Filming in Toronto has become a thriving business, and although the city has long given productions a free tour, that is about to change.
A production team must apply for a permit to film on city streets and parks and often requires street closures.
The closures may be awkward for some, but many people enjoy the productions and like to see stars like Jason Momoa or see the red capes in Handmaid’s Tale or see well-known Toronto venues in Queen’s Gambit.
Toronto enacted a law to offer free permits in 1999 “as a way to attract a more burgeoning industry, as production levels were a fraction of what they are today and collecting permits would have been considered a jurisdictional disadvantage,” according to and by report.
In 1999, Toronto decided to make film licenses free of charge as a means of attracting productions to the city. 22 years and lots of movies and TV shows later, the city proposes the introduction of some (modest) fees. Expected to bring in about $ 876K a year. https://t.co/mzR52sEwvM pic.twitter.com/6TnxizFonm
– Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) September 15, 2021
But the industry is booming now and is expected to grow by 63 percent over the next five years, increasing the industry’s footprint and presence in Toronto.
“Over twenty years later, Toronto is one of the largest production jurisdictions in North America and is currently experiencing record production volumes,” the report states.
Currently, the film industry contributes over $ 2.2 billion annually to Toronto’s economy and employs more than 35,000 people in Toronto.
The growth of the industry means that more human and financial resources will be needed in the Film Office.
The city’s Department of Economic Development and Culture proposes to add licensing fees from April 2022.
Fees would range from $ 500 for a roadblock to $ 200 for a park permit and $ 300 for a location permit. Some permits remain free for local news and students.
The fees can generate more than $ 800,000 per year.
The proceeds from the fees would go to the Parks, Forestry and Recreation and Transport Services departments and about $ 614,000 in proceeds would go to economic development and culture to support the needs of the film industry by 2022.
The film office now has a team of 11 employees, including two executives, and the office can issue permits in 48 hours – the fastest service time in North America, according to the report.
They also offer a concierge service “that is much appreciated on productions.”
The proposed fee will go to the Economic and Community Development Committee on 22 September and, if adopted, will go to the City Council on 1 October for final approval.