Please wait...
Please wait...

Canadian federal budget pledges $29m in new funding to underrepresented voices

Sphere Media and HBO Max coproduction Sort Of

The Canadian federal government has pledged an additional C$40m (US$29.5m) in its upcoming budget to support underrepresented voices within the local TV market.

Under the funding boost, which will come into effect in 2023/24 if it is approved by parliament, the country’s main TV funding agency – the Canada Media Fund (CMF) – will receive an additional C$40m over two years to support “traditionally underrepresented voices” and to increase the funding available to French-language productions.

Reynolds Mastin

In the budget proposal, published on Tuesday, the government said: “This approach ensures support for the production of Canadian content while the government continues to review and modernise its support for the Canadian screen sector.”

The Canadian Media Producers Association welcomed the news, with president and CEO Reynolds Mastin saying the additional funding will create “incredible new opportunities for creators” across the country.

“We strongly support the CMF’s efforts to advance equity, diversity and inclusion within the audiovisual sector. Access to these additional funds will provide incredible new opportunities for creators, from coast to coast to coast, to create high-quality content and bring their stories to life on screen,” said Mastin.

Valerie Creighton

Valerie Creighton, president and CEO of the CMF, added: “We believe this new investment is a first step towards the government’s commitment to double its annual contribution to the CMF, which will bolster the domestic content production sector in both linear and immersive media production and contribute to Canada’s economic recovery.”

The CMF invests around C$360m in Canadian productions annually, with around half of that coming via a contribution from the federal government and the other half coming from revenues derived from Canadian cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. The funding organisation supports all manner of Canadian TV and digital projects, including titles such as CBC’s Sort Of and Crave’s Little Bird.

News of the funding bump comes as legislation to modernise Canada’s Broadcasting Act continues to make its way through parliamentary channels.

The local industry has for years been calling for new regulations that would bring streaming services such as Netflix under Canadian regulation and mandate that local programming quotas are imposed upon them. However, the Online Streaming Act (aka Bill C-11) has faced several hurdles and delays along the way.

It is hoped that the bill will be officially passed into law in the next few months. If that happens, it will then fall to Canada’s broadcasting regulator, the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission (CTRC), to figure out how to implement and enforce the new legislation. The CRTC’s consultation process is expected to take at least nine months.


Please wait...