ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1996-51

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    Public Notice

    Ottawa, 3 April 1996

    Public Notice CRTC 1996-51

    Amendment to the "8 out of 10" point count criterion for funding from the Cable Production Fund (CPF) with respect to its application to treaty co-productions


    In Public Notice CRTC 1995-222 dated 21 December 1995, the Commission called for comments on a proposal by the Cable Production Fund (CPF) that the criterion requiring that programs meet 8 out of 10 points in order to be eligible for the Fund's participation be amended with regard to official treaty co-productions. Specifically, the CPF proposed to replace the Canadian key creative point requirement for international co-productions with a new provision whereby Canadian treaty co-productions approved as such by Telefilm Canada, and in which 65% or more of the financing is by a Canadian company, would qualify for access to CPF funding.

    The CPF explained that the 8 out of 10 requirement is inappropriate for treaty co-productions as it is not consistent with the criteria used by Telefilm Canada, which has been delegated by the Government as the authority to negotiate and implement co-production treaties. In its evaluation, Telefilm's co-production office examines all aspects of a project to determine its eligibility. The CPF explained that the amount of financing by and large sets the tone of projects in that a 70% Canadian financed production will most likely have very high Canadian key creative participation compared to a production with 50% or less Canadian financing.

    The CPF added that "administratively the new method would be more in keeping with CPF's expedient, objective process".


    The Commission received 11 comments in response to Public Notice CRTC 1995-222. These included eight in support, two in opposition and one with an alternative proposal. Among those who favoured the proposal were directors, producers, production companies, broadcasters and film distributors, while those who opposed it included the Writers Guild of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    A point raised by those in favour of the amendment was that it is often difficult for Canadian co-productions to achieve 8 out of 10 points, since co-production treaties have been drafted to ensure that there is an overall balance in the financial, creative and technical participation of signatory countries. They added that the proposed amendment would facili- tate and encourage co-production treaties. These interveners further noted that co-production treaties have been beneficial in providing additional funds for Canadian film production and in giving Canadian stories an opportunity to be broadcast both in Canada and abroad.

    The CBC said that the 8 out of 10 criterion should be maintained because the system favours programs that are distinctively Canadian while the 65% proposal would not provide the same incentive. It added that the 8 out of 10 point system had been accepted because it identified those projects that were made by Canadians primarily for Canadian audiences and it was expected to ensure Canadian control of the production.

    The Writers Guild of Canada (the Guild) was concerned about the impact the changes might have on screenwriters. It argued that if Canadian companies can access the fund without the use of Canadian writers, it will seriously undermine the domestic industry and would help shift development decisions abroad. The Guild credited the point system administered by Heritage Canada's Canadian Audio Visual Certification Office with having substantially contributed to a multi-billion dollar domestic industry.

    Le Groupe de Radiodiffusion Astral inc. proposed that the 8 out of 10 criterion be applied where the projects did not meet the 65% majority financing requirement.


    In arriving at its majority decision, the Commission has considered the various submissions and has concluded that there are advantages to be gained by facilitating the access of treaty co-productions to additional resources so as to assist in the production of high-quality productions of interest to Canadians and available to Canadian audiences through the Canadian broadcasting system. The Commission also believes that the greater access to audiences in other countries provided to Canadian treaty co-productions will broaden the international market for Canadian films and benefit the Canadian production industry as a whole. In addition, the amendment will expedite the CPF's evaluation process. The Commission, therefore, approves the amendment as proposed.

    The Commission, however, notes the concerns expressed by various parties, and reminds the board of the CPF that the criteria that were established in 1994 governing eligibility for programs were developed after extensive public consultation in which substantial emphasis was placed on giving priority to identifiably Canadian programs. Consequently, the Commission will be concerned if a disproportionate amount of the fund is allocated to treaty co-productions.

    In this regard, the Commission notes the CPF's assurance that, based on past performance, a limited number of treaty co-productions are likely to receive funding. The Commission, therefore, is confident that Canadian productions meeting the 8 out of 10 points criterion will continue to receive a substantial majority of the funds allocated by the CPF.

    Allan J. Darling
    Secretary General

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