Advocacy Committee Sets Re-energizing Equity Film Incentive BC as Post-pandemic Strategic Priority - June 21, 2022

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.

WIFTV Advocacy Committee Update - April 3, 2020

Given the COVID-19 impact, the Advocacy Committee has been brainstorming how to work most effectively for our members. We want to ensure women and gender diverse people are at the table!

We are energized by the solidarity we see evolving both at the national and international levels. Here are four current initiatives:

1. Industry-wide discussions are taking place about the impact of the pandemic on our work. A new 'Nation-Wide Industry Task Force' has been established with over 60 organizations participating including all the major national and provincial funding agencies, unions and associations. WIFTV’s Advocacy Chair, Sharon McGowan is attending the weekly meetings;

2. As part of WIFT-Canada – a coalition of WIFT branches across the country and Women in View – we are meeting on a weekly basis and preparing a cross-country webinar, or webinar series, national in scope. Stay tuned for more info;

3. WIFTV has a representative, Susan Brinton, on the WIFT International (WIFTI) board which is actively seeking ways to connect members around the world. These initiatives will come forward in the next two weeks. (For more information or if you wish to receive the WIFTI newsletter, which we highly recommend, here’s the website link)

4. And finally, we still need to hear from you. Please tell us your stories about how you are coping with the COVID-19 situation and how we can help.

It is striking how the crisis is bringing groups together that share the common goal of gender equality in our industry.

Connection is becoming more vital than ever.

We know that women and gender diverse people are disproportionately affected during this difficult time, and that crisis exacerbates gender inequality on so many levels. It is more important than ever that women and gender diverse people are represented in the decision-making process as we navigate this crisis, together (Eleanor Fast, Executive Director, Equal Voice Canada).