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

CH-149 Cormorant helicopters may be part of night training exercises in the Chilcotin this month. (Canadian Armed Forces photo)
442 Transport and Rescue Squadron to hold night training in the Chilcotin

The public may see flares and search and rescue technicians parachuting to the ground

Snow is in the forecast for Williams Lake Friday, Oct. 23, which has already been falling in areas of the Chilcotin as seen here at Nimpo Lake. (Harriet Hird photo)
Ice, snow, chilly temperatures in forecast for Williams Lake area

Temperatures will dip down to -11C on Friday evening

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Motorist pulls into B.C. RCMP detachment after roadkill eagle comes back to life in minivan

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Most Read