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

A 23-foot sailboat that broke free from its anchor was smashed against Cattle Point during the early October south-easterly storms. (Ron Geezin Photo)
Storm-smashed boat pulled off rocks of Cattle Point in Oak Bay

Sailboat a casualty of last week’s big storms

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich residents warned to watch livestock after bear kills llama

Officers with Conservation, Saanich police could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

More than 250 riders took part in the fifth annual Tripleshot CrossFondo, which riders across parts of the Saanich Peninsula, including this field near Sluggett Farms. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Tripleshot CrossFondo rides across Saanich Peninsula

More than 250 cyclists took part in mystery-course race

A woman was injured cycling, prompting road closures in Oak Bay on Oct. 16. (Twitter/Ray Bernoties)
‘Erratic’ cyclists potential cause of rider injured in Oak Bay

Female cyclist was reportedly injured at Hampshire Road and Bowker Creek Avenue

West Shore RCMP say a single car crash into a power pole caused a power outage that affected over 1,500 residents in Colwood on Monday morning. (West Shore RCMP)
Vancouver driver cause of power outage in Colwood

Police detain 27-year-old man for impaired driving investigation

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read