Toronto is at the heart of the province's film and television production sector. This dynamic sector is an outlet for creativity and talent; a place where not only actors, but also other specialists such as designers, carpenters, make-up artists, animators and writers can hone their craft and thrive.
Toronto's film and television cluster ranks third in North America. Many high-profile film productions have been shot here, and the city is a lead exporter of TV programming. A critical draw for producers is the city's wealth of experienced, creative and technical talent. Most recently, tent-pole films have set up at the city's state-of-the-art Pinewood Toronto Studios. Experience and an emerging expertise in stereoscopic production, with successes such as Saw VII, Resident Evil: Retribution and Gnomeo and Juliet is contributing to Toronto's reputation as a place to be for 3D. Add award-winning technicians and the ease of shooting in a diverse range of locations and it's no surprise that Toronto's film and TV industry is thriving.
- $1.19 billion was spent on film and television productions shot in Toronto in 2013; including $948.1 million on major productions and $131 million on commercials.
- Annual television series production totalled $730 million.
- Television series production has grown an average of 17% over the past five years.
- In 2013, the Toronto Film, Television & Digital Media Office assisted 1,189 film projects, totalling 5,328 days of shooting.
- Toronto is not only a great place to make film – but it's also a terrific place to celebrate film. Each year, over 80 film festivals are held in Toronto in more than 20 languages.
- Toronto International Film Festival®, is the leading public film festival in the world, screening more than 300 films from 60+ countries every September.
Resident pool of creative and technical talent
- The concentration of quality animation studios accounted for an estimated $103 million in 2013.
- Overall, the film and television industry in Toronto employs more than 25,000 people.
- The city has a thriving live-theatre industry and there are 15,000 members in the Toronto branch of the performers' guild (ACTRA).
- Toronto is a centre for post-production work, special effects and emerging technology. Many Toronto-based companies are internationally renowned as suppliers of incredible animation (both 3-D and 2-D) and cutting-edge visual and special effects
- Over 800 businesses are active in all aspects of film and television, including production and distribution, music publishing and recording, and radio and television.
- The more than 200 theatre companies provide opportunities to maintain and enhance skills of performers and crew.
- Toronto schools - such as York University, Ryerson Polytechnic University, the Canadian Film Centre, Seneca College, Centennial College and Humber College - produce many talented graduates who supplement Toronto's growing crew base, animators and visual effects professionals.
Enhanced film and television tax credits
Filming in Toronto has its benefits. Toronto offers generous and bankable tax incentives – from two levels of government. Both the provincial and federal governments operate incentive programs for film and television production expenses.
Eligible expenses include:
- Equipment purchase or rental
- Visual effects (VFX)
- Computer animation
- Canadian content (CanCon)
All applicable tax credits are bankable with Canadian financial institutions and are managed swiftly and accurately so that you can have access to financing for your production while it's in progress.
Ontario's stackable tax credits
The Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) administers several film and television tax credits including:
- The Ontario Film & Television Tax Credit (OFTTC) is a 35% refundable credit on Ontario labour for film and television productions by Ontario-based Canadian controlled companies for productions shot in Ontario as well as treaty co-productions. OFFTC also has a 10% regional bonus. The federal government offers an additional 25% credit on labour expenditures for domestic and treaty co-productions.
- The Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC) is a 25% refundable tax credit on Ontario production expenditures (both labour and non-labour costs and including all post-production) for film and television productions produced by foreign or Canadian-controlled corporations. The federal government also offers an additional tax credit of 16% for eligible labour on service productions.
- The Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit (OCASE) is a refundable tax credit on eligible Ontario labour expenditures for eligible computer animation and special effects activities. The OCASE Tax Credit may be claimed on eligible expenditures in addition to the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (OFTTC) or the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC).
- The Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) is a 40% refundable credit for eligible Ontario labour expenditures and eligible marketing and distribution expenses claimed by a qualifying corporation with respect to interactive digital media products.
Heritage Canada's Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) co-administers two federal tax credit programs with the Canada Revenue Agency:
- Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) To be eligible for the CPTC, the applicant must be a Canadian-owned, taxable corporation that is primarily in the business of Canadian film or video production.
- Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) To be eligible for the PSTC, the applicant can be either a foreign-owned corporation or a Canadian-owned corporation that is primarily in the business of film or video production services.
Over 1.1 million square feet of space is available in Toronto to accommodate a full range of large and small productions including Pinewood Toronto Studios and Cinespace Film Studios. A list of sound stages and finished and unfinished warehouse studio space can be found here.
Accessing companies and labour
- General company listings can be found in both the OMDC's Ontario Production Guide and Fonebook
- FilmOntario, the industry's largest consortium and strongest voice on behalf of the sector, links to many of the major suppliers
- Digital Media Industry Ontario (formerly known as CASO) is an association of animation and visual effects companies in Toronto and Ontario
- Toronto is the hub for Canadian television broadcasters. The major national networks have their corporate offices in the city. CBC; Bell Media – CTV; Shaw Media; Rogers Communications
- Toronto has a full range of labour organizations who provide both in front of the camera performers and the award-winning behind the camera professionals
- The Toronto Film, Television & Digital Media OfficeToronto Film, Television & Digital Media Office provides one-stop concierge service to production companies for all stages of a production. Staff works with and actively promotes the city's film, television and commercial production industry; coordinates and/or issues permits to film in Toronto; and provides information for the industry, media and public. The Office's computerized film permit system and online permit application have become industry standards.
- The Toronto Film, Television & Digital Media Board works with the industry to reinforce and coordinate marketing, comment on infrastructure needs, and develop strategies concerning Canadian production and government support for the industry.
- Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Culture that facilitates economic development opportunities for Ontario's cultural media industries including book publishing, film and television, interactive digital media, magazine publishing, and the music industry. It also administers the various Government of Ontario Tax Credits and program grants.
- FilmOntario is the largest local consortium of industry players including producers, suppliers, studios, unions, guilds and professional services companies.
- Green Screen Toronto is a support and learning organization, ready to assist productions reduce their environmental footprint.