Film & Television Production
Norfolk County recognizes the importance and significance of the film and television production industry to the community. We also recognize the direct and indirect benefits associated with this growth sector.
All film and television production activity in Norfolk County must be reported to and cocoordinated through Tourism & Economic Development Services. This included all requests for permitting and subsequent redirection to the proper municipal departments.
Policy PED-01 (“Film Promotion Policy”) has been developed to provide specific guidelines for the assessment and coordination of commercial filming projects and to ensure that the responsibilities of all parties are agreed to and understood.
Goals of Film Promotion Prolicy
- To confirm that the applicant has sufficient property damage and public liability
insurance coverage, thereby ensuring that, in the event of an accident, all persons
including participants are protected from any possible claim or suit arising from the filming.
- To ensure that ALL costs incurred by Norfolk County as a result of the film production are recovered from the applicant.
- To establish an administrative process that is effective, efficient and adaptable and allows the appropriate departments to provide approvals and feedback.
Implementation Procedure / Filming Guidelines:
- Applicability: The following guidelines apply to all location filming which takes place in Norfolk County, except for current affairs and newscasts.
- Projects for Consideration: Feature films, television films, television programs/series, television commercials, documentaries, educational films, commercial photography, music videos, other Projects, as approved by Council.
- Projects Subject to Consideration & Acceptability:
Projects that break Municipal Bylaws, Provincial or Federal Bylaws
Projects that are expected to be released with an X-rating
Projects that are distasteful to the general public or socially sensitive
Projects that involve significant modifications to municipal infrastructure such as traffic signals, roadworks, backdrops or physical removal or damage
- Permit Issuance: A Film Location Permit is required for all location filming that takes place in Norfolk County.
- Timelines for Submission of Application: Tourism & Economic Development Services will be notified of all location filming not less than 10 business days in advance of filming. Filming that requires (but is not limited to) full road closures and special effects require at least thirty business days notice to receive Council approval. However, Economic Development Services will make every effort to accommodate requests that have a shorter notice period subject to the availability of Council.
Community: The film company MUST notify affected residents, occupants and local businesses in advance of filming, in writing, of the duration and location of filming, planned special effects if any, road and lane closures, sidewalk usage without obstructing pedestrians and street parking restrictions. Any opposition to the proposed filming, due to access and/or business loss is to be reported to Tourism Economic Development Services.
Council: Council will be notified by Economic Development Services a minimum of five business days prior to all film activity. In case of late notification, Councillors will be advised immediately. This notification will include a copy of the “Film Activity Notification” form.
- Consideration to Residents/Occupants/Businesses:
The community should be free from any negative environmental conditions resulting from filming. This includes but is not limited to spillover lighting, exhaust fumes or noise that would affect their ability to enjoy their property or conduct their business.
a) Night filming: Night filming, involving intensive lighting, between the hours of 11PM and 7 AM will not be permitted unless the majority of those affected have been notified in advance in writing and do not object. Written approval, where possible is preferable, including name and address of homeowner/tenant, and business owner.
b) Noise: The production company must comply with the noise bylaw and any other legislation governing noise.
c) Generators: All generators used on streets in residential areas or in County Parks will be equipped with silencers unless otherwise approved.
d) Lighting: Lighting for filming should be oriented away from residences unless residences have bee notified and do not express any objection. Lighting should not interfere with the safe movement of traffic.
- Disruption to Residents/Occupants/Businesses:It is the production company’s responsibility to ensure that there is minimum disruption to residents, occupants, businesses and Norfolk County services where filming occurs. This includes ensuring residents, owners and customers access to their respective premises and insuring pedestrian and vehicular access to adjoining properties. Every effort should be made to ensure that people showing legitimate credentials such as disabled parking permits are accommodated in recognition of their personal safety.
- Cleanup: Production crews shall clean the filming location, and any other location associated with the film production, at the end of each filming day and ensure that the area is returned to its original condition.
- Traffic and Traffic Stoppages:
a) Interference with pedestrian or vehicular traffic must be accompanied with
proper permitting and approvals. Every opportunity must be taken to ensure
that access, either vehicular or pedestrian, is not restricted to persons with
b) Except where a road is closed for filming production vehicles must obey all
appropriate traffic regulations unless stated otherwise on the permit or
directed otherwise by a Paid Duty Police Officer.
c) Intermittent traffic stoppages to a maximum of 3 minutes, unless stated
otherwise, and shall be under the supervision of a Paid Duty Police Officer. It
is the production company’s responsibility to arrange for the municipality to
cover, alter, remove and/or reinstall traffic or street signs as may be
necessary. All costs associated with these requirements are at the expense
of the production company or applicant.
d) The Applicant shall prepare an appropriate Traffic Control Plan as per the
legislative requirements of The Ontario Traffic Manual Book 7. The Traffic
Control Plan can be developed with the assistance of the Roads Division.
a) Production vehicles must not block fire hydrants or be parked in fire routes or
within 9 metres of an intersection street or impede any emergency response
b) Production vehicles must not block signalized intersections, driveways,
accesses, parking lot entrances and accessible parking for persons with
c) All exceptions must be with the approval of the property owner, or be
identified at the time of permitting.
- Filming Activities in Relationship to Police/Fire/Ambulance:
Appropriate Paid Duty Police Officers and Firefighters are required for the detonation of pyrotechnic special effects. Emergency Medical Services personnel are to be on site during the filming of dangerous situations such as special effects, stunts, and/or detonation of pyrotechnics.
Production companies must contact the OPP and the Norfolk County Fire Department to acquire the appropriate approvals when the use of flammable liquids/materials is being planned.
Paid Duty Police Officers are required as determined by the local municipality for such things as intermittent traffic stoppages and traffic control and/or when required to direct pedestrian or vehicular traffic, including those instance involving municipal parks/properties. All costs associated with these requirements are at the expense of the applicant.
- Conduct: It is the responsibility of the productions company to ensure that their staff operates in a safe and professional manner in the course of their duties.
- Insurance: Prior to the issuance of a permit, all companies filming in Norfolk County, must present to the municipality, a certificate of comprehensive general liability insurance in the amount of $2 million per occurrence or such higher limits as the municipality reasonably requires depending on the nature of filming and all such policies shall add the municipality as an additional insured and shall contain a cross liability clause, a severability of interests clause and shall not call into contribution any other insurance available to the municipality. Such policies may not be canceled or amended without the prior written consent of the municipality.
- Expenses: The production company is responsible for all out-of-pocket expenses related to the use of municipal roads, properties, parks or equipment and shall be given an estimate of these costs prior to permitting. Once filming begins or is about to begin, if there are any changes to these arrangements, the productions company is to be notified immediately.
- Security Deposit: Where deemed necessary by the appropriate Municipal Department, a certified security deposit in the amount of $5000 shall be required prior to filming and this deposit shall not be returned until all conditions have been fulfilled, including cleanup and all invoices, charges and claims have been cleared.
a) Interior safety signs in buildings must not be covered (e.g. fire, exit signs) unless expressly agreed to by the property manager.
b) All production companies must adhere to the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Safety Guidelines for the Film & Television Industry of Ontario, 4th Edition – January, 1999 and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Temporary Work Sites. This information is available from the respective Ministries.
- Restrictions: There may be sensitive areas and/or properties in Norfolk County in which filming may be restricted. The appropriate staff will consider decisions about the nature and extent of filming in or around heritage properties on a case-by-case basis. Norfolk County reserves the right to refuse to allow filming or the issuance of a permit to a production company or individual who has failed in the past to adhere to these guidelines.