Canada offers a great depth of unique and international location looks. Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary are the main production centers. Canada is known to be a very film friendly country with streamlined permitting processes that strive to both protect locations and give visiting productions the flexibility they need.
Cost & Rebates
Canada is a very well established and sophisticated production centre and as with anything that is of the highest quality, it costs accordingly. On average it is still more cost efficient to shoot North American looks in Canada versus the United States especially when it comes to talent-heavy projects. Vancouver and Toronto remain among the busiest production centres in North America. The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) for official co-productions is a 25% refundable credit on qualifying Canadian labour spend (net of provincial incentives) on projects that pass Canadian content tests. The Canadian Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) for co-venture projects is a refundable credit of 16% of the qualifying Canadian labour spend (net of provincial incentives) with a minimum worldwide spend of $780,000 (C$1m).
When To Shoot
Canada is the world’s second largest country, so climate varies greatly depending on latitude, altitude and proximity to the coast. As a general rule, Canada has a four-season climate. Spring is beautiful and in full bloom. Summers on the coast, in the mountains and farther north tend to be milder than the long, hot summers experienced in the prairie provinces. The western states regularly experience a fifth-season in the late summer months of hazy skies brought on by wildfire smoke. Fall brings colorful leaves, especially on the East Coast. Winters are very cold especially the farther north you go. The only exception is the Vancouver area which has mild, rainy winters that rarely get snow. The country is home to hundreds of events that attract filmmakers and photographers.
Previously the rules were very strict with all visiting crew required to have work permits that were very time consuming and expensive to get. The good news is now commercial advertising shoots are exempt from the work permit process on the condition the project is foreign funded. For crew members who will be entering to oversee the project, Western passport holders are able to enter Canada visa-free with an eTA for a period of up to six months. This excludes US nationals arriving directly from the US, who are exempt from the eTA requirement.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
Canada has a very good experienced pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers, several being of the highest international standard. Canada has world renowned creative and technical crews with plenty of experience servicing a range of visiting productions. The main production centers of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary offer an impressive depth of crew. Commercial crews are non-union. Compared to other developed western countries, Canada has comparatively low artists costs and buyouts for union and non-union performers. Canada boasts a very large and experienced pool of multicultural talent.
Canada is also home to unique animal talent such as polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, moose, bison and more. Canada’s main production centers offer both Panavision and Arri equipment as well as many boutique equipment companies. Most specialized equipment is available in Canada including Russian Arms, camera cars, cranes and helicopter mounts so there is generally no need to bring gear in from the United States. For traveling productions that intend to bring in film equipment, Canada is an ATA carnet country.