Ontario is in central Canada and at more than a million square miles is larger than Spain and France combined. Despite the fact that Canada is geographically north of the US, Ontario’s southernmost point is on the same latitude as California.
Over the past 25 years Ontario’s diverse locations and film-friendly environments have helped make it one of the leading film jurisdictions in the world. Every September the internationally-renowned Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF ®) draws hundreds of producers from around the world to showcase their films, and also enables the province to showcase its filming locations.
Ontario offers excellent technical and creative crews (Toronto has a skilled workforce of 48,000 direct and indirect full-time jobs) and a sizeable talent pool of experienced film and television actors, musicians, dancers and musical performers. There are also top-quality sound stages, television studios, animation facilities, sound recording and post-production facilities, as well as a variety of standing sets and warehouse spaces.
The province offers competitive and stable tax credits, including a 25% services tax credit for eligible film and television productions. In addition, the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC) has been expanded beyond labour to include other eligible Ontario production expenditures. The federal government also offers an additional tax credit of 16% (for service productions) on Canadian labour costs.
For domestic productions, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (OFTTC) continues to be very attractive for both domestic and international treaty co-productions, providing a 35% tax credit on eligible Ontario labour expenditures with the possibility of an additional 10% regional bonus. The federal government also offers 25% (for domestic productions) on Canadian labour costs.
The Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit (OCASE) offers 20% for eligible labour on VFX and animation activities in Ontario, including on-set labour costs for green screen shooting. There are no caps and no limits on the number of productions that can be supported. For service productions these amount to up to a net tax incentive of up to 37% on eligible labour (federal and provincial combined), plus 25% on eligible Ontario spend including all post-production.
Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) is a provincial agency that funds film and television, as well as other creative industries including: book and magazine publishing, interactive digital media and music.
Canada has over 50 co-production treaties, and co-productions with Ontario can qualify for domestic funding through OMDC’s Film Fund. OMDC can also promote co-productions through its International Financing Forum, held each year at TIFF ®. OMDC is also a founding partner, with European Film Production, of Producers Lab Toronto, a feature film co-production forum at TIFF ® that encourages European and Canadian producers to partner on film projects.
Productions were first drawn to Ontario in the 1980s and 90s because of the good-value exchange rate and now it’s because they can find everything they need in one place.
The Ontario Film Commission maintains an online database of locations photos that offers virtual scouting from anywhere in the world. OMDC’s digital library has more than 11,000 available locations with over 200,000 individual images of locations that can double for everywhere from New York City through to period looks and small-town USA.
There is also the online Ontario Production Guide, which provides the most comprehensive listing of unions, guilds, studio facilities and suppliers available in Ontario.
In Toronto, you’ll find steel and glass skyscrapers, European streetscapes, industrial buildings, an Ivy League-style university, inner city neighbourhoods, a pioneer village, several ‘Chinatowns’ and even a castle. Thanks to the city’s ethnic, architectural and cultural diversity, stories set in New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, Florida, Vienna, Warsaw, Tokyo and Tehran have been shot in Toronto. Ottawa, the nation’s capital, offers a number of unique locations including the Rideau Canal and the British-style Parliament buildings.
Ontario’s wild vistas include northern wilderness, tundra and varying weather conditions moderated by a general continental climate. Winter temperatures can fall to -4.5 Degrees Celsius in January and February, while they peak at about 21 Degrees Celsius in July.
Recent productions include Chicago, Cosmopolis, The Incredible Hulk, The Kennedys, RED, the Resident Evil franchise, Warehouse 13, Covert Affairs, Pacific Rim and Total Recall.