ONTARIO’S MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY IS READY TO ROLL!

The information noted below is designed to assist the Film and TV sector with questions related to the framework for reopening Ontario’s film industry and Ontario Creates’ efforts to assist producers with business continuity. As news is released, we will endeavour to provide relevant and timely updates on this page. Please check back on a regular basis for more information.

As we move forward with the gradual reopening of the industry, the Section 21 Health and Safety guidelines may be updated from time to time. To receive automated notifications of any updates to the guidelines, please subscribe to ReadytoRoll updates by following this link: ReadytoRoll: Covid-19 Updates

The Ontario Film Commission is here to assist you and can be reached at filmcommission@ontariocreates.ca for further questions.

ONTARIO’S FRAMEWORK FOR REOPENING THE FILM INDUSTRY

Ontario is gradually reopening businesses, services and public spaces on a regional basis. Our province’s reopening is being guided by a three-stage framework that outlines the principles we are using to reopen businesses, services and public spaces.

Stage One of the Province’s re-opening plan took effect on May 19, 2020.  This stage included the opening of film and television post-production, visual effects and animation; sound-recording, publishing and distribution; and book and periodical production, publishing and distribution.

Stage Two took effect on Friday June 12, 2020.  This stage introduced a new, regional approach to reopening, based on trends of key public health indicators outlined in the framework. Stage 2 includes all remaining film and television production activities; subject to maintaining physical distancing between individuals on set whenever possible. Most regions, including the entire Greater Toronto Area are now permitted to resume film activity.

Allowing film and television activities to resume at the onset of Stage 2 signals great confidence in the ability of the motion picture industry to produce informed and thoughtful protocols for reopening.

Ontario has taken a regional approach to reopening in Stage 2.

Regions are based on public health unit boundaries.

Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 as of Friday, June 12 include:

  • Algoma Public Health
  • Brant County Health Unit
  • Chatham-Kent Public Health
  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit
  • Grey Bruce Health Unit
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
  • Huron Perth Public Health
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
  • Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Peterborough Public Health
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Public Health Sudbury & Districts
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit
  • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Southwestern Public Health
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 as of Friday, June 19 include:

  • Durham Region Health Department;
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
  • Halton Region Health Department;
  • Hamilton Public Health Services;
  • Lambton Health Unit;
  • Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
  • York Region Public Health Services.

Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 as of Wednesday, June 24 include:

  • Peel Public Health
  • Toronto Public Health

The following region will remain in Stage 1 until it’s safe to move into Stage 2:

  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit

For detailed information about Stage 2 and a map of regions where filming is permitted, please visit:  https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-whats-each-stage#section-2

Building on the successful regional approach taken in Stage 2, each region of Ontario will be permitted to enter Stage 3 when it is safe to do so. Filming activities were allowed to resume as of stage 2 and moving into stage 3 does not affect the ability to carry out filming activities. Stage 3 effectively increases the maximum number of people allowed to gather indoors to 50 and allows for outdoor gatherings up to 100. Physical distancing requirements have not changed and regardless of indoor or outdoor gatherings in Stage 3, the 2 meter (6 feet) distance requirement is still in place across the province.

It’s important to note that by moving into Stage 3, this is a clear indication of how Ontario’s public health measures are working and public health concerns are improving across the Province. For more details on specific changes for Stage 3, click here.

Decisions to move into Stage 3 have been made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local public health officials, and based on established criteria, including virus spread and containment, health system capacity, public health system capacity and incidence-tracking capacity.

As of July 17, 12:01am most regions in the Province have moved into stage 3 with the exclusion of the following public health units.

  • Durham Region Health Department
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
  • Halton Region Public Health
  • Hamilton Public Health Services
  • Lambton Public Health
  • Niagara Region Public Health
  • Peel Public Health
  • Toronto Public Health
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
  • York Region Public Health

The government will provide regular updates on the ongoing assessment of all regions, and whether a specific region or community is ready to move into Stage 3. Up-to-date information about the Stage 3 status of each region will be available here.

Certain jurisdictions/municipalities have mandated that non-medical masks be worn in any public spaces or in situations where it’s not possible to keep 2 meters distance between people. The province recommends that face coverings should be used for indoor and/or outdoor gatherings if you can’t safely physical distance from others. Please contact local permitting offices for more information about mask policies in public spaces.

For work environments that are clearly separated from public spaces, the Section 21 Health and Safety guidelines outlines the recommendations for the use of face coverings at work, click here for more information.

The Ontario Film Commission is working closely with liaisons from across the province to ensure production activity can proceed fluidly. Regional and municipal film offices have taken a collaborative and active approach to COVID-19 and are building processes that will provide a safe return to work and location filming. Please visit the Ontario Production Guide for a complete listing of our 80 regional film liaisons.

HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES

The Section 21 Health and Safety Guidelines were published on Thursday June 25th 2020. Film and television productions are required to ensure workplaces are safe; that cast, crew and communities are protected; and that physical distancing is maintained as much as possible. Following extensive industry consultation, Ontario’s Health and Safety guidelines have been released by the Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development (MLTSD).

The guidelines were created by the Section 21 Film and Television Health and Safety Advisory Committee, a public and private advisory body to MLTSD, pursuant to Section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The committee advises on Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario which are meant to assist employers/producers, supervisors and cast and crew in the industry in determining ways to best comply with their obligations as set out under the OHSA.

Committee representatives include experienced advisors, both domestic and foreign, from all aspects of the motion picture industry. The committee is comprised of unions, guilds, producers associations and municipal and provincial government representatives representing film, television and commercial production. These entities have worked hand-in-hand with MLTSD throughout the drafting process.

The guidelines offer non-prescriptive and scalable protocols, providing productions of any size with a foundation for safe return to work protocols. The guidelines contain general and department specific recommendations and resources. Each production will need to determine their own specific implementation plan and have this in places of employment.

The guidelines have been hosted on www.filmsafety.ca. For general COVID-19 compliance questions, please contact Ontario’s Health and Safety Contact Centre at webOHS@ontario.ca.

The provincial government does not require health and safety guidelines to be submitted by employers. Regional and municipal film offices may ask for production companies to indicate that they have a plan as part of the location permitting process, but they will not be required to submit documentation to acquire a film permit.

All companies operating in Ontario are required to have a COVID-19 plan in place for their production.

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PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES

The Ontario Film Commission has compiled a comprehensive list of suppliers for Personal Protective Equipment and sanitation services from across the Province. We have packaged this information in the following Excel sheet. This list and all of Ontario’s 1600+ production services can also be found on the Ontario Production Guide.

TRAVEL AND BORDERS

The Province of Ontario does not have travel restrictions in place within the Province.

Travellers within Canada will be subject to a health check prior to boarding any domestic flights. For up-to-date information on Domestic and International travel, please click here.

International travel is restricted, but travelers from the US can enter under the Immigration Mobility Program and get a permit at their point of entry into Ontario from international locations. Individuals who are able to enter Ontario must quarantine for 14 days and be prepared to provide evidence of a quarantine plan to border officials. Toronto Pearson airport is one of four airports country-wide that is accepting passenger flights from international locations. Health Canada offers helpful information about travel restrictions.

The link below provides further clarification on foreign nationals from US destinations and, foreign nationals from non-US destinations arriving in Canada for film and television work. This link also provides further clarity on how non-discretionary or non-optional, immediate family members can join temporary workers in Canada for the duration of their work term.

Canada Border Services Agency, Covid-19 Orders in Council

Travellers should be advised that as of March 31, 2020, anyone arriving in Canada by any mode (air, land or marine) must provide their contact information to a border services officer when seeking entry. This information is collected on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada to support their compliance and enforcement of the 14-day quarantine or isolation requirement outlined in the Order in Council 2020-0260. Mandatory quarantine applies to travellers without symptoms of COVID-19. Quarantine instructions can be found on Health Canada’s Awareness Resources site.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS AND MITIGATION EFFORTS

Processing of all cultural media tax credits (OPSTC, OFTTC, OCASE, OIDMTC, OBPTC) is continuing as usual.  Please continue to monitor the Online Application Portal for updates and questions on your file from your analyst. More information about Ontario’s Film and Television tax credit programs can be found here.
  • File reviews will not be held up if the administration fee has not yet been received. As cheques cannot be processed at this time, applicants are requested to register for e-payment here: electronic payment.
  • Where electronic payment is not possible and file reviews are complete, Certificates of Eligibility will be issued subject to applicants acknowledging, in writing, their obligation to pay the outstanding administration fee. Subsequent applications (submitted after return to normal business) from the company and their associated companies will not be processed until the outstanding administration fees are paid.
  • Refunds of tax credit administration fees will only be available by electronic payment.
  • Certificates cannot be picked up at this time.  Applicants and CRA will be notified electronically when certificates are issued, including the certificate number for reference.  Physical certificates will be available upon return to normal business.
  • Applicants are asked to upload video/sample production content for film and television credits or the digital version of a book for the OBPTC, instead of providing physical copies where it is an eligibility requirement.  Where this is not possible because of size restrictions (limit of 35-40MB), certificates will not be withheld; the content should be delivered upon return to normal business.
  • Where possible, Tax Credit business processes have been temporarily modified to streamline reviews and fast-track certifications.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency has also implemented strategies to expedite the review of Film & Media tax credit applications which have been certified by Ontario Creates.
  • General Tax Credit enquiries should be sent to taxcredits@ontariocreates.ca
2020-21 Programs for Film Fund, IDM Fund, Book Fund, Magazine Fund, Export Fund, Industry Development Program, and the Business Intelligence Program were rolled out as scheduled in March and April and will be proceeding as usual for the foreseeable future. For more details on specific program dates and/or changes, please visit the relevant program pages for your sector at Ontariocreates.ca.

Flexibility on delivery dates will be provided where events, projects or initiatives must be postponed due to COVID-19. In all cases, please contact your Ontario Creates program consultant to discuss the specifics of your circumstances and contract deliverables.  Flexibility and leniency will be provided to the extent possible.

STUDIO SPACE AND LOCATIONS

Anticipating the need for controllable production environments, the Ontario Film Commission has worked with public and private partners to identify new studio space and locations that will align with new production models. Facilities that have opened since production went on hiatus are highlighted.

Our consultants have combed through our Location Library for locations across the province that offer a large footprint to producers. These are just a handful of the 9,000 locations in our Location Library. Our production consultants are on standby to receive your scouting requests. Please email locations@ontariocreates.ca for assistance.

Large Controllable Spaces Part 1

Large Controllable Spaces Part 2

Large Controllable Spaces Part 3

Ontario’s Studio List contains over 3,088,589 sq. ft of square feet, with over 235,000 ft. of stage space coming online during hiatus. Nearly 1,000,000 sq. ft. is scheduled to come online over the next two years.

Please return to this webpage for more information about new film friendly municipal, regional and provincial locations.

ONTARIO’S FILM WORKERS

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING RESOURCES

In partnership with the Ottawa Film Office, the Ontario Film Commission has worked with Ontario’s unions, guild and associations to identify nearly 200 professional development opportunities, health and well-being resources, and live streaming webinars for Ontario’s film workers. Please visit our Learning Hub for more information.

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