Creative industries such as music, book publishing, digital media, and film production play an important role in Ontario’s economic development. They create jobs for thousands of Ontarians and open countless economic opportunities for business growth. And at a time when remote education and entertainment are prime commodities, these sectors are increasingly becoming more impactful.
This is why the provincial government is working hard to make Ontario’s creative industries more competitive. Over the years, various policies and programs have been launched to this end. First in line is the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) or Ontario Creates.
OMDC grants provide a wide range of subsidies and tax credits to Ontario’s cultural media cluster. These grants stimulate innovation, collaboration among private and public sectors, and increased capacity of the Province’s creative industries.
Some of these grants are offered as pilot projects that either become permanent or are active for only two rounds of funding. Others are offered on an ongoing basis.
If you need more information, you can talk to funding experts like EVAMAX. EVAMAX can help identify various funding sources for your business, including these OMDC grants:
OMDC Funding Programs
OMDC provides many incentives that can help grow Ontario’s creative industries. Below are some of the funding programs supporting the development and commercialization of various media projects.
The OMDC Interactive Digital Media Fund
The OMDC Interactive Digital Media IDM fund is designed to help the digital media sector meet the growing interest in interactive content. It offers grants to small businesses involved in innovative digital media content projects.
Interactive Digital Media IDM is open to Ontario-based profit-oriented companies that:
• Are incorporated or willing to be incorporated in Canada
• Have a proven history of developing content for interactive networks, platforms, or devices
• Have enough cash on hand to pay for 10% of the total project cost
For a project to qualify for OMDC funding, it must meet the following eligibility criteria:
• The interactive digital media content must give its users control and allow them to make decisions through browsing, searching, selecting, and other actions
• The content must have at least two of the following elements: images, sounds, and text
• The content is compatible with any of the existing interactive platforms, networks, or devices
• The content has the potential to be commercialized for education, information, or entertainment purposes
Eligible businesses will get a minimum of $10,000 and a maximum of $250,000. It can be used to pay for up to 50% of qualified project costs, including equipment, materials, labor, marketing, software, and overhead expenses. These must be incurred from local suppliers. Applicants will be further requested to spend in Ontario twice the OMDC funding amount awarded.
Funding for approved projects comes in three installments. The first 75% is given once the contribution agreement is signed, 15% upon submission of the interim report, and the remaining 10% when all project requirements are outlined.
ODMC sends out calls for proposals bi-annually, and applications are accepted through an online portal. For more information or the latest update please contact EVAMAX.
OMDC supports the film industry in Ontario through its Film Fund program. It is designed to encourage the production of local feature films through development and financing assistance. This opens up many opportunities for film producers in Ontario to pursue a wide range of projects across all genres and with either industrial or cultural potential.
OMDC funding for this program has two active pathways:
This stream supports all activities leading up to a film’s production stage. It is open to production companies incorporated in Ontario or federally. It also accepts applications from individual producers with Canadian citizenship or who have produced at least one feature film or TV movie in Canada.
Qualified applicants are given interest-free loans, which are payable once principal photography starts. The number of recipients and the amount of OMDC funding awarded is based on merit and the approved budget for the year.
This stream helps Ontario-based film producers finance the production costs of eligible projects. It stands as a last-in participant. At least 70% of the film’s production financing must be in place during the application.
The OMDC funding amount that can be requested for a dramatic feature ranges from $250,000 to $400,000, depending on the amount spent on Ontario-based labor and non-labor costs. Funding for documentary films is capped at $150,000.
The OMDC Export Fund is tasked to help Ontario’s creative industries generate export revenues. It provides funds to media businesses, book publishers, and film or TV companies to offset marketing and travel costs when expanding into previously untapped global markets with income potential.
Export funding has two active pathways:
Stream 1: Books
This stream is open to profit-oriented book publishers in Ontario with the following criteria:
• Operating for a minimum of one year
• At least 50% of total sales revenue is from books
• Have sales of at least $20,000 for Canadian-written books
• Published at least six titles written by Canadians
• Have a detailed export development plan for a number of books
Stream 2: Ontario Film and Television
This stream accepts applications from Ontario-based production companies that meet the following criteria:
• Profit-oriented and operating for at least one year
• Have a detailed plan on how to explore export markets for a number of projects
Activities supported by the program include attending marketing events, media trips, sales tours, and trade missions managed by governments. Qualified applicants could get up to $15,000 to cover a maximum of 50% of total costs from travel, accommodation, marketing materials, and other eligible activities.
OMDC Tax Credits
Aside from OMDC funding, support from the program can also come in the form of tax credits:
The Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit or OFTTC offers refundable television tax credit based on eligible labor costs of approved projects. It is open to Canadian corporations permanently based in Ontario and filing corporate tax returns in the province. Individual producers paying taxes in Ontario for the past two years are also welcome to apply.
Qualified applicants generally receive up to 35% of eligible labor costs for approved projects. First-time producers are given an enhanced credit of 40% for the first $240,000 in eligible labor costs and 35% on the remaining balance.
The Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit or OIDMTC offers refundable media tax credits based on eligible costs from approved products or digital games. Strong focus is given to entertainment and educational products for children below 12 years old.
To be eligible under the program, an applicant must be a:
• Canadian corporation
• Have a permanent establishment in Ontario
• Developed an eligible interactive digital media product at the permanent establishment
Qualifying corporations that develop and market eligible, non-specified products can claim tax credits worth 40% of qualified expenditures. This includes marketing and distribution costs paid within 60 days of the tax year end. The amount of the credit is capped at $100,000 for all tax years.
A qualifying corporation working on specified products can claim 35%. This applies to digital gaming companies with a minimum of $1 million in eligible labor costs accrued over 36 months.
Specialized corporations with at least $500,000 worth of labor costs per year for developing eligible digital games are entitled to a 35% tax credit.
The Ontario Production Services Tax Credit or OPSTC is designed to create employment opportunities for Canadians specializing in the production industry. It offers refundable tax credits based on eligible production costs, at least 25% of which must come from labor costs. Funding cap is set at 21.5% of the total qualified expenditures.
Canadian-controlled or foreign-owned companies based in Ontario are welcome to apply. They must pay corporate taxes to the province and own the copyright for the proposed project. Applications are sent to OMDC or Ontario Creates for a certificate of eligibility, which is needed when filing for a claim at the Canada Revenue Agency or CRA.
The Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects tax credit or OCASE offers OMDC tax credits based on eligible costs. Qualified companies could earn an 18% return on computer animation and special effects projects, while eligible labor costs have no cap.
Canadian or foreign-owned companies permanently based in and paying corporate taxes to Ontario can apply. Qualified applicants will receive a certificate of eligibility, which they can use to submit a claim at the CRA.
To learn more about OMDC grants and other sources of funding, call EVAMAX today. EVAMAX has a team of funding specialists that can help you identify and access the best grants for your business, wherever you are in Canada.