This is a review of Chapter 459 of the Toronto Municipal Code which sets out the law for making films in Toronto.
To get a sense of how this law is applied on a day-to-day basis, see [pol00016]. The “thou shalt not” approach of the filming by-law echoes that of the Parks by-law. It similarly forbids filming in parks or public spaces (including a public golf course) without a permit. § 459-2.
The Commissioner of Economic Development, Tourism and Culture or his or her designate unless otherwise stated is the city official responsible for film permits. § 459-1. Definitions. The by-law references filming guidelines in the definition section as follows:
GUIDELINES — The Guidelines for Filming in the City of Toronto § 459-1. Definitions.
The Toronto Film and Television Office, acting on behalf of the Commissioner, is given the authority to issue permits for the period specified in the permit as reflected in the permit application. § 459-4.
Before, and as a condition of issuing the permit, an applicant must enter into an agreement with the city stating that it will do the following: is bound to the following conditions set out in the by-law: To comply with the filming by-law, the Guidelines, the City of Toronto Code of Conduct for Cast and Crew, and any other City by-laws. To indemnify the City of Toronto from any actions or claims and accompanying legal fees that the city might encounter as a result of issuing the permit. This would include any harm to people, property damage, etc. To provide a certificate of insurance as set out in the Guidelines, in a form approved by the City Treasurer. In some cases, to provide a security deposit to ensure that a city road, property or park is restored to the condition in which the film crew found it.
Although it is not clearly stated, the by-law envisages that the Toronto Film and Television Office may impose permit conditions beyond those set out in the agreement.
The Commissioner can revoke or suspend a filming permit without notice if the above conditions are not met. The film-maker could appeal this decision to a Community Council.
A permit entitles the film person or company to use the park, City road or property (or part of it) specified in the permit for the purposes and for the period specified in the permit, in keeping with the terms and conditions of the permit and as set out in the agreement
The law foresees and provides for temporarily closing city roads in keeping with the terms of the permit. In this case, approval would be granted by The Commissioner of Works and Emergency Services or his or her designate § 459-7. Temporary closure of highways. If a film permit holder doesn’t abide by this law (including the agreement with the City, permit conditions, filming without a person), that person could face a potential fine under the Provincial Offences Act.