Filming

Filming in North Bay

The following Guidelines apply to all filming activities that will take place in the City of North Bay on both public and private property.

Current affairs, press conferences, news casts, corporate videos, street interviews, or filming for personal purposes are excluded and a film permit is not required for these activities. View the following steps in our Film & Television Production Handbook.

If you are unsure if your project requires a filming permit, email filming@northbay.ca

Filming Considerations and Requirements

Supporting North Bay's Film Industry

The City of North Bay is committed to bolstering its appeal to commercial, video, and film productions. We value your contribution to advancing this sector, and kindly ask for your cooperation in the following matters:

INFORMATION & ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

  • Complete confidential budget details in the Production Information Form (Appendix A) to be used as aggregate data for economic impact figures.
  • Screen credit stating: “Filmed on location in North Bay, Ontario, Canada.”
  • Project debrief with Economic Development to discuss experience in North Bay. 

VISUAL MATERIALS

  • Share stills or clips filmed in North Bay for promotional purposes.

FEEDBACK & ENDORSEMENT

  • Share cast and crew testimonials for promotional materials and website usage.
  • Provide media releases and public notices related to the production.
  • Permit usage of film title, production company, actors, directors, etc., in promotion of North Bay.
Municipal Support and Requirements

Municipal Support

The City’s Economic Development Department provides concierge service including:

  • Processing filming applications with NO filming permit fees.
  • Liaison with all necessary City departments to streamline permits and approvals.
  • Facilitating connections with community partners, utilities, and service providers.

Municipal Fees

The City of North Bay does not charge a fee for filming permits; however, fees will apply for other permits and requests such as road/lane closures, street work, parking, PDOs, park rentals, and Location Agreements for municipal sites.

Filming Restrictions

The City of North Bay may reject, or revoke permits for projects that do not adhere to the following:

  • Compliance with Municipal, Provincial, and/or Federal laws.
  • Must not intend to be released with a pornographic rating.
  • Must not be social sensitive or offensive to the public.
  • Must secure written consent from the City before photographing, filming, using, or identifying the Premises, the City's name, address, logo, trademark, slogan, or any similar identification, as well as any personal property, furniture, or fixtures.

Local By-Laws

The following list includes significant By-Laws relevant to filming operations. This list is not exhaustive, and it is incumbent upon applicants to ensure their compliance with all pertinent laws and restrictions.

  • Accessible Parking By-Law (No. 2021-49)
  • Comprehensive Zoning By-Law (No. 2015-30)
  • Municipal Parking Lot By-Law (No. 2011-234)
  • Noise By-Law (No. 2014-53)
  • On-Street Parking By-Law (No. 2014-37)
  • Private Property Parking By-Law (No. 2016-40)
  • Prohibition on Throwing, Placing or Depositing Refuse or Debris on any Land in the City without
  • Consent By-Law (No. 2006-28)
  • Sign By-Law (No. 2006-143)
  • Use of Public Parks By-Law (No. 1996-35)

Legal Requirements

INDEMNIFICATION/SAVE HARMLESS

The Applicant shall indemnify and save harmless The Corporation of the City of North Bay from and against all claims, actions, damages, injuries, costs, expenses or losses whatsoever, which may arise or be brought against The Corporation of the City of North Bay as a result of or in connection with the said use of the location(s) by The Applicant, its employees, contractors, agents, representatives; and specifically, The Corporation of the City of North Bay will not be responsible for any liability arising from these activities or with respect to advertising or any copyright or trademark infringements.

DISCLAIMER

Without limiting the City of North Bay’s rights made available to it pursuant to a film location agreement, if the Applicant deliberately, negligently, or innocently misrepresents any information required of him or her in completing or complying with any requirement or criteria outlined in the Film & Television Production Guidelines Appendixes, in addition to any rights or remedies available to it at law, reserves the right to (i) refuse to allow filming by the Applicant; (ii) not issue a permit to the Applicant; or (iii) not enter into a film location agreement. All decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Local Considerations

Local Sourcing

To promote local business involvement, the Applicant must strive to collaborate with area services throughout all production stages, including pre- and post-production activities. The following resources aid in locating local services:

The Economic Development Department is available to offer additional support. Please always reach out to filming@northbay.ca for guidance. 

Downtown Considerations

All filming within the Downtown North Bay boundaries must adhere to the following:

  • Obtain consent forms for altering storefronts/buildings not used as filming locations, submitting consent forms with permit requests.
  • Secure majority merchant/building owner signature consent for filming within a downtown block to be submitted with permit request.
  • Code of Conduct for Cast and Crew to be attached to the back of film notification letters;
  • Provide notification letter copy to Downtown North Bay & Waterfront if filming occurs within downtown boundaries.
  • Place 'Filming in Progress' signs at set extremities. (2 “A-frame” signs can be provided to productions if required)
  • Specific Downtown Considerations to be included in the permit approvals for all Downtown filming locations may include but not be limited to:
    • Avoid using storefront entrances for changing/storage unless the store owner permits.
    • Clean up all production waste and décor within 24 hours after wrapping or face fines – see Environmental Clean Up and Restoration section. 
    • Cover cables/wires with safety mats; remove extension cords when production is not in preparation, filming or wrapping/cleaning up.
    • Ensure pedestrian access to businesses/offices/residences during filming; allow intermittent access even during closures with limited access for a maximum of 3 minute intervals.
    • Maintain polite communication with the public passing by and through set.
    • Production and crew parking in the downtown area is not permitted.
    • Deliver notifications when businesses are open, not taped to closed doors.
    • Suggest the presence of the Assistant Location Manager for adherence to guidelines during filming in downtown areas.
    • These Downtown Considerations should be mentioned in daily safety briefings before filming commences for the day.

Community Considerations

To ensure a harmonious relationship between production filming and our community's residents and businesses, please adhere to the following community considerations before, during, and after filming, including, but not limited to:

  • No filming between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. without notice to surrounding businesses and residents, and prior City approval. Details including lighting/equipment positioning, should be included in the notifications and highlighted on the Filming Permit Application.
  • Noise must comply with By-Law 2014-53; generators must have silencing attachments.
  • Lighting for filming should be oriented away from neighbouring residences.
  • Plan for property, vehicle, pedestrian, and special needs access.
  • Vehicles follow speed limits and rules, exceptions by Police Officers only.
  • Altering private/public property needs prior consent.
  • Clean location daily; restore original state with minimal noise and disruption.
  • Dispose waste responsibly, no debris to be washed into catch basins.
  • Code of Conduct for Cast and Crew to be attached to the back of film notification letters.

Exception requests must be outlined in the Filming Permit Application.

Health, Safety, and Environmental Considerations

Health and Safety

The Applicant must ensure safe and professional crew operations. Sharing safety representatives' information with filming@northbay.ca is advisable. Production must comply with federal, provincial, and municipal laws, regulations, and by-laws, including, but not limited to:

  • Ontario Ministry of Labour - Safety Guidelines for the Film & Television Industry in Ontario;
  • Ontario Ministry of Transportation Traffic Manual, especially Book #7 for temporary roadway conditions;
  • Ontario Fire Code. Production may be subjected to a fire safety inspection and be asked to produce a fire safety plan to the North Bay Fire Department;
  • Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
  • For public property excavation, on-site locates are required. Contact 3-1-1 for water, wastewater, and stormwater checks, and ON1Call at 1-800-400-2255 for utility vetting.
  • Report serious accidents and liability claims to the Economic Development Department and the Ministry of Labour.

Evironmental Clean-Up and Restoration

Production crews are accountable for cleanup and site restoration post-filming with minimal disturbances. Leaving behind filming evidence may result in fines. By-Law 2006-28 mandates returning sites to original conditions at the production's expense. Learn more about North Bay Garbage and Recycling Services.

Sustainability Tools

The following tools are available to help support sustainable film and television production in North Bay:

Obtain a Filming Permit

Step 1: Register your Production

Production Information Form

All productions filming in the City of North Bay must register by submitting a Production Information Sheet. Please submit the form to: filming@northbay.ca.

Insurance

At its own expense, including deductibles, the Applicant must maintain insurance coverage from an Ontario-registered insurance company and provide the Certificate of Insurance to filming@northbay.ca, meeting conditions for permit issuance set by the Economic Development Department and City Solicitor.

  • In all policies, The Corporation of the City of North Bay must be named as an additional insured and a cross-liability clause must be included.
  • A comprehensive general liability policy or commercial general liability policy in the amount of not less than $5,000,000 (Five Million Dollars) inclusive limit for any occurrence required
    • Note: it may be necessary to increase coverage if the exposure warrants it. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the City of North Bay.
  • Additional insurance limits and coverages (e.g. Products and Completed Operations, Blanket Contractual, Aircraft Liability, Pyrotechnics Liability, Fire, Non-Owned Automobile Liability, Personal Injury, Tenants Legal Liability, Pollution Liability, etc.) may be required depending on other specific activities, in which case the amount will be determined by the City’s Legal Department;
  • Automobile third-party liability insurance in the amount of not less than $2,000,000 (Two Million Dollars) inclusive limit covering all vehicles used in connection with the filmmaking activities required;
  • It is the responsibility of the production company to maintain insurance coverage for contents and equipment, rentals, liability for all activities, business interruption, automotive exposures and other risks and to limits of coverage amounts usual to that of a prudent company in the filming business operating at the same capacity.
  • A thirty (30) day notification by the insurer to The Corporation of the City of North Bay must be included in the event of cancellation, termination or material alteration to the policy.
WSIB Clearance Certificate

Production WSIB Clearance Certificate (not the WSIB Registration) or a letter from WSIB stating that it is not needed, should be submitted to filming@northbay.ca 

Script

Submission of a script to filming@northbay.ca is required for the assessment of subject matter and identification of potential considerations or concerns pertaining to filming at specific locations within the municipality.

Initial Locations List and Schedule

Productions must provide a preliminary locations list to filming@northbay.ca. Shooting schedules/ one-liners must also be submitted when available. 

Call Sheets

Call sheets must be emailed to filming@northbay.ca.

Building Permits and Film Set Construction

When a production company intends to create a set within an existing building, rural landscape, residential neighborhood, or urban area, the possibility of needing a Building Permit should be considered. If it's deemed necessary, the process may entail the following steps and document requirements:

To ascertain whether a Building Permit is necessary, productions are advised to promptly contact the Economic Development Department at filming@northbay.ca or call 705.474.0400 ext. 2318 as soon as possible. It's essential to ensure compliance with our Chief Building Official's requirements before a filming permit can be issued. Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Step 2: Apply for a Filming Permit

Filming Permit Application

Productions must submit a Permit Application for each individual film location in the City of North Bay regardless of whether it is a private or public location.

Filming requiring road/lane closures, SPFX that require review/approval of an Environmental Management Plan for chemical use, and locations that require legal agreements need Fourteen (14) business days to process. All other filming permits require Seven (7) business days.

Municipal Parks and Facilities

If the Applicant wishes to film at a municipal park, picnic area, sports field, or arena they must submit the Facility Permit Request Form, and signed Terms and Conditions to filming@northbay.ca. If the chosen location is available for filming, a rental agreement will be drafted, and fees will vary depending on the location.

Parking

If parking more than five (5) production vehicles at one location production must indicate the parking on the Filming Permit Application and include an aerial map indicating the location of production and crew vehicles, location of camera, and equipment, traffic or pedestrian interruptions, and the number of spaces requested. 

Production Vehicle Requirements:

  • Must not block fire hydrants/connections, fire routes, sprinklers, intersections (within 9 meters), bus stops, crosswalks, sidewalks, driveways, accesses/egresses/ingresses, ramps, any municipal infrastructure, parking lot entrances and accessible parking for persons with disabilities, and emergency vehicle access. 
  • Approval is needed for moving production vehicles between 11 pm and 7 am.
  • Requests for relocating bus stops and shelters, accessible parking and loading zones can be coordinated through filming@northbay.ca at the time of application.
  • Keep the filming permit on-site and display Parking Permits in vehicle windows.
  • Cast and crew parking is not permitted in the downtown area, please have crew park offsite and shuttle to set.
  • Fees are location-dependent and based on cost-recovery.
  • Overnight filming/parking requests must be submitted as part of the filming permit application process.
  • Refunds of monthly parking will be processed only after the return of the rental tag and for full months only. Partial months will not be refunded.

Winter Overnight Parking Ban

Overnight on-street parking bans are in effect from November 1 to April 15. By-Law 2014-37 prohibits the parking of vehicles:

  • In the Downtown Improvement Area (DIA) from 3 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
  • On blocks containing cul-de-sacs and dead-end roads from 3 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
  • All other streets from 3 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
  • On any city street within 12 hours of posting snow removal signs and 24 hours of snowfall during the period November 1 to March 31 both inclusive.

Overnight municipal lot parking bans are in effect from November 1 to March 31. By-Law 2011-234, Part 7 prohibits the overnight parking of vehicles on any municipal parking lot between the hours of 12 p.m. midnight and 8 a.m. except for:

  • Lot Oak 2 (designated areas only) with purchase of monthly rental pass for overnight winter parking;
  • Lot McIntyre 4 (Parking Garage), Levels 1 - 4, which is free from 4:30 p.m. until 8 a.m. and weekends and holidays year-round with no pass or permit required;
  • Areas designated by the parking supervisor.
Street Filming and Traffic Management

Sidewalk and Street Filming

  • All filming with equipment or personnel positioned on a road, sidewalk, or boulevard requires a Street Work Permit Application, and map to be submitted with the Filming Permit Application.

Intermittent Traffic Stoppages (ITS)

  • All ITS details must be submitted on the Filming Permit Application, along with a traffic control plan map, and intended traffic control method (Paid Duty Officers, or Book 7 etc.).
  • The City of North Bay internal departments will determine if the traffic control method is sufficient or requires changes before approval.  

Road and Lane Closures 

  • Road or lane closures require a traffic control plan map, Street Work Permit Application, Road Closure Application, and intended traffic control method (Paid Duty Officers, or Book 7).
  • The City of North Bay internal departments will determine if the traffic control method is sufficient or requires changes before approval.  
  • Fees vary based on closure specifics and are cost-recovery based.

Additional Requests

  • Any requests for traffic signal, light, or pattern changes require an email to filming@northbay.ca.  
  • Road closures on all Provincial Highways (HWYs 11, 17 and 63 even within City limits) are subject to Ministry of Transportation approval which can be contacted at 705.497.5442 or visit: Ministry of Transportation.
  • Any amendments to the schedule must be communicated to filming@northbay.ca, and the North Bay Police Traffic Section at 705.497.5555 standardize formatting or visit: North Bay Police a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours prior to filming.  
Street Signs and Public Infrastructure

Productions must request any alterations, removals, or reinstallations of municipal street signs due to filming through the Filming Permit Application, and an aerial map indicating requests, for approval. Fees may vary and will be charged on a cost-recovery basis. Unauthorized sign alteration and removal is not permitted, and charges or fees will apply. For public property excavation, on-site locates are required. Contact 3-1-1 for water, wastewater, and stormwater checks, and ON1Call at 1-800-400-2255 for utility vetting.

Special Effects (SPFX), Firearms, and Pyrotechnics

Productions must indicate on the Filming Permit Application the intent to use firearms, explosives, pyrotechnics, hazardous materials, and prop weapons along with a map outlining proposed locations of use, and a copy of the professional credentials required to operate or perform the activities.

The following special items must also be included with the Filming Permit Application:

  • A completed Blasting Permit is required for explosives use.
  • For chemical use, the Chemical Product Use by the Film & TV Industry Policy, and associated Chemical Substance/ Product Use by Film & TV Production Form must be submitted and present and accessible for all cast and crew during filming.
  • The City may assign an inspector for a mix test, or on-set compliance inspection. 
  • All pyrotechnic special effects require the following items:
    • Copy of the pyrotechnician certificate.
    • NRCAN Display Fireworks Manual and NRCAN Pyrotechnics Special Effects Manual compliance.
    • Arranged fire inspection by North Bay Fire Prevention for indoor use.
    • Paid Duty Police Officer(s) acquired for the detonation of pyrotechnic special effects and dangerous situations.
  • Open-air burning must be approved by the North Bay Fire Department.

Approval for the use of substances may be weather dependent as there may be pedestrian and vehicular safety concerns on sidewalks and roadways.

Once the Economic Development Department receives the completed permit application and supporting documentation listed above, the decision to allow the use of such substances will be approved on a case-by-case basis. 

Commercial Drones and Aerial Photography

Using remote-controlled devices, or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), including aerial drones, requires advance approval from the Airport, City of North Bay, and Transport Canada. The following additional requirements would apply and should be discussed with Airport Management and the Economic Development Department in advance of making any application for RPAS Flight Authorization with Nav Canada.

  • $5,000,000 (Five Million Dollars) and additional Aviation Liability insurance naming The Corporation of the City of North Bay and The North Bay Jack Garland Airport Corporation as additional insured
  • Waiver of subrogation for City of North Bay and Airport.
  • Nav Canada RPAS Flight Authorization copy.
  • Drone activity description and flight plan.
  • Insurer must notify City of North Bay 30 days before policy changes.
  • Provide Transport Canada licensing, Nav Canada documentation, valid insurance, and flight plan.

For RPAS Flight Authorization details, visit Nav Canada.

For safe and legal drone operation, refer to Transport Canada.

Notification Letters and Signatures

Community Notification           

The Applicant must notify affected residents and businesses within 200m of filming location, or as deemed appropriate by the Economic Development Department, three (3) business days in advance of filming. Notification must include duration, location, special effects, chemicals, road/lane closures, sidewalk usage, parking, and contact info. Chemical-related notifications must follow the Appendix C policy.

Economic Development Department Notification               

Submit notification letters to filming@northbay.ca for review and approval in advance of distribution. Improper notice may result in withheld permits. Once a notification letter is received, the Economic Development Department will review the letter for accuracy and advise of the need for signatures. Production representative should send records of all signatures, and objections to filming@northbay.ca

Information for Residents & Businesses

Registering your Business to Cater to the Film Industry

You can list your business as a potential service provider/resource for productions through the following channels:

Registering your Property as a Filming Location

You can list your property as a potential filming location for productions through the following channels:

Key Questions for Filming Requests on your Property

Production companies value their presence in your neighborhood and collaborate with residents and businesses to address concerns. If you have any filming-related concerns, reach out to the film production Location Manager, responsible for minimizing community impacts during filming. Their contact information is on the filming notification letter, or you can ask a crew member to connect you.

For further assistance or questions regarding productions, including concerns about a production's legitimacy or information about their team, contact the Economic Development Department at 705-474-0626 ext. 2318 (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or filming@northbay.ca.

When approached by a production company for filming on your property, consider these key questions/considerations:

Filming Schedule:

  • When do you plan to film on my property, including preparation/setup and cleanup days?

Property Modifications:

  • What changes or modifications will you make to my property?
  • You may wish to consider requesting a damage deposit. This could be provided via certified cheque which is held uncashed and then returned to the production company once the filming is completed and both parties are satisfied that the site has been returned to its original or agreed upon state.

Crew and Equipment:

  • How many people from the production team will be on my property during filming, setup, and cleanup?
  • How many vehicles, and what types will require parking on my property?

Fees and Insurance:

  • Location fees need to be negotiated and once this has been agreed upon, consider asking for payment of the fee in advance.
  • Ask for your property to be named as the additional insured on the production company’s insurance policy. The property owner should request proof of the production company’s general liability insurance.

Staffing Assistance:

  • It is recommended to appoint a single site representative as the primary contact for the production company, ensuring their constant presence. This individual should have a good understanding of the property and the ability to manage alarms, electrical panels, and related matters as necessary. If needed, the expenses for this role can be discussed as part of the negotiation with the production company.

Pre-Filming Activities:

  • Prior to finally choosing the location, there will be two or three site visits with various personnel. These individuals will take photos and discuss the scenes they will shoot to determine if the site will work for their project. It is during these visits that rules, regulations and limitations for your site need to be outlined and addressed. Once your site is chosen, a technical survey will take place (usually 25 to 50 people in attendance) that will cover all of the details required for the filming days.

When we first did the search of North Bay… we said 'how can we improve the script based on what we know we have as far as the diversity of the locations here?' I remember when we found the waterfall... we said 'we need to have this as a moment in the story', it was really elevated by finding those particular locations. Andrew Corkin
Producer of "Lakewood"

North Bay Ontario Canada

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Filming Guidelines