B.C.’s creative sector calls on province for economic help
B.C. creative-sector leaders are calling on the province to help homegrown industries like film, music, and digital media become more competitive by improving economic policy.
A group of industry representatives held a news conference in Vancouver today (April 26) to highlight fear about the loss of skilled professionals to places like Quebec and Ontario that offer better access to financial rewards like tax credits and investment funding.
“We have worked hard to earn the kind of reputation that attracts great talent and investment in these industries. However, we find ourselves now at a crossroads,” Margaret Reynolds, executive director of the Association of Book Publishers of B.C., said during the news conference.
“Other jurisdictions in this country are also ramping up to compete and they’re making it easy to attract talent and investment dollars away from places like British Columbia. We don’t want that to happen,” Reynolds said.
A report released today by the ad hoc group calls for establishment of a public-private partnership and development of a three-year plan to bolster the province’s creative sector, worth an estimated $4 billion. The report also recommends creating a provincial secretariat on the issue, reviewing tax policy and tax incentives, and setting benchmarks for economic success.
“Together, creative industries are one of the fastest-growing sectors in our provincial economy. We collectively employ more jobs than fishing, hunting, and forestry combined,” Reynolds said.
“Let’s begin a conversation with government and let’s work together to grow our industries, create jobs, and maximize the enormous creative potential in this province,” she said.
According to Reynolds, there is strong anecdotal evidence that B.C. is losing creative talent to other jurisdictions but she did not have any figures available to support the claim.
“We could list all the companies that have left, all the productions that haven’t happened, all the authors who’ve gone to other companies. But no, I don’t have any actual numbers right now,” Reynolds told the Straight.
“We just look around and know that it’s happening.”
The news conference was held today at Armoury Recording Studios in Vancouver. It was attended by representatives from the Association of Book Publishers of B.C., the Canadian Media Production Association, Music B.C., and the Magazine Association of B.C.
Vancouver comedian and actor Brent Butt also spoke out, highlighting the financial pressure in the creative industries and expressing concern about talent and productions leaving B.C.
“These things are happening and it’s time that we step up as one strong voice and start a dialogue with the government to make sure that this doesn’t happen in the future and that Vancouver remains an incredibly strong and productive place to do whatever project you have on your plate,” he said.
Margaret Reynolds, with the Association of Book Publishers of B.C., speaks about the need to help the province's creative sector become more competitive.