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Crew is another story, what about us?
I don't know about that. :)
I often see requests for scripts from Canadian production companies that require that the writer be Canadian (check InkTip). I’ve also been told by a French producer that I could sell/give him my script but he would need to be credited as the writer to secure funding under the EIS program. I’m pretty sure this all has to do with various funding issues and nothing to do whatsoever with any discrimination.
I've done work for a Canadian director putting together a package, only to have the script fall through because the money required a Canadian writer. Thankfully, I retained the screenplay rights.
The double-whammy of being non-union and non-Canadian has kept me from returning to follow up my lead role in the independently-made Canadian horror film "Scarce," but I'll be eternally grateful for having had that opportunity; and if Atom Egoyan or Sarah Polley calls, I'll walk to Canada (from Florida) to work for them!
Canada's subsidy policies certainly have a protectionist bent. I had an experience with one international co-production with Canada. In order to get Telefilm Canada funding, the cast and crew have to be Canadian, the country or countries Canada has signed the co-pro with and/or an EU country. There are two exemptions: one lead acting role and one cameo acting role. It's not the just the film biz. Canadian radio station playlists have to contain a minimum of one-third Canadian artists. There are also federal subsidies for music companies.
When productions are looking to get subsidized in Canada by the Government, of course they are going to want to have Canadians given more priority over imported actors/crew. But when a production is using private funding and not wanting to get subsidized or tax breaks - they can use who ever they want.