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CAVCO Lead Performer Policy - Comment Period Closes May 31, 2013


Lawyer David Zitzerman
Area Entertainment


The Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) released today for comment its policy on lead performers and the documentary exception.  The comment period closes May 31, 2013.  You can see the policy which is set out in CAVCO Public Notice 2013-02 here.

The policy clarifies CAVCO’s actual practice in determining which performers are eligible for lead performer points for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (the “CPTC”). 

Purpose of the Policy

The policy reflects CAVCO’s current practice re: the determination of lead performers for purposes of the CPTC.  The policy does not change CAVCO’s practice rather, it is intended to very clearly outline actual practice and to ensure uniform understanding and application of these components of the Income Tax Regulations.

Scope of the Policy

Under the policy, CAVCO determines lead performers in two steps:

Step 1 is its determination of which performers are “lead performers” and which performers have minor roles and do not qualify as “lead performers”.

Step 2 is its determination of which lead performers (if any) are “1st or 2nd lead performers” in the case of live action productions and  the “1st lead voice” in the case of animation productions.

The Policy also:

  • clarifies CAVCO’s approach to the determination of lead performers (a) who are engaged in cameos or guest appearances, (b) who are engaged in various non-fiction genres (e.g., lifestyle, reality, performing arts), and (c) who are engaged in productions with English and French versions;
  • summarizes CAVCO’s position on the so-called “documentary exception” (i.e., if a documentary production has less than 6 points, it still qualifies if all the points are allotted to Canadians); and
  • provides an annex with examples of performances which generally are or generally are not “Lead Performances” according to CAVCO’s approach.

A brief description of the policy and the subheadings of the Public Notice are set out below.

CAVCO Public Notice 2013-02
Call for Comments

Gatineau, April 19, 2013

Lead Performer Policy and Clarification of the “Documentary Exception”

The Department of Canadian Heritage calls for written comments on a lead performer policy that clarifies how CAVCO determines which performers are eligible for lead performer points for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC).  This document also outlines how CAVCO interprets subsection 1106(9) of the Regulations for documentary production.


Determination of Lead Performers and Allotment of Points – Live Action

Step 1 - Are there lead performers?

Step 2 - Who are the 1st and 2nd lead performers?

Determination of Lead Performer/Lead Voice and Allotment of Point – Animation

  • Cameos and Guest Appearances
  • Lead Performer Issues Related to Non-Fiction Genres
  • Lead Performer Points for Productions with different versions
  • Clarification of the “Documentary Exception”
  • Provision of DVDs for a Part A CPTC Application
  • Coming Into Force
  • Policy Review


Examples of Performances that are not Lead Performances

Examples of Performances that generally are Lead Performances


Relevant sections of the Income Tax Regulations

As described in Paragraphs 39-41 (Call for Comments) of the policy excerpted below, any comments on the policy should be sent to the Director, CAVCO by email (which is referred) or by hard copy on or before May 31, 2013.

Call for Comments

39.  The Department requests written comments on this policy from concerned stakeholders. All comments must be received by CAVCO by May 31, 2013.  Submissions must include the name of the person or organization providing comments. Paragraphs should be numbered, and submissions longer than five pages should include a summary.  All comments received will be given due consideration and a final version of the policy will be published.

40.  We would prefer to receive all submissions by email at bcpac-cavco@pch.gc.ca. Paper submissions may also be sent to Director, CAVCO, 25 Eddy Street, 8th Floor, Gatineau, QC K1A 0M5. Please note that FEDEX clients must use the postal code J8X 4B5.

41.  Any questions about this public notice can be sent to CAVCO by email at bcpac-cavco@pch.gc.ca or you may call us toll-free at 1-888-433-2200 (Teletypewriter toll-free: 1-888-997-3123).

If you would like further information about the policy or CAVCO’s approach to administering the CPTC, please contact any member of our Entertainment Law Group.