I came across a CBC documentry made in 1980 called Tax Breaks For Canadian Movies. It focuses on the “use and abuse” of Canadian taxpayer dollars for film subsidies.
There are interviews conducted with film commission representatives arguing that while Canadian taxpayers are funding up to 50% of the film costs, the intention is to create a film industry where they will make their own commercially viable films.
30 years later Canada’s film industry is even more dependent on US studios and commercially viable Canadian films are as rare as poutine in California.
The difference then was that the films that were able to win a subsidy had to be Canadian productions. These days most of those subsidies are going to US productions. If you want to have some fun you can play with this Canadian subsidy calculator. I put in $1 Trillion and was able to get $538 Billion back!
Now the subsidies in Canada are meant to be used for Canadian workers but with so many vfx studios opening shop I’ve heard a producer say they can’t find workers. Remember my post on the fallacy of infinity scalability?
I am aware that some VFX studios are able to subsidize the salary of American workers with Canadian taxpayer money by claiming they’re residents even though many of them move after the project is over.