The Alberta Government tabled their budget last week and based on the message coming out of Edmonton, it’s fair to say, most Albertans were anticipating cuts. However, the United Conservative Party stated that they were going to implement a competitive tax credit for our industry in their election platform, so some in the industry had hope.
The budget contains a tax credit for the Alberta Film & Television industry which is a positive move and something the industry has been asking for / working on for years. Also confirmed, the tax credit will be administered by the Ministry of Economic Development Trade and Tourism. The tax credit will have a per project cap of $10 million dollars, which is an increase to the current cap under the Screen Production Grant (SPG). Under this tax credit, both foreign and Alberta productions will be eligible for a rebate of 22% of their total production spend (money spent in the province) above $500,000. The tax credit takes effect April 1, 2020.
The province is working on a new grant for projects owned by Alberta producers. The Alberta Small Production Grant – which will support projects with budgets from $50,000 to $500,000. Producers will receive a rebate of 25% of their total production spend (money spent in the province). The grant will be accepting applications in 2020. Industry learned yesterday that the budget for the Small Production Grant is ONLY $1 million dollars, which is not enough to support our local production industry.
The ADC along with other industry stakeholders have concerns/questions about the following:
  • The money allocated for the tax credit over the next several years will generate investment and jobs – overall funding for the tax credit program is $15M in 2020/21, $30M in 2021/22, and the fund reaches current levels of funding at $45M in 2022/23. (significant decrease in the next two years).
  • Tax rebate of 22% (tax credit) and 25% (grant) are reduced percentages which will have a negative impact on productions who have budgeted higher rates.
  • In the budget, the Government stated they had to deal with an over subscription ($90 million) of the SPG and that it has to be taken into consideration when providing funding for the next several years. Ok, but it will have significant impact for future productions.
  • SIDE NOTE: Over subscription has been a problem for Alberta’s grant program for decades – we have been attracting more production, which generates more income / revenue for the province (that is a success story).
  • What is the status of projects who applied for funding under the current model and will they receive funding?
  • The elimination of the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit which supported video game development.
The UCP Government only partially fulfilled their platform promise – we have a tax credit and a higher cap, however it is not competitive with Ontario and BC.
Stakeholders are working on a number of initiatives . . . but what can you do?
Sunday, November 3 at the
Glenmore Inn – Calgary 
2:00 pm
If you reside outside Calgary and can’t make the trip to the meeting – the meeting will be live streamed. More details will be available in the coming days on this page, DGC Alberta Newsletter and social media.
Additional Reading:
Pages 9, 98 and 153 give some specifics for film & tv funding
“Convert the Alberta Screen-Based Production Grant into a tax credit with
greater flexibility to allow Alberta to compete for major media projects
with provinces like British Columbia and Ontario. We will consult with
stakeholders in the film, television and digital media industries to create
an optimal tax credit designed to attract large productions and series”.