The government of Canada has launched a fund to make up to $37m (c$50m) available to compensate Canadian productions for COVID-19-related filming delays.
The Short-Term Compensation Fund is described as a temporary measure designed to fill the void left in Canada by a lack of insurance coverage for filming interruptions and shutdowns caused by the pandemic.
The fund, to be administered by Telefilm Canada, will offer maximum compensation of $1.1m (c$1.5m) in the case of a temporary interruption and $2.2m (c$3m) for a complete shutdown of production.
Government department Canadian Heritage said more information on the fund’s terms and conditions will be released by Telefilm in coming weeks.
Minister of Canadian heritage Steven Guilbeault commented: “With this measure, we are responding to the needs of Canadian audiovisual producers who are severely affected by the pandemic. We will save jobs and continue to encourage creativity in this industry. Our government is proud to support the Canadian film and television industry, which plays an important role in the social, cultural and economic development of our country.”
Telefilm Canada executive director Christa Dickenson added: “This temporary measure provides a concrete solution to one of our industry’s most pressing concerns. We look forward to the resumption of filming, and we will continue to serve the industry by helping to administer this fund.”
The announcement of the compensation fund came as the Documentary Organization of Canada released an online guide titled Documentary Production in the Era of COVID-19: Best Practices by and for Documentary Filmmakers.
The guide, created in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Directors Guild of Canada, is based on a survey of 327 documentary professionals and interviews with more than 50 filmmakers and participants.
In the survey, 91% of respondents said they are planning to be in production or post-production on a new project within the next year and 75% of those who are currently working said their primary concern is the safety of their participants and crew.