The Writers Guild of Canada commends the attention paid to the Canadian film & TV sector in the federal government’s 2021 budget announced on April 19, 2021. In particular, the additional funding allocated to the Canada Media Fund, Telefilm, the CBC and the Indigenous Screen Office is a needed boost for the industry and the Canadian creators working within it.
“These additional monies earmarked in the budget for our sector are desperately needed,” says Maureen Parker, WGC Executive Director. “The funds must be used to make more shows created by Canadians for Canadians.”
“There has been a huge decrease in the volume of Canadian-written shows in the last several years. Between 2014 and 2019, the number of hours of scripted programming commissioned by Canada’s private broadcasters fell by 82.6% (Bell Media), 65.1% (Corus Entertainment) and 61% (Rogers), respectively. Additionally, between 2017 and 2020, the number of one-hour drama episodes decreased by 19%; the number of half-hour adult-targeted episodes dropped by 59%; and the number of children’s live-action episodes plummeted by 77%. This is a true crisis for our Canadian-resident screenwriters.”
The immediate financial support for the continued production of Canadian film & TV projects and the CBC to help transition through COVID-19 does give WGC members some reassurance that the current work on Canadian stories will continue in this uncertain climate, and is appreciated.
“We look forward to the swift passing of this budget,” adds Parker. “The sooner the government can implement it, the better for our industry and members.”