11/27/2012 12:13 EST | Updated 01/27/2013 05:12 EST

Toronto critics to award $100K prize for best Canadian film

The award for best Canadian film, presented annually by the Toronto Film Critics’ Association, has just become Canada’s richest film honour, with the prize pot increased to $100,000 on Tuesday.

The director of the winning film chosen by Toronto critics will now receive $100,000, with the first recipient to be unveiled at an event in January.

Two runners-up will each receive $5,000. The cash award was raised from the previous $15,000.

Rogers Communications is sponsoring the lucrative boost to the prize, after becoming the founding sponsor of the TFCA Awards gala five years ago.

“This exemplary cash prize gives our cinema pride of place at the country's top tier of arts awards,” TFCA president and Maclean’s film critic Brian D. Johnson said in a statement.

“It represents a tremendous vote of confidence in Canadian filmmakers, and in the discerning role that Toronto's robust community of film critics can play in recognizing and rewarding brilliance."

Quebec filmmaker Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar, Canada’s entry for the 2012 best foreign language film Oscar, was last year's TFCA best Canadian film winner. It's rivals for the honour were Café de Flore, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and A Dangerous Method, directed by David Cronenberg.

The Toronto critics also award the following sponsored prizes:

- Manulife Financial Student Film Award ($5,000): presented to a short film, selected from student entries submitted by Humber College, Ryerson University, Sheridan College and York University.

- Jay Scott Prize ($5,000 plus an equivalent value in post-production services): to an emerging artist.

The TFCA Awards are presented annually for best director, actor, screenplay and other categories. This year's winners will be named on Dec. 18. On the same day, three finalists for the best Canadian film category will be announced. The recipient will be revealed on Jan. 8, 2013.

The TFCA, established in 1997, comprises Toronto-based journalists and broadcasters who specialize in film criticism and commentary.