Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
The tax credit that benefits the video game industry is not unanimous. According to a study published in September, it is not cost effective and will further benefit foreign companies.
At a time when some aspects of government assistance to the companies in the multimedia sector are called into question, the Alliance digital has retained the services of a lobbyist to ensure the maintenance of the measures to which its members benefit.
Étienne Gosselin, Ryan public Affairs, has recently added a mandate to its registration in the Register of lobbyists, in particular to make representations to the ministry of the Economy, Science and Innovation of Quebec, as well as the ministry of Finance. “The objective is the maintenance of support measures competitive as the tax credit for the production of multimedia title, as well as the program of development of intellectual property in the sector of the video game “, can we read.
The performances also aim to increase the economic benefits of this industry, representing some 10 000 direct and indirect jobs.
It has not been possible to speak to the Alliance’s digital, but by e-mail, the aggregation explained that it had retained the services of Mr. Gosselin, due to the small size of its workforce. “We actually use a variety of consultants to assist us in our activities,” wrote the coordinator of communications for the Alliance numérique, Caroline Emmanuel.
Available since 1996, the tax credit for the production of multimedia titles – which can cover 37.5% of eligible paylist expenditures – including incentives to foreign multinational companies such as Ubisoft and Warner Bros to settle in Quebec.
In recent months, this measure has been the subject of criticism from some members of Quebec inc., in particular, the president and ceo of Stingray, Eric Boyko, and, more recently, the big boss of the Industrial Alliance Yvon Charest. While the skilled labor is scarce, Mr. Boyko deplores the fact that foreign companies can take advantage of these measures to recruit computer engineers and other skilled workers in the information technology, which are also coveted by companies such as Stingray.
The man of affairs has proposed lowering the tax credit rate so that it is accessible to more businesses.
At the other end of the spectrum, multinational companies such as Ubisoft, which already has some 3,600 employees in Montreal and Quebec city – argue that this tax credit is important to enable the infrastructure in place to continue its development. It is these incentives that have enabled the French giant to announce at the beginning of September, plans to invest 780 million in the province by 2027 to hire more than 1000 employees in addition to opening two other studios – including one in Saguenay.
“We realize that in France or the United Kingdom, after having abolished [it], they bite off a few fingers, and come from the restore, had explained to The canadian Press, the leader of the studios of Ubisoft Montreal, Québec and Toronto, Yannis Mallat. During these years, when it wasn’t for this program, what happened ? The industry has almost disappeared. “
In September, the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations (CIRANO) had also published a study suggesting that the tax credit offered in the video game industry was not profitable and that it profited more to foreign companies. If the document conceded that the financial incentives had led to the emergence of a new sector in the province, it was suggested in Quebec city that the time had come to rethink this tax credit.