The Motion Picture Association–Canada  and the Canadian Media Production Association  (CMPA) have released a new first-of-its-kind study on the economic contribution of the film and television industry in Canada, revealing that, in one year alone, the sector supported 262,700 jobs, including 132,500 FTEs in film and television production, and generated $20.4 billion in GDP for the Canadian economy. Launched at an industry event at William F. White International in Toronto, the Economic Contribution of the Film and Television Sector in Canada  (PDF) is a comprehensive study of the economic contributions of the film and television industry in Canada, commissioned by the Motion Picture Association – Canada in collaboration with Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) and conducted by Nordicity. Building on research released in Profile 2012: An Economic Report on the Screen-based Production Industry in Canada, the new study captures the direct, indirect and induced economic impacts of the industry’s entire value chain in Canada.
“The study released yesterday clearly demonstrates the many ways in which the film and television industry in Canada is at the forefront of the creative economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributing millions of dollars to communities across the country,” said Wendy Noss, Executive Director of the Motion Picture Association–Canada.
The sector’s value chain segments, which are examined in detail in the study, include:
- Media Manufacturing and Digital Asset Management
- Film Festivals
- Theatrical Exhibition
- DVD/Blu-ray Sales and Rentals
- Video-on-Demand and Online Digital
- Broadcasting and Broadcasting Distribution
The economic contribution of the film and television sector does not stop with the economic and tax revenue impacts originating from activity in the value chain. The sector’s economic contribution also manifests itself over time through industry development, and through spillover effects captured by the construction and tourism sectors.
The study found that in 2011, the film and television sector in Canada:
- Supported 262,700 full time equivalent jobs (FTEs) in Canada across the entire value chain, including 132,500 FTEs supported by film and television production
- Generated $12.8 B in labour income for Canadians
- Generated $20.4 B in gross domestic production (GDP) across the Canadian economy
- Recorded an export value of $2.4 B
- Returned $5.5 B in tax revenue: $2.8 B in federal taxes and $2.7 B in provincial and local taxes
- Produced $279.7 M worth of computer animation
- Produced $435.0 M worth of visual effects
- Attracted 1.9 million in total attendance and over $160 M in expenditures to Canada’s major film festivals
“It is increasingly clear that investments in film and television through federal and provincial programs and tax credits not only produce direct and positive returns in terms of jobs and export opportunities for Canadian companies but also have contributed to making Canada a preferred location for attracting investment and productions from other countries,” said Michael Hennessy, CMPA President & CEO.
The economic contribution of the film and television sector does not stop with the economic and tax revenue impacts originating from activity in the value chain. The sector’s economic contribution also manifests itself over time through industry development, and through spillover effects captured by the construction and tourism sectors. Some examples of ancillary economic benefits include:
- Soundstage Construction: The construction or renovation of 365,000 sq. ft. of soundstage space in the past five years has generated between 450 and 650 FTEs of employment.
- Film-induced Tourism: Tourists attracted to the locations of films and television programs, for example: The Twilight Saga, Smallville, Supernatural, Republic of Doyle, Once Upon A Time and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
The report assesses the total economic impact based on the sum of direct, induced, and indirect impacts. What do these terms mean?
- Direct economic impact refers to the employment, labour income and GDP generated within the film and television sector itself. This direct economic impact is largely in the form of wages and salaries paid to the sector’s workers (i.e. employees, freelancers and contractors). It also includes operating surplus (i.e. operating profits [return to shareholders] and sole proprietors’ income) earned by companies and the value of depreciation of capital assets.
- Indirect impact refers to the increase in employment, labour income and GDP in the industries that supply inputs to the film and television sector (e.g. truck rentals, food and beverage, advertising services). These suppliers may be located within Canada or in other countries; and therefore, there can be some economic leakages out of the Canadian economy, which reduce the potential indirect economic impact for Canada. In many cases, one film and television value chain industry is a supplier to another industry; so these intra-sector flows were also taken into account.
- Induced economic impact refers to the increase in employment, labour income and GDP that can be attributed to the re-spending of income by Canadian households that earned income at both the direct and indirect stages of the economic impact.
- Total economic impact is equal to the sum of the direct, indirect and induced economic impacts. Based on the estimates of economic variables for the direct, indirect and induced economic impacts, Nordicity derived overall estimates of the total impact that each industry in the film and television sector (and the sum of the segments) had on employment, labour income and GDP.
Feedback From Industry About The Report:
“Over 50 years, William F. White has grown from a small rental operation in Toronto to Canada’s leading provider of professional motion picture, television, digital media and theatrical production equipment and technical expertise. With more than 200 employees in our offices from coast to coast, the growth of White’s mirrors that of many of our suppliers and industry colleagues. As we continue, together, to widen our economic footprint in Canada, we are thrilled to now have a report that reflects the impact of this vibrant and economically dynamic sector as a whole.” – Paul Bronfman, Chairman/CEO, William F. White International Inc. 
“One of our strategic pillars is to provide thought leadership by sharing industry intelligence; supporting Nordicity’s new study is integral to this mandate. Nordicity has captured the impact of the entire Canadian audiovisual industry value chain on the country’s economy. In particular, in light of our own marketing shift, the findings on how film festivals have become important venues for raising awareness for feature films are compelling. In 2011, some 40 major Canadian festivals drew an estimated audience of 1.9 million as well as generated combined spin-off spending of $163 million and 2,000 FTE jobs.” – Carolle Brabant, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada 
“The Nordicity study reveals the value, the economic reach and the enormous potential of a thriving creative economy in Canada. Over the past three decades, British Columbia has established sophisticated industry infrastructure and a deep talent pool well positioned to help drive the ‘third wave’ of industry development in Canada. BC-based capabilities in VFX, animation and post production are attracting new business and add value to the well-oiled machinery of physical production in this market. We look forward to contributing to Canada’s promising future within the global creative economy.” – Peter Leitch, Chair of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC 
“Quebec is one of the most renowned creative hubs in the world for film and television production, in large part because of Quebec’s talented crews, spectacular locations and first-rate services. This study is the first comprehensive look at the economic value of the industry extended beyond Quebec’s $1.4 billion in production to distribution, theatrical exhibition, film festivals, broadcasting and more.” – Hans Fraikin, Film and Television Commissioner, Quebec Film and Television Council  (QFTC)
“Canadians love going to the movies and this first-of-its-kind study illustrates that movie theatres are major contributors to job creation and the training sector in Canada. From coast to coast, we employed 8,300 FTEs last year, and when you include “spin-off” FTEs, total employment was more than 19,000 FTEs across Canada.” – Nuria Bronfman, Executive Director of the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada (MPTAC)
“This study shows that movie theatres are key contributors to the Canadian economy. In 2011 alone, theatres generated almost $1.3 billion in total GDP across the country, which demonstrates the importance of this sector of the entertainment industry.” – Raffaele Papalia, President of Les Cinemas Cine Entreprise and Chair of the Board of the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada (MPTAC)
“IATSE  has 16,000 members employed in Canada, making it one of the largest trade unions in the entertainment industry. They are not in front of the camera, but they supply the absolutely necessary labour to make the movies and television shows, including big-budget foreign service productions from the United States, such as Man of Steel in Vancouver and Smurfs 2 in Montreal, as well as domestic movie and TV productions, such as Resident Evil: Retribution in Toronto and Republic of Doyle in St. John’s. The new Nordicity study on the impact of the film and television industry on the country’s economy paints a more complete picture of all of the jobs supported by this business, including 262,700 full-time equivalent jobs across Canada, 132,500 of which are in production alone.” – John Lewis, International Vice President / Department Director, Canadian Affairs
“I have worked in the Canadian film and television industry for over 25 years and have witnessed its extraordinary growth and development. This study is the first of its kind and reveals the tremendous positive impact of the industry as an economic engine and job creator for Canada.” – Ted East, President, Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters (CAFDE)
“It’s important to have a comprehensive study that, for the first time, looks at the economic contributions of the film and television industry as a whole, including industry development as a significant part of that value chain. Vancouver Film Studios provides the production facilities and infrastructure that have made Vancouver one of the largest centres for film and television production in North America. Home to more than 75 feature films and 60 television projects in the past fourteen years of operation, Vancouver Film Studios represents 190,000 sq. ft. (or 17%) of the 1.1 million sq. ft. of soundstage space in B.C. The construction, renovation and retrofitting of soundstages spurs economic activity and job creation in Canada’s construction sector, which, according to this study, has generated between 450 and 650 FTEs of employment in the past five years.” – Pete Mitchell, President and Chief Operating Office, Vancouver Film Studios 
“Well into the ‘third wave’ of industry development, Ontario is the #1 jurisdiction for screen-based content creation in Canada, and third in North America, behind LA and NY respectively. As the Centre of Excellence for English Canadian screen-based content creation, our $2.5 billion in annual film, television and interactive activity is largely Ontario producers working on Ontario or international co-production content, with a modest volume of service production. The stability of our Ontario tax credits is part of that story. The result of this diversity and stability is a continuous uptick in the full industry eco-system of training and jobs, technical innovation and expertise, and attraction of private sector capital into infrastructure and capacity building. This Nordicity study expands the conversation further, showing an even broader economic impact of our industry on the Canadian economy, which informs both stakeholders and government.” – Sarah Ker-Hornell, CEO & Executive Director, Ontario screen-based industry consortium, FilmOntario