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Ontario Investments Driving Innovation and Creative Cluster Growth

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Past performance has shown that the Creative Cluster is responsive to government investments and support services targeted to key needs – from tax credits, to support for attending international marketing events, to flexible early-stage financing – as these early investments have yielded tangible results. The Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC), for example, is credited with establishing Ontario as a globally recognized centre of excellence for film and television service production.

The economic potential and complexity of the Creative Cluster industries has given rise to a range of supportive initiatives. Initiatives cut across several ministries, in addition to the work of the lead program delivery agency, the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC). Ministries providing direct support to the Creative Cluster, or otherwise engaged with it on a policy basis, included :

  • Ministry of Tourism and Culture
  • Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Research and Innovation
  • Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
  • Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

The OMDC, an agency of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is focused on the growth and well-being of the cultural industries within Ontario's Creative Cluster. The OMDC certifies eligible activities for the provincial tax credit programs and delivers funding programs and services to the cultural industries. It also assists in the promotion and marketing of Ontario's cultural industries as world-class global leaders in domestic and foreign markets. The agency's activities in this area support both export of Ontario products and services to the nation and the world, and inbound investment in the form of production services assistance.

The Ontario government recognizes the need to keep pace with competition and its commitment to the cultural industries has been reinforced through a series of significant investments in the OMDC

Table 1 below gives an overview of the key support programs currently offered to Ontario-based cultural industry companies. These programs tend to be project-based and sector specific. At the same time, support is relatively balanced between development, production and marketing/distribution. Table 2 provides some examples of innovative new partnership projects funded through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture's Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnership Fund.

TABLE 1: Summary of Key Support Programs and Initiatives









Value Chain

Tax Credits

Production (books and music include distribution and marketing)

OMDC Content and Marketing Funds

Production and Marketing/Distribution

OMDC Export Fund


The Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnership Fund

Development and Production

Intellectual Property Fund


Next Generation of Jobs

Development and Production

Emerging Technologies Fund

Corporate Development

TABLE 2: Examples of 2009/10 Investments through the Entertainment and Creative Cluster
Partnership Fund



Ontario Digital Games Business Incubator Network

Creates a network of business incubators and related institutions serving the digital games development community in Ontario

Canadian Publishers Digital Services Implementation Project (CPDS)

A suite of services being offered by the Association of Canadian Publishers that will help publishers maximize the fast emerging opportunities presented by digitization technology and build their capacity to flourish and thrive in the quickly changing digital marketplace

Virtual Music Export Office

Increases agility in the cluster and responds to major shifts in creation, distribution and delivery systems

CASO Web Based Development Tools aka “CASO Cluster Hub”

A suite of web-based social networking and marketing tools that that will: strengthen links between CASO members; improve CASO member outreach and recruitment; and provide a centralized marketing platform for new business and employment opportunities

DOCShift: Real Stories to Multiple Platforms

Creates business opportunities for Ontario filmmakers and new media producers by facilitating the merger of skill sets and innovative interactive documentary genres

X3 Source

Unites the very best music news, interviews, videos and more from multiple publishing partners into an online resource that travels with you as you browse your favourite music websites and blogs

The Interactive Narratives Initiatives

Introduces a new media architecture featuring an adaptive nature that can change the users' experiences on the fly during the playback of audiovisual content

DOC DigiMarket Initiative Phase Two

Provides Ontario documentary producers and filmmakers with new incubation and financing opportunities for cross-platform content, as well as digital marketing and distribution training and resources

International Visitors Programme

Builds on and expands the International Visitors (IV) Programme at the annual International Festival of Authors in October to create new international networking and business opportunities for Ontario publishers

Canadian Magazines International (CMI)

Connects Canadian magazine leaders with key international magazine publishing innovators and decision-makers from around the world and profiles Canadian magazine publishing leaders in a semi-annual professional magazine (print and digital)


A new event for digital creators, tech entrepreneurs and new media producers at the NXNE Festival and Conference focused on integrating musicians and the music industry with the interactive world

Ontario: Read It Here

Promotes Ontario literature, locales and literary events to the widest possible audience, on site and online

Fast Forward to a Digital Future - Education and Training for Ontario Animation

Trains industry professionals in a broader range of animation and business skills so they can fully contribute to the long-term growth of Ontario's entertainment and creative cluster

2020 Media Futures

A multi-industry strategic foresight project designed to understand and envision what media may look like by 2020

Designing Digital Media for the Internet of Things (DDiMIT)

Develops a physical space and tools for hands-on workshops, collaborations and showcase events as well as a virtual space for disseminating the work of local media companies

3D FLIC (3D Film Innovation Consortium)

Creates a model for applied research and development that will expand the capacity for stereoscopic 3D cinema production in Ontario



Recently enhanced Ontario's six cultural industries' tax credits, ensuring that programs remain competitive against competing jurisdictions.

Introduced the Ontario Tax Exemption for Commercialization, which provides a 10-year tax exemption for companies created to commercialize R&D carried out in Ontario institutions.


$5 million investment in the commercialization activities of the MaRS Discovery District, a major R&D catalyst that is engaged with digital media and the creative industries.

Invested in new research and educational infrastructure, including investment in the new Digital Media Institute at Stratford and the digital vision for the Ontario College of Art and Design.

Introduced the $90 million Ontario Venture Capital Fund, to match private sector investment and increase the level of venture capacity activity in the province with the guidance of professional venture capitalists.

Created the Emerging Technologies Fund, which will provide $50 million a year over five years to co-invest in companies in three high-potential sectors – including digital media and information and communications technology


In partnership with the Ministry of Research and Innovation, created the $1.5 billion Next Generation of Jobs Fund, with streams for investment attraction and strategic sectoral development. These initiatives cited the Creative Cluster (and digital media in particular) as key elements of future growth. Investments in the Creative Cluster have attracted anchor companies to the province, like Ubisoft Entertainment and Starz Animation.

Accelerates international investment and marketing promotion (e.g. trade missions, videogame marketplace supports, etc.)


Responded to the changing economy with the $2 billion Skills to Jobs Action Plan, which includes re-training, to help workers from sunset industries start second careers.