As investors in Canada’s creative industries, the Canada Media Fund (CMF) is committed to encouraging content creation that is both representative and accountable to all individuals and communities. Projects with key storylines, main characters, or subject matter related to Indigenous and Equity-Seeking Communities should only be made by individuals who are well-positioned to tell the story.
Under this Policy, ‘well-positioned’ shall mean:
- being a member of the applicable Indigenous or Equity-Seeking Community(ies) connected to the project; or
- demonstrating comprehensive measures that have and will be undertaken to create the content responsibly, thoughtfully and without harm.
This Policy holds that the further removed a content creator is from the applicable Indigenous or Equity-Seeking Community(ies), the more comprehensive the measures they must demonstrate.
Have questions? Read our FAQs below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When content is created without engaging or including members of the communities depicted, it can perpetuate superficial, harmful narratives, and further systemic barriers. By contrast, when done responsibly and thoughtfully, the content creation process can yield a stronger, more collaborative, and more representative sector, one that creates globally appealing stories accurately reflecting a wide range of diverse perspectives and experiences.
The Narrative Positioning Policy informs how the CMF can promote more responsible audiovisual content creation through our funding Programs.
For the purpose of this policy, “Narrative Positioning” means the way one’s context or identity influences their perspective on the world and their relationship to the content they create. A Narrative Positioning Policy informs 1) how funded content reflects Canadians and our many varied and nuanced perspectives and experiences, and 2) the process through which those stories are created from development to exploitation.
Yes. Like any other policy, the CMF requires that all Applicants comply with its policies, including the Narrative Positioning Policy. This includes the completion of a Narrative Positioning Attestation. Broadcasters are also required to confirm compliance through the Broadcaster Agreement Form.
The CMF recognizes that there is a wide spectrum of diversity and communities that face oppression and systemic barriers. While continually evolving, for the purposes of 2023-24 CMF Programs, “Indigenous and Equity-Seeking Community” refers to the individuals who identify as women, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Racialized, 2SLGBTQ+, Persons with disabilities/Disabled Persons, Regional, and Official Language Minority Community.
For the purposes of the Narrative Positioning Policy, comprehensive measures shall indicate how members of Indigenous and Equity- seeking communities either lead or are significantly involved in content creation that feature storylines, characters, and/or subject matter related to said communities. Comprehensive measures may include: hiring community members as key personnel, including executive producers, technical directors, writers, directors, designers, producers, and other key creative and technical positions; consulting with communities at all stages of production through a diversity and inclusion plan and/or community engagement plan; sharing beneficial ownership of IP and financial control.
For 2023-24, selective Programs will include the requirement of a Narrative Positioning Statement. The Applicant’s statement is expected to include what has been undertaken to support the content proposed, including measures that have been and/or will be undertaken. In all other Programs, the Applicant is required to complete the Narrative Positioning Attestation.
The Narrative Positioning Policy is an overarching objective that the CMF will apply to the program and funding process for all projects. All Applicants will be required to complete a Narrative Positioning Attestation to confirm compliance with the policy.
A Narrative Positioning Attestation is a separate form that Applicants sign to confirm they have read, understood, and will comply with the policy. This includes Applicants to Selective, First Come First Served and Automatic programs.
A Narrative Positioning Statement is a document that Applicants are required to complete in selective programs that will be considered in the evaluation/scoring of applications.
A Narrative Positioning Statement is now required in all selective Programs (POV Program, Diverse Languages Program, Early-Stage Development Program, Innovation & Experimentation Program, Commercial Projects Program, and Prototyping). The Narrative Positioning Statement will replace the Producer’s Statement in the Indigenous Program and Pilot Program for Racialized Communities. Points will be allocated to the Narrative Positioning Statement in the evaluation criteria in these Programs. (See the applicable Guidelines)
Additional resources in support of the CMF’s Narrative Positioning Policy
This is an evolving list intended to provide resources which could support applicants in adhering to the CMF’s Narrative Positioning Policy. Most materials are available in both French and English, however some documents are specific to one language and therefore may vary.
- United Nations
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan
- Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) + imagineNATIVE
On Screen Protocols and Pathways: A Media Production Guide for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Communities, Cultures, Concepts and Stories
- Screen Australia
Pathways & Protocols: a filmmaker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts
- Black Screen Office (BSO)
Being Seen: Directives for creating authentic and inclusive content
- DocuMentality Report
A Report on Mental Health in the Canadian Documentary Sector
- Documentary Accountability Working Group
From Reflection to Release: Framework for Values, Ethics, and Accountability in Nonfiction Filmmaking
- FWD-Doc + Doc Society
A Toolkit for Inclusion & Accessibility: Changing the Narrative of Disability in Documentary Film
- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD)
Where We Are on TV Report – 2022-2023
Resources (click “Translate” for available languages)