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COVID-19 Update: Toronto, CMF, CERB


The COVID-19 response continues to evolve and we wanted to alert you to two new developments today.

New City of Toronto Measures, Impact on Filming

The City of Toronto has enacted additional social distancing measures that will have a further impact on TV and film production in the city. Starting today, and for up to 12 following weeks, the city has mandated that:

  • If you have COVID-19, have been exposed to someone who has it, or if you've travelled internationally, you must stay home for 14 days
  • If you are not ill, you are strongly directed to stay home except to access healthcare or medicine, buy groceries once per week, exercise while maintaining two metres distance from others, or to walk your dog
  • Only essential businesses remain open, with measures taken to ensure physical distancing and sanitization

What it means for TV and film production in the city is that filming will remain at a standstill until possibly the end of June. The Toronto Film Commission says, "We will not issue permits for shoots that occur during the time these orders are in place." The city may lift the restrictions before June 30, and permits will resume being approved. How likely this is to happen remains to be seen.

CMF Early Stage Development Program

The Canada Media Fund has affirmed that its funding and program levels will remain relatively unchanged from last year. Translated loosely, that means it's full steam ahead for CMF funding, including the Early Stage Development Program, which was launched last year. A significant change for 2020 is that it is open exclusively to writers.

We will follow up with more details about this year's program, including what's changed from 2019 and when applications are being accepted. Watch this space.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed today that Canadians will be able to begin applying for this benefit on Monday, April 6. We have listed the details of the program HERE. We suggest you register for a My CRA or My Service Canada account now if you are looking to apply for the benefit.

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