Alberta Party showcases tax credit to get film cameras rolling in province

Neil Korotash

March 25, 2019


The province will be seeing a lot more lights, action and cameras if the Alberta Party has its way, leader Stephen Mandel said in Calgary on Monday.

Tax incentives would woo filmmakers and crews back home from places like B.C., said Mandel.

“British Columbia has been a poor partner in Confederation. . . When I’m premier, we’re going to stop giving our lunch money away to a bully and bring jobs and head offices back to Alberta,” he said.

“Alberta’s film incentives will be better than B.C.’s, so Albertans can come home to work.”

He made the announcement at the Fairmont Palliser hotel to an enthusiastic audience that included film and TV industry workers.

Mandel said an Alberta Party government would provide film and TV production companies with a tax credit of up to 65 per cent on eligible salaries and 35 per cent on expenses within the province.

Not placing a limit on an eligible production’s length is unprecedented in Canada and should encourage online creators like those on YouTube to work in Alberta, said the party.

Those tax inducements would complement the province’s renowned scenic diversity and production crews, said Mandel.

“We have all the ingredients for success except opportunity, we’ll get the film rolling, get our people home,” he said.

In October 2017, the NDP government boosted the total amount available in its grant program to the film industry from $30 million to $45 million while increasing the pre-production cap from $5 million to $7.5 million.

That move was applauded by industry, but some players later balked on how long it took grants to be approved for projects.

If implemented, the Alberta Party’s program would have a “huge” impact in bringing production back to Alberta, said Luke Azevedo, commissioner of film, TV and creative industries with Calgary Economic Development.

“It’s an extremely rich one for us. . . It would help substantially because we’re seeing a migration of our talent heading west,” he said. “We’re just not growing at the same pace as our neighbours or those down east.”

Alberta’s post-secondary institutions are producing about 3,000 graduates per year in the field in a province that lacks the capacity to employ them, said Azevedo.

Both Mandel and Azevedo said the party’s policy is similar to that offered by Manitoba, which is considered highly generous.