04/09/2013 04:10 EDT | Updated 06/09/2013 05:12 EDT

NDP to raise B.C.'s film tax credit if elected

NDP Leader Adrian Dix says his government would increase tax credits for the B.C. film industry to 40 per cent from the current 33 and 35 per cent for foreign and domestic productions.

Hundreds of people from the movie and television business attended the election campaign stop at Vancouver Film Studios to hear the NDP's plans for industry.

The added cost of the proposed tax credits is $45 million annually, the NDP says.

The $1-billion B.C. industry has shown little growth over the last few years, and for the first time in nearly a decade, B.C. has fallen behind Ontario in the North American production centre rankings.

Industry leaders have been calling on the provincial government to make policy changes so B.C. can be more competitive.

The Liberals say they will introduce a new policy for the film industry within the next few weeks, but would not commit to the tax changes the industry is asking for.

“The B.C. Liberals' jobs plan failed to mention film, TV and digital media,” said Spencer Chandra-Herbert, NDP arts critic and MLA for Vancouver-West End.

"Our message today to B.C.'s thousands of film, TV and digital workers is that an NDP government will go to bat for this key sector of our economy and fight to bring increased production to our province," he said.

Film workers say Ontario is already eight-per-cent cheaper because of a 25 per cent tax credit on all production costs, and Ontario's advantage has grown to about 10 per cent with the return of PST returns to B.C. at the start of the month.

B.C.'s next provincial election is on May 14.