“Shown In Canada”: CAVCO Reinterpretation

Shown In Canada: CAVCO Reinterpretation

“Shown In Canada”: CAVCO Reinterpretation – Introduction

Shown In Canada: CAVCO Reinterpretation – The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (“CPTC”) is available for productions that are shown exclusively through eligible online video services. Prior to March 6, 2017 such productions were considered ineligible.


Before March 6, 2017 programming shown exclusively on online video services was not considered to have met the requirement of being “shown in Canada”. Despite the plain meaning of the phrase, the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (“CAVCO”) interpreted “shown in Canada” to mean that the production must be broadcast on television (including licensed video-on-demand services), shown theatrically, or distributed on DVD. CAVCO has now reinterpreted the “shown in Canada” requirement to include productions that are shown on eligible online video services (for a non-exhaustive list of eligible online video services – services that CAVCO has pre-determined to be eligible – click here.)

Join Our Community

Be the first to read new articles, industry news, and more. Sign up to our newsletter today!

Agreement with Canadian Distributors

Production companies are still required to have an agreement in writing with a Canadian distributor to have the production shown in Canada within two-years of completion. This means that a production with a direct agreement between a production company and an eligible online video service is not eligible for the CPTC.

There is no requirement that the online video service itself be Canadian. This allows producers to make their productions available on the service that makes the most sense for the production creatively and from a business perspective.

Eligibility Requirements

CAVCO’s current criteria for determining an eligible online video service are the following:

  • the service must carry other content pre-screened or pre-qualified by either (a) the online service or (b) the distributor, under an arrangement with the online service;
  • the service must be readily accessible to Canadians in Canada; and
  • the service must have Canada as a part of its target audience.

“Shown In Canada”: CAVCO Reinterpretation – In Closing

CAVCO will review online video services on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they meet the criteria. As with any production that relies on tax credits, it is essential to plan proactively instead of trying to access tax credits based on prior productions.

Our Services

Please contact us if you would like a consultation to discuss the tax credits and your production.

Recent Blog Posts:

Online Concert Licensing and Royalties – Part 1

Online Concert Licensing and Royalties – Part 2

Termination Clauses in Employment Contracts

COVID-19 Killed My Tour – Rights and Obligations – Part 1 – Venues

COVID-19 Killed My Tour – Rights and Obligations – Part 2 – Partners

Updated to December 28, 2020

Edwards Creative Law is a boutique law firm provides legal services to Music, Film, Animation, TV, Digital Media, Game, Software and Publishing industry clients. For more information and blogs, please visit

© 2020 Edwards Creative Law

* This blog is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Please contact Edwards Creative Law or another lawyer, if you wish to apply these concepts to your specific circumstances.

Related Stories