Nova Scotia’s TV and film industry worries about cut to tax credit

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia is less than one week away from learning the details of the 2015 provincial budget. Concerns surrounding health care, education and transportation usually top the news cycle leading up to a budget, but there is another item that has been making headlines all week.

The television and film industry has been growing rapidly over the past two decades in Nova Scotia, but that growth could soon be halted if the province decides to cut the film tax credit in the upcoming budget.

“Without the tax credit, we’re not in the game and I know this sounds extreme, but all the TV business goes away. There will be none without the tax credit,” said John Wesley Chisholm, the president of Arcadia Entertainment.

The tax credit has helped more than 50 documentary, film and television projects over the past year. The credit itself costs the government $24 million dollars, but generated more than $150 million in 2014.

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“We’ve been able to bring National Geographic programs here, History Channel programs here that we make here in Nova Scotia and sell to the world, and bring even more money in,” Chisholm told Global News.

READ MORE: Report recommends Quebec phase out film/TV tax credit

Hope for Wildlife is produced by Arcadia with the help of the tax credit.

“It’s a charitable group [and] we were able to make this show, broadcast in 26 countries all over the world, and every day Hope goes to her mailbox and gets letters and donations from people who are sympathetic to the work she’s doing for Nova Scotian wildlife,” said producer Craig Ferguson. “And without the show, that just wouldn’t be happening.”

Gharrett Paon is an actor and student who relies on the tax credit to work in the film industry while he’s in school.

“If the tax credit goes, then I’m going to have to move and that’s a problem. I voted Liberal because of these tax credits. They said that they were going to support it, now they’re not supporting them anymore.”

Cutting the tax credit wouldn’t just mean a loss of jobs in the film industry. Hope for Wildlife recently embarked on a project to build a new barn to help injured and orphaned wildlife. Most of the donations they’ve received so far have come from viewers of the show.

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“It’s a great opportunity for us too, but it’s really worked out well for her,” Ferguson said of the show.

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