HALIFAX — Nova Scotia film production has gradually increased over the last two years and was worth $102 million in 2017-18, says the deputy minister of the Department of Business.
Bernie Miller told the legislature’s public accounts committee the overall figure is line with the 10-year average before the previous film tax credit was axed in 2015.
He says the province’s film production fund paid out $22 million last year.
But Progressive Conservative Tim Houston says the province is now spending more money for film production and animation than it did under the tax credit, and it isn’t seeing a corresponding increase in jobs and production activity.
Miller maintains the number of jobs in the sector has increased over the past two years, but says the industry is cyclical and there was a boom and bust cycle even under the old tax credit system.
Laura MacKenzie, interim executive director of Screen Nova Scotia, says while there have been small improvements, employment and production levels aren’t close to what they were before the tax credit was changed and the government needs to do more to improve the situation.
MacKenzie says a sound stage is needed to attract productions, and the government needs to create an equity fund to help local producers and increase the base refundable portion of the current fund, which currently is 25 per cent for all production costs.
The Canadian Press