Netflix Canada recaps its first year

Netflix Canada

Netflix produced a significant amount of content in Canada this year, and the streaming giant wants you to know that.

With the controversy surrounding the possibility of a ‘Netflix tax’ — a catch-all term often used to refer to the concept of imposing a tax on foreign digital-first companies who provide services in Canada — it’s easy to forget what the U.S.-based streaming service has accomplished through its $500 million five-year ‘Netflix Canada’ initiative over the past twelve months.

In a recent blog post written by Corie Wright, Netflix’s director of public policy, the company recapped Netflix Canada’s first year of operation, noting that the streaming service filmed television shows and movies in VancouverTorontoMontreal and St. John’s, as well as more rural locations across the country like Cochrane, Alberta, Brandon, Manitoba and Sudbury Ontario.

Netflix says it worked with Canadian producers, directors, writers, actors and film crews to create these productions. The streaming platform also committed an additional $25 million to local cultural organizations and events, says Netflix.

Television shows and movies produced through the Netflix Canada initiative include Altered CarbonRiverdaleLost In SpaceTo All the Boys I’ve Loved BeforeHow It EndsAnother LifeThe Umbrella Academy, the SCTV Reunion and Always Be My Maybe

The streaming giant says that back in May it organized a pitch session between Netflix content executives and Canadian francophone products and creators based out of Montreal to increase Netflix Canada’s French-language output. Among other criticisms, one of the significant issues many took with Netflix Canada’s plan was its lack of guaranteed funding for French-language content.

Netflix says that its’ $500 million five-year commitment to create content in Canada is the “most significant to-date from any internet streaming video service.”

Netflix and the Canadian government’s $500 million content agreement was spearheaded by former federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, with the plan believed to have ultimately resulted in her demotion to the position of Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and la Francophonie, following the public response to ‘Netflix Canada,’ particularly in her home province of Quebec.

Additional criticism surrounding Netflix Canada focused on the fact that the initiative can easily be viewed as a way for the streaming giant to avoid paying Canadian tax and being forced to contribute to the Canada Media Fund like all major Canadian broadcasters.

Further, Netflix Canada has also come under fire because the content created through the initiative isn’t required to adhere to Canadian content (CanCon) specifics, as defined Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) Broadcasting Act of Canada.