N.S. film, TV jobs in rapid decline since elimination of film tax credit: NDP
Members of Nova Scotia's film and television industry protest outside the legislature in Halifax on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Wednesday, November 11, 2015 7:37AM AST
HALIFAX -- The number of film and TV jobs in Nova Scotia has plunged since the provincial government eliminated a key film tax credit in the spring, the opposition New Democrats said Tuesday.
Citing statistics from the union that represents film and TV workers in Nova Scotia, the NDP issued a statement saying there's been an 82 per cent drop in screen jobs between September and December when compared with the same period last year.
Local 849 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees produced statistics showing there were 510 unionized cast and crew jobs for productions last fall, and there were only 90 positions this year.
"What we are seeing is a very tangible decline in the number of people working in our screen industry as a result of (Premier) Stephen McNeil's reckless decision to slash the film tax credit," NDP critic Marian Mancini said in a statement. "The loss of 420 jobs in a small province like ours is significant."
Union spokesman Gary Vermeir said the screen industry has tried to work with a new film production fund, "but our industry was given no time to transition to the changes" in the middle of the production season. "Our industry was thrown into chaos and the productions that were lined up for the summer and fall went away."
Nova Scotia Business Minister Mark Furey issued a statement saying funding announced Friday will address "some of the gaps" identified by the industry.
As well, Furey challenged the union's numbers, saying the big decline could be attributed to the cancellation of the locally filmed cable-TV show Haven and the sudden closure of the Halifax-based production company Egg Films -- both of which had nothing to do with the film tax credit.
Furey insisted the province's new film fund is working, citing provincial figures that show $1.1 million has already been approved from the fund, representing a total production value of almost $6 million.
"We don't need to offer the highest level of support to attract film productions," Furey said in a statement. "We have talented workers, beautiful scenery and a long history of success in this industry. These assets add to our competitiveness internationally."