Spurred by the rising valueof the Canadian dollar against the US dollar, two major Canadian productionservices companies are offering US producers pricing in US dollars locked atthe rate of 78 US cents.

Toronto Film Studios (TFS),Canada's largest production facility, announced the fixed exchange plan wouldtake immediate effect for rentals of its soundstages, production offices andother film-making facilities. William F. White International, the largestproduction equipment and services company, will likely follow suit.

The Canadiandollar recently touched US84 cents, well past the US80 cents thresholdconsidered dire to the future of Canada's service production community. Torontoservice providers are particularly concerned in the face of increased competitionfrom New York City in the wake of the launch of Steiner Studios in the BrooklynNavy Yard.

Asked how long the reducedexchange would be on offer, TFS president Ken Ferguson told ScreenDaily.com,"As long as it takes." He anticipates that the exchange rate will level out inthe 78-80 cent range, but he added, "If the [Canadian] dollar keeps rising we'dhave to discount more heavily anyway."

Paul Bronfman, chairman andCEO of Comweb Group, the consortium that controls William F. White, said thecompany had already done several "one-offs" pegging the dollar at a fixed rateand would likely institute a blanket policy similar to that of TFS.

TFS has much at stake, as itwas the winning bidder in the plan to build a massive soundstage in the city'sreclaimed port area. Ferguson said TFS and the Toronto Economic DevelopmentCorp., the land-owner, were still negotiating terms "in light of developments"on the exchange front. "Nobody wants to build this thing and see it fail."