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Canada extends Covid production fund

The government of Canada has extended its Short-Term Compensation Fund (STCF) for local television and film productions during the Covid-19 pandemic until the end of March.

Steven Guilbeault, minister of Canadian heritage, confirmed that C$50m (US$40m) has been added to the fund, which was launched last year to support productions during the pandemic.

The STCF has increased to C$100m, which allows more projects to make use of the programme during the busiest time of the year for the industry.

Telefilm, which administers the fund, can now compensate a production company whose project had to be abandoned or interrupted due to a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis on the set or an outbreak on the production team.

Since the launch of the STCF last October, 160 productions have applied for coverage, valued at more than C$106m in total.

Guilbeault said: “Our movies, television and productions are known throughout the world. That’s why it was essential for our government to continue to support the Canadian audiovisual industry and its workers. The Covid-19 pandemic is still slowing growth in this sector. We must act now to protect jobs and maintain this industry’s vitality.”

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and The Quebec Media Production Association (AQPM) have welcomed the extension.

CMPA president Reynolds Mastin and AQPM president Hélène Messier called the government and Guilbeault “strong allies” of Canada’s production industry.

The statement said: “Throughout the pandemic, Minister Guilbeault and the federal government have been strong allies for Canada’s film and television production industry. Today’s announcement will ensure that cameras remain rolling across the country and, with the continued execution of strict health and safety protocols, thousands working in film and TV will remain employed.”

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