Let’s Get in Touch
Recent Blog Posts
In this section, I will look at the Canadian Film and Video Production Tax Credit’s (CPTC) provisions around Key Creative Personnel and why, consequentially, Telefilm Treaty Co-Production Agreements are desirable from an immigration perspective.
Telefilm Treaty Co-Production Agreements
The first stage in determining whether the Key Creative Personnel are met is to determine what type of production is in question. the CPTC Guideline sets out two different types, Live Action Productions and Animation Productions, each with their own set of scoring rules.
For a Live Action Production the following positions are considered for a maximum of 10 points. To qualify, one of two of the director positions and one of two of the lead performer positions must be filled by a Canadian.
Director – 2 points
Screenwriter (see s.4.06) – 2 points
Lead performer for whose services the highest remuneration was payable (see s.4.05) – 1 point
Lead performer for whose services the second highest remuneration was payable – 1 point
Director of photography – 1 point
Art director – 1 point
Music composer (see s.4.07) – 1 point
Picture editor – 1 points
For a Animation Production the points are as follows:
Director – 1 point
Screenwriter and storyboard supervisor (see s.4.06) – 1 point
Lead voice for which the highest or second highest remuneration was payable (see s.4.05) – 1 point
Design supervisor (art director) – 1 point
Camera operator (in Canada) – 1 point
Music composer (see s.4.07) – 1 point
Picture editor – 1 point
The following points will be allotted if the work is performed solely in Canada.
Layout and background – 1 point
Key animation (must be in Canada) – 1 point
Assistant animation and in-betweening – 1 point
With respect to Animation Productions, there are some additional requirements. Either the director or the screenwriter and supervisor must be Canadian. Either the highest or second-highest remunerated lead voice must be Canadian, and all key animation must be done in Canada.
There are also several general rules that apply to all types of Key Creative Personnel. Among the general rules are several important for immigration purposes. No points are to be awarded for Canadians who share key personnel roles for other non-Canadians. Also, the camera operator role for Animated Productions must conduct his work in Canada. Also, scoring on a collection of films or a series of films must be done individually and the production company should make a separate list of individuals who worked on each production.
Why are Telefilm Treaty Co-Productions So Valuable from an Immigration Perspective?
Canada has currently 55 Co-Production Agreements and Memorandum of Understandings with several countries. The full list can be found here.
The benefit of a Treaty Co-Production Agreement is that pursuant to the CPTC Program Eligibility Requirements, these films operate under the specific Treaty Co-Production Agreement rather than the CPTC Guidelines with respect to the Key Creative Personnel and Producer-Related Personnel. The CPTC Guidelines regarding the Key Creative Personnel point system and the rules surrounding production-related personnel need not apply.
The language in these agreements is generally much more favourable than the CPTC Guidelines. For example, in the 2014 Audiovisual Co-Production Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Republic of India ( the “India Agreement), Articles 3 and 5 provide that producers and participants can be a national of one of the parties and that through mutual consent in writing by administrative authorities, can also include third countries.
The India Agreement also provides in Article 6 that the Parties shall facilitate temporary entry and residence in the respective territories for creative and technical personnel and performers.
Importantly, one of the countries that does not have a Treaty Co-Production Agreement with Canada is the United States. One of the areas I will be researching into in the future (possibly through ATI requests) is how American film productions, through filming in Canada, partnering with local production companies, and utilizing Canadian actors in key lead roles have been able to take advantage of the CPTC tax credit.
Hope you enjoyed the post 🙂
On June 12, 2015, Canada’s National Defence Minister Julio Fantino on behalf of Canada’s immigration minister, Chris Alexander announced the creation of a new Italian-language resource to help promote Italian immigration to Canada via Canada’s online processing system for economic immigration, Express Entry. The news release can be found here.
I think that recognition by the Federal Government of the imbalance of immigration from certain parts of the world is a good thing. More Italian immigrants to Canada, where many of our top politicians, athletes, and businesspeople have Italian roots is also a fundamentally good thing.
I also think providing resources in languages outside of Canada’s two national languages is fundamental and crucial to attracting top-class immigrants. Before an applicant goes off to taking language exams in one of the two languages, they often times (and many years prior to actually landing in Canada) have to decide to begin the very process of pursuing permanent residence. Without access to resources in the native language of Applicants, it is ripe for individuals who purport to know what they are doing (ghost consultants and the like) to provide immigration services. Many of these services are substandard and ultimately illegally performed.
My major qualm with the Federal Government’s launch of an Express Entry Italian page is that I believe it is not good optics to have resources available in one language and not other languages. With something like the Express Entry Italian page I understand that it is not as simple as creating a page and paying interpreters to translate the resource into many languages. There are discussions that need to be had with consulates, even with domestic governments who do (particularly in the case of China, the country I am now in) the type of web resources available on sensitive issues such as immigration.
However, to provide a page in Italian that is not correspondingly available in Arabic, in Farsi, in Hindu, or in Mandarin suggests Canada is aiming its resources at immigrants from select countries rather than the most economically and socially desirable immigrants from around the world. Optically, I hope many more third-language resources are made available to explain an Express Entry system that frankly is counterintuitive and confusing for many overseas applicants.
In December 2014, my colleague Steve Meurrens predicted that the introduction of Express Entry would have a devastating effect on the ability of international students to obtain Permanent Resident status in Canada (see: http://canadianimmigrant.ca/slider/are-options-for-international-students-to-immigrate-permanently-narrowing).
It seems like Steve’s epiphanies have come true. Just this past month I have received no less than 5 inquiries from individuals on the last year of Post-Graduate Work Permits (PGWP) asking about how they can obtain Permanent Resident status.
The challenges are quite clear. Time spent working on PGWPs, while earning some Canadian experience points, do not earn any extra points that appear necessary to obtain an Invitation to Apply. Individuals with PGWPs will have to not only meet the requirements of the Canadian Experience Class or Federal Skilled Worker Programs (at least 1 year of NOC 0, A, B experience), but also likely need either a Provincial Nomination or a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
The Labour Market Impact Assessment, which used to allow for advertising breaks for Employers hiring PGWP holders, now requires a $1000 application fee in addition to the 1 in 4 likelihood of a compliance review. Such burdens are heavy for Canadian employers to bare, particularly when the international graduate is likely entering only a mid-level NOC B position. Furthermore, the advertising exemptions have been removed and Canadian Employers must demonstrate that the PGWP holder is more suitable than Canadian candidates who have many more years of relevant experience and often times higher educational credentials. It is also hard, to make a business case, to pay someone with little experience a prevailing wage that reflects a skilled labour market generally with more experience and demanding hire wages.
One of the biggest problems facing PGWP holders is actually on the front end. Many recent graduates are unable to obtain positions right out of university that are NOC 0, A, B. Many start in NOC C, D positions (often unaware) that there is a requirement to obtain a promotion in order to qualify for Express Entry. Couple this with the fact that options for Entry-Level/Semi-Skilled (EE/SS) workers to obtain Permanent Residence (at least in B.C.) is limited to the currently-closed B.C. Provincial Nomination Program for EE/SS workers.
The Importance of Employer Communication Re: PGWP Status
One of the challenges is that many employees are hesitant to get into the conversation with their employers about their immigration status for fear of job security and other issues. However, this conversation needs to happen and ideally happen at the front end. Unless, it is in an Applicant’s plan to return to their home country following work on a PGWP, continue further studies, or pursue another guaranteed NOC 0, A,B vacancy within two years, not discussing immigration status with an employer can be disastrous. Currently, Canada’s economic immigration programs are all employer driven. If you are to obtain permanent residence in the future an Employer needs to be there to support you – write you a confirmation of employment, make recruitment efforts, provide your paystubs and their own tax/corporate information. Most importantly, they have to put their neck on the line in representations to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
Your pathway to permanent residence starts on Day 1. Your employment contract or at the very least, your unofficial understanding with the employer needs to involve your ability to be promoted to a NOC 0, A, B position so you can get at least 1 year of skilled-work experience.
You can check the skill level of your position using the NOC matrix available online. Note that the BC PNP uses the 2011 NOC Matrix (here), which ESDC uses the 2006 NOC Matrix (here) Make sure, however, to obtain proper advice as to the wording of your job duties. Several positions, particularly those designated by Canadian employers who are unfamiliar with the NOC or your requirements to have skilled employment, may inadvertently hire you to a purported “skilled position,” while giving you job duties more akin to a lower-skilled worker. For example, one may assume that an administrative assistant (http://www5.hrsdc.gc.ca/NOC/English/NOC/2011/Profile.aspx?val=1&val1=1241) and an office support worker (http://www5.hrsdc.gc.ca/NOC/English/NOC/2011/ProfileQuickSearch.aspx?val=1&val1=1411) would both be considered under the same NOC Code given the similar nature of their duties, but an administrative assistant is a NOC B position (thus qualifying for Express Entry) while an Office Support Worker isn’t (NOC C low skilled position).
It is furthermore important to broach your Canadian employer because of the number of hybrid positions that are subject to classification under lower NOCs by ESDC. A great example of this is in the banking industry where a Customer Service Representative is a NOC C position (http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?Function=getVD&TVD=122372&CVD=122376&CPV=6551&CST=01012011&CLV=4&MLV=4) but a Financial Service Representation is a NOC B position (http://www5.hrsdc.gc.ca/NOC/English/NOC/2011/Profile.aspx?val=6&val1=6235).
There is arguably a ton of overlap between the two positions and a ton of Customer Service Representatives I know who are gaining in seniority begin to take on some of the responsibilities of Financial Service Representatives. Complicating things, I know some banks call their Customer Service Representatives, Financial Service Representatives.
Another complicated matter are individuals who take on hybrid Account Manager (NOC B) and CSR (NOC C) roles. For immigration purposes, these type of positions will be under heavy scrutiny.
Know your Provincial Nomination Programs
Until the non-Express Entry British Columbia – International Graduates Program is announced in the beginning of July, the Express Entry version is a very good option for applicants (http://www.welcomebc.ca/Immigrate/About-the-BC-PNP/Express-Entry-British-Columbia/Express-Entry-British-Columbia-International-Gradu.aspx). Again, one of the challenges is the Applicant has to meet the basic requirements for one of three economic programs – which will require one year of NOC 0, A, B, either prior to coming to Canada and while holding a PGWP. As the International Graduates program requires you to apply within two years of completing your education program, this essentially gives you a two year window to get the requisite experience (assuming you don’t have it).
The International Graduates program is nice because there is no need for previous experience. The Applicant must only demonstrate that they have the means to support yourself and your dependents. For the Skilled Worker program, there is the requirement of several years of work experience, which is usually assumed to be two or more, creating a major time crunch for transitioning from a PGWP.
Regardless, it is important to keep up with the rapidly changing PNP program offerings. For example, on July 1st the BC PNP is reopening several programs, which I forsee may create more options for graduates of particular programs in professions that B.C. views in high demand (possibly LNG, Tech, and Medical fields).
I hope this article provided some insight into the challenges. As always contact me if you have any questions!
In “Field of Dreams,” the main character Kevin Costner is in the middle of the cornfields when he hears a voice that keeps saying: “If You Built It, He Will Come.”
In my first week as an associate, I feel the exact same way. I need to build a foundation. A solid foundation. It won’t always be a perfect foundation but it has to be one that people can rely on. It won’t happen today or tomorrow, but each incremental step – each successful client file, each hours spent on researching an area of the law, will go a long way.
My father told me a story. One that I also saw Ferran Adria (one of the greatest chef’s of our generation tell) also tell.
When he was doing acupuncture back in the day in Victoria, there were days when nobody would show up to the shop. They’d sit there. Worrying about how to get the next payment to pay the bills.
I have it a lot better and that I should be grateful for. I have a shelter, I have food, I have savings. I have great mentors and individuals who refer me files. But, I have to have patience above all else.
There’s two types of clients who generally consult counsel for immigration. Those who really need good work done for fear of damage to their businesses reputation or their families lives. They could be in a huge hole facing removal from Canada or separation from a loved one. These individuals will only trust and work with the best, most competent lawyers, as they should.
The second group of clients want the quick solution. They demand expediency and they are cost-sensitive. They are the most likely to choose counsel based on price-point and often do select inexperienced counsel simply because they found an ad in a newspaper.
Note: There’s an important third group and a group I care very passionately about. Those who need counsel but can’t afford it. That will be a post for another day. I’ll try and walk you through one of my Access Pro Bono sessions.
As a young lawyer, you aren’t the senior lawyer. You aren’t even the cheap lawyer. My job simply, at this stage, is to be the reliable lawyer. The one client’s can connect with, can trust, and feel like every service fee payment is deserved. It is about not overselling nor underselling my abilities. Even as a lawyer, I am a student of the law and I always will be.
On that note, this week has been a learning experience, but a very good one. As a student, you have people feeding you work and watching your every step. Training wheels. You feel obligated to put in X hours a day to justify your job.
In my position now, I have the ability to control my own schedule, the freedom to take on my own files, but also an responsibility to my Firm, to myself, and most wholeheartedly, to my future clients.
Next week I go to China for a little zen time. I have a girlfriend there I haven’t seen in three months and have seen all of three weeks in the last year. Battle scars.
When I come back, I will need to hit a next gear. I’m in a city with a struggling economy, at a time when immigration laws are uncertain and clients need the advice desperately.
I will try and do a few updates to this particular blog in China, as I read and learn more about the key issues in Canadian immigration law. Until I get to Chongqing… thanks to those who make this story possible.
My Value Proposition
My Canadian immigration/refugee legal practice is based on trust, honesty, hard-work, and communication. I don’t work for you. I work with you.
You know your story best, I help frame it and deal with the deeper workings of the system that you may not understand. I hope to educate you as we work together and empower you.
I aim for that moment in every matter, big or small, when a client tells me that I have become like family to them. This is why I do what I do.
I am a social justice advocate and a BIPOC. I stand with brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ2+ and Indigenous communities. I don’t discriminate based on the income-level of my clients – and open my doors to all. I understand the positions of relative privilege I come from and wish to never impose them on you. At the same time, I also come from vulnerability and can relate to your vulnerable experiences.
I am a fierce proponent of diversity and equality. I want to challenge the racist/prejudiced institutions that still underlie our Canadian democracy and still simmer in deep-ceded mistrusts between cultural communities. I want to shatter those barriers for the next generation – our kids.
I come from humble roots, the product of immigrant parents with an immigrant spouse. I know that my birth in this country does not entitle me to anything here. I am a settler on First Nations land. Reconciliation is not something we can stick on our chests but something we need to open our hearts to. It involves acknowledging wrongdoing for the past but an optimistic hope for the future.
I love my job! I get to help people for a living through some of their most difficult and life-altering times. I am grateful for my work and for my every client.