Canada’s Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction
An audiovisual treaty coproduction is a feature film or television production that has been created by pooling the creative, technical and financial resources of Canadian and foreign producers. Governed under the terms of a treaty, these productions are granted national status, and as such, are also eligible for federal and provincial tax credits and additional funding sources such as the Canada Media Fund and the Canada Feature Film Fund. In addition, treaty coproductions qualify for Canadian content quotas for broadcasting, which offers Canadian producers greater opportunity for broadcasting their project on a Canadian network during prime viewing time, and for obtaining higher license fees for their productions.
Canada was one of the first countries to recognize the advantages of audiovisual treaty coproductions. These treaties have advanced the audiovisual industry in Canada, strengthening international ties in the cultural sector; and promoting and disseminating Canadian culture abroad.
In recent years, the international audiovisual coproduction environment has experienced significant changes due to technological advances and greater global competition for investment. In light of these changes, in February 2011 the Government of Canada announced Canada’s Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction to position Canada as an audiovisual coproduction partner of choice. The policy incorporates input from previous consultations with federal, provincial and territorial partners, as well as industry stakeholders’ comments, to set out the best direction for Government action in support of audiovisual treaty coproduction activity.
The guiding principles of flexibility; openness to renegotiation and negotiation of treaties; alignment of coproduction promotional activities; and simplification of administrative procedures help to achieve the policy’s objective.
Positioning Canada as an audiovisual coproduction partner of choice will attract foreign investment that will help further seize the benefits of coproduction for Canadian industry and audiences. Reaching this objective guides the Government’s approach to all aspects of treaty coproduction – from developing the terms of treaties and selecting potential partner countries to negotiate with, to managing and coordinating coproduction administration in Canada.
In March 2013, the Government announced the implementation of Canada’s Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction, which is achieved through the negotiation of audiovisual coproduction treaties using a new model treaty that responds to the evolving audiovisual practices and technological changes over time. The model treaty serves as Canada’s negotiation position and is not shared publicly.
The decision to negotiate a treaty is based on how well the foreign partner is aligned with the Government of Canada’s priorities and policies, including Canada’s Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction and those relating to foreign relations and international trade. In selecting coproduction partners, determining factors include whether the partner:
- shares Canada's economic and industrial approach;
- represents a key coproduction market for Canada's audiovisual industry;
- offers a significant potential audience thereby increasing viewership;
- represents a strong trade partnership for Canada; and
- whether the treaty coproductions undertaken with this partner will yield economic benefits to Canada.
From Canada's perspective, every audiovisual coproduction treaty must stimulate investment in Canada, create opportunities for the Canadian audiovisual industry to access new markets, generate employment for Canadians and establish or expand international markets for Canadian talent and audiovisual productions.
Through the implementation of Canada’s Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction, it is expected that Canada will be positioned as an audiovisual coproduction partner of choice and will attract foreign investment that will help develop outstanding infrastructure and talent in Canada’s audiovisual industry, enhance its international competitiveness, assist the industry to adapt to a rapidly changing audiovisual environment, and showcase Canadian content and creators to audiences in Canada and abroad.
The implementation of Canada’s Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction does not require the investment of financial resources, other than human resource expenditures by the Department of Canadian Heritage.