TORONTO – Ontario will provide $100 million annually in new tax relief to the entertainment and creative industries in a bid to boost what it calls a key sector.
Thursday’s provincial budget also includes an additional $30 million in investments. Tax support will also go to create interactive digital media products in Ontario, such as mobile phone content, video games and interactive design.
Book publishing, computer animation and special effects will get an enhanced refundable tax credit, which will be made permanent for film and television.
It’s a move that will create “predictability and stability for the industry,” the government said.
The changes come at a time when TV stations and other media outlets are banging on the doors of Parliament Hill, asking for funding to stay afloat.
This week, CBC asked the federal government for funds to stave off 800 job losses – money it didn’t receive.
The province will grant $20 million to the Ontario Media Development Corp., an agency of the Ministry of Culture, which helps the province’s sector compete globally. It’s also pumping $10 million into a pilot project at that agency to refund a portion of costs paid to develop intellectual property.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath gave her approval for funding for the arts, but said more needs to be done.
“There’s no doubt that the investments that are being made are ones that New Democrats support in terms of trying to stimulate economic growth,” she said.
“But the question is whether the investments overall are smart, sound investments, and we just don’t believe that the government is taking advantage of all opportunities to grow Ontario’s economy in the long term.”
The arts sector employed 276,000 people in Ontario last year, making the province the third-largest creative hub in North America.
Ontario has more than 700 interactive digital media firms, the majority in the Greater Toronto Area.