As a major part of the global film, television, and digital media industries, Canada’s low production costs, experienced talent, and robust tax incentive programs provide many opportunities for international media and content companies to operate through establishments in Canada.

Several tax incentives and funding programs are available to foreign companies which have a presence in Canada, and meet requirements regarding Canadian content, Canadian labour, and Canadian services. For companies seeking to do industry-related R&D, SR&ED tax credits may be available depending on ownership and incorporation. While foreign workers still need to obtain work permits or business visitor visas, operating in Canada is an appealing option for many international companies due to the supports and resources available.

Why bring productions to Canada?

The tax incentives and funding provided to companies for audiovisual productions in Canada can significantly reduce both labour and production costs, providing a significant advantage over United States-based productions. Combined with a diverse range of locations for filming, a highly skilled workforce, and cultural institutions and agencies offering a variety of relevant resources, Canada offers both financial and practical incentives for companies seeking to produce lower cost, high quality projects.

The SR&ED program offers a reduction of R&D-related costs, benefitting international companies which have Canadian subsidiaries.

How can NorthBridge help?

As Canada’s film and digital media industry grows, NorthBridge has continued to provide support to film and media companies across the country and around the world. Because applying to Canadian programs as an international company can introduce additional complexities into an already difficult process, we offer a range of supports, including providing education and awareness on a variety of programs, offering guidance through every step of the government funding system, and optimizing funding opportunities.

Through our services, we will provide you with:

  • Consultation on your project activities as they relate to film and digital media, and how they fit into tax incentive programs
  • An overview of programs tailored to your needs as an international company, and any actions you need to take to be eligible
  • Assistance with identifying opportunities to stack several funding programs, including grants if applicable
  • Support in application preparation at all stages of the process
  • Continued support for all types of funding

Programs that NorthBridge can assist international companies with

While many film, television, and digital media tax incentives and programs are available only to Canadian companies, non-Canadian companies may still access certain programs, a selection of which are listed below.

  • Foreign-owned corporations may be able to receive the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) at a rate of 16%.
  • Co-productions involving foreign producers can claim a credit through the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) if the project is co-produced under an official treaty.
  • For all Nova Scotia-based costs, foreign companies may receive a base rate of 25% from the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund.
  • Foreign companies producing in Ontario can receive 21.5% of all qualifying production expenditures in Ontario from the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPTSC).
  • 18% of labour costs can be covered through the Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit (OCASE) for non-Canadian productions operating through a permanent establishment in Ontario.
  • For foreign-based productions made in Quebec, a tax credit with a base of 28% of labour expenditures may be available through the refundable tax credit for Quebec film and television productions.

Ways to qualify for SR&ED as an international company

For film, television, and digital media companies looking to do research and development work, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program can be claimed for expenditures which contribute to technological advancement in a specified field. Innovative projects in the industry may include software, hardware, content distribution, multimedia equipment, special effects, or interactive technology.

Foreign companies may be able to qualify for the SR&ED tax credit. Canadian subsidiaries of parent companies based outside of Canada, performing eligible SR&ED work within Canada may qualify for a non-refundable tax credit at a rate of 15%.

Foreign companies can also establish a Canadian-controlled private corporation (CCPC) in Canada, through which they may be eligible to apply for a refundable 35% tax credit for qualifying expenditures. In order to be considered a CCPC, the corporation must be resident in Canada and not controlled by non-residents or public corporations.

Qualifying companies can claim wages, materials, contract costs, and overhead costs related to SR&ED-eligible projects.

Contact our team for a complimentary engagement

At NorthBridge, we can identify programs that your company qualifies for, maximize the amount you receive, and help you navigate complex application processes. With over 25 years of experience in assisting companies in accessing funding, we have the resources and expertise required to get your company the funding you need, when you need it.

To learn more about how you can qualify for Canadian tax incentives for film, television, and digital media as an international company, or to receive assistance in filing your claim, contact us for a free consultation today.