The conference follows up on a report commissioned by the publishing, music and entertainment sectors calling for the government to collaborate on a long-term strategy for their industry. The report says, without action, this $4-billion sector could lose people to other places where jobs are more plentiful.
At the conference, NDP arts critic Spencer Chandra Herbert said B.C. could benefit from having an agency similar to the Ontario Media Development Corporation - a government agency that supports Ontario's film, television, music, books, magazines and interactive digital media industries.
"I think you would start to see more creative approaches in how to grow and invest in this sector," Herbert told the audience. "We've got the skilled creators here, but because we're not thinking long-term, I think we're losing out on a lot of opportunities."
He gave a couple of examples that he thought would help, such as offering tax incentives for production companies that are filming a series' first season in B.C., and not just the pilot episode, or starting a small intellectual property development fund that could offer grants or long-term loans to keep ownership and royalties in B.C.
In a later session at the conference, the province's Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong said the government has received the report and is considering it.
She said there are many different opinions about what government's role in the creative industries should be, and she is not sure what would work best for B.C.
In March, The Vancouver Sun reported that Ontario has overtaken B.C. as a film and television production centre in Canada for the first time in many years.
Ontario increased its tax credits, which may be the reason for its growth.
Chong said "chasing the bottom line" by offering higher tax credits to compete with Ontario is not necessarily the answer.
She said the film industry in B.C. grew last year over the year before, but it did not grow as much as Ontario's.
The conference was to continue today, with speakers including author and director of Comedia Charles Landry and author Timothy Taylor, among others.
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