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Canadian Entertainment Industry Seeks Government Bailout for Virus Fallout

The request for relief to offset the “financial impact” of the virus outbreak follows Hollywood producers halting location shoots across Canada.

After Hollywood location shooting in Canada shut down to help contain spread of the novel coronavirus, the country’s reeling production sector is seeking an industry bailout as the federal government develops COVID-19 rescue packages.

The Canadian Media Productions Association, representing indie producers, has asked its members to “help our industry quantify the scope of the financial impact of the crisis on production companies,” to be presented to government officials as they respond to the pandemic with emergency financial stimulus.

Local film and TV production has also virtually shut down and production studios have emptied, leaving cast and crews out of work, as governments restrict large gatherings and shut down nonessential businesses as safety precautions.

A delegation of Canadian representatives of IATSE International, whose unionized crews work on major Hollywood shoots in Canada, on Thursday met with federal heritage minister Stephen Guilbeault to discuss emergency support for film and TV workers left jobless by the industry shutdown.

“From the beginning, they have listened with open minds about what the industry needs, what is working and what might need more attention,” John Lewis, international vp and director of Canadian affairs at IATSE International said in a statement following the meeting.

The IATSE delegation raised concerns about entertainment producers nationwide being able resume operations once the COVID-19 crisis ends. “Minister Guilbeault assured representatives that the ministry of heritage shares the goal of seeing the entertainment industry and its workers successfully through this crisis,” the union added.

The Canadian production sector has also been impacted by the federal government imposing travel and border restrictions on Americans and other foreigners entering the country, to run until June 30. Local media players like circus giant Cirque du Soleil and exhibitor

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