As part of a promised $500-million COVID-19 funding package for the Department of Canadian Heritage, $115.8 million has been earmarked to support the Canadian audiovisual sector. The Canada Media Fund will oversee the immediate distribution of $88.8 million, while Telefilm will similarly distribute $27 million.
So what does that mean for members of the Canadian Film & TV industry, and screenwriters in particular?
The money being disbursed by both the CMF and Telefilm is focused on primarily helping organizations, not individuals, shore up operations in anticipation of resuming full operations as Canada begins to ease restrictions on businesses. It is intended to complement existing federal government relief programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Business.
Current “clients” of the CMF and Telefilm will be eligible to access up to 25% of recently approved funding. Both agencies are in the process of formulating application guidelines. In the meantime, they will be looking at organizations:
- In need of funding to support a continuity of operations and to safeguard jobs, that are operating at the time they apply and that plan to contribute to the sector in the future.
- That are not receiving funding from multiple sources (like CEWS, CEBA etc) to cover the same costs.
- And that will be using funds, where relevant, to support workers such as the self-employed, freelance workers, artists and creators.
It’s the Guild’s view that these funds are meant for production companies currently working with the CMF and Telefilm. We’ll provide information regarding application guidelines as soon as it becomes available.