02/08/2015 01:27 EST | Updated 04/10/2015 05:59 EDT

Baillie says Nova Scotia should include advertisers in its film tax credit

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia could boost its number of startups if advertising agencies were eligible for the film tax credit, says the leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives.

Speaking at the party's annual general meeting in Halifax on Sunday, Jamie Baillie said expanding the tax credit would be a step towards the goal of generating more new businesses per year outlined in a report on the future of the provincial economy by Ray Ivany, the president of Acadia University in Wolfville.

"Next week will be the one-year anniversary of the publishing of the Ivany report," said Baillie.

"I am disappointed that here we are a year later at this event with so little accomplished."

Baillie said the province needs to help entrepreneurs by eliminating red tape in areas such as the Film Industry Tax Credit.

Currently, the credit covers 50 per cent or more of a production company's labour costs on eligible films.

However, films are excluded from eligibility if they are produced for primarily corporate purposes or to solicit funds.

Mike Hachey of Halifax-based Egg Studios said his company cannot receive the credit because it works primarily in advertising.

Speaking at the Tory event, Hachey fought back tears as he expressed frustration that companies like his are not rewarded for their work.

"Why is it that we can't take advantage of this tax credit? We use the exact same crews, we use the same actors, we support all of the same service providers," Hachey said.

"We arguably put more into the local economy than any other production company in Atlantic Canada."

Hachey said he has seen both advertising agencies and clients leave Nova Scotia for markets elsewhere in the country.

"How long do you think people like us will stay in such a volatile economy where all your peers are given incentives to work here, and we're not?" said Hachey.

The Ivany report lays out goals for Nova Scotia's economy including generating 4,200 new business startups annually, which it says would be a 50 per cent increase over the current 10-year average.