Newsroom Home

Production protocols on COVID-19 expected for early June

Protocols on how to safely mount production in the time of coronavirus will be available by early June, according to Canada’s film commissioners
May 14, 2020

As seen on Playback

Protocols on how to safely mount production in the time of coronavirus will be available by early June, according to Canada’s film commissioners.

Representatives of six provinces – responsible for roughly 99% of the $9.31 billion in volume of film and TV production during 2018/19, according to the CMPA – shed light on the timeline of reopening of production amidst the pandemic at a webinar with tax consultant company Entertainment Partners (EP) during a webinar held yesterday (May 13).

Taking part in the webinar were Luke Azevedo, commissioner, Film, Television & Creative Industries for Calgary; Justin Cutler, Ontario film commissioner at Ontario Creates; Laura Mackenzie, executive director at Screen Nova Scotia; Marnie Orr, B.C. film commissioner and director of production services; Chanelle Routhier, Quebec film and TV commissioner; and Rachel Margolis, Manitoba Film & Music CEO and film commissioner. The webinar was hosted by EP’s Jennifer Liscio, VP, legal affairs and tax incentives, and EVP Joseph Chianese.

Manitoba is on track to deliver the new production protocols first, according to Margolis, as the provincial government has set June 1 for a slow reopening of film production. B.C. is also on track to begin some production on June 1, according to Orr, as part of their government’s third phase of reopening, but expects the protocols won’t be ready before then. Quebec currently has a preliminary protocol document in place for commercial production, with protocols on film and TV production still in the works.

The nation’s film commissioners largely agreed that most provincial protocols will be available in June, noting that their offices have collaborated throughout the effort to make a largely unified approach to reopening.

Commissioners noted that business was largely booming from coast to coast when the shutdowns occurred, with even more production set to ramp up as spring approached. Margolis said Manitoba was the last to shut down, with one major feature film rolling cameras until March 22, while working with public health to determine best practices, and a remote documentary filmed until the end of the month. The CMPA has already estimated that Canada could take a $2.5-billion hit if production remains down until the end of June.

During the shutdowns the film commissioners have looked to potential innovations in the production sector. Outside of building new protocols, the teams have provided film crews with online education tools and training opportunities for new crew members, and B.C. Reel Green initiative has been working on documents on how to build sustainability into the production model. Commissioners agreed that the view is not to look at it as a reopen, but “as a restart,” according to Mackenzie.

The commissioners also painted a picture of what early production might look like. Ontario, Quebec and B.C. are among the provinces looking at lesser-hit regions to start up production. Cutler said Ontario Creates is in talks with the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) on its regional incentives and how to best utilize the region’s stage space.

With the U.S./Canada border closed, it will be domestic productions that start up again with smaller crews that will adhere to the new safety protocols around COVID-19. Calgary’s Azevedo noted that by the time the big U.S. studios are ready to ramp up production in Canada, crews will be well-versed in protocols and ready to go.

Commissioners also noted that they’re curating local resources for provincial productions to ensure that the needed amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical staff will be available on sets, without taking away from medical professionals who need it. While major film studios have assured they’ll bring their own medical supplies, indie prodcos will need help to source the much-needed materials.

The commissioners are also taking a close look at each province’s social distancing guidelines, which will have a large impact on how filming can move forward. Certain provinces like B.C. and Manitoba still allow gatherings up to 50 people, while Ontario has prohibited public gatherings of more than five and Quebec has banned all public gatherings outside of essential services. Film production in Nova Scotia and Manitoba are exempt from public gathering rules, but a more concrete ruling is needed for film to ramp up nationwide.

“I think at some point [the federal government will] recognize the economics generated from this industry and put some measures in place,” said Mackenzie.

Related Articles

California Production Can Begin June 12, but Officials Leave Rules Up to the Industry

6/5/2020
The industry is still working on getting buy-in for all parties to coalesce around one set of rules

What a Reopened Hollywood Looks Like: COVID-19 Officers on Set and Budgeting for More Shutdowns

6/4/2020
Hollywood is waiting and ready (as much as it can be) to get back to work

After the Coronavirus, the Race to Resume Film Production Goes Global

5/18/2020
Countries compete for attention as production ramps up following extended shutdowns

New Mexico-Produced Show Could be Model for Future Filming

5/3/2020
How self-contained filming locations prove valuable example for safe production practices
actors on set

Safety on Set Amid Changing COVID-19 Guidelines

6/9/2021
What productions should know as they head back to work

Returning to Production: Hair and Makeup Teams Apply COVID-19 Protocols to Life on Set

2/26/2021
Getting back to work: a look inside set life during COVID-19

How Television Crews Are Getting Back to Work

1/12/2021
A Conversation with Melissa Lintinger, SVP of Production Finance, NBCU

Coronavirus is Going to Make Film Shoots More Expensive. Here’s How.

5/20/2020
Returning to production will mean following new COVID guidelines, bigger budgets

FilmLA Chief Expects Production To Resume “In Reverse Of How It Closed Down”

4/8/2020
SF film office staffers pressed into duty as triage coordinators

Below The Line Podcast Season 6 Episode 6: COVID-19 and Central Casting

7/27/2020
A podcast about the film industry: stories from the set, told by crew

British Production Sector Moves Forward Gingerly as Filming Resumes

6/17/2020
British government gives the green light for film and TV production to resume, but how can this be done...

Choosing the Right Production Incentives

6/2/2021
5 questions to ask when selecting your next incentive-based filming location

The Path to Better Diversity and Inclusion in Hollywood

5/25/2021
How production incentives are helping to promote inclusivity

Global Payroll Titan Award 2021

4/29/2021
Davida Lara, CPP, named this year's Global Payroll Titan

Innovations in Production Incentives

4/27/2021
How emerging local initiatives are driving productions to new jurisdictions

COVID-19 and the Impact on State Unemployment Insurance

4/13/2021
How high unemployment claims have led to increased SUI rates across the US

The Beginner's Guide to Production Financing

4/6/2021
What to know before starting your next film or television project

Editorial Spotlight: Dana Belcastro

3/30/2021
Producer and executive, Dana Belcastro, on how women are changing the way Hollywood does business

Editorial Spotlight: Nancy Savoca

3/23/2021
In celebration of Women's History Month, director and producer, Nancy Savoca, shares her experience in...

Women Impacting Hollywood

3/16/2021
From Storytelling to Set Design, Female Voices are Shaping Entertainment

Diversity and Pay Reporting in California

3/6/2021
Your guide to understanding SB 973 and its application to the entertainment industry

SB 973, California Pay Data Reporting Law FAQs

3/6/2021
The new pay data reporting law and its impact on the entertainment industry

Profiles in Leadership: Martin Mazor, SVP and CISO, Entertainment Partners

2/21/2021
Why Identity is at the Core of Every New Security and Business Initiative

The Beginner's Guide to Production Incentives

2/17/2021
EP helps filmmakers navigate the complex world of film and television incentives

Entertainment Partners Launches COVID-19 Reopening Tracker

2/17/2021
Digital solution to help productions comply with pandemic regulations

FilmOntario Welcomes Four New Board Members at 2020 AGM

12/4/2020
Andy Micallef appointed to the FilmOntario Board

Entertainment Partners Launches Production Finance Studio

10/7/2020
New digital solution helps entertainment industry comply with guidelines, reopen safely

Film Tax Credit Programs Face Uncertain Future

8/31/2020
Tax incentive programs draw high profile productions, cautious optimism for California

Canadian Industry Directs Financing to Black Media Creators

8/26/2020
Move follows Black producers north of the border demanding end to "systemically racist policies."

The Source Podcast: Featuring Davida Lara

8/3/2020
Payroll transformations: From payments to hiring

Entertainment Partners Acquires UK-Based We Got POP

3/2/2020
Positions EP as leading global production partner for the entertainment industry

Entertainment Partners Acquires SyncOnSet Technologies

1/14/2020
Creator of collaboration and productivity tools for the entertainment industry