Norfolk County recognizes the importance and significance of the film, television and media production industry to the community, and the direct and indirect benefits associated with this growth sector.
All film, television and media production activity in Norfolk County must be reported to and coordinated through the Film Liaison Office, as defined by the Policy. This includes all requests for permits and subsequent redirection to the proper municipal departments.
A Film Production 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.
Film Permit Application Process
Prior to filming, please notify Norfolk County at the address above to determine if you require a film permit. A film permit is only required for projects filmed on municipal property (streets, roads, parks, downtown
areas, recreation facilities, etc.) or will significantly impact municipal property, including residential areas. Filming on/in private property must be arranged with the property owner and will not require a Film Permit.
Applications may be mailed, emailed or faxed. For additional information, visit our website or contact the Norfolk County Tourism & Economic Development Department at 519-426-9497.
Film Permits are required for all Productions undertaken by commercial and non-commercial film companies and photographers taking place in Norfolk County, except for current affairs and newscasts. Types of Production include but are not limited to feature films, short films, television films, television programs and series, television commercials, documentary films, education films, commercial photography, music videos, student films, and professional and/or commercial media to be streamed online.
- Street Closures: The Film Permit Application must be received by the Film Liaison Office at a minimum of 45 days prior to the start of Production if street or sidewalk closures are requested or if Council approval is required to amend any other By-Law, at which time an overview of the Production will be discussed.
- Traffic Stoppages: The Film Permit Application must be received by the Film Liaison Office at least 30 days prior to the start of Production if a traffic stoppage is requested.
- All Other Film Permit Applications: If no street closures, traffic stoppages or Council approvals are required, the Film Permit Application must be received by the Film Liaison Office at least 20 days prior to the start of Production.
Applicants are required to have documentation complete and agreements/approvals in place at least 7 working days prior to the start of Production.
The Applicant will be required to notify and/or gain approval of the Production from various departments, agencies and individuals, depending on the nature and timing of the project. These requirements will be discussed at the initial meeting with the Film Liaison Office. Applicants are required to disclose all aspects of their plans to ensure appropriate agencies are consulted.
Prior to the issuance of a Film Permit, all discussions and information shared form part of the process of negotiating for permission, and are not to imply that permission has been granted.
Norfolk County reserves the right to revoke any permission that has been given pursuant to this policy in the event that the permission was based on information provided by the Production Company which was false, incorrect or misleading at the time the permission was granted.
“Applicant” means a person or entity who has applied to Norfolk County’s Film Liaison Office under the Film Production Policy. That person or entity has the authority to represent the production company, filmmaker, photographer, producer, videographer, production manager, location manager or other organization that is responsible for the Production’s operations in Norfolk County.
“Application” means a Film Permit Application (Form FO-207) including information about the Production and the specifics of all production-related activities in Norfolk County submitted on the form provided by the Film Liaison Office, including supporting documentation.
“Film Liaison Office” means the municipal department of Norfolk County assigned the function of carrying out the role of the Film Liaison Office.
“Film Permit” means the document generated by the Film Liaison Office and approved by Norfolk County staff with appropriate authority outlining the approvals received by the Applicant for the Production.
“Production” means the location filmmaking, film shoots and related activities being undertaken by the Applicant, specifically within Norfolk County.
The Applicant shall make every effort to patronize local businesses and services during Production in Norfolk County, such as casual employment of cast and crew, food catering, garbage disposal, etc.
The Film Liaison Office can connect the needs of the Applicant with suppliers of goods and services within Norfolk County.
Prior to the issuance of a Film Permit in Norfolk County, the Applicant must present to the Film Liaison Office a certificate of General Comprehensive Public Liability insurance in the amount of $5 million per occurrence or such higher limits as the municipality reasonably requires depending on the nature of filming.
Use of drones for the Production will require the Applicant to ensure that a certificate of insurance evidencing an Aviation Insurance Policy is in place.
All such policies shall add The Corporation of Norfolk County as an additional insured and shall contain a Cross Liability / Severability of Interest 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.
Norfolk County reserves the right to require the Applicant to provide such additional insurance coverage or higher limits of insurance as required, depending upon the nature of the filming.
Norfolk County may charge an administrative fee is payable at the time of application. It covers the processing, review, approval of the filming application. The fee, if any, will be approved by Norfolk County Council.
Norfolk County may charge a Film Permit fee payable before the permit is issued. The fee, if any, will be approved by Norfolk County Council.
The Film Permit fee is waived for all post-secondary film projects and charitable organization/non-profit film projects or at the discretion of the Film Liaison office.
The Applicant is responsible for all out-of-pocket expenses related to the use of municipal roads, properties, parks or equipment.
The Applicant will also be responsible for wages related to Paid Duty Police Officers for traffic stoppages and road closures and, in the case of Special Effects, Explosives and Stunts, the wages related to the presence of Police, Fire, Paramedic and Public Works staff.
These costs will be provided to the Applicant in writing by Police, Fire, Paramedic and Public Works staff in advance of Production.
Where deemed necessary by the Film Liaison Office, the Applicant shall provide a certified security deposit in the amount of $5,000 and in the form of a certified cheque made payable to Norfolk County prior to Production and this deposit shall not be returned until all conditions have been fulfilled, including cleanup and all invoices, charges and claims have been cleared.
Requirement for additional security deposits may be required if substantial changes are proposed to be made to public infrastructure for filming purposes. These may include removal and replacement of traffic signage, light poles, etc., or addition and removal of items, landscaping, dirt, rocks, water or vehicles to and from a municipal property, street, road or park. The security deposit will be equivalent to the estimated cost of replacement and/or removal of objects outlined.
The Film Liaison Office will notify the Applicant if a security deposit is required.
Production Schedule and Time Limitations
Film Permit Applications for filming on streets and public areas will be approved for Production activities taking place only between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
Night filming between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. may be permitted on municipal property, if measures are put in place to ensure the Production does not violate any County By-Laws, such as the Noise By-Law.
Changes made to the Production schedule that become necessary as a result of unforeseen circumstances will be accommodated within reason, as long as the Applicant reports the changes to the Film Liaison Office.
The Film Permit shall be withdrawn if, in the opinion of the Film Liaison Office, there has been substantial deviation from the project description without prior approval.
Norfolk County will not be held responsible for any costs to the Applicant due to the withdrawal of permission.
Approval may be re-instated after the issue has been resolved to the satisfaction of all sides.
Changes made to the Production schedule that become necessary as a result of unforeseen circumstances will be accommodated within reason, as long as the Applicant reports the changes to the Film Liaison Office.
Traffic and Traffic Stoppages
Interference with pedestrian or vehicular traffic must be accompanied with proper permitting and approvals, including adherence to the Corporate Notice of Service Disruption Process (Policy EBS-56).
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.
Paid Duty Police Officers are required as determined by the Film Liaison Office for such things as intermittent traffic stoppages and traffic control and/or when required to direct pedestrian or vehicular traffic, including those instances involving municipal parks/properties. All costs associated with these requirements are at the expense of the Applicant.
Intermittent traffic stoppages to a maximum of 3 minutes may be made possible under the supervision of a Paid Duty Police Officer. Road and street closures longer than 3 minutes require formal and prior approval of Norfolk County (see section below) via the Film Permit Application process.
It is the Applicant’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 Applicant.
If traffic is affected by intermittent stoppages or street/road closures, the Applicant shall prepare and submit to the Film Liaison Office an appropriate Traffic Control Plan as per the legislative requirements of The Ontario Traffic Manual Book 7.
All filming locations shall be set up to allow emergency services to access the area. Applicants are requested to seek requirements from Ontario Provincial Police, Fire Department and Paramedic Services.
Road and Street Closures
Requests for road and street closures should have the support of the business association or improvement area in the location of the shoot. Lengthy closures will not be permitted during peak business hours unless otherwise approved.
Authority to close a municipal street or road has been delegated by Norfolk County Council to the General Manager, Public Works or designate. Approval for street and road closures is requested through the Film Liaison Office as part of the Film Permit application process.
If a road or street is to be partially or completely closed or traffic restricted in any way, it is the responsibility of the Applicant to contact the following agencies to inform them as to the start and end dates / times of filming:
- Grand Erie District School Board
- Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board
- Ontario Provincial Police
- Norfolk County Paramedic Services
- Norfolk County Fire Department
- Norfolk County Public Works
- Ride Norfolk Public Transit
The Applicant must also adhere to the Corporate Notice of Service Disruption Process (Policy EBS-56) to ensure that the travelling public are aware of any closures or service disruptions.
Parking of Production/Crew Vehicles
A Production involving more than 2 production vehicles requires a parking plan to be submitted with the Filming Permit.
Production vehicles must not block fire hydrants or be parked in fire routes or within 9 metres of an intersection or impede any emergency response vehicles.
Production vehicles must not block signalized intersections, driveways, accesses, parking lot entrances, and accessible parking for persons with disabilities.
A poster indicating the Filming Project Title, Production Company Contact Name and Number, and Film Liaison Office Contact Number, shall be displayed in the windows of all parked production vehicles.
All exceptions must be with the approval of the property owner, or be identified at the time of permitting.
The Filming Permit covers parking for production vehicles only, not for crew vehicles. The Applicant is responsible for finding legal parking for the private vehicles of crew. The Applicant is also responsible for finding suitable alternative legal parking for affected residents, merchants and employees.
Notification Letters must be distributed by the Applicant to residences and business in the area in which the shoot will take place a minimum of 7 days in advance of the arrival of the Production crew. Both sides of the street should receive notification letters, within a one-block radius of the film location, or as otherwise instructed by the Film Liaison Office.
The Film Liaison Office must review and approve Notification Letters before they are delivered. Draft Notification Letters with project title in subject line should be emailed to the Film Liaison Office with sufficient time for approval to avoid delays.
The Notification Letter must:
- Identify the Production Company represented by the Applicant, Type of Production, and Title of Production on Applicant company letterhead
- Provide the name and phone number of the Applicant of the Film Permit
- Provide the duration of filming (i.e. 1 day, 2 consecutive days, recurring location for [ x ] # of days over [ x ] # of months) and times (i.e. 7:00 am to 11:00 pm)
- Identify any approved road and lane closures, sidewalk usage without obstructing pedestrians and street parking restrictions
- State the proposed parking locations of the production unit, including street name, side of street, parameters etc.
- Include the date(s) and times that coning and/or production vehicles will arrive at the location, as well as wrap date and time
- Propose alternate parking arrangements for anyone who may be displaced by the production.
- Detail any street dressing, gunfire or special effects.
- Include the general contact information for the Film Liaison Office. DO NOT include contact information for individual staff of Norfolk County.
- Include a copy of the Code of Conduct for Cast and Crew (either on the back of the letter or as a separate page).
The Applicant will inform the Film Liaison Office about the details of distribution of the Notification Letter, including date, mode and geographic area of distribution.
Any feedback from the community generated by the Notification Letter is to be reported by the Applicant to the Film Liaison Office.
A copy of the approved Applicant’s Notification Letter shall be circulated to Norfolk County Council by the Film Liaison Office a minimum of five (5) business days prior to Production. In case of late notification, Councillors will be advised immediately via email.
Location / Set Decoration / Props and Costumes
No permanent or temporary road fixtures or signs may be covered, removed or altered without the approval of the General Manager, Public Works or designate, through the Film Liaison Office.
If alterations to property or the construction of sets / staging is required, the Applicant is responsible for restoring all exterior and interior building finishes and fixtures to their original condition at the conclusion of filming.
If the Production involves mock police vehicles, prop guns, crossbows, bombs or other weapons, or police uniforms appearing during filming on any public property, street or sidewalk, the Police shall be notified in advance by the Applicant, as shall the Paid Duty Police Officer during Production.
If the Production requires wetting down of a road or street, the Applicant must request this in the application and make arrangements with the Environmental Services Department.
Noise, Light and Other Spillover Conditions
The community should be free from any negative environmental conditions resulting from Production. These conditions include but are not limited to spillover lighting, exhaust fumes or noise that would affect their ability to enjoy their property or conduct their business.
The Applicant and the Production must comply with Norfolk County Noise Bylaw 2010-84 and any applicable amendments, and any other legislation governing noise.
Lighting for filming operated during Production should be oriented away from residences unless residences have been notified and do not express any objection. Lighting should not interfere with the safe movement of traffic.
All generators operated during Production must be equipped with shields or silencers unless otherwise approved.
Drones / Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs)
The use of drones, remote control aircraft or unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) for commercial purposes such as aerial photography and filming requires a Special Flight Operations Certificate issued through Transport Canada.
Any Production represented by the Applicant planning to use a drone on a film shoot must organize a site meeting with the Ontario Provincial Police, Norfolk County Fire Department and Norfolk County Paramedic Services to discuss the details of the proposed flight.
The Applicant must notify area residents and businesses via a Notification Letter that filming will involve a drone. The Notification Letter shall be distributed to all residents and businesses in the area where the drone flies, from lift off to set down.
The Applicant is responsible for ensuring that drone operators associated with the Production shall provide a certificate of insurance evidencing an Aviation Insurance Policy. This certificate of insurance would also be required to meet the insurance requirements as outlined in Section 5 of DCS-01 Film Production Policy.
Stunts, Explosives and Special Effects
Explosives and special effects are regulated under the authority of the Fireworks By-Law (2008-103). Fire Department personnel must review and sign off on a fireworks application.
The Applicant must contact the OPP and the Norfolk County Fire Department and Norfolk County Paramedic Services to acquire the appropriate approvals when the use of flammable liquids/materials is being planned.
Execution of Special Effects involving explosive, pyrotechnics and/or other hazardous devices and materials and/or stunts shall require the presence of Paid Duty Police Officers from the Norfolk County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police, staff from Norfolk County Paramedic Services and staff from the Norfolk County Fire Department.
The Applicant is responsible for the cost of all staff required for stunts, explosives and special effects, from the OPP, Norfolk County Fire and Paramedic Services. It is the responsibility of the Applicant to clarify these costs during the Film Permit Application process.
Combustible materials shall not be accumulated in or around a film site in such quantity as to create a fire hazard.
Code of Conduct for Cast & Crew
It is the responsibility of the Film Permit Applicant to ensure that representatives of the Production, including cast, crew and other staff, operate in a safe and professional manner in the course of their duties.
Production vehicles arriving on location in or near a residential neighbourhood shall not enter the area before the time stipulated on the Film Permit. Operators of production vehicles shall turn off engines as soon as possible.
Cast and crew vehicles shall observe designated parking areas noted by the Film Permit. Production activities shall only take place between 7:00am and 11:00pm unless otherwise approved in the Film Permit.
The Applicant shall make alternate parking arrangements for residents whose vehicles are displaced by the filming activity.
Relocating private vehicles by towing to accommodate filming or parking is prohibited unless the express permission has been provided by the owner of the vehicle.
Production vehicles shall not impede access to private property without the express permission of the property owner.
Pedestrian traffic shall not be obstructed at any time, unless approved by the Film Permit requiring the presence of a Paid Duty Police Officer. All cables and similar items must be channelled.
Cast and crew shall not trespass on residents’ or merchants’ property. They must remain within the boundaries of the property that has been permitted for filming.
No alcoholic beverages are permitted at any time on any set or location, unless licensed by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
Cast and crew meals shall be confined to the area designated in the location agreement or permit. Individuals shall eat within their designated meal area, during scheduled crew meals. All trash must be disposed of properly upon completion of the meal. All napkins, plates, and coffee cups used in the course of the work day shall be disposed of in the proper receptacles. All catering, crafts service, construction, strike and personal trash must be removed from the location at the end of each work day.
Cast and crew shall observe designated smoking areas and always extinguish cigarettes in appropriate containers.
Cast and crew are prohibited from removing, trimming and/or cutting of vegetation or trees unless written approval is provided by Norfolk County Forestry Department or property owner.
Film crews shall not remove street signs. This must be done by Roads Department staff, with approval of the General Manager, Public Works or designate.
Cast and crew shall keep noise levels as low as possible at all times. Cast and crew shall refrain from the use of lewd or improper language.
Cast and crew shall refrain from wearing inappropriate clothing while on location (e.g. T-shirts with offensive slogans, images or logos that are not acceptable).
Cast and crew shall refrain from displaying signs, posters, or pictures on vehicles that members of the public may find offensive or objectionable (i.e. material containing vulgar language or sexual content).
Cast and crew shall wear a production pass (badge) when required by the Applicant.
Cast and crew shall not bring guests or pets to the location, unless expressly authorized in advance by the company.
The Applicant and Production cast and crew shall comply at all times with the provisions of the filming permit which includes adherence to the Norfolk County Film Production Policy.
The Applicant will ensure a copy of the Film Permit shall be on location at all times and can be presented by crew on request.
Every Notification Letter distributed must include a copy of this Code of Conduct section.
When the Production is complete at this location, the Applicant will ensure that all locations are returned to their original condition.
Garbage, Recyclables and Cleanup
On garbage and recycle pick-up days, if filming or parking of production vehicles blocks access to waste receptacles, the Applicant shall ensure that garbage or recyclables is transported to the open end of the street so the collection contractor can remove it.
The Applicant will ensure that crew associated with the Production will remove garbage, recyclables and debris from the filming location, and any other location associated with the Production, at the end of each filming day.
The Applicant will ensure that the area is returned to its original condition at the end of Production.
The cost of cleanup and removal of garbage, recyclables and debris and related disposal is at the Applicant’s expense.
Public Safety / Occupational Health and Safety
The Applicant and Production cast and crew must adhere to the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Safety Guidelines for the Film & Television Industry of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Temporary Work Sites, as well as all other labour / occupational health and safety legislation and other applicable laws.
Interior safety signs in buildings must not be covered (e.g. fire, exit signs) unless expressly agreed to by the Chief Fire Official.
All generators and electrical hookups must have sign off from the Electrical Safety Authority.
All cables, similar items and tripping hazards must be channeled or otherwise mitigated.
There may be sensitive areas and/or properties in Norfolk County in which filming may be restricted.
The appropriate Norfolk County staff will consider decisions about the nature and extent of filming in or around heritage properties and in environmentally sensitive areas on a case-by-case basis.
Norfolk County reserves the right to refuse to allow filming or the issuance of a Permit to an Applicant who has failed in the past to adhere to these guidelines.
- Download Policy DCS-01 (coming soon)