Crews work on a film set for a Titans Netflix TV series on a Toronto street on Wednesday April 17, 2019. Two Canadian film and television organizations want the federal government to intervene because insurance companies are not offering COVID-19 coverage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives

Crews work on a film set for a Titans Netflix TV series on a Toronto street on Wednesday April 17, 2019. Two Canadian film and television organizations want the federal government to intervene because insurance companies are not offering COVID-19 coverage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives

Film, TV productions can’t get COVID-19 insurance, want Ottawa to intervene

Politicians have yet to act on the proposal

Hundreds of productions and thousands of entertainment jobs are on hold because the federal government has yet to intervene and help them get COVID-19 insurance, say two Canadian film and television organizations.

The Canadian Media Producers Association and the Association québécoise de la production médiatique said Friday that they have identified 214 camera-ready film and TV projects, 19,560 jobs and $1 billion in production volume that have stalled because insurers aren’t offering COVID-19 coverage.

“There’s just a huge amount of production that’s raring and ready to go, but can’t,” said Andrew Addison, the CMPA’s vice-president of communications, marketing and membership.

His organization and the AQPM pitched a federal government-backed insurance program in June and reiterated their plea to Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault earlier this week.

The proposal asks producers to pay premiums to access COVID-19 coverage.

The premiums would form a dedicated pot to pay for potential claims and the government would only contribute financially through a proposed $100-million backstop if the funds generated though the sale of the policies were insufficient to cover the claims made.

Politicians have yet to act on the proposal.

Guilbeault’s press secretary, Camille Gagné-Raynauld, said in an email that the department takes the matter “very seriously.”

“We understand the urgency of the situation and are hopeful to provide a solution in the near future,” she wrote.

Addison is worried because France, the United Kingdom and Australia have already stepped in to help their entertainment industries and he believes time is of the essence, but little has been done so far.

“If you don’t get to camera in summer or by fall, winter makes it nearly impossible to do a lot of shooting outdoors,” he said.

“We’re really getting to a point of no return. If something comes in November, it’s going to be too late.”

He worries that without quick action productions could be put off by a full year or even worse, suspended forever.

Some productions, he said, have been able to return because of insurance policies they signed before COVID-19’s spread that include pandemic clauses.

U.S. studios with deep wells of cash have also found ways to self-insure themselves, creating a risk of foreign productions moving in and swallowing up resources, so when insurance is found, it is harder for Canadian films and television shows to get started again.

— with files from Victoria Ahearn.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

(Black Press file photo)
Lacombe Council clears municipal red tape by eliminating outdated policies and bylaws

Council rescinded policies identified as inoperative, obsolete and expired.

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers are innovators in agricultural sciences

David MacTaggart of Lacombe and Jessica Sperber of Ponoka awarded prestigious scholarship

The first pages of the book, by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, MLA Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Devin Dreeshen. (Photo Submitted)
Ag Minister announces 20% off crop insurance for Alberta farmers

Dreeshen says this will support job creators and boosting rural economy during a difficult time

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

The Northwest Territories flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta man charged with threatening Northwest Territories public health officer

Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning

A healthy volunteer receives an injection in this undated handout image provided by Providence Therapeutics. Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine by a Canadian company. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Providence Therapeutics
*MANDATORY CREDIT*
Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

If successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year

Red Fraggle, one of Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock characers, is shown at Time To Play Holiday Show, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, in New York. The Jim Henson Company says production has officially started in Calgary on a reboot of the original 1980s children’s puppet series, which was filmed in Toronto.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan
‘Fraggle Rock’ children’s puppet series reboot starts production in Calgary

A spokesperson says the new series will stream on Apple TV plus

Most Read