The corporation will turn the Toronto Film Critics Association’s (TFCA) top award into the richest prize in Canada when it presents the director of the winning film with $100,000 on Jan 8.

The winner of the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award will be announced at the 16th annual TFCA Awards gala dinner in January hosted by Toronto International Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey. The two runners-up will receive $5,000 apiece.

The TFCA will announce its winners on Dec 18 as well as the three finallists in the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.

“We are enormously grateful to Rogers for taking such a bold initiative,” said TFCA president Brian D Johnson, film critic for Maclean’s. “This exemplary cash prize gives our cinema pride of place at the country’s top tier of arts awards. It represents a tremendous vote of confidence in Canadian filmmakers, and in the discerning role that Toronto’s robust community of film critics can play in recognizing and rewarding brilliance.”

Rogers became the founding sponsor of the TFCA Awards Gala five years ago. “We are pleased to support content creators in this country through this prize,” said Rogers Communications vice-chairman Phil Lind. “Canadian film is competing on the world stage and with this extraordinary prize we hope to inspire this community to reach even higher.”

The TFCA has secured three new sponsors: Manulife Financial, Cineplex Media, and Shangri-la Hotel.

The Manulife Financial Student Film Award will carry a $5,000 cash prize, presented to a short film that critics will select from student entries submitted by the film programmes of Humber College, Ryerson University, Sheridan College and York University.

Deluxe will sponsor the TFCA’s Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist and present a cheque for $5,000 plus an equivalent value in post-production services.