POLITICS

Verite Films cites film tax credit cut for move from Regina to Toronto

06/27/2012 04:00 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT
REGINA - The production company behind the hit comedy series "Corner Gas" is leaving the province where the TV show was made.

Vérité Films says its head office move to Toronto from Regina will affect about 600 people who would be employed during times of production.

The film company says it has to leave after 15 years based in Saskatchewan because the provincial government is eliminating a refundable film employment tax credit.

Vérité president Virgina Thompson says there's no longer a viable way to finance projects in the province.

But she says she'd love to return should the government bring in a workable program to help filmmakers.

Regina-based Partners in Motion, an award-winning production company, announced earlier this month that it, too, is pulling out.

Vérité plans to keep a satellite office with one production executive in Regina "with the hope that things will improve in the province,” Thompson said in a release Wednesday.

"Regina will always be in our hearts. We’ve raised three kids, built our home and our company here. But ... our future is in Toronto now, where our projects can be financed."

Vérité Films, a Gemini-Award-winning company, created and produced four hit television series in the province for children, youth and family audiences. The most successful was "Corner Gas" which depicted the fictional Saskatchewan town of Dog River and its colourful prairie characters led by comedian Brent Butt.

The "Corner Gas" film set, which is now a gift shop in Rouleau, Sask., is one of the province’s most popular tourist destinations.

Premier Brad Wall's government announced in its last budget that it was ending the refundable film tax credit at the end of June.

The province has proposed a non-refundable tax credit as a replacement, but critics say it's based on a corporate income tax model that won't work for the film industry. They also say it's not competitive with other provinces.