Advocacy Committee Sets Re-energizing Equity Film Incentive BC as Post-pandemic Strategic Priority

In BC’s lucrative and thriving film & television industry, study after study for over 20 years, including the 2019 BC government-commissioned Below-the-line Labour Market Study, has shown women, gender diverse, Indigenous, racialized and people with disabilities are under-represented in BC’s film industry workforce. In response, the WIFTV Advocacy Committee made its first appeal to government in 2018, calling for insertion of equity and diversity incentives into the provincial tax credit system. In 2019, the Equity Film incentive BC, a proposal to link equity, diversity and inclusion in hiring to the provincial tax credit system, was presented.

The BC government’s annual 2021 Budget Consultation Report recommended to the Minister of Finance “[to] explore measures, such as tax credits or hiring incentives, to address inequities and barriers for underrepresented groups in the arts, culture, and digital media industry.” However, in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the Equity Film Incentive BC campaign.

COVID-19 forced the BC film industry to pull together developing policies and protocols that would keep workers and BC’s film industry safe and productive. Though a great achievement, the pre-existing inequities persist. Statcan reported in May 2021 that “the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted societies and working habits around the world….the impact on year-over-year employment losses was consistently more severe for women than for men.”

Since February 2022, the following actions have been taken:

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity Grace Lore presents at WIFTV’s 2022 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival and expresses interest in our work.
  • PS Lore invites Executive Director Eli Morris to meet with PS Lore and her staff on May 5, 2022. In attendance are ED Eli Morris, and Advocacy Committee members Doreen Manuel, Christine Willes, and Sharon McGowan. Advocacy Committee presents three asks:
    • Advise the Minister of Finance to enact an equity requirement for BC tax credits
    • Recommend the implementation of a ‘record and report’ requirement on the demographic distribution of the funds disbursed through the labour tax credits
    • Request an invitation for WIFT Vancouver to participate in the annual Finance Committee Review of the film industry tax credits. To our knowledge, no under-represented workers in the film industry have ever been invited to that meeting.
  • Follow-up letter sent to PS Lore May 25 2022 with signatories Elevate Inclusion Strategies, Culture.Brew.Art, and UBCP/ACTRA in support
  • Invitation from PS Lore to participate in the Roundtable discussion Developing Pay Transparency Legislation on June 13, 2022. Eli Morris and Christine Willes attend.
  • Invitation received to present to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services on June 15, 2022, as part of the 2023 Budget Consultation process. Eli Morris presents a speech on our advocacy of the Equity Film Incentive BC as a measure to address the persistent underrepresentation of marginalized workers in the BC film and TV industry. This is the first invitation WIFTV has received to submit to the BC provincial budget process.