaining to the program;
- the production earns a minimum of 6 out of 10 points based on the key creative functions that are performed by Canadians;
- at least one of either the director or screenwriter positions and at least one of the two lead performers must be Canadian;
- a minimum of 75% of program expenses and 75% of post-production expenses are paid for services provided by Canadians or Canadian companies.
What is the points system?
Very often, a book has only one author. Audio-visual productions, on the other hand, require a team of creative personnel to bring them to our screens to inform, enlighten or entertain us. Points are awarded for productions based on the key creative functions being performed by Canadians.
Key creative positions for live action productions*:
- Director (2 pts.)
- Screenwriter (2 pts.)
- First and Second Lead Performers (performer or voice) (1 pt. each)
- Production Designer (1 pt.)
- Director of Photography (1 pt.)
- Music Composer (1 pt.)
- Picture Editor (1 pt.)
*note that other rules apply to animation productions
Co-ventures: These are non-treaty co-productions where Canadian and non-Canadian producers split 50/50 financing, control and profits. These productions must meet the minimum 6 point certification standard. In recent years, this flexibility has enabled large-scale productions such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Reign.”
Treaty co-productions: They are joint film and television productions that obtain certification by meeting the requirements of various treaties and memoranda of understanding signed between the Government of Canada and several other countries. The various treaties provide significant flexibility to pool resources and creative programming that enjoys recognition as Canadian. Telefilm Canada administers this and works with CAVCO to certify these productions. Recent examples include “Vikings” (with Ireland), “Houdini and Doyle” (with Great Britain) and “Juste la fin du monde” (with France).
Have any changes been made to the basic points system?
No. The CRTC adopted a points system in 1984, following extensive consultations that began five years earlier. With the exception of offering greater flexibility through the certification of certain types of pilot projects, this points system for certification hasn’t changed in any way.
The CRTC has been explicitly charged by Parliament to define what constitutes a Canadian television program under section 10 of the Broadcasting Act.
The 6/10 points system is the standard that has been utilized by the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) since 1995 for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.
Have any changes been made beyond the basic points system?
Recently, the CRTC held an important conversation with Canadians about the future of the television system called Let’s Talk TV. Through this conversation, it was evident that Canadians don’t watch TV shows and movies like they did ten years ago, let alone thirty years ago. Times have changed and the broadcasting system must adapt. Canadians demand programming that is of the highest quality.
In 2015, the CRTC announced a series of measures to ensure that our broadcasting system adapts to the new digital era, in which there is an abundance of content, and the changing habits of viewers. The review of the policy for Certified Independent Production Funds was one of these measures, and the CRTC launched a public consultation in October of 2015.
How is the CRTC helping Canadians produce quality content that can succeed on a world stage?
Various approaches ensure that different types of content are supported in the audio-visual ecosystem. The CRTC is giving producers and creators more opportunities to shine on a world stage.
After a further extensive consultation, Canadian Certified Independent Funds can now have the flexibility to support all productions that earn the Canadian standard 6/10 points (instead of the previous 8/10). This standardization will enable more productions to be eligible for funding and provide more flexibility to Canadian producers. Making sure that more productions that meet long held certification standards are eligible to obtain funding will result in even more high-quality Canadians productions. Greater production activities in Canada will benefit all Canadians.
It is very important to note that a minimum of 75% of program expenses and 75% of post-production expenses must be paid for services provided by Canadians or Canadian companies. This benefits a wide range of Canadian creators who contribute to audiovisual productions. This achieves both cultural and economic outcomes that benefit all Canadians.
How important are investments from Canadian Certified Independent Funds to the overall financing ecosystem?
Canadians, either as consumers of advertised products and services, taxpayers or as subscribers of television service providers, make significant investments to support the creation of Canadian-made productions.
In 2015, Canadian Certified Independent Funds totalled $64.7 million and represented only 1.6% of the total support for Canadian television production. These funds supplement the Canada Media Fund and allow alternate sources of funding for programs made by Canadians. These funds have contributed to more innovative programming that would have otherwise not qualified for Canada Media Fund funding.
Other sources of financial support for Canadian productions include:
- Canadian broadcasters’ investments: $2.7 billion in expenditures in 2014-2015
- federal tax credits (generally productions must have 6/10 points to qualify): $270 million in 2015
- provincial tax credits: $582 million in 2015
- the Canada Media Fund (generally productions must have 10/10 points to access this money): $299.8 million in 2014-2015
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