• Policy Blog

  • Blog 5 - May 17, 2021

  • Film & Television Production in Alberta

    We’re not sure if you heard, but last month there was a HUGE policy win in Alberta for the Film and Television industry! The Government of Alberta announced that they were going to be increasing the credit by $19.5 million and removing the $10 million per-production cap. This will encourage more larger scale projects to come to Alberta – giving Albertans more opportunities to see our beautiful landscapes, towns, and cities in all those movies and tv shows we’ve been watching lately!

    Last year, the Okotoks & District Chamber of Commerce submitted its first policy to the Alberta Chamber of Commerce (ACC) policy plenary at the AGM. The policy passed with 100% approval – a milestone accomplishment for the Okotoks Chamber - and became a part of the ACC advocation efforts. We are so proud that we could have a hand in the government changing a policy to welcome more business to the province! In fact, we’ve already seen the results of this change in our own community. We’ve heard directly from a number of businesses that have been approached by new film and television projects in the area looking to purchase and use their products. This not only results in direct income for our local businesses, but also incredible visibility!

    We know that the economic benefits of film and television production are unquestionable. Productions taking place in our own region (Heartland, Ghostbusters, Tin Star, and others) have resulted in in millions of dollars of economic return in our community, including direct spend on accommodations, food, hiring locally, and in a variety of other ways. Now that the tax credit is more in line with those across the country, it comes down to our local municipalities to encourage projects to come to them.

    Currently, we do not have a policy or procedure in place for film or television productions that want to come to Okotoks. It’s a long, drawn out process of trying to find the right people to get the right approvals. For these projects, navigating bureaucracy is not something that they have time to waste doing. We have such an incredible town full of talented people and amazing businesses that it’s time for us to make it easy to work here, and we’re committed to working with the town and the Okotoks Film Society to make that happen.

     

  • Blog 4 - March 16, 2021

  • Inconsistency with Athletics + Performance Arts

    The unexpected and inconsistent closing and reopening of businesses have resulted in the universal and unprecedented harming of our business community. We have seen many businesses permanently close their doors while others make significant adjustments to their daily practices to survive. Many businesses making these changes may be able to keep some measures in place – such as working from home, masking, distancing, and additional PPE – over the long term, however, there are other organizations that will not. Sporting organizations and the performing arts are not such organizations that can make these changes long term.

    I think that we can all agree that some of the hardest-hit businesses have been sporting organizations and the performing arts. Businesses that rely heavily on the existence of an audience, as well as the interaction between participants, have been closed for longer than they have been open in the last year. They have had no forewarning of closing dates, reopening potential, or any additional measures they could take to smooth this process. They have taken steps to change their procedures, spent significant money on additional PPE, made concessions to allow for adjusted operations, and still, they are left to function on the whims of government decisions.

    Unfortunately, this is the reality that our organizations have been facing - unable to operate with no end in sight. They have been left out of the conversation. In Okotoks and the surrounding area, we have a number of organizations that are major contributors to the economic stability of our community. The Okotoks Dawgs, Okotoks Oilers, Okotoks Film Festival Society, and Okotoks Pro Rodeo are just a few organizations that bring and distribute revenue throughout our region and are central in our long-term economic vitality. Without the operation of sporting and performing arts organizations, our community loses economic stability, community wellbeing, cultural experiences, and more.

    The Okotoks & District Chamber of Commerce sees the importance of these organizations and recognizes that different actions need to be taken for different businesses. Given that these organizations are a lifeline in regions such as ours, we need to know the details of what’s been happening with them. Is your organization involved in athletics or performing arts and unable to open? Share your story with us here:

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/93RNVCL

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  • Alex Zabel 

    Policy Coordinator 

    403 938 2848

    policy@okotokschamber.ca