2 TV shows to leave Vancouver for Los Angeles

Two hour-long television programs, which are filmed in Vancouver, are relocating to Los Angeles, lured there after qualifying for an expanded California tax credit.

Legion and Lucifer are among 11 series persuaded to relocate to California as part of an expanded tax credit program aimed at TV and film productions currently filming outside the state.

The decision means a loss of about 400 B.C. jobs, said Phil Klapwyk, business representative for Local 891 of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

While the loss of the two TV programs is disappointing, Klapwyk said he's confident those workers won't be out of work for long.

"Producers are looking for wherever they can get the best deal and the best crew and the best locations for their productions," he said.

B.C.'s generous tax credits combined with a low Canadian dollar have made the province a choice spot for Hollywood productions. In 2005-16, tax credits rose to $491 million.

A win for California

But some critics have claimed B.C. tax incentives are too generous, subsidizing Hollywood production companies. Jordan Bateman of the B.C. Taxpayers' Federation has predicted the industry here would collapse if foreign productions find cheaper locales to shoot their films and TV series.

Meanwhile, California's film commission said the TV relocations are wins for the state.

The commission's executive director, Amy Lemisch, said the Hollywood film industry was dismayed that other jurisdictions — such as B.C. — were luring productions from California. The state introduced a tax credit of its own in 2009 to reverse that trend, Lemisch said.

In 2015, it expanded the tax credit to US $330 million per year, she said.

"California had been suffering a loss of productions to other states and countries for many, many years," Lemisch said.

With 11 TV series relocating to California, Lemisch declared that the state tax credit is "definitely working."

"We're definitely seeing an increase in production in all types now — television and feature film production."