British Columbia is often described as a "world class" destination for film and television production. Its success in attracting international production companies has been augmented by the refundable labour-based film tax credits offered by the federal and provincial governments to production companies operating in B.C.
At the provincial level, the B.C. government offers a Film Incentive B.C. tax credit to "BC-controlled" production companies equal to 35% of a qualifying company’s eligible labour expenditures incurred in respect of a film or video production. It also offers a Production Services film tax credit to production companies with permanent establishments in B.C. equal to 25% of eligible labour expenditures. Additional regional, distant location regional, training and digital animation and visual effects tax credits are also available in certain circumstances.
Until recently, B.C.’s film tax credits had a limited shelf life. Its Film Incentive B.C. and Production Services credits were legislated to be reduced by 5% and 7% respectively at the end of 2009. All B.C. film tax credits were legislated to expire in 2013.
On February 17, 2009 as part of the 2009 Budget, the B.C. government introduced proposed legislation that removes the expiry dates on all B.C. film tax credits. The proposed legislation also eliminates the requirement that a corporation be "BC-controlled" to qualify for the Film Incentive BC tax credit for productions with principal photography starting on or after January 1, 2009. This change will allow Canadian-controlled eligible production companies to qualify for the credit. The proposed legislation was given Royal Assent on March 12, 2009 and the changes are now in force.
On February 20, 2009 the Ontario government announced similar proposed legislative amendments intended to make Ontario’s film tax credits permanent. The government’s announcement was confirmed in Ontario’s 2009 Budget, although the proposed legislative amendments are not yet in force.