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Departmental Performance Report

National Film Board

The original version was signed by
The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages


Minister's Message

Government Film Commissioner's Message

Management Representation Statement

The National Film Board's Summary Information

Program Activity Results


Priority Results


Program Activity 1: Production of Audovisual Works

Program Activity 2: Distribution of Audiovisual Works

Program Activity 3: Access and Outreach

Program Activity 4: Research and Advisory Services


Management and Administration at the NFB

Benefits to Canadians and the World

Link to Government of Canada Strategic Outcome




Minister's Message

James Moore As Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, I am pleased to present the National Film Board of Canada's Departmental Performance Report for 2007–2008. The report outlines the important achievements of this agency over the last fiscal year and demonstrates how it continues to fulfill its mandate.

As a producer and public distributor of films, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) provides an essential public service in offering Canada and the world original, relevant, and innovative Canadian perspectives. Reflecting the diversity and excellence of our nation's culture, the Film Board strengthens the bonds between ethnocultural, linguistic, and regional communities, providing a unique context for members of these communities, as well as emerging filmmakers, to speak out through film.

The NFB collection is part of our heritage. It is now more accessible than ever to Canadians across the country both on traditional platforms and on multimedia. At a time when new technologies for transmission are proliferating, the NFB is ensuring that the various viewpoints and values of Canadians are circulated from coast to coast and abroad, where the organization is widely admired and respected.

As a Canadian Heritage Portfolio agency, the National Film Board of Canada has helped create a more prosperous Canada in which Canadians of all generations and all backgrounds can take part in the rich social, cultural, and economic life this country has to offer.

The Honourable James Moore
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages


Government Film Commissioner's Message

A new strategic course– the same tradition of excellence

It has been more than a year since I began my tenure as Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). I began my five-year mandate as head of this cultural agency in June, having served as Director-General of the Film Board's English Program, along with many years in the private sector. Throughout these years I have had extensive discussions with creators, producers and others in the Canadian and international film industry, as well as an ongoing connection with communities and Canadians across this country. These exchanges have helped me realize that the NFB's mission to reflect Canada to Canadians and the rest of the world, through creating and distributing innovative, distinctive audiovisual works based on Canadian points of view and values, is as constant as it is vital.

To ensure that the NFB continues to evolve by using new technologies to push boundaries, take risks and connect with Canadians in exciting new ways, a new strategic plan has been developed by NFB senior management in consultation with employees, key players in the Canadian audiovisual industry and a wide range of cultural, linguistic and community groups. The resulting five-year plan, covering 2008-2009 to 2012-2013, was approved by the Board of Trustees last March. The spirit of the plan stems from the NFB's very essence: nurturing creators, fostering imagination and creating media across all platforms, making the NFB accessible to all Canadians and ensuring stable financing in order to enable the NFB to fulfill its mandate.

In line with its digital strategy, in January 2008 the Board launched one of Canada's first e-cinema networks in a pilot project linking five Acadian francophone communities. This project demonstrates how the NFB plays a key role in Canada's digital transformation as well as supporting the development of minority language communities.

In addition to the considerable changes required by the new NFB's strategic repositioning, the NFB also faces a number of challenges. The organization must act quickly to adjust its production practices, distribution strategies and collection management methods if it is to continue to fulfill its mandate to produce and distribute bold and distinctive audiovisual works in the fast-growing digital media environment. As a cultural public agency, the NFB must not only create works that reflect the concerns of Canadians, but also make its films accessible from coast to coast.

The NFB was faced with some difficult choices during the last fiscal year. In order to finance the purchase of equipment required for new production process and distribution strategies, the organization had to make cuts in certain sectors and eliminate some jobs and offices. This reorganization was carried out in such a way as to minimize negative impact on the NFB's activities.

Despite the difficult challenges of the past year, the NFB enjoyed a number of notable successes. These include its 70th Oscar nomination – more than any production company outside Hollywood – and its fourth Oscar nomination in as many years, for Madame Tutli-Putli. This animated short also won the prestigious Petit rail d'or award at the Cannes Film Festival as well as many other national and international honours. I would also like to note the recognition received by two of the NFB's longstanding collaborators, Serge Giguère and Alanis Obomsawin, whose exceptional careers were crowned this year with the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, respectively. These are just a sampling of the prestigious awards honouring NFB creators over the past year.

I would also like to mention the Board's participation in the activities celebrating Quebec City's 400th anniversary as well as its partnership with the National Battlefield Commission, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. These projects underscore the role the NFB plays within the broader governmental framework as well as its relevance in the development and implementation of major federal projects essential to Canada's national fabric.

On the eve of its 70th anniversary, the Board has yet again demonstrated – in brilliant fashion – its ability to adapt to new realities, while maintaining the tradition of excellence that has allowed the NFB to forge an international reputation as an innovative and creative organization.

Tom Perlmutter
Government Film Commissioner
and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada


Management Representation Statement

I submit, for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-2008 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) for the National Film Board of Canada.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide to the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-2008 Estimates: Departmental Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • It is based on the department's approved Strategic Outcome(s) and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it;
  • It reports finances based on approved numbers from the Estimates and the Public Accounts of Canada.

Name: Luisa Frate, c.a.
Title: Director, Administration Branch


The National Film Board's Summary Information

The National Film Board's Raison d'être

Mandate – As a cultural agency responsible to Parliament, the National Film Board of Canada fulfills a mandate, clearly defined in the National Film Act of 1985, "to initiate and promote the production and distribution of films in the national interest, and, in particular:

  • to produce and distribute and to promote the production and distribution of films designed to interpret Canada to Canadians and to other nations;
  • to represent the Government of Canada in its relations with persons engaged in commercial motion picture film activity in connection with motion picture films for the Government or any department thereof;
  • to engage in research in film activity and to make available the results thereof to persons engaged in the production of films;
  • to advise the Governor in Council in connection with film activities;
  • discharge such other duties relating to film activity as the Governor in Council may direct the Board to undertake."

Mission - To reflect Canada, and matters of interest to Canadians, to Canada and the rest of the world through creating and distributing innovative and distinctive audiovisual works based on Canadian points of view and values.

Vision - During the strategic planning period for 2002-2006, the National Film Board adopted the following vision: "The NFB is recognized as being indispensable to all Canadians as the world-renowned public producer and distributor of audiovisual works that are socially relevant and innovative." The new strategic plan approved last March reiterates the Board's strong commitment to creativity, public service, innovation and accessibility.

Financial Resources (thousands of dollars)

Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
67,118 71,965 71,167

Human Resources

Planned Authorities Actual
500 500 493


# Name Type Assessment on Progress towards Priorities
1 Maintain overall programming slate of distinctive, challenging and relevant audiovisual works with a special emphasis on strengthening feature documentary production and developing a consistent approach to making short films. Ongoing With its 155 original productions, including 15 feature-length documentaries, the NFB has successfully met this priority.
2 Strengthen the NFB's ability to identify and to work with leading talent, championing emerging filmmakers and members from diverse communities (ethnocultural, linguistic, and Aboriginal), and encouraging regional diversity. Ongoing The NFB has met this priority through numerous competitions for emerging filmmakers, as well as completion of 93 films by first-time filmmakers.
3 Encourage partnerships through co-productions and maintain the development of international co-productions. Mandatory An increase in the number of international co-productions and an increased number of partnerships with private industry have resulted in the NFB meeting this priority.
4 Strengthen innovation in content, form and technology. Mandatory Several films with innovative content have been honoured with awards; the NFB has also increased its investment in new production and distribution technologies.
5 Contribute to the overall competitiveness and productivity of the Canadian film industry Mandatory The NFB continues to contribute to increased competitiveness in the industry as a production partner and as a film distributor in the documentary and animation markets, as well as incubator for new talent. It also invests in new distribution technologies and increases international partnership opportunities with countries like Brazil and Singapore.
6 Strengthen NFB distribution networks and optimize NFB revenues. Mandatory The launch of the e-cinema network and stronger links with distribution partners have allowed the NFB to strengthen its distribution networks.
7 Enhance the conservation of the NFB collection in new, emerging digital formats and increase its equitable access across Canada. Mandatory More than 986 titles from the NFB's collection were digitized and made available on the NFB's websites.
8 Maintain, promote and enhance R&D initiatives to reposition the NFB as a leader in the Canadian film industry, along with its partners. Mandatory The NFB is working to develop a toolkit for networking audiovisual and information technology equipment, in partnership with stakeholders in the cultural, university research and wireless telecommunications sectors.
9 Enhance accountability, business practices and information systems. Mandatory As a result of recommendations in the Management Accountability Framework, as well as those made by other analysts, the NFB is putting new practices in these areas into place.
10 Strengthen accountability, risk management, resource management and governance. Mandatory Analyses of current NFB practices have been carried out, and a plan to improve NFB practices in these areas has been put in place, with several measures already adopted.


Program Activity Results for the National Film Board of Canada

Strategic Outcomes
To produce and make accessible relevant, ambitious and innovative audiovisual works that help Canadians better understand Canada and the world.
Program Activity Expected Results Performance Status 2007-2008 Contributes to the Following Priority
Planned Spending
(in thousands of $)
Actual Spending (in thousands of $)
Production of audiovisual works 85% of the NFB's programming involving social issues; Successfully met 47,467 46,873 Priority 1
Programming with a focus on point-of-view documentaries, animation, alternative fiction and new media; Successfully met Priority 1
Access to NFB films across Canada; Successfully met Priorities 1, 6 & 7
Projects innovative in terms content, form and means of broadcast, with flexibility for experimentation; Successfully met Priorities 1 & 4
Number of national and international co-productions maintained; Successfully met Priority 3
Number of productions by emerging filmmakers maintained; Successfully met Priority 2
Ongoing promotion and development of new talent. Successfully met Priority 2
Program Activity Expected Results Performance Status 2007-2008 Contributes to the Following Priority
Planned Spending
(in thousands of $)
Actual Spending (in thousands of $)
Distribution of audiovisual works Reaching Canadian and international audiences; Successfully met 2,398 2,492 Priorities 6 & 7
Optimizing revenues in order to contribute to the success of the Canadian film and television industry; Successfully met Priority 6
Acquisition of more productions that complement the NFB catalogue. Successfully met Priority 6
Program Activity Expected Results Performance Status 2007-2008 Contributes to the Following Priority
Planned Spending
(in thousands of $)
Actual Spending (in thousands of $)
Access and Outreach Improved access to the NFB collection through the NFB's various activities and offerings, particularly the mediatheques and other resources; Successfully met 13,603 13,974 Priority 7
Continued digitization of the NFB collection; Successfully met Priority 7
Increased citizen participation through public screenings and other appropriate means; Successfully met Priorities 6 & 7
Improved visibility for the NFB and its productions on television, in festivals and schools, during industry activities and with the federal government Successfully met Priorities 6 & 7
Strong presence of NFB productions in Canada's community and educational distribution networks. Successfully met Priorities 6 & 7
Program Activity Expected Results Performance Status 2007-2008 Contributes to the Following Priority
Planned Spending
(in thousands of $)
Actual Spending (in thousands of $)
Research and advisory services Appreciable research and development efforts related to techniques and technology in the audiovisual field Successfully met 3,650 7,828 Priority 8
Maintain the NFB's role as a benchmark in filmmaking. Successfully met Priority 8


National Film Board of Canada Context

The National Film Board of Canada is a public producer and distributor offering the Canadian public a unique range of cultural products and resources. Its mandate is to produce and distribute distinctive, relevant, original and innovative audiovisual works that interpret Canadian issues, values and points of view to Canada and the rest of the world. These works constitute an important part of Canada's national heritage, and offer a remarkable window onto the diversity and vitality of our culture.

The NFB plays a unique role in producing audiovisual works on all platforms intended for Canadian and foreign audiences, thereby complementing the role of other cultural agencies as well as the private sector.

Internal Business Environment

New Strategic Plan for 2008-2013

On June 11th 2007, the 15th Government Commissioner and NFB president, Mr. Tom Perlmutter, took on the Commissioner's duties. In addition to the Film Commissioner's appointment, there were several changes to the Board of Trustees.

One of the first initiatives in the Commissioner's mandate was to engage the organization in a process of reflection and consultation in order to define the organization's new strategic approach for the next five years. The resulting Strategic Plan is the product of discussions with creators, producers and other industry stakeholders, as well as an ongoing dialogue with a range of communities and ordinary Canadians. The broad outlines of the plan were universally well-received. It lays out five clearly defined strategic goals: creative leadership and programming excellence; wide accessibility and democratic engagement; digital transformation; an organizational renewal that will make NFB a model creative organization for the 21st century; and stable financing, allowing the Board to fulfill its mandate.

Organizational Risks

Risk management is one of the areas in which the NFB is focusing its efforts. Though the organization already has measures in place to minimize risks in the area of programming decisions, it was committed to developing a corporate framework for risk management. While developing its first corporate risk profile, the Board identified the following key external risks: the transition to digital technology, the erosion of financial resources of the NFB, the potential loss of national and international distribution revenues due to the impact of new distribution platforms on traditional markets, access to its collection through new media platforms and maintaining copyright protection. Internal risks that could affect the NFB's operations include the need to hire and develop staff familiar with new production and distribution technologies as well as retaining staff and their expertise; a much-needed reorganization of the Board to address technological changes; and outdated operational systems. The Board has completed the process of gathering data on risk with regards to its operational units. The next step will be to develop a detailed and integrated risk management plan.

After several years of budgetary reductions – the NFB must generate greater revenue in order to maintain its film-related activities. Government appropriations to the NFB have been consistently reduced, declining 41% in indexed dollars since 1996. The NFB has had to simultaneously absorb the consequences of a non-indexed budget as well as ongoing reductions resulting from procurement reforms and program reviews.

External Business Environment

Government Expectations

The NFB is a cultural agency by virtue of Schedule I, Part I of the Financial Administration Act. It is wholly the property of the Government of Canada and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The NFB is funded primarily through Parliamentary appropriations, revenue from the sale of films and other products, and royalties.

In 2007-2008, the NFB took part in an evaluation of its management accountability framework. Following the recommendations of Treasury Board on best practices in public management, the NFB undertook to improve its management practices, paying particular attention to evaluation, risk management, information management, internal auditing, security and continuity, and services directed to citizens1.

In order to effectively serve and provide value to Canadians, the NFB must maintain a large distribution network, be part of Canadians' viewing habits and ensure that all regions of the country – even those far from major population centres – have access to the rich heritage that is the NFB collection.

Profile of Canada's Film and Television Production Industry

Canada's film and television production industry faced a number of challenges in 2007, including the dramatic increase in the value of the Canadian dollar, uncertainty about funding for the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) and broadcast media concentration. New platforms continued to erode the foundations of the traditional distribution, without being sufficiently established to compensate for losses caused in traditional markets. Documentaries and animation films were particularly hit by the decline of national and international markets.

In 2006-2007, the Canadian industry as a whole did reasonably well, with an overall increase in production volume of 3%, largely attributed to strong growth in Canadian television production and broadcaster in-house production. In the same period, theatrical production volume dropped 14% compared to the previous year, totalling 282 million dollars. Decreased production volume led to a 15% drop in employment nationally in the sector2.

Documentary Genre

Canada enjoys a long tradition of excellence in the production of socially relevant documentaries. Many Canadian productions made their mark nationally and internationally, including the NFB's Le Peuple invisible and Up the Yangtze. Canadian English-language documentaries received 14% of total production funds, but made up 46% of all productions. French-language documentaries received 16% of total production funding but accounted for 35% of all films produced. Total Canadian documentary production has shown strong growth over the last eleven years, with budgets tripling from $105 million in 1996-1997 to $312 million in 2005-2006, and projects doubling from 214 to 482.3 It is important to note that more than 60% of total documentary budgets are spent on series or mini-series and the number of individual productions and auteur documentaries is declining, as broadcasters dedicate more and more resources to series and reality programming.

Many feature-length documentaries are best seen in theatres. However, in most cases Canadian documentary producers do not have access to theatrical distribution and must rely instead on television broadcasters to finance and broadcast their works. The decline of traditional distribution markets for this genre present the NFB and the Canadian documentary industry with yet another challenge. The NFB must explore new access points such as educational networks, e-cinema, the internet, etc. in order to reach its target audience.

In this context, the NFB plays a unique and essential role in the distribution of documentaries it has produced, co-produced or acquired from private producers. The NFB offers the industry its unparalleled know-how, coupling creativity with technological innovation, while constantly seeking to develop new partnerships with private-sector distributors. The Board has made point-of-view documentaries one of its operational priorities because Canadians want to see films that help them understand the issues that affect them. NFB documentaries play a crucial role in engaging Canadians in thought and debate, along with stakeholders in the political, economic and social sectors.

Digital Transition

Around the world, new digital production technologies are well on their way to becoming the new production standard. Even projects shot on film use digital post-production. Broadcasters the world over are gradually eliminating analogue transmission. In Canada, the CRTC has set August 31, 2011 as the change-over date by which all holders of a television broadcast licence must transmit digital signals exclusively. In the United States – the NFB's second most important market after Canada – analogue transmission will cease by February 17, 2009. Analogue service began to disappear in 2008 in the UK – another major market for the NFB – and will cease by 2012. In order to be ready for digital broadcasting, the NFB must immediately ensure the digital production of all its documentaries and animation films. Without a digital production capacity for multiple platforms, the NFB's distribution activities could be compromised in the key television, institutional, theatrical and home consumer markets, both in Canada and other countries, particularly the United States and Europe. If that were the case, one could anticipate a resulting decline in sales translating into a decrease in revenues of at least four million dollars over the next three years.

New Distribution Platforms

Digitization is making it possible for Canadians to watch films and television shows on the platform of their choice – using DVDs, digital music players, mobile video players, webcasts and other means – regardless of where they are. Yet even as the digital revolution provides a wealth of extraordinary opportunities for producers and distributors, it also brings enormous challenges. The NFB has been preparing for this revolution in the industry for a number of years, creating partnerships and conducting research on image quality, innovative transfer methods, accessibility and broadcasting. The NFB is a worldwide leader in productions for cell phones and interactive feature films, the development of e-cinema community networks and is recognised for its expertise in stereoscopic film technology.


National Film Board Priority Results

1. Maintain overall programming slate of distinctive, challenging and relevant audiovisual works with a special emphasis on strengthening feature documentary production and developing a consistent approach to making short films.

Since its creation in 1939, as Canada's public producer and distributor, the NFB has developed an internationally recognized expertise in documentaries, animation films and alternative feature drama, making Canada a leader in these areas and sharing Canadian points of view and perspectives with the world. Its original, innovative and creative audiovisual works are an important part of Canada's national heritage, offering a remarkable window onto the diversity and vitality of our culture. NFB productions invite citizens to actively participate in Canadian society, promoting reflection, dialogue, civic action and a better understanding of the lives of their fellow Canadians.

During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the NFB offered a wealth of productions touching on the interests and concerns of Canadians from the diverse communities that make up our national fabric. Since its creation, the NFB has been a pioneer in the production of feature-length documentaries and continues to play a key role in the development of this genre. By offering much-needed financing and content development assistance in the feature-length documentary sector – support not offered anywhere else – the NFB ensures stable and sustained Canadian production, which is key to success in this field.

2. Strengthen the NFB's ability to identify and to work with leading talent, championing emerging filmmakers and members from diverse communities (Aboriginal, linguistic and ethnocultural), and encouraging regional diversity.

The NFB is committed to encouraging the talents of emerging filmmakers from all regions of the country, reflecting Canada's cultural diversity and giving diverse Canadian communities the means to communicate their values and tell their stories. The NFB draws on its unique production experience, the skills of its professionals, the availability of the latest equipment, its ability to attract talented filmmakers and partners throughout the country – with programs designed to serve the needs of specific groups and contribute to a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality, the participation of Aboriginal communities and social inclusion. NFB's work with emerging filmmakers has attracted attention and praise internationally, with countries like Brazil sending some of their brightest talents to participate in NFB emerging filmmaker programs.

This year, the NFB offered around 15 training programs for emerging filmmakers, allowing them to create their first professional works. In addition to these programs, the NFB offered master classes in many cities across the country as well as other programs and competitions specifically aimed at Aboriginal, ethnocultural and official-language minority communities. While most of these were returning programs, 2007-2008 also saw the introduction of new opportunities such as the Présente-moi tes grands-parents competition, inviting young amateur francophone filmmakers across the country to create and post mobile short films online.

3. Encourage partnerships through co-productions and maintain the development of international co-productions.

The NFB continues to be an essential partner in the development and expansion of the Canadian film industry. As a national co-producer, the NFB offers its co-production partners the opportunity to take the kinds of commercial and artistic risks they would not be able to pursue on their own. Because of its credibility, the NFB's presence also facilitates the participation of broadcasters as well as national and international partners. The NFB puts a number of different resources at their disposal, depending on the requirements of each particular project. The development of international partnerships is also important, as a strong international presence translates into greater visibility for Canadian producers, both at home and internationally. The NFB's participation ensures the promotion of values important to Canadians throughout the world.

Last year, the NFB continued to pursue efforts to strengthen existing relationships and to forge new international links. Among these efforts was the 3rd Canada-Brazil Co-Production Forum, offering an opportunity to create solid partnerships within an increasingly globalized audiovisual industry. The Canada-Brazil cooperation accord continued to promote exchanges between artists and artisans in both countries as well as the transfer of Canadian expertise. Over the past year, the NFB and its Brazilian partners have initiated discussions about extending and improving the cooperation agreement between the two countries. Development continues on projects initiated last year as a result of meetings organized by the NFB between producers in both countries. In May 2007, the NFB signed a new cultural cooperation agreement with Haiti, a country which is one of the Government of Canada's foreign policy priorities. This agreement includes a donation of 212 of the greatest titles in the NFB collection to the Government of Haiti, for broadcast on public and private television networks and for distribution through education networks.

4. Strengthen innovation in content, form and technology.

As a centre of creativity in the production of original and innovative media content, the NFB is profoundly affected by technological and cultural changes throughout the film industry. Since its inception, however, it has been part of the NFB's mandate to experiment with and explore new frontiers. It has the ability to assist an industry that is vulnerable in the face of artistic, financial and technological challenges, thereby contributing to an innovative, knowledge-based economy.

The NFB continues to be at the leading edge of creative innovation – in the creation of stereoscopic content or North America's first interactive film. The NFB has been honoured at home and abroad for innovation across a range of fields, including online productions, social relevance works and the management of Canada's audiovisual heritage.

5. Contribute to the overall competitiveness and productivity of the Canadian film industry.

Productivity is inherently linked to the country's knowledge economy. In 2007-2008, the NFB contributed to the overall competitiveness of the Canadian film industry by offering development and training programs to emerging filmmakers and industry artisans. The NFB worked with young filmmakers, teaching them to use new digital means of expression. These initiatives increased skill levels for first-time filmmakers, led to the discovery of new talent, contributed to Canadian film and television production and encouraged experimentation and innovation in digital production. By helping tomorrow's filmmakers acquire the skills needed to work in digital cinema, the NFB contributes to keeping Canada's workforce competitive on a global scale.

As a partner in the Canadian audiovisual and broadcasting system, the NFB creates professional quality digital media content in English and French for new platforms. The NFB is a pioneer in storytelling techniques as well as the marriage of content, technology and form, to the benefit of Canada's private sector.

6. Strengthen NFB distribution networks and optimize NFB revenues.

Accessibility of NFB works, for Canadians everywhere, is a Film Board priority. In 2007-2008, the NFB reached an estimated Canadian audience of 26 million. The NFB relies increasingly on new technologies to ensure access to its productions, including remote regions where these works would otherwise be unavailable. These new distribution channels complement its vast national distribution network, which brings together partners in the public sector (public and school libraries), private sector (distribution companies, catalogue houses, theatre chains and video clubs), and local associations (cultural groups and NGOs). NFB productions are regularly broadcast on conventional and specialized TV networks, while the modern mediatheques in Montreal and Toronto provide access to thousands of titles from its collection. Canadians can also obtain NFB works seven days a week online or by phone.

In 2007-2008, NFB sales surpassed 6.8 million dollars, up slightly from the previous year despite the leap in the Canadian dollar, which pushed results down, especially in the U.S. and Latin American markets. The Canadian institutional and education markets alone represented 1.8 million dollars over the last 12 months. Distribution activities have also generated over $802,000 for its Canadian private sector partners. Attuned to changing trends, the NFB is constantly analyzing markets, in Canada and abroad, to better understand the needs of its clients and maximize business opportunities.

7. Enhance the conservation of the NFB collection in new, emerging digital formats and increase its equitable access across Canada.

The NFB's rich collection features more than 13,000 titles and is one of Canada's great cultural treasures, one that the Board is committed to preserving and sharing with all Canadians. The NFB's employs new technologies in its digital vault to preserve this priceless audiovisual heritage for future generations and increase revenues from new sources. As the conservation of the NFB's collection is part of the mandate as set forth in the National Film Act, the organization must carefully choose the best available digital methods in order to preserve this world-class heritage. Moreover, as a result of its unique needs and responsibilities as a national public producer, distributor and curator, the NFB must take the lead in developing new and specialized methods and procedures. The organization's work in this area has attracted the interest of other international organizations, most notably Brazil, which has sent technicians to study the NFB's digital conservation methods. To harmonize the activities of the various private and public organizations involved in new media and digitization, a national strategy from the federal government would help to ensure that Canada remains a leader in this field.

In 2007-2008, the NFB continued to develop its corporate streaming project, which aims to make the Board's collection more accessible to Canadians through the development and fine-tuning of a user-friendly and robust on-line screening system. The experience gained in this project will also be applied to other digital and Web-based activities, thus increasing online revenue and reaching distant communities more effectively.

8. Maintain, promote and enhance R&D initiatives to reposition the NFB as a leader in the Canadian film industry, along with its partners.

Although the NFB's budget for undertaking major R&D projects is limited and well below those of similar international organizations, it is home to a cutting-edge conservation laboratory, post-production and research and development services recognized for their ability to innovate and provide tomorrow's solutions to private-sector partners.

In 2007-2008, the NFB became one of the first filmmaking organizations to offer a digital film library using e-cinema technology. This bold and ambitious project was brilliantly accomplished, giving access to a High-Definition theatrical experience with 5.1 surround sound outside of major urban centres.

9. Enhance accountability, business practices and information systems.

As a federal cultural agency, the NFB supports the Government of Canada's objective that public organizations utilize efficient and accountable management systems. Sound stewardship safeguards the public trust by ensuring that the government's work is done according to high standards of accountability, transparency, prudence, integrity, consistency and fairness. During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the NFB made ongoing investments in the improvement of its management and information systems.

10. Strengthen accountability, risk management, resource management and governance.

In order to continuously improve the NFB's overall performance –in areas such as risk management, governance, service to Canadians and accountability – the NFB has ensured that the ten statements contained in the Management Accountability Framework serve as the basis for the organization's efforts. The Board put in place a variety of measures designed to implement the Treasury Board's recommendations for the accountability framework. During the period covered by this 2007-2008 report, the NFB undertook the development of a corporate risk profile. This process will establish a baseline assessment, and will also serve as a management tool allowing the organization to evaluate risk annually and prepare risk reduction strategies. The NFB also developed a new management report aimed at ensuring consistency in financial information across all of its sectors.



Strategic Outcome

The NFB's strategic outcome is to produce and make available relevant, ambitious and innovative audiovisual works that give Canadians a deeper understanding of Canada and the world. The NFB is a unique centre for creative excellence that promotes and values participation from the many communities that make up Canada's social fabric. Through the transformative power of its films, the Film Board offers Canadian creators the opportunity to participate in a rich film experience while providing all Canadians with unique points of view that help to foster a national dialogue.

Program Activity 1: Production of Audiovisual Works

The National Film Board produces socially and culturally relevant audiovisual works touching on issues of concern for Canadians. Production activity includes the conceptualization, research, development, production and marketing of documentaries, animation films, new media content and other emerging audiovisual forms.

Financial resources in thousands of dollars

Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
47,467 51,738 46,873

Human Resources

Planned Authority Actual
275 275 207

Expected Outcome

85% of programming involving social issues.

This year, the NFB exceeded its target, with more than 85% of its 155 productions and co-productions exploring major contemporary national and international issues. By encouraging debate and fuelling discussions, these works encourage citizens to take a more active role in their communities and contribute to making Canada an inclusive society. Notable issues of general interest dealt with in NFB productions include Aboriginal culture, environmental challenges, a francophone community's fight to save its local hospital, and the personal journey of a Canadian humanitarian – to cite but a few examples.

In addition, thanks to its expertise and extensive network in the educational market, the NFB is adept at reaching young people in the media of their choice. In the past year, NFB productions touched on a number of issues concerning school-age youth, including the hyper-sexualisation of young girls, violence in sports, multiculturalism and more.

Expected Outcome

Programming with a focus on point-of-view documentaries, animation, alternative fiction and new media.

The NFB has always contributed to creating an environment in which a variety of film genres and formats can thrive. These films provide Canadians with the opportunity to increase their range of cultural experiences. Some of Canada's greatest filmmakers have worked at the NFB, producing films that have shaped Canadian history and culture.

The NFB allows the Brittains, Braults and Jutras of tomorrow to fully develop their talents in an organization recognized internationally for its creative innovation. Today, well-known filmmakers such as Richard Desjardins, Torill Kove and Alanis Obomsawin work alongside newcomers such as Évelyne and Vince Papatie, Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault. In 2007-2008, 155 films delivered insights into such themes as the consequences of war, the hospitalization of a close relative and cultural diversity to Canadians, including youth. The 110 point-of-view documentaries and 32 animation films produced by the NFB made a significant contribution to spreading Canadian values, by helping Canadians understand the country's social and cultural realities. While fiction is a genre whose primary function is to entertain, the 13 films produced, including alternative fiction – a genre pioneered by the NFB in the 1980s – offer transformative messages and allow the NFB to reach a broader audience. Finally, the NFB produced 17 works in the new media category, garnering international accolades for its leadership in this genre.

Expected Outcome

Short film policy framework developed.

At a time when short films are gaining popularity thanks to new technologies, the NFB continues its role as a leader in short-form documentary, animation and alternative fiction, encouraging innovation across all formats and platforms. These new avenues are being explored as part of the NFB's mission of supporting emerging filmmakers, an essential aspect of the NFB's role in the film industry.

While the NFB did not develop an official short film policy – as forecast in the 2007-2008 Report on Planning and Priorities – due to a lack of human resources, the Board considered new directions for short films for the future. In addition, the NFB held a number of competitions to encourage the production of shorts, including its partnership with the Short Film Corner/Marché du Film of the Cannes Film Festival. The NFB makes a major contribution to short film production in Canada, as demonstrated by the 107 films produced by the NFB last year – films like Madame Tutli-Putli, an animated short that has garnered awards at major international events. Finally, the NFB's Web site continues to be the destination of choice for all short film fans.

Expected Outcome

Access to NFB films across Canada.

As a public distributor, the NFB's main objective is to make its new and archival works as accessible as possible to all audiences, in the format of their choice. Improving access to NFB films across Canada is a key part of the Board's support of the Government of Canada's efforts to create a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion. Through its distribution and broadcast channels, the NFB reaches Canadians of all ages and all backgrounds, promoting participation and discussion amongst citizens.

Television remains a primary means for reaching audiences, but new distribution platforms such as the Internet, e-cinema and mobile devices are becoming increasingly important, particularly for young audiences. Our films are also seen at cinemas, festivals and public screenings, as well as in homes, schools and a variety of cultural and social centres.

In 2007-2008, the NFB attracted a viewership of 12 million to its program's 3,400 Canadian broadcasts. In addition, 166,433 people attended public screenings, Web users made 4,982,096 visits to the NFB's many Web sites, and Canadian students participated in the 7,437,888 educational viewings.

Expected Outcome

Produced projects innovative in terms content, form and means of broadcast, with flexibility for experimentation.

For many years, the NFB has been widely recognized for its contribution to worldwide innovations in content, form and technique. The NFB is committed to maintaining its reputation for excellence and leadership by exploring new areas such as digital production, production for new platforms and the use of new animation production technologies. The NFB is also committed to exploring the potential of innovative accessibility and distribution strategies using new media, including the Internet and digital distribution.

The NFB has seen a wealth of achievements in this area over the past year. The NFB increased its line up of products for mobile devices such as iPods, cell phones, handheld video and other digital platforms. It produced stereoscopic animated films, a new art form where the NFB leads the way. As part of Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations, the NFB also created a stereoscopic film about Samuel de Champlain in collaboration with the Musée de la Civilisation du Québec.

The NFB's strength rests on its capacity to combine technological innovation and creative leadership. This was particularly true in 2007-2008 with the launch of one of the North America's first interactive feature films, Late Fragment: an outstanding example of the NFB's commitment to serving as a laboratory for creative innovation in areas where commercial production models do not yet exist. In collaboration with the Canadian Film Centre, the NFB explored the potential of new cinematic forms, ensuring Canada's leadership in this new area. On the animation side, the short film Madame Tutli-Putli was hailed by international critics for its painstaking execution and innovative and original visual techniques, bringing a fantastical world to life.

The NFB's Filmmaker-in-Residence project is another example where the NFB broke new ground in form and content. Working with St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, the NFB placed filmmaker Kat Cizek with front-line hospital workers whose jobs took them beyond the hospital walls into the inner city. Rather than working within a predetermined genre, such as the television documentary, the result was a creative process that defined the form. In this case, it took the form of pioneering online documentary acclaimed around the world, winning new media awards and nominations, including a Banff Rockie, a Webby (the Oscars of the Web world), the Canadian New Media Award and a John Grierson nomination for innovation at the Sheffield Documentary Festival. It was also featured in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association as an example of how creative media can improve lives.

Expected Outcome

Number of national and international co-productions maintained.

The NFB has focused, in recent years, on the development of co-productions with private and public producers in Canada and abroad, with the goal of creating bold and original programming that could not have been created without the NFB. Co-productions allow the NFB to share its extensive creative and technical expertise, and to help the Canadian film industry by participating in financing, risks and opening up new opportunities for Canadian partners. Collaborations such as these contribute to the overall health of the audiovisual sector. In addition, the NFB's international co-productions help communicate Canadian values to countries around the world.

During the last planning period, the NFB almost doubled the total number of its co-productions, from 52 in 2006-2007 to 100 in 2007-2008. This increase is mostly due to the greater number of documentaries produced in partnership with other national and international producers.

Expected Outcome

Number of productions by emerging filmmakers maintained.

As a Canadian public producer and distributor, the NFB has a responsibility to discover and develop new filmmaking talent from all regions of the country. Over the years, the NFB has become an incubator for innovation and talent for young Canadian creators, who will become future pillars of Canada's film industry. NFB programs contribute to a rich learning environment in which mentorship plays an important part, attracting interest from international partners who come to study these programs. The NFB seeks out and encourages emerging filmmakers, supporting experimentation and an enthusiasm for creativity and innovation in Canadian cinema. Young filmmakers who have received training from the NFB contribute to Canada's innovation and knowledge economy.

For the third consecutive year, more than 93 NFB productions and co-productions were directed by first-time filmmakers. This is a direct result of a range of programs and initiatives the organization has put in place to serve emerging filmmakers, including those from diverse cultural backgrounds, official-language minority groups and Aboriginal communities.


Program Activity 2: Distribution of Audiovisual Works

The NFB is also mandated to distribute its works as widely as possible to Canadian and foreign audiences. Through its vast network of distribution activities, the NFB cooperates strategically with public and private sectors in Canada and abroad in order to make its collection available to all Canadians as well as film lovers the world over.

Financial resources in thousands of dollars

Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
2,398 2,502 2,492

Human Resources

Planned Authority Actual
45 45 50

Expected Outcome

Optimizing revenues in order to contribute to the success of the Canadian film and television industry.

As at March 31, 2008, total revenues slightly increased (4%) from 6,611,532 in 2006-2007 to 6,863,942 in 2007-2008. This small increase in revenue was achieved despite a drop in television sales (5%), due both to the number of co-productions produced by the NFB in 2007-2008 as well as the transition of the marketplace towards digital platforms. National and international documentary markets have also been affected by audience fragmentation and consolidation. Other factors to take into account include the rise in the Canadian dollar, which has a negative impact on revenue generated in foreign currency, and a drop in stock footage sales (5%) resulting from a decrease in documentary production budgets. The decrease in television sales was offset however by increases in the consumer sales (7%), theatrical distribution revenues as well as revenues generated by sponsored productions and presales.

Expected Outcome

Acquisition of more productions that complement the NFB catalogue.

With its acquisitions policy, the NFB seeks distribution rights for Canadian and foreign documentaries and animation films, both one-offs and series. By acting as a distributor for these films, the NFB makes its expertise in the distribution of social documentaries, experimental works and animation films available to private producers in Canada and abroad. The number of series or one-off films acquired for distribution experienced a slight decline, from 24 in 2006-2007 to 22 in 2007-2008.

Decisions to acquire productions and series are based on an evaluation of their commercial sales potential in television and educational markets worldwide, as well as their pertinence to the NFB's collection and mandate. Works acquired last year were either animated films such as Paradise, socially relevant documentaries exploring health issues like Quebec Under the Influence, documentaries about international conflict and peace and global environmental issues, or educational content for young people such as the film This is My body: A Film by High School Girls.


Program Activity 3: Access and Outreach

Access and outreach activities connect Canadians with relevant media resources that foster citizen engagement and lifelong learning. In this way, the NFB maximizes the use of its extensive NFB collection in various primary and secondary learning channels, creating new networks where none exist, enabling media literacy for all Canadians and encouraging Canadians to make full use of the NFB collection.

Financial resources in thousands of dollars

Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
13,603 13,892 13,974

Human Resources

Planned Authority Actual
110 110 138

Expected Outcome

Improved access to the NFB collection through the NFB's various activities and offerings, particularly the mediatheques and other resources.

In order to make its works available to all Canadians in all provinces and territories, the NFB has established a large distribution network with links to partners in the public sector (such as public and school libraries), community organizations and private-sector businesses (such as distribution companies, catalogue houses, theatre chains and video clubs, etc.) Productions are regularly broadcast on traditional and specialty channels, and screened at the NFB's modern mediatheques in Montreal and Toronto, providing access to thousands of titles in the NFB collection.

In 2007-2008, the CineRobotheque and Mediatheque welcomed just over 205,000 visitors, a decrease of 5,000 compared to the previous year. Although attendance was down slightly, the many activities offered by the CineRobotheque and Mediatheque continue to be very popular with young people and school groups, especially the NFB's animation workshops.

Through its partnership with public libraries and its public screenings across Canada, the NFB reaches Canadians, fostering exchanges and encouraging debate on the issues that matter to the country. Over the past year, more than 166,000 people attended 3,407 screening sessions organized in commercial, repertory and community theatres. The 48 public library partners across Canada also contributed to the distribution of NFB films.

Expected Outcome

Continued digitization of the NFB collection.

The NFB intends to ensure that its collection is accessible to future generations, in the formats of their choice. Over the last five years, the NFB has undertaken a range of projects to digitize parts of its collection, with close to 36% of the collection digitized in one form or another. It is vital that a national strategy be developed by the federal government to ensure that all publicly supported Canadian works remain available to future generations of Canadians.

The NFB continued its digitization efforts during the year, with 986 titles transferred to digital platforms (uncompressed digital video files), and 10 titles and 20 excerpts produced for mobile digital devices, as well as 415 clips produced for Web. In addition, 42 titles were made available through the e-cinema library, more than 675 hours of stock shots were digitized and 1,093 titles were made available on DVD.

Expected Outcome

Strong presence of NFB productions in Canada's community and educational distribution networks.

Maintaining the NFB's presence in Canadians' lives remains a constant challenge requiring renewed efforts. To rekindle and enhance our relationship with Canadians, the NFB has put in place projects that promote access to its collection and encourage dialogue with citizens. New production technologies and multimedia distribution will enable the NFB to meet this challenge. With the e-cinema pilot project, which brings this digital platform to the official-language minority Acadian population, the NFB has laid the foundation for future programs targeting Canada's many diverse communities, including those in isolated regions.

The NFB is increasingly anchored in the educational sector through its distribution and network development strategies, which include offering NFB works to educational publishers' catalogues. Thematic and specialized workshops about animation as well as other areas of NFB expertise are available to students as well as the general public. Specialized workshops for educators are also offered, tied to professional events such as educational conferences. What's more, the Educational Resources section of the NFB's Web site offers students, teachers, parents and others a wealth of educational material, tools and resources, available at no charge.

One of the NFB's most significant and successful films in the educational market in 2007-2008 was Sexy inc. Like the previous NFB work The Weight of the World, this film touches on themes of great concern to young people of school age. Aimed at parents and teachers who are dealing with young people, the film is a call for action against an unhealthy culture created by media and marketing, providing a great way to generate discussion and awareness. The bilingual DVD comes with a Teacher Guide, accessible online, designed by a team of professionals to foster discussions with young people about this topic.


Program Activity 4: Research and Advisory Services

The NFB is mandated to "to engage in research in film activity and to make available the results thereof to persons engaged in the production of films" as well as "to advise the Governor in Council in connection with film activities." Research and advisory services are understood to relate to the production and distribution of films and the film industry, as well as developing and undertaking technical projects to further the art and science of cinema. The NFB has always created a space for excellence and innovation, incubating new technologies and developing prototypes in partnership with industry as well as opening new avenues for creativity in the audiovisual field.

Financial resources in thousands of dollars

Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
3,650 3,833 7,828

Human Resources

Planned Authority Actual
70 70 98

Expected Outcome

Appreciable research and development efforts related to techniques and technology in the audiovisual field.

Since its inception, the NFB has been an incubator for technological and cinematographic innovation, both nationally and internationally. The NFB has always been a pioneering organization exploring the boundaries of film, and it remains true to that tradition today. Although the NFB's financial resources devoted to research and development have been steadily decreasing for the past few years and the percentage of its budget going towards R&D projects is less than similar organizations, the NFB continues to be recognized as a leader in creative innovation. In addition to advising government and industry through the participation of the Commissioner in Canadian Heritage and CRTC committees on new media, as well as private sector panels, the NFB also undertakes technical and developmental projects to advance film science and art. These activities are part of the NFB's commitment to excellence and innovation, and to developing and implementing new initiatives.

Expected Outcome

Maintain the NFB's role as a benchmark in filmmaking.

The NFB contributes to the development of new audiovisual technologies. The expertise of its technical staff is widely recognized and is the envy of its Canadian and international partners. The NFB's excellence in this area allows the Board to assist its many partners in their research, in production, distribution and archival management, as well as helping emerging artists acquire essential experience.

In 2007-2008, the NFB has undertaken a number of initiatives confirming its reputation as a hotbed of creativity in the production and distribution of original and innovative media content. A new digital distribution pilot project led by the NFB was launched in five Acadian francophone communities, giving smaller centres access to a large collection of films from the NFB.

The Streaming Project which began in the last fiscal period aims to make the NFB's rich and extensive collection more accessible to Canadians through the design and development of an easy-to-use, effective way of accessing NFB films online. This project will support other NFB initiatives in the digital realm, from generating revenues online to connecting more effectively with remote communities.

The NFB is at the forefront of stereoscopic content creation with projects like Facing Champlain, a Work in 3 Dimensions, produced as part of the celebrations for Quebec City's 400th anniversary. The production cleverly melds drama and animation in a spectacular three-dimensional work. In demonstrating the impressive possibilities of stereoscopic cinema to professionals and public alike, the NFB has made an important contribution to advancing this new technology.



Table 1: Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending (including FTEs)

($ thousands) 2005-06 Actual 2006-07 Actual 2007-2008
Main Estimates Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual
Production 47,337 45,847 47,467 47,467 51,738 46,873
Distribution 1,171 3,134 2,398 2,398 2,502 2,492
Accessibility and Outreach 12,660 12,608 13,603 13,603 13,892 13,974
Research and Advice 3,943 6,847 3,650 3,650 3,833 7,828
Total 65,111 68,436 67,118 67,118 71,965 71,167
Less: Non-respendable revenue - -   - - -
Plus: Cost of services received without charge - -   - - -
Total Departmental Spending 65,111 68,436 67,118 67,118 71,965 71,167
Full-time Equivalents 498 486 500 500 500 493

Table 2: Voted and Statutory Items

($ thousands)

Vote or Statutory Item Truncated Vote or Statutory Wording 2007–2008
Main Estimates Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual
60 Revolving Funds – National Film Board 67,118 67,118 71,965 71,167
  Total 67,118 67,118 71,965 71,167

Table 16: Financial Statements of Departmental Corporations and Agents of Parliament

The NFB prepares an annual report that is tabled in Parliament and includes financial statements that are available electronically by the time the DPR's are tabled in the House of Commons.


Management and Administration at the NFB

Governance and Accountability

The National Film Board was established in 1939 through an Act of Parliament. The NFB is governed by the National Film Act and is subject to the Financial Administration Act, which sets out the administration of finances for the Government of Canada and federal agencies. The NFB is also governed by the Access to Information Act, Privacy Act and Official Languages Act.

As a cultural agency of the federal government, the NFB reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who has vested in the NFB Board of Trustees the authority to approve its strategic plan and initiatives, its budgets and its audited financial statements. The Board of Trustees provides leadership and guidance for the organization, offers well-considered, detailed and timely advice, and analyzes and establishes the organization's general and strategic policy. The Government Film Commissioner is also the NFB's Chairperson. Six members of the Board, representing a cross-section of the Canadian population, bring their expertise to bear in assisting the Board. The Director General of Telefilm Canada is an ex-officio Board member.

The NFB has an internal auditor who reports directly to the NFB Board of Trustees, while the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) acts as the NFB's external auditor. Once a year, the OAG examines the NFB's financial statements to ensure they are accurate and in compliance with authorizations.


Benefits to Canadians and the World

The NFB's activities are guided by its mandate to produce and distribute audiovisual works intended for Canadian audiences and foreign markets, in order to increase the knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural realities of Canada. Through this role, the NFB contributes to the dissemination of the values and points of view of Canadians living in all regions of the country. It is an extraordinarily creative and innovative organization, and a key partner in developing and promoting Canada's cultural heritage both at home and abroad. Whether looking at the burning issues of the day, or significant events in Canadian history, the NFB promotes the participation of Canadians from diverse communities that make up the country's social fabric. Continuing efforts to support emerging filmmakers and filmmakers from diverse ethnocultural, linguistic and regional communities provide rich and varied cultural experiences and promote intercultural understanding within our nation.

The NFB is responsible for creating works that portray social and cultural events, creating a permanent legacy for Canadian and international communities. Over its 69-year history, the NFB has been successful in fulfilling this unique role within the Canadian government. As a public producer, the NFB acts as a creative laboratory working at the leading edge of content creation, in ways the private sector cannot, pioneering new production methods and business models, paving the way for the rest of the industry.

In addition to taking non-commercial risks as only a public institution can, the NFB offers a point of view that complements that of the private sector. Non-market risk taking means acting in areas of "market failures" – such as emerging filmmaker programs, working with Aboriginal and culturally diverse filmmakers, offering a media voice to underrepresented communities and innovating in new forms of expression – where the commercial sector cannot. These markets are public goods that have long-term social and economic benefits for the industry, communities and the country. However, dealing with "market failures" does not mean bypassing the private sector. Often central to these activities will be partnerships with the private sector. It is just that the critical addition or leadership of the NFB makes possible what would have been either impossible or difficult to achieve otherwise.

Over the years, the NFB has developed a variety of distribution networks, both traditional and virtual, offering increased accessibility to its productions and archival collection – a key part of Canada's national heritage – to Canadians in all provinces and territories, especially in more remote regions. By bringing together Canadians from all walks of life – through theatres, television, community centres, schools and homes – the NFB enriches Canadian society.


Link to the Government of Canada Outcome Areas

As a federal agency within the Canadian Heritage portfolio, the National Film Board helps the Department fulfill its mandate to support cultural and community activities and to promote Canadian cultural and artistic expression. The NFB is a vital part of the Canadian cultural landscape, directly contributing to meeting the Department's two strategic outcomes: that Canadians express and share their diverse cultural experiences with each other and the world, and that Canadians live in an inclusive society built on intercultural understanding and citizen participation.

In this way, the NFB plays an active role in creating a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion, as well as promoting a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage – two key areas where the Board's activities support the objectives of the Government of Canada.

In its role as Canada's public producer and distributor, the NFB has the mandate to create innovative heritage work for important national events. Although the NFB does not play the role of a governmental communications agency, it ensures that its activities relate to the objectives of the government of the day.

Alignment with Government Priorities

In the Speech from the Throne read in October 2007, Her Excellency, the Governor General Michaëlle Jean, outlined the Federal government's five main priorities. Through Canadian Heritage, the NFB contributes to fulfilling the following federal government priorities, through its own initiatives or in partnership with private industry, as well as through its original cinematic productions that reflect Canadians' most significant concerns:

  1. A Proud and Sovereign Canada
    The Government is resolved to protect Canada's sovereignty at home and to promote our values abroad – notably, by protecting the integrity of the North. The NFB produces innovative and powerful cinematographic works that bring Canadian values to the world. Through its documentaries and animation films, the NFB plays a central role in the transmission of our country's fundamental values. In addition, the NFB produces many projects specifically for Aboriginal communities – in particular, youth – offering members of these communities the opportunity to share their cultures and perspectives with the rest of the country, reinforcing their sense of belonging in Canada.
  2. A Strong Federation
    The Government is committed to strengthening the Canadian federation and Canada's democratic institutions – in particular, by supporting Canada's linguistic duality and by introducing concrete measures to improve the lives of Canada's Aboriginal peoples. The NFB produces Canadian audiovisual content, in both official languages, on the social issues that concern communities throughout the country. Furthermore, a number of NFB initiatives promote the development of minority language communities. Furthermore, the NFB's educational distribution network provides Canadian content for young people, ensuring that future generations are well-versed in major current events and key moments in our nation's history.
  3. A Prosperous Future
    The Government has undertaken measures aimed at ensuring future prosperity through effective economic leadership, increased competition, improved cultural infrastructure and a better quality of life for all Canadians. The NFB's research and investment into a Canadian e-cinema network is one example of efforts undertaken by the organization to improve cultural infrastructure.
  4. A Safe and Secure Canada
    The Government of Canada has committed to tackling crime and ensuring security for all Canadians. The NFB produces Canadian audiovisual content, in both official languages, on the social issues that concern communities throughout the country, including the roots of violence in our communities. In addition, initiatives such as Racism at Work have successfully encouraged participation from youth of all ages, providing them with a unique means of expressing themselves and sharing their perspectives.
  5. A Healthy Environment for Canadians
    The Government is committed to improving the environment and health of all Canadians. The NFB is no stranger to increasing awareness of environmental issues, producing many films on the subject over the years. In addition, the Board is actively and financially supporting an initiative whose goal is to produce a Green Code to promote sustainability in the film industry through a series of voluntary measures, guidelines, norms, principles and practices. The NFB has also created a green committee to raise NFB employee awareness of environmental issues.



National Film Act, R.S., 1985, c. N-8
(Last amendment entered into force in 2002.)


Operational Headquarters: Montreal


Canadian Distribution

  • CinéRobothèque – Montreal
  • Mediatheque – Toronto
  • Call Centre (1 800 267-7710)
  • Web site (


International Distribution

  • United States (New York)


English Production Centres

  • Edmonton
  • Halifax
  • Montreal
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Winnipeg


French Production Centres

  • Moncton
  • Montreal
  • Toronto
  • Quebec City



Luisa Frate
Director, Administration Branch, c.a.
(514) 283-9050

Deborah Drisdell
Director, Strategic planning and Government Relations
(514) 283-3242


Tables Titles Included / NA
Table 1 Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending (including Full-time Equivalents) Included
Table 2 Voted and Statutory Items Included
Table 3 Loans, Investments, and Advances (Non-budgetary) NA
Table 4 Sources of Respendable and Non-Respendable Revenue Included
Table 5 Revolving Funds Included
Table 6 User Fees
  • User Fee Act (Template 6-A)
  • Policy on Service Standards for External Fees (Template 6-B)
Table 7 Details on Project Spending NA
Table 8 Status Report on Major Crown Projects NA
Table 9 Details on Transfer Payment Programs (TPPs) Included
Table 10 Foundations (Conditional Grants) NA
Table 11 Horizontal Initiatives NA
Table 12 Sustainable Development NA
Table 13 Response to Parliament and External Audits and Evaluations NA
Table 14 Internal Audits and Evaluations NA
Table 15 Travel Policies NA
Table 16 Financial Statements of Departments and Agencies Included


1 National Film Board's Management Accountability Framework evaluation report

2 Nordicity Group Ltd., Profile 2008: An Economic Report on the Canadian Film and Television Production Industry, Ottawa, February 2008

3 Kirwan Cox, Trends in Certified Canadian documentaries and animation- Interim Report prepared for the National Film Board of Canada, Rigaud, June 2008