Netflix to open an office in Canada

Alexandra Miekus
Published: March 2, 2021

U.S. streaming giant Netflix has announced that it will open a new head office in Canada.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix's co-CEO, announced that they will open a head office in Canada because the country has become such "an important part of our business" and it wants to" build on that momentum."

Netflix has become one of the biggest names in entertainment over the past decade, producing critically acclaimed television shows, movies and hosting highly successful comedy specials.

“Since 2017 alone we have spent more than $2.5 billion Canadian dollars on productions in the country. But more than that, we have built relationships with so many talented directors, screenwriters, actors, producers, animators and more,” wrote Sarandos.

Get help applying for a Canadian film and TV work permit

With an ambitious tax credit system and relatively lower production costs than elsewhere in the world, Canada has become a particularly attractive destination for television and film production companies.

The country is known for having one of the most diverse, innovative, profitable and dynamic film and television industries in the world. This makes it a major attraction for anyone developing content, and something that Netflix is also focusing on.

“Canada is an amazingly diverse country and growing our presence locally will help us share more authentically Canadian stories with the world, whether through the development of original content or through co-production and licensing opportunities,” Sarandos said in a blog post.

He also said Netflix will be announcing a series of local projects during the coming weeks.

Film and Television industry in Canada

GoCompare, a British financial services comparison website, ranked Canada as the third most filmed country in the world after the United States and the United Kingdom.

Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal play a leading role in film and television production in Canada and these three major Canadian cities have become a prime location for major new film production investments in recent years.

Film and television production in Canada is an important part of the Canadian economy. It creates hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and accounted for approximately $13 billion of Canada's GDP in 2018-19, based on data from the Canadian Motion Picture Association.

The film, television and video post-production industries, like many other artistic and cultural activities, have been severely affected by the pandemic. Despite the slowdown, they are bouncing back and activity is expected to return to, and even exceed, pre-pandemic levels in the coming year.

While some Hollywood film productions have relocated their filming to Canada in the midst of the pandemic, other major American productions have started shooting in Canada recently and are reportedly expected to remain in the country for some time.

Get help applying for a Canadian film and TV work permit

Foreign TV and film Workers are Eligible for Priority Processing

Film and television industry personnel entering Canada from the United States or other countries who require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may be eligible for priority processing. This facilitative measure was introduced in September 2020 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to process work permit applications for eligible television and film workers within 14 days.

According to information provided to CIC News by the IRCC, some 1,217 applications for work permits, including applications for extensions, were received between September 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, for the film and television industries.

Foreign nationals coming to Canada to work in TV and film must meet the following criteria to be eligible for priority processing:

  • submit an initial work permit application online to work within the TV and film industry;
  • apply from outside Canada and the U.S., or be in the U.S. but require a TRV; and
  • self-identify as a television and film industry worker after submitting the work permit application by sending a request via the IRCC web form.

Are Film and Television Workers Affected by Canada's Current Travel Measures?

The Government of Canada has put in place COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements for all international travellers arriving in Canada by air and at land ports of entry.

If you are a worker in the film and television industry you will be subject to the same testing and quarantine requirements as other travellers:

  • you will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to arrival, or a positive test within 14 to 90 days prior to arrival;
  • if you arrive in Canada by land, you will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and at the end of your mandatory 14-day quarantine period; and
  • only four airports (Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver) are now reserved for international air travel. Travellers will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing for all international arrivals through these airports and will be required to wait for test results at a government-approved hotel for up to three days at their own expense.

Get help applying for a Canadian film and TV work permit

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