Creative Canada Policy Framework

Creative Canada: at a glance

On this page:


  • Canada is recognized globally for its high-quality creative content and industries, which are an engine of economic growth and a competitive advantage.
  • Canada’s unique and diverse stories are sought out at home and around the world.
  • Canada’s public broadcaster is strong and Canadians are informed by trusted Canadian sources of local, national and international news.

Creative Canada is a new vision and approach to creative industries and to growing the creative economy by the Government of Canada.

Our approach is about building on success. It’s about positioning Canada as a world leader in putting its creative industries at the centre of its future economy. We know that the economies of the future will rely on creativity and innovation to create jobs and foster growth. To be competitive in the world, we must invest now to create the conditions for success, to develop and keep our talent in both French and English here at home, and to make sure we have a robust domestic market for content on which our international success will depend.

Creative Canada charts the course for federal policy tools that support our creative industries. It strengthens our existing cultural policy tools, sets out a path to renew the ones that require updating, and introduces new initiatives that will help Canada’s creators and creative industries succeed in a global, digital marketplace. Our toolkit includes legislation, funding programs and policies. It also includes the work of the federal cultural Portfolio organizations – CBC/Radio-Canada, Telefilm Canada, the National Film Board of Canada, the National Arts Centre, the Canada Council for the Arts, Library and Archives Canada, and each one of our national museums, which are important partners in achieving this vision.

Creative Canada affirms the core responsibilities of the Government to protect and promote Canadian culture and identity in a digital environment. It renews our commitment to the values that must underpin our approach: our commitment to linguistic duality, cultural diversity and a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples. As we move forward to implement Creative Canada, we will do so in a manner that is consistent with these values.

More than ever before, our creators are ambassadors for our country. They are our inspiration at home, and reflect who we are to the rest of the world. Our new approach must continue to support a domestic space and market for Canadian content. Only by remaining strong in our approach at home will we succeed internationally. Only by playing to our strengths, by telling our stories, will we stand out in the global marketplace.

Creative Canada is built on three pillars:

  1. Invest in our creators and cultural entrepreneurs: all of the professionals who contribute to the creation and production of work, from artists to writers, producers and directors and their stories.
  2. Promote discovery and distribution of Canadian content at home and abroad.
  3. Strengthen public broadcasting and support local news.

Together with the $1.9 billion in new funding announced by the Government in 2016, this policy charts a course towards the continued growth and investment in Canada’s creative sector, including funding for the Canada Media Fund and a significant funding commitment to Canada’s Creative Export Strategy of $125 million over five years.

This policy follows the largest and most transparent consultation process ever undertaken by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Thousands of Canadians took part online, in events in cities across the country, through social media, and in expert roundtable discussions. Hundreds submitted detailed policy proposals that have helped shape the thinking behind Creative Canada.

Setting the stage

The Government recognizes the benefit of having a strong creative sector and its impact on Canada’s identity, economy and place in the world. Successive federal governments have put in place a robust system of cultural measures including legislative framework, national institutions, policies, regulations and funding programs.

For their part, Canada’s provinces and territories have also put in place legislation, programs and initiatives in support of the creative industries, and at the municipal level, towns and cities across the country have introduced their own measures to build their local creative sector.

Federal cultural policy toolkit: a selection of measures

Figure 1: Federal cultural policy toolkit: a selection of measures – text version

Legislative Framework

  • Broadcasting Act
  • Copyright Act
  • Income Tax Act
  • Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act
  • Investment Canada Act
  • Telecommunications Act
  • Radiocommunication Act
  • CRTC Act
  • Status of the Artist Act

Policies and Regulations

  • Foreign Investment Policy in Book Publishing and Distribution
  • Foreign Investment Policy in the Periodical Publishing Sector
  • Foreign Investment Policy in Film Distribution
  • Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction
  • Canadian content rules for TV and radio
  • International agreements

National Institutions

  • CBC/Radio-Canada
  • National Film Board
  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Telefilm Canada
  • National Arts Centre
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • CRTC
  • Canadian Museum of History
  • Canadian Museum for Human Rights
  • Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Canadian Museum of Science and Technology
  • National Gallery of Canada

Financial Support

  • Canada Book Fund
  • Canada Periodical Fund
  • Canada Music Fund
  • Canada Media Fund
  • Canada Arts Presentation Fund
  • Canada Cultural Spaces Fund
  • Canada Arts Training Fund
  • Canada Cultural Investment Fund
  • Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit
  • Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit
  • Export promotion funding
  • TV5 funding
  • Museums Assistance Program

Measures at every level of government form a strong foundation for Canadian culture and have built a thriving cultural ecosystem across the country that contributes to all Canadians’ quality of life. From their very early days, these measures created a space for Canadian voices on bookshelves, screens and on the airwaves, so that Canadians could connect with one another across our vast country through our stories.

As a result, culture has a significant economic impact; it provides 630,000 jobs for Canadians and contributes $54.6 billion per year in economic activity. Canadian books, music, magazines, film, television, performing arts and visual arts have made a mark in Canada and around the world. Building on a history of innovation in animation, Canada is now a world-class leader in the video game industry and is showing early leadership in the emerging virtual reality and augmented reality industries.

Canada’s creative talent and unique stories, along with decades of deliberate policies at all levels of government and a capacity to adapt and change, have brought us where we are today. Our industries are now strong, our creators enjoy unprecedented success internationally, and our country attracts international investment and production activity.

Today, we have an enormous opportunity in Canada: our creative industries can be a vital part of our future economic growth and our identity as a country. To achieve this, we must act, just as deliberately as we have in the past, to ensure our policies remain relevant in an ever more interconnected and digital world.

Creative Canada sets the direction for concerted action. It provides a roadmap for the transition ahead, and for a whole-of-government approach to our creative economy. To succeed, we will need leadership from many sources, including from our Portfolio organizations and their governing boards. The Government has introduced a new, open and transparent appointment process through which all nominations to Governor-in-Council appointments will be made, including those in the Canadian Heritage Portfolio. Through this process, we will strengthen our already world-class portfolio organizations, providing them with the diverse leadership they need to succeed.

Contribution and key figures

Figure 2: Contribution and key figures – text version

Film and Television

  • $7 billion worth of film and TV production
  • Creating $3 billion in export value
  • 13 Oscar nominations in 2017
  • World leader in digital animation and visual effects; $1 billion in post-production revenues

Video Games

  • Twice the size of the UK and half that of the US
  • 472 game studios
  • Contribution to GDP up 31 percent since 2013
  • Average salary is $71,000


  • Sound recording and music publishing: $561-million industry; 11,000 jobs
  • 3rd largest music exporter
  • 3 of 4 most streamed artists in 2016 (Drake, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd)


  • $1.15-billion industry; 13,845 jobs
  • Nobel Prize for Literature, Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker Prizes
  • Le Prix Médicis, le Prix Ragazzi and le Prix Goncourt

Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality

  • At the forefront of a fast-growing sector
  • World renowned studios
  • Award-winning projects (Emmy, Sundance)

Consultations on Canadian content in a digital world

In the fall of 2016, the Minister of Canadian Heritage led a national conversation and consulted with Canadians and stakeholders from coast to coast to coast on how to strengthen the creation, discoverability and export of Canadian content in a digital world. The purpose was to better understand the challenges and opportunities brought on by the digital transformation and to identify what needs to be done to ensure that Canada’s cultural and creative industries remain strong in the future.

Three main questions guided the consultation:

  1. What does a cultural system that supports creators and respects citizen choice look like to you?
  2. How can we meet the challenge of promoting Canada’s creativity in the digital world and how can we use content to promote a strong democracy?
  3. How do we support Canada’s artists, content creators and cultural entrepreneurs in order to create a cultural ecosystem in which they thrive and that will benefit the growth of our middle class at home, and help them reach beyond our borders?

In all, over 30,000 Canadians, including a wide range of creators and cultural entrepreneurs, took part in the discussion in a variety of ways, from in-person events to online discussions. In-person meetings were held in Vancouver, Halifax, Toronto, Iqaluit, Montréal and Edmonton. Canadians also shared their views on the consultation’s web portal, via social media, by e-mail, and by providing 252 written submissions.

The consultations were supported by a panel of 15 expert advisors composed of Canadian leaders in creativity and innovation from across Canada’s cultural and technological sectors and chosen for their ability to generate innovative ideas, to represent Canada’s diversity and to contribute a variety of perspectives (See Annex for names). They provided ideas, feedback and guidance throughout the consultation process. The panel was not asked to make recommendations to government or to provide a report. Their mandate ended on March 31, 2017.

During the consultations, a broad consensus emerged that the Government needs a new approach to grow Canada’s culture and its creative industries. While Canadians raised a wide range of viewpoints, some key themes were consistently raised.

Participants agreed that the digital age has transformed how cultural and information content is created and consumed, as Canadians are increasingly accessing and consuming content on multiple platforms. There was widespread support for the idea that Canadian creators should be at the centre of the Government’s new approach. Creators were seen as playing a critical role in driving innovation. Participants saw a thriving cultural ecosystem as an important way to fuel economic growth.

To strengthen our cultural sector, participants called on the Government to invest in and support a broad range of Canadian creators, including those who work in emerging digital media and those from diverse communities. Canadians stated that the Government should emphasize risk-taking, experimentation and cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation. In all cultural and creative sectors, Canadians called for developing the business, technology and entrepreneurial skills of Canadian artists and creators.

There was a call for more support to the development phases of film, TV and other screen-based production, and for “whole of project” investment along the entire value chain, from development and production, to marketing and distribution. Many participants said when the cultural ecosystem is updated, this should not be at the expense of programs and policies that work well.

There was support for the idea that global Internet companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon contribute to the Canadian system in some way. However, there was no consensus on which approach would be best. There was support for ensuring that Canadian creators share in the financial rewards resulting from increased dissemination of cultural content via digital channels. Fairness to, and remuneration of, creators was repeatedly raised as a priority.

Canada’s legislative framework for culture and national cultural institutions was viewed as needing modernization for the digital age. Many participants said that the Broadcasting Act, the Copyright Act and the mandates of the CRTC and the CBC/Radio-Canada have not kept pace with the digital environment and should be examined.

Many participants discussed the need for a cultural export strategy to promote and facilitate the export of Canadian content. There was wide support for showcasing Canada’s cultural sector through sustained efforts on marketing and promotion, including through building Canadian creators’ presence in global markets. Participants stated that cultural content can be used to showcase Canada’s diversity and its strengths and values around the world.

The diverse feedback and viewpoints from a wide range of Canadians and creative sector stakeholders from across the country helped to shape and guide the development of this vision for a Creative Canada.

The path forward: taking action along three pillars

We now live in a digital world where consumers discover and consume content on new platforms and have almost limitless choice. For many in our creative industries, the shift to global markets, and to digital creation, distribution and consumption, is not new. The shift is experienced differently in the French- and English-language markets, but also by different industries, and in different regions of the country, particularly in areas that do not have reliable access to broadband. For many it has created challenges, and for others, it provides unprecedented opportunities.

Despite this variation, a strong consensus came out of the consultations on Canadian content in a digital world. Creators, broadly defined, must be at the centre of our new approach for the creative industries. They are the heart of the ideas and work that fuel our creative industries. In our vision, we use “creators” to refer to creative positions, from artists to stage directors, screenwriters to film producers, songwriters to performers, authors and digital media creators, among others.

We also heard calls for an expanded definition of “cultural industries” in order to get a true picture of the cultural sector and its impact. Our vision of a Creative Canada is based on this expanded view. It starts with heritage, the arts and the cultural industries – books, magazines, newspapers, audiovisual (film and television), music. In our vision, we move deliberately to using “creative industries” to include a wider range of industries that contribute to the creative sector: design, fashion, architecture, video games, digital media and multiplatform storytelling - transmedia. The intent is to recognize their role as employers and producers in the creative economy.

At the heart of our vision is a transformation in how we view culture and creativity that will guide our actions over the coming months and years as we modernize our cultural programs, policies, institutions and legislation for the digital world, along three pillars:

  1. Invest in Canadian creators, cultural entrepreneurs and their stories.
  2. Promote discovery and distribution at home and globally.
  3. Strengthen public broadcasting and support local news.

Pillar 1. Invest in Canadian creators, cultural entrepreneurs and their stories

The talent, skill and imagination of our Canadian creators and cultural entrepreneurs is the raw material of our creative industries. Our priority is to invest in them and in their ideas.

Our new approach will help our creators and cultural entrepreneurs make and produce content that stands out, as well as to innovate and to experiment on a wider range of platforms and formats. We will update our programs and offer new tools and environments that help stimulate ideas and encourage collaboration within and across industries, and with international partners. In addition, by working with our Portfolio organizations we will strive for gender parity in the creative industries and we will introduce measures to ensure that Canada’s Indigenous creators and official-language minority communities are better supported to tell their stories.

To support a greater diversity of voices, the Canada Council for the Arts has committed that by 2021, at least 25 percent of its new investment will go to artists, arts professionals, groups or organizations receiving funding for the first time, to organizations that are receiving core funding for the first time and particularly organizations representing the culturally diverse, Indigenous, deaf and disability and official-language minority arts communities.

The Council’s new Digital Strategy Fund supports Canadian artists, groups and arts organizations in scaling up their practical engagement with digital technologies and solutions. Between 2017 and 2021, $88.5M will be invested in projects that contribute to collaborative, open and innovative approaches to the adoption of digital solutions in the arts.

1.1 Invest in creators

In 2016, the Government of Canada made a historic investment of $1.9 billion over five years to foster innovation, creativity and growth in our cultural sector. This was the largest investment in Canadian arts and culture in the last 30 years, and Canada is the only country in the G7 to make this kind of investment.

As part of this investment, the Government invested $550 million to foster the development of the arts in Canada by doubling the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts between 2016 and 2021. These funds will support a new, streamlined and outcomes-based funding model that allows artists, groups and organizations to define their own ambitions and projects with greater flexibility. Through this model, the Council will triple its investment in projects by 2021, a direct investment in innovation and experimentation in the arts. Also by 2021, the Council will triple its investment in Indigenous arts, in part through a new program dedicated to First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultural expression. In addition to the new investment in the Canada Council, the Government invested $675 million in the CBC/Radio-Canada to enable it to become more digital, to support and promote more quality Canadian content to provide more local news and information to Canadians across the country, and to support the next generation of creative talent. We invested in Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board of Canada to boost their work in producing distinctive, relevant and innovative feature film, audiovisual and digital content, and to promote it in Canada and internationally.

The National Film Board has long been an innovator and developer of digital content. It has coproduced several VR projects, which have received critical acclaim. Draw Me Close (Jordan Tannahill/NFB/National Theatre of Great Britain) was selected for the Venice International Film Festival’s first-ever competition for virtual reality. Three other productions—The Unknown Photographer (Turbulent/NFB), Way to Go (NFB/France Télévisions) and Cardboard Crash (Vincent McCurley/NFB)—received Webby Awards.

These direct new investments in the arts and culture are part of the foundation on which Creative Canada is built and represent a historic investment in our creators and cultural entrepreneurs.

1.2 Invest in television and digital media content

Canada’s audiovisual industry is facing significant disruption from changes in consumer habits and business models. Canadians also find, access and consume content through global online and mobile platforms, in addition to the traditional broadcasting system. With Canadians increasingly watching content online, contributions from the broadcasting sector to the Canada Media Fund have started to decrease in step with their declining revenues.

The broadcasting system supports the creation of Canadian content through many different means including the Canada Media Fund (CMF). The CMF supports the development, production and promotion of Canadian television content and leading-edge digital media content (such as games and software applications for all audiovisual platforms). It is a partnership that combines annual investment from the Government of Canada along with monetary contributions from licensed cable, satellite and IPTV television service providers as a percentage of their revenues. It is managed by an independent third-party administrator, the Canada Media Fund Corporation.

In 2016-2017, CMF funding triggered $1.4B in production activity. Every dollar of CMF funding generated $3.99 in production activity, the highest leverage ratio since the CMF was created in 2010. In 2015-2016, the CMF generated 28,000 FTEs of employment.

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening its support for the creation of high-quality Canadian content at a time when diminishing cable and satellite subscription revenues has meant that the Canada Media Fund has fewer resources available to support independent Canadian productions. As a critical source of funding for our audiovisual creators and producers, we will increase the federal contribution in order to maintain the level of funding in the Canada Media Fund starting in 2018.

This new funding, together with the $134 million we provide to the Fund annually, will help support good jobs, including for our writers, showrunners, producers, directors, actors and crews.

To ensure that the Government’s investment in the CMF contributes to the Creative Canada vision, we will work with the Canada Media Fund Corporation over the next year to support the further evolution of television and interactive media production in Canada.

The CMF supports award-winning content that is seen on Canadian screens and around the world.

Orphan Black received CMF development funds in 2011 and 2012 and has since received 77 nominations and 66 awards.

CMF-funded The Book of Negroes was a Canadian-South African coproduction that received 26 nominations and 19 awards.

In its first season, District 31 drew 3.5 million views in Quebec.

We will work with the CMF to examine what more could be done to support development, with a view to build on its history of supporting such high-quality programs as Unité 9 and Orphan Black, and explore what more might be done to enhance early-stage development of content, such as script-writing and pitch development.

We will also ensure that the CMF Corporation continues to invest at minimum $40 million per year in innovative projects through the Experimental Stream, thus strengthening Canada as a leader in leading-edge interactive digital media content and software applications.

The CMF supports Canadian creative talent in both official languages, as well as Indigenous, official-language minority productions, and diverse language productions. We will look to the CMF to devote more resources to Indigenous productions to ensure that Indigenous creators are supported to tell their own stories and bring them to Canadians and the world.

We will also look to the CMF to explore the possibilities to integrate international marketing and promotion earlier in the production process for large-budget projects, thus ensuring that more productions such as Little Mosque on the Prairie, Murdoch Mysteries and Mensonges find audiences not only in Canada but also abroad. Over the longer term, we will look to making further modifications to the program to ensure that the CMF has the tools and the flexibility it needs to adapt its support for the screen-based sector given the rapidly changing environment.

1.3 Modernize the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and CAVCO

The digital shift means that Canadians are increasingly watching Canadian movies and TV shows on their smartphone or other devices. In today’s environment, online platforms offer opportunities to reach audiences in innovative ways, both here in Canada and around the world. That’s why the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) recently announced that audiovisual productions shown exclusively online would become eligible for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, provided a Canadian distributor or broadcaster is involved. This important change ensures that the benefits of the tax credit are made available to those experimenting with new models. We recognize, however, that as the way we watch, make and distribute Canadian content continues to evolve, more adjustments may be required to ensure that this tax credit continues to support great Canadian content and a strong independent production sector.

We also heard clearly throughout the Consultations on Canadian content in a digital world that the tax credit is a key financing tool for Canadian producers, but that the administration by CAVCO must be improved to better serve the industry it supports. We have already moved to shorten wait times for Canadian producers and will continue to take steps in 2017 and 2018 to streamline administration and reduce paperwork. To this end, steps have already been taken within CAVCO to reduce the existing backlog and we will work to eliminate it quickly. CAVCO will also work with Telefilm over the coming year to explore ways to streamline the application process for producers applying to both organizations.

1.4 Support skills, development, innovation and collaboration

Support for the next generation of cultural spaces: Creative hubs

Cultural spaces give Canadian artists the platforms and access to tools they need to succeed. In Budget 2017, the Government announced an additional $300 million investment over 10 years in cultural spaces through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. In addition to the increased resources for the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, Budget 2017 included $1.3 billion for cultural and recreational infrastructure to be provided to provinces and territories through integrated bilateral agreements with Infrastructure Canada, and $80 million to support the modernization or construction of community educational infrastructure in official-language minority communities across Canada through the Development of Official Language Communities (DOLC) program at Canadian Heritage.

A portion of this new investment will be made available for creative hubs that will help nurture and incubate the next generation of creative entrepreneurs and small business start-ups. Creative hubs are all about bringing people together—artists, cultural entrepreneurs and organizations—in spaces that encourage development and collaboration. Through this investment, Canadian creative talent will have access to spaces where they can build their entrepreneurial skills, create, collaborate and innovate, and help generate new markets for Canadian creativity in all its forms.

We have already begun to invest in creative hubs all across Canada, including, for example, Ottawa’s Arts Court, bringing together arts organizations and providing shared performance spaces; Montréal’s Société des arts technologiques—a hub connecting practicing artists, academics and cultural industries working in digital technologies; 312 Main, Vancouver’s Centre for Social and Economic Innovation in the downtown eastside, bringing artists, cultural entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations together in a shared space where they can collaborate and scale-up their ideas to new heights; and Toronto’s Artscape Daniels Launchpad— providing shared spaces for creators and entrepreneurs.

We will continue to build and expand on these models to facilitate collaboration and innovation among artists, creators, cultural entrepreneurs and industry. In the coming year, we will seek advice and insight from other players including federal departments and Portfolio organizations, such as the National Film Board, regarding how best to leverage the Government’s investment for the growing network of creative hubs in Canada.

Modernize the Canada Music Fund and the Canada Book Fund

Canadian music artists are world renowned. Despite the relatively small size of its population, Canada is the third largest exporter of musical talent. To build on this success, we will modernize the Canada Music Fund to help our artists succeed in the face of increased competition from around the world.

We will support Canadian music artists and entrepreneurs to develop specialized business, promotion and performing skills so they can break into international markets. Funding will also support entrepreneurs in developing competitive, modern marketing strategies to help Canadian music stand out among the wealth of choices available to listeners.

Recognizing the various ways in which music is now released, disseminated and consumed, the program will support multiple music formats. The program will support greater innovation and risk-taking to assist Canadian artists and grow their audiences, through digital or live performances. Further details about the changes to the program will be announced over the coming year and revised guidelines will be in place for 2019-2020.

Building on the 2014 modernization of the Canada Book Fund, we will make adjustments to the program over the coming year to reflect developments in the industry. The program will support innovative approaches to marketing and promotion of Canadian books and greater collaboration across the industry. It will also support the development of Canadian content for online learning platforms to help ensure that Canadian-authored books are available to Canadian students. The program will enhance measures that take into account the unique realities of Indigenous publishers and organizations and address barriers to their access to the program. Official-language minority publishers and organizations will continue to receive priority consideration and enhanced support.

Access to the Strategic Innovation Fund

We know that creative industries will be key players in building the economy of the future. They are a part of our Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan. In Budget 2017, the Government introduced a $1.26 billion five-year Strategic Innovation Fund (administered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development). It is open to all businesses, including creative industries, which carry on business in Canada and undertake eligible activities. The Fund is designed to spur innovation and aims, among other things, to encourage R&D, facilitate the growth and expansion of firms, and advance development through collaboration between academia, non-profit organizations and the private sector.

Through the Fund, the Government looks to accelerate areas of economic strength, strengthen and expand the role of Canadian firms in regional and global supply chains, support economic strategies, and attract investment that creates new, good, well-paying jobs.

1.5 Launch the Parliamentary review of the Copyright Act

A Parliamentary review of the Copyright Act is mandated to start in 2017. The Government will set the review in motion, and Parliamentarians will lead on its scope and process. The time is right to take another good look at copyright, to make sure that the regime is meeting its many policy objectives. It is critical that Canada’s creators are equipped to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital environment. Canadians value creative content, and enjoy, share and interact with it every day. Many creators indicate, however, that they are struggling to receive payments for the use of their work, even when there is an increasing demand for their content, especially online. New technologies and new players have disrupted traditional business models – they offer powerful prospects for new business models and revenue streams.

Copyright has an important role to play, as one tool that can position creators for success in a competitive, global marketplace. Our copyright framework remains a vital part of our creative economy, and will continue to do so in the future. A well-functioning copyright regime should empower creators to leverage the value of their creative work, while users continue to enjoy access to a wide range of diverse cultural content.

1.6 Reform the Copyright Board of Canada

The Copyright Board serves an important role in establishing tariffs that determine how much creators will be paid for certain uses of their creative content, like music streaming, the public performance of music, educational copying and the retransmission of television signals. Concerns around delays in the Board’s tariff-setting process have been examined by committee studies of both the House of Commons and the Senate, and were raised in submissions to the Consultations on Canadian content in a digital world.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, together with the Copyright Board, are seeking public input and advice until September 29, 2017, on specific proposals to reduce the Board’s workload, clarify its mandate and processes, and allow the Copyright Board to fulfill its functions and to reduce delays. Reforms will be presented in 2018.

1.7 Support official languages content and markets

Canada’s official languages and official-language minority communities are at the heart of our country’s diversity. They are part of who we are. The existence of the two language markets in Canada—English and French—makes our creative industries unique and opens the door to large foreign markets for our creators. Each language market is different and each produces great content that represents Canada around the world. French content reaches the international Francophonie around the world, and every year it is recognized for its excellence.

Canada’s official-language minority communities (OLMCs) are home to more than two million people across the country. For these communities, having access to content in their language is essential to community vitality and pride. Along with education, local media, music, theatre and cultural institutions form fundamental elements that ensure the vitality of our two languages across our country.

The Government and federal institutions are responsible for enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and for promoting the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society. The Government will continue to fulfil this responsibility through the initiatives set out in Creative Canada.

Several Canadian Heritage Portfolio organizations and Canadian Heritage programs, such as those providing support for periodicals, for publishing, for cultural infrastructure and for festivals, have put in place measures to ensure that the particular realities of OLMCs are considered and supported. In many cases, they have dedicated funding envelopes set aside for works in French created by artists or firms from provinces and territories other than Quebec, in recognition of the particular realities of working in the creative industries in an OLMC.

From its founding, CBC/Radio-Canada had provided programming in both official languages and an essential service to OLMCs, where it can be the only source of news and local information available in the minority official language.

Canada is proud to be part of the TV5 partnership and to contribute to the international outreach of La Francophonie. Canadian Heritage TV5 Program offers a special showcase for French-language Canadian creators, artists and producers on the international market. It also provides Canadians with audiovisual programming and content that enriches the Francophone broadcasting landscape in Canada and is a reflection of the vitality and cultural diversity of the Canadian and international Francophonie.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) sets aside a special funding envelope for the creation of digital content on multiple platforms, such as television, wireless devices and the Internet, in Francophone minority communities across Canada. More recently, CMF administrators expanded this practice to include the allocation of a pre-set percentage of its resources to cultural productions by Anglophones in Quebec. Consequently, cultural producers in both official-language minority communities received $12.6 million and $18 million, respectively, in 2015-2016.

The National Film Board (NFB), whose Moncton studios are the incubator for Acadian documentary film makers, fulfils a key role with French-Canadian directors and producers. By offering Canadian films on the | Online Screening Room, the NFB reaches OLMCs across Canada and helps them with promoting their creations in Canada and elsewhere in the world. In addition, its educational digital platform CAMPUS provides access for students and teachers to more than 5,200 documentaries, animated films, interactive production and short films in English and French, with more than 1,700 exclusive titles.

In addition to its annual French Theatre programming, every two years, the National Arts Centre, in collaboration with the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts, hosts the Zones théâtrales festival, which serves as a testing ground or launch pad for both written works and cultural productions from all regions of French Canada.

Telefilm’s Micro-Budget Production Program, through its dedicated stream for productions from official-language minority communities, provides support for emerging audiovisual content creators in these communities. It provides support for the production and distribution of first feature-length films that primarily use digital platforms to distribute to, and engage with, audiences.

The Canada Council for the Arts invests $2.75 million (2013-2018) in the Market Access Strategy for Artists from the Official Language Minority Communities Program. This program increases the capacity of artists, groups and artistic organizations from official language minority communities to find success outside their local markets.

The next 2018-2023 Action Plan for Official Languages will provide further detail on the Government of Canada’s support for community and cultural vitality of OLMCs across the country.

1.8 Invest in Indigenous creators: highlights from Canadian Heritage Portfolio organizations

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is helping to preserve oral history using 21st century tools. For example, with help from the Documentary Heritage Community Program at LAC, the Nunavut Bilingual Education Society launched the Iqqaumajuakkuvik Project, a digital archive of Inuit oral history. The Society also adapted recordings into Inuktitut-language podcasts to share over community radio and on the Internet.

The Government is working together with Indigenous Peoples to build a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, government-to-government relationship based on respect, partnership and recognition of rights. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission highlighted the importance of Indigenous languages, arts and culture to cultural resilience and in the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. In 2017, the Government committed $89.9 million over three years to work with Indigenous Peoples to develop a strategy to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures, centered on the principle of Indigenous control. This includes $14.9 million for Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to support the digitization of existing Indigenous language and cultural materials. This funding will also support the development of an Aboriginal Oral Testimonies Project to document Indigenous heritage. It includes support to Indigenous communities in their efforts to preserve and revitalize traditional First-Nations, Inuit and Métis languages through the identification and preservation of, and access to, oral testimonies.

Library and Archives Canada has created Project Naming which enables Indigenous people to identify the names, and thereby the stories, of First Nations, Inuit and Métis persons. Project Naming is LAC’s photo identification project that invites First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to help identify thousands of photographs in LAC’s collection. Over the last 15 years, approximately 10,000 images have been digitized, and nearly 2,500 individuals, activities and places have been identified through LAC’s Project Naming.

The Government will continue to work in partnership through its Portfolio organizations to increase support to Indigenous cultural expression and entrepreneurs. Significant actions in the audiovisual sector include the creation of an Indigenous Screen Office in June 2017, a collaborative effort between the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canada Media Fund, Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Media Producers Association, and the National Film Board of Canada. The Indigenous Screen Office will support and showcase Indigenous content in Canada and internationally, while addressing the systemic barriers faced by Indigenous creators.

In response to the work and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Indigenous creators’ longstanding concerns about systemic inequities in the existing Canadian production landscape, the National Film Board of Canada announced, in June 2017, its Indigenous Action Plan. Through this plan, the National Film Board of Canada has committed to achieving representational parity in its workforce by 2025; as well as ensuring that 15 percent of production spending is on Indigenous-directed projects. It has also committed to working with Indigenous partners to develop guidelines for the production and distribution of works on Indigenous content and themes. The National Film Board of Canada has also created a mentorship program to support Indigenous artists.

Telefilm Canada is committed to increase financing for feature film production and marketing made available for creators from Canada’s Indigenous communities to $4 million annually over the next five years. Telefilm Canada has already surpassed its commitment in the first year, having financed 11 new Indigenous feature films in 2017-2018 for a total of $4.7 million.

Indigenous Archives Digitization Project: CBC’s massive, multi-year project is preserving hundreds of hours of rare and historic Indigenous language programming from across the North. Working with Indigenous groups to review, catalogue and preserve this rich historical record – the only one of its kind – for future generations.

CBC North broadcasts approximately 200 hours of local programming every week from Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit. More than half of those hours are in Indigenous languages.

CBC/Radio-Canada is committed to supporting Indigenous voices and programming on a variety of platforms from television to radio to the web. Espaces autochtones, at Radio-Canada, and CBC News: Indigenous are hugely successful web portals dedicated to Indigenous stories. On radio, CBC has launched Unreserved, a national show that focuses on Indigenous issues. CBC continues to invest in Indigenous stories from emerging Indigenous storytellers, through such projects as CBC Development Workshop for Diverse Creators.

CBC/Radio-Canada is training more Indigenous journalists to reflect and engage Indigenous communities through joint internships. This includes partnering with the Canadian Journalism Foundation, the University of British Columbia, Walrus Talks, the First Nations University, Nunavut Sivuniksavut College/Algonquin College and Journalists for Human Rights. Radio-Canada has been working with the First Nations Education Council to provide training for careers in the media to students at the Kiuna Institution on the Abénakise Odanak Reserve.

The Canada Council for the Arts developed the {Re}conciliation Initiative in partnership with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. From 2015 to 2017, this groundbreaking initiative supported 26 artistic collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists across the country focused on the sharing of stories and experiences at the core of reconciliation. The Council recently announced it will triple its investment to support Indigenous arts and cultures, in part through the Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples program launched in 2017. The program will support a broad range of arts initiatives, projects and organizations.

In March 2016, the National Arts Centre (NAC) announced that it will create a new Department of Indigenous Theatre, which will be a place to develop Indigenous theatre and put a national spotlight on the works of Indigenous artists. The NAC will launch its first full season of Indigenous Theatre in 2019, under the direction of founding Artistic Director of Indigenous Theatre, Kevin Loring.

1.9 Pursue gender parity

The Government’s vision for Creative Canada cannot be achieved without a commitment to diversity and inclusion, including gender parity. To strive for greater gender parity in all of its initiatives and support to the creative industries, the Department of Canadian Heritage will integrate Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) across its activities, programs and services.

Telefilm Canada has committed to build a more representative and diversified feature film portfolio that reflects Canada’s population by 2020. To this end, Telefilm aims to achieve gender parity in the key roles of director, writer and producer for the films it finances.

The National Film Board of Canada is a leader when it comes to supporting female artists and filmmakers. In 2016-2017, 44 percent of National Film Board productions were directed by women and 43 percent of production spending was allocated to projects by female filmmakers and artists. The National Film Board of Canada has taken its commitment even farther by committing to achieve gender parity in key creative positions in editing, cinematography, screenwriting and music composition by 2020.

By 2020, many of Canada’s federal cultural institutions and funding programs will have implemented concrete measures to make our creative industries more inclusive, by increasing opportunities for women.

CBC announced its commitment to increase the number of women directing CBC-scripted television series. Women directors now make up half or more of all directors, or direct 50 percent or more of all episodes, on key series including Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland, Workin' Moms and Baroness von Sketch Show. In 2017, Anne, Alias Grace and Frankie Drake Mysteries also joined the list of key series that are part of CBC's female director commitment.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) will also contribute to the federal efforts to make the screen-based industries more inclusive by implementing a series of measures to increase women in key roles on CMF-funded productions including changes to CMF’s guidelines and a commitment to achieve gender parity of all juries. Over the next three years, the CMF will implement initiatives with the goal that by 2019-2020 broadcasters will reach the target of committing 50 percent of their funding envelopes in terms of dollar value to female-led projects, and a minimum of 35 percent of their envelopes, based on the number of productions, to female-led projects.

1.10 Highlights from Canada’s national museums and Library and Archives Canada

Canada’s National Museums

  • Canadian Museum of History
  • Canadian Museum for Human Rights
  • Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Canadian Museum of Science and Technology
  • National Gallery of Canada

Canada’s heritage sector, including our six national museums and Library and Archives Canada, are an integral part of Canada’s creative sector and key partners in achieving the Creative Canada vision. These institutions play a crucial role in preserving, interpreting and promoting Canada’s culture and strengthening our democracy. They engage with Canadians and international audiences in civic dialogue and debate as well as sharing knowledge, while connecting audiences to content about their country and their region. Several of them work directly with creative industries, purchase and commission work from artists, and represent Canada internationally.

Museums continue to be key partners with the creative industries. They invest millions in the purchase of services and products provided by the digital creative sector for graphic design, construction, media planning, TV, radio, film production and consulting.

Canadian Museum of History – Canadian History Hall

Digital facial reconstructions of a 4,000-year-old Sechelt family, developed in collaboration with the shíshálh community of B.C., used advanced digital technologies which allowed members of the community to come face-to-face with their ancestor for the first time, while also bringing their faces and story to life for visitors to the museum. This innovative use of new technologies and collaboration between museum staff, Indigenous advisors and creative industries resulted in a moving and entirely unique experience.

The National Museum of Science and Technology’s partnership with SE3D Interactive, a Toronto media/gaming start-up, has coupled SE3D’s 3D modeling, art direction, software development and animation expertise with museum artifacts, content, interpretation and historical expertise to develop a series of Canadian content-rich mobile games. For example, together they created the Ace Academy series of mobile games in which players climb into the cockpit of First World War aircrafts and get immersed in a narrative-driven experience, based on accurate historical timelines, people, locations and events. The mobile games have been downloaded 1.4 million times across 170 countries and are now being adapted and expanded to include virtual reality and a game for the console market.

Museums are also digital content creators in their own right, by providing cross-platform access to virtual exhibitions, interactive tools and online programming. By promoting user-generated content alongside museum content, they help Canadians to be both critics and creators of digital culture.

The Canadian Heritage Information Network, a special operating agency of the Department of Canadian Heritage, is currently developing Canada’s first Linked Open Data application, an online consolidated catalogue of museum collections and related resources to which several thousand Canadian museums will contribute. As museums and other heritage institutions adapt and change, the federal government will continue to support them in their role as developers of digital tools and resources available to visitors, creators and researchers.

Pillar 2: Promote discovery and distribution at home and globally

The federal government has a vital role to play in supporting and promoting the discovery and distribution of great Canadian content at home and globally. At a time when consumers can access seemingly infinite content, we need ours to stand out for audiences in Canada and around the world. It must be available on the platforms people are watching, marketed effectively to cut through the noise, and launched into international markets to grow awareness and value.

The ways in which content is distributed and accessed continue to change, and so, too, must the tools we use to create space for Canadian content at home and on new, global platforms.

The Government will ensure that federal legislation that governs the marketplace for the Canadian creative industries is relevant and supports the creation and distribution of Canadian content in the future.

To help our creators promote their content around the world and capture a greater share of global markets, we will work with new players to ensure that the domestic market for Canadian content remains strong. We will put into place a new, strategic approach to cultural exports. And as it has in the past, Canada will continue to play a leadership role to promote a diversity of voices for the benefit of Canadians and the world.

2.1 Rethink broadcasting for the online era

Budget 2017 announced a review of the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act. It noted, “in this review, the Government will look to examine issues such as telecommunications and content creation in the digital age, net neutrality and cultural diversity, and how to strengthen the future of Canadian media and Canadian content creation.”

The review will address the digital shift and will aim to support diverse quality content and information for Canadians, as well as affordability and access to telecommunications services, among other things. Key broadcasting areas of the review may include whether the policy objectives in the Broadcasting Act require updating to reflect the current and future expectations for our system. It may include assessing whether the powers of the CRTC to regulate broadcasting are well-suited to the changing realities of broadcasting. More details will be released in the fall of 2017.

As the federal regulator for broadcasting and telecommunications, the CRTC has a key role to play in this transition. The Government sent a letter to the incoming Chairperson of the CRTC, welcoming him to his new post and informing him of the Government’s vision and priorities for Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications system during his term. These include recognizing that the digital shift has led to an environment of seemingly infinite choice, where global success for Canadian content requires a diverse and strong domestic market that acts as a launchpad for homegrown talent; that the broadcasting system plays a crucial role in providing trusted, accurate and quality information; and that recognizing and supporting the perspectives of creators in CRTC deliberations, as well as the key role they play, will be important to the success of the Canadian broadcasting system. The letter affirms the key role of the CRTC in supporting Canada’s culture and creativity.

In addition, while we are reviewing the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act in a digital age, the Government is using its power under section 15 of the Broadcasting Act. We are asking the CRTC to report to the Government on future models for the distribution of Canadian content and the extent to which these models will ensure a vibrant domestic market capable of supporting the continued creation, production and distribution of Canadian programming in both official languages, including original entertainment and information programming. The report will provide substantive input to the review of the Broadcasting Act and will be due to the Government by June 2018.

2.2 Support from new players and new partners

CBC and Netflix coproduced Alias Grace, the adaption of Margaret Atwood’s Giller Prize-winning novel, which is airing on CBC Television and will stream on Netflix globally.

Canadians increasingly choose to interact with and experience culture online using Netflix, YouTube, Facebook and other services on a daily basis. These services have become a part of our creative ecosystem and play a role in the production, distribution and discovery of Canadian content.

We are encouraged to see global online platforms highlighting the great talent that Canada has to offer. But we also know that digital platforms can – and must – do more.

During the consultations on Canadian content in a digital world, many Canadian stakeholders asked about how new players can contribute to Canadian content. We have made it clear that we will not impose new taxes on online services that will increase the cost of these services to Canadians. Affordability and access to online services are important to Canadians.

Instead, we will seek commitments from, and pursue agreements with global Internet companies that provide services to Canadians. Our expectation is that these companies will be partners in, and contribute to our objectives for, Creative Canada, helping grow our creative industries with investments in production and distribution. We will work to attract investments that build on Canada’s tremendous creative and production opportunities and ensure online players contribute to Canadian programming and to the development of Canadian talent in both official-language markets.

Audible, an affiliated company of Amazon, which offers audiobooks on a subscription basis, recently launched its Canadian bilingual site with 100 Canadian titles in English and French. Audible is working to increase the number of Canadian titles in English and French offered on its platform in Canada and abroad.

Spotify Canada plays a key role in enhancing the discoverability of Canadian artists, by working directly with Canadian music entrepreneurs to ensure quality Canadian content is on Spotify's key global playlists. Spotify Canada has recently started an initiative called “Spotify Sessions” which provides Canadian artists with opportunities to record live versions of their songs to attract greater audiences on the Spotify platform. In a global first, YouTube launched “Spotlight Canada,” a new channel showcasing Canadian creators, including English, French and Indigenous artists. YouTube launched “Creator on the Rise” on its Canadian platform, a new feature which highlights an emerging Canadian creator each week. Canadian stars, such as Lilly Singh, Thomas Gauthier and Gigi Gorgeous produce compelling content that resonates with fans all around the world. YouTube estimates that 90 percent of Canadian video viewership comes from outside of the country.

2.3 Implement the Creative Export Strategy

Global competition is not about looking like everyone else. It’s about taking what is unique about our country and telling those stories proudly. Canada’s population reflects the world, and this diversity is Canada’s competitive advantage.

We are building on our international success by making tailored investments in distribution and promotion. In Budget 2016, we committed a two-year, $35-million investment fund to support the international discovery and export of Canadian creative works. This also includes support for the participation of Canadian artists and creative industries in cultural events taking place in foreign countries, development of artistic projects, as well as support for outreach events that involve the participation of Canadian creators.

With these funds, we’ve already begun to see results in four areas.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest trade fair in the world, with approximately 300,000 visitors and 10,000 media representatives attending each year. Beyond offering a unique opportunity to showcase Canadian literature, culture and artistic talent during the fair itself, as Guest of Honour, Canada will have Germany’s full attention in 2020 as this partnership includes a full year of creative programming throughout Germany during 2020.

  1. We have rebuilt capacity at home and in key Canadian missions abroad: we hired new cultural and trade officers in key markets including London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Berlin, Abu Dhabi, Jakarta, Mexico, Mumbai, South Africa, Shanghai, Tokyo and Washington. These experts are now on the ground, have access to funds to support activities and are ready to give advice to creators on how to access the market, including who potential buyers are, and creating business-to-business opportunities. Two industry advisory groups to the Minister of Canadian Heritage have been struck, one in Shanghai and one in Los Angeles, to help inform our efforts in helping our creative companies to enter or grow their presence in these two markets.
  2. We have re-established our presence at international events to promote our creative industries and create new opportunities to make deals and build critical international relationships to access new markets. For example, in August 2017, Canada was the official partner country at Gamescom in Cologne, an event that attracts more than 30,000 trade representatives each year. Canada will also be the Guest of Honour country in 2020 at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
  3. We reaffirmed Canada’s international leadership in culture and diversity, including at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the G7 meeting of the ministers of Culture; and through re-invigorating bilateral relationships with key partners such as the United Kingdom, Germany, China and France to open new markets, opportunities and collaborations for our creative industries.
  4. We increased investment in key programs within Canadian Heritage to support international touring, marketing and promotion. New funds have already been allocated to MusicAction and FACTOR through the Canada Music Fund, and to the Canada Book Fund. Support for export activities will be broadened beyond the Canada Book Fund and Canada Music Fund, to help creators and creative entrepreneurs through the Canada Periodical Fund and the Canada Arts Presentation Fund. The focus will be on promoting Canadian creators globally and helping them seize international business opportunities. Telefilm Canada will receive $2.5 million in 2017-2018 in new funds to position and promote Canadian creators and audiovisual content in key priority markets in Europe and Asia, and to increase support for coproductions.

Funding allocated through the Canada Book Fund to promote marketing enabled Canadian publishers to enter additional new international markets and further grow their share in existing export markets such as Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. Our support also helped more Canadian book publishers participate in international authors' rights fairs and trade missions, including the Havana Book Fair and the London Book Fair.

Market access and promotion activities have been supported in the music sector, including nearly 180 new music projects focused on touring and promotion of Canadian artists in international markets and 45 additional collective showcases which benefited nearly 150 Canadian artists.

Today, as part of our Creative Canada vision, we are announcing a new investment of $125 million over five years to support Canada’s first Creative Export Strategy and we will work to enrich this program as we continue to open up new markets and opportunities for Canada’s creative entrepreneurs.

This sustained investment will also ensure the initiatives we have begun will be expanded into the future.

We will support the development of new tools to facilitate access to information on federal exports programs and market opportunities for Canadian creators, working closely with Export Development Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) and our diplomatic missions abroad. The Government will work with partners to strengthen Canada’s creative brand and its creators on the international stage.

A new Creative Export Fund will be launched in 2018 to help Canadian creators achieve their international business objectives. We will roll out the details of the new Fund and of our comprehensive Creative Export Strategy in the year ahead.

We will target key markets where there are strong opportunities to promote Canada’s creative industries. We will build strong cultural and economic relations with these key countries and present Canada as a destination of choice for investment in the creative industries sector, with a view to opening doors for Canadian companies wishing to export and engage in these markets.

2.4 Create a Creative Industries Council

Headed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, we will launch a Creative Industries Council (CIC) to advise the Government on ways to enhance collaboration between industries and amplify the growth of our creative industries.

Bringing together leaders from across creative industries, the Council will focus on concrete objectives to access new markets and coordinate Canada’s international presence. The mandate of the Council will include identifying opportunities to develop new partnerships across the sector, ways to leverage an expanded definition of the industries comprising the creative sector to generate jobs and growth, and to assist in developing the Canadian brand to harness global interest and demand for Canadian creative content.

The membership of the Council will be representative of the Canadian creative sector, including both large and small firms as well as gender, regions and official languages, ensuring that diverse perspectives are captured and heard, including from Indigenous communities. Further details regarding the membership of the CIC, as well as its mandate and operations, will be announced over the coming months.

2.5 Expand and modernize audiovisual coproduction treaties

Audiovisual coproduction treaties allow producers to combine their creative and financial resources to develop coproductions that stimulate foreign investment, create jobs, build industry capacity and increase cultural exchange between partner countries. Canada has been a leading coproducer for over 50 years, thanks in large part to treaties with 55 countries.

In the past 10 years, Canada has produced over 600 coproductions, with total budgets close to $5 billion. Since 2016, the Government has signed five new treaties with Ireland, China (film), New Zealand, Jordan and Luxembourg, while continuing to advance negotiations with key coproduction partners, including France and Australia, toward modernized treaties.

In March 2017, Canada became the first non-European member of Eurimages, the Council of Europe’s film coproduction fund. This significant step reflects Canada’s renewed engagement with Europe more broadly, and opens a new door for the creation and international promotion of Canadian coproductions.

Canada will announce the start of negotiations with other key coproducing partner countries in the months ahead.

2.6 Engage internationally on cultural diversity in the digital world

Canada is an active player in international efforts to promote cultural diversity. Canada, in close partnership with France and the Government of Québec, led the development and adoption in 2005 of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

This international treaty has been ratified by more than 140 Member States to date. It recognizes the social and economic character of cultural property and services; reaffirms the right of States to adopt cultural policies; and encourages international cooperation on these issues. Canada’s commitment to the UNESCO Convention is a fundamental pillar of our international approach to culture in trade negotiations. It is a reflection of our determination to making diverse voices stand out and be heard by supporting them through effective cultural policies and programs.

Canada has always played a leadership role in promoting the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and more recently in developing new operational guidelines on implementing the Convention in the digital environment, which reaffirms the Parties’ sovereign right to formulate, to adopt and to implement policies and measures for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital environment. In June 2017, Canada was elected to the Intergovernmental Committee of the UNESCO Convention, which will allow Canada to have a greater active voice in that forum.

In real terms, cultural diversity online stands for the principle that a free and open Internet is also a space where diverse perspectives and national content and identities must be respected and presented in a manner that is consistent with universal human rights. It is a recognition that as algorithms and other tools continue to personalize users’ online experiences, there remains a fundamental role for governments and digital platforms to ensure that national cultural content is represented in the user experience.

Today, Canada remains more committed than ever to ensuring that the international dialogue on cultural diversity stays relevant in the digital era. We recognize, however, that for countries to meet the objectives of the Convention and properly address the challenges and leverage the opportunities created by digital technologies, they must acknowledge the global, trans-border dimension of these issues. They must also engage a variety of players, including governments, civil society, Internet platforms and other private sector players.

This is why, in addition to our continued work at UNESCO, we are launching a conversation with government organizations, academic leaders, digital platforms and civil society with the goal of building a shared understanding of what challenges and opportunities digital technologies have brought to cultural diversity.

To this end, we will be partnering with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo and the Global Digital Policy Incubator (GDPI) at Stanford University, towards an international event in 2018 that would bring together international actors, including governments, digital platforms, civil society and other private actors, to explore practical policy approaches to promote diversity of content and voice in the digital age.

We believe that through multi-stakeholder international engagement, we can promote concrete, collective action on how to support and foster cultural diversity in the digital age, which will in turn contribute to upholding and furthering the objectives of the UNESCO Convention.

Pillar 3: Strengthen public broadcasting and support local news

Public broadcasting continues to be an essential part of our cultural ecosystem, broadcasting news and information to local communities and championing great Canadian entertainment and public interest programming. It connects every region of the country, and many communities rely on the news and local content provided on radio, television and online, and in both official languages.

In a digital world, public broadcasting remains critically important. It connects Canadians to each other, and to diverse Canadian perspectives on culture and current affairs in Canada and abroad. As we seek new pathways to share Canadian content with the world, Canada’s national public broadcaster can also be a powerful platform to showcase the best of Canadian content to a global audience, building partnerships and growing its trusted brand into a global advantage.

During our consultations on Canadian content in a digital world, we heard how Canadians take pride in the CBC/Radio Canada, with a sense of shared experience – whether through time spent with Mr. Dressup and Bye Bye, or the 11.7 million people that tuned in to the live broadcast of the Tragically Hip’s farewell concert in 2016.

CBC News is now the number 1 Canadian news app with more than 3.9 million downloads. It is considered the leader in podcasting with more than 200 million downloads.

We also heard that an independent, trustworthy news ecosystem, reflecting diverse Canadian perspectives and fostering dialogue on public issues, is fundamental to the health of Canada’s democracy. Today, there is no question that the traditional news ecosystem is facing challenges as it adapts to changing technology, demographics, audience preferences and competition for advertising dollars. Business models for digital-only news are emerging, but it is not clear what the viable model for media and journalism will be in the future.

With the importance that news and information hold in a democratic society, CBC/Radio-Canada plays a valuable role in telling our stories and reporting the news across multiple platforms.

In addition, we will work on developing an approach for news recognizing that there are no easy solutions. This approach will be guided by our belief that reliable journalistic content is critical to a healthy democracy and that any action or measure by the Government must respect journalistic independence.

3.1 Chart the future orientation of CBC/Radio-Canada

As Canada’s national public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada provides quality Canadian programming across the country, including in the North, in both official languages, eight Indigenous languages, and on radio, television and online. In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada made a significant investment of $675 million over five years to stabilize the funding of CBC/Radio-Canada. By 2020, the Corporation has committed to becoming more local, more digital, more innovative in its Canadian content creation, and to help train the next generation of creative talent and leadership.

Renewing the Mandate of CBC/Radio-Canada:

In Budget 2017 the Government of Canada announced a review of the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act. In this context, we will work with CBC/Radio-Canada to renew the mandate of the Corporation to strengthen its vital role as a leading partner among Canada’s news and culture organizations, and as a key platform for supporting and promoting Canadian culture and content at home and abroad.

The expectations for CBC/Radio-Canada are high, but reflect what Canadians expect: a CBC/Radio-Canada that showcases the best of Canada to the world; that reflects the country’s diversity, including Indigenous cultures, on multiple platforms, from coast to coast to coast; and that continues to provide an essential local service to Canadians in all regions of the country, and in both official languages.

New appointment process for CBC/Radio-Canada:

In February 2016, the Government of Canada adopted a new approach for the selection of Governor-in-Council appointees to Crown corporations such as the CBC/Radio-Canada. This approach requires, for the first time, that the appointment process be open, transparent, merit based and allows all interested Canadians to submit their application online.

On June 20, 2017, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, on behalf of the Government, announced the creation of an independent advisory committee whose mandate is to conduct selection processes for Governor-in-Council appointments to CBC/Radio-Canada, including the Chairperson of the Board, the President/Chief Executive Officer and Directors. The Committee is composed of broadcasting and digital technology experts as well as representatives from the cultural sector, Indigenous and minority language communities. The Committee will recommend highly qualified candidates to the Minister, and create a roster of candidates that may be drawn upon for future vacancies. Ultimately, this process is a first for Canada’s national public broadcaster and will result in the appointment of a strategic, expert Board of Directors that reflects Canada’s gender, linguistic, cultural and regional diversity.

ICI and continue to stretch the boundaries of digital with new drama and comedy series exclusive to digital, including programs like Le Cheval-Serpent, Trop, My 90-Year-Old Roommate, and Terrific Women. Both CBC and Radio-Canada are helping young creators (authors, directors, actors) develop new digital-adapted scripts, building the next generation of Canada’s storytelling industry. Their digital success is even crossing over to traditional television. Trop will be broadcast on ICI Télé this fall after enjoying a huge success on ICI TOU.TV EXTRA. Le Cheval-Serpent is coming to TV this winter.

The CBC Creator Network is a digital platform where CBC collaborates with, and supports, diverse Canadian creators and storytellers. The Creator Network helps their work find new audiences through CBC’s platforms – 200 social videos have already been posted, and over 100 more are in production.

Absolutely Canadian is a national weekly one-hour series showcasing documentaries and performances from communities across Canada. All programs are produced locally, often by independent filmmakers.

Radio-Canada and the Government of Canada’s partnership with TV5 Monde allows Canadian creators to reach millions of Francophones and Francophiles all over the world with a variety of programs including original dramas and cultural galas, raising the profile of Canadian programs.

3.2 Support local news through the Canada Periodical Fund

Community news and periodicals play an important role in contributing to cultural expression, news and information, civic engagement and community-building. The Canada Periodical Fund ensures Canadians have access to diverse Canadian magazines, community newspapers and digital periodicals, and enables these publications to overcome systemic market disadvantages and to adapt to changing conditions, locally, nationally and internationally. Program recipients in Indigenous, ethno-cultural, LGBTQ2, and official-language minority communities play vital roles in the communities they serve.

Since its beginning, the Fund has contributed to the sustainability of this industry during unprecedented change, and it will remain the federal government’s primary support program for Canadian periodicals (magazines and paid community newspapers) in the future.

We value the production of Canadian local news and, as such, we will work toward modernizing aspects of the program to ensure that it meets this goal and responds to industry needs. As many sources shift their method of publication and distribution, this means that program eligibility may need to be expanded to take into account periodicals that are increasingly “digital only”. It could also mean that to have a more accurate picture of the investments made in providing news and information to Canadians, funding eligibility could take into account original editorial content expenses, including print and digital content.

As well, basing most funding on print circulation does not reflect the fact that Canadians increasingly choose to access these sources online or on multiple platforms. A more open, platform-agnostic approach that is aligned with the reading choices of Canadians and designed for an increasingly digital world is warranted. Further, we will give consideration to ways to better support innovation, business development, start-ups and export, to be presented in 2018.

3.3 Support from new players and new partners

From a static newspaper delivered to the door to mobile access from a bus or café, smartphones and social media have fundamentally changed how Canadians read and share the news. Many Canadians now increasingly find their news or information via platforms like Facebook and Twitter, based on what’s been shared by family, friends or groups/organizations that they follow. On social media, news and information is often shared by multiple sources, including professional news organizations, citizen journalists and individuals themselves.

This new reality has implications for citizens, journalists and news organizations. For their part, citizens have access to far more news but also must increasingly assess the reliability of news and information they find online. Digital and news literacy skills are critical. Journalists and news organizations, on the other hand, continue to work through the ongoing digital disruption as they seek to meet the expectations of Canadians.

Internet companies are critical partners in ensuring citizens’ access to news and also to the tools and skills they need to assess the reliability of the news and information found on their platforms.

Our clear expectation is that these platforms are partners and must do more to support the creation and distribution of essential news and information. They hold an important responsibility in promoting informed digital citizenship.

We will work with Internet companies to help jumpstart digital news innovation so Canadian journalists and news organizations are better positioned to succeed in offering Canadians local and regional news in the years ahead. Recognizing the dominant role of Facebook and Google in particular in the Canadian news ecosystem, we have begun building partnerships with these platforms to promote digital innovation in news.

To this end, this fall Facebook will launch a partnership with the DMZ at Ryerson University and the Ryerson School of Journalism at FCAD to create a digital news incubator – the first of its kind in Canada – with participants receiving start-up funding from Facebook, mentorship and research support from the Ryerson School of Journalism, and a residency at the DMZ. This is North America’s leading university-based tech incubator to accelerate innovative ideas that contribute to the digital development of journalism and news organizations. Additionally, they will work with the Canadian Journalism Foundation to promote news literacy in a partnership to be announced later this fall.

Google will commit to providing new measures to support digital subscriptions and increase discoverability for news publishers, including through the launch of Canada NewsWorks, a program that will develop resources for national, regional and local news publishers. While the program is still under development, it will focus on convening workshops, roundtables and events, building case studies and best practices, providing a forum to discuss products and platforms, and supporting potential new revenue opportunities for news publishers.

We will also continue to work with digital media companies to invest in initiatives that support Canadians of all ages in growing their digital awareness and news literacy skills.

We are pleased that the Canadian Journalism Foundation, CIVIX (Student Vote) and Google Canada recently announced a new $500,000 news literacy program that aims to provide over 1.5 million school-aged Canadians with a deeper understanding of the role of journalism in a healthy democracy and how to find and filter information online. As well, Facebook and Media Smarts will soon be launching a two-year partnership on digital news literacy and how to spot misinformation and false news online.


Canada is poised to be a global leader in culture and creativity. Creative Canada sets the direction for a new approach and puts in place the investments we need to support this vision.

Together, we have built a strong foundation that reflects who we are as Canadians. From here, we will continue to work with the creative sector to achieve a modernized and forward-looking approach to culture and creativity in Canada.

Over the coming months and years, a series of concrete measures including investments, changes to policies, programs and legislation will be made. These include:

  • Increasing the federal contribution in order to maintain the level of funding in the Canada Media Fund starting in 2018.
  • Expanding our international efforts through a new investment of $125 million over five years in the Creative Export Strategy.
  • Establishing a Creative Industries Council to bolster growth and tackle barriers.
  • Modernizing key funding programs for media, music, books and periodicals beginning in 2017 through to 2019–2020.
  • Using the $300 million investment in the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund to support the next generation of cultural spaces—creative hubs—where creators can build their entrepreneurial skills, create, collaborate and innovate.
  • Launching a review of the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act.
  • Setting the Parliamentary Review of the Copyright Act in motion in 2017 and acting on the results of the review.
  • Bringing forward changes to the Copyright Board of Canada in 2018 based on input from the current consultations.
  • Seeking commitments and agreements over the coming year with new players that have emerged as key elements of Canada’s digital creative landscape.

To deliver on this vision of Creative Canada, the approach is deliberately ambitious and distinctively Canadian. It ought to be: Canada has everything it needs to be a world leader in its creative industries. It will continue to be based on our country’s commitment to linguistic duality, pluralism and a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples. It will build on the success of our industries, the talent of our creators and the strength of our national institutions.

It will be a balanced approach. It will be inclusive, so that we can achieve social and cultural objectives as well as economic ones. This, too, is uniquely Canadian.

We are in a global hunt for stories. People are consuming more information and cultural content, not less. More than that, they are looking for a sense of meaning and belonging in the world. The arts and culture—and our creative industries— provide that meaning, that sense of belonging.

This is the time for Canada to step confidently forward, to set a new standard. Creative Canada charts that course.

Annex A - Expert Advisory Group, consultations on Canadian content in a digital world

  • Rob Blackie, Co-CEO, Executive Producer and Writer at Take the Shot Productions
  • Katie Boland, Actor, Writer, Director, Producer and Web-series Creator
  • Catherine Cano, President and General Manager of Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC)
  • Loc Dao, Chief Digital Officer at National Film Board, Digital Media Creator, Producer, and Creative Technologist and co-founder of CBC Radio 3 studios
  • Lisa de Wilde, C.M., Chief Executive Officer of TVOntario
  • Michael Patrick Donovan, Executive Chairman of DHX
  • Charles Falzon, Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) at Ryerson University
  • Zsuzsi Gartner, Author, Editor and Journalist
  • Sylvia D. Hamilton, Independent Filmmaker and owner of Maroon Films Inc., Producer, Director, Writer and Professor at University of King’s College School of Journalism
  • Philippe Lamarre, Owner and President of URBANIA Media, Producer, Creative Director, President of the Société des designers graphiques du Québec
  • Jean La Rose, Chief Executive Officer of Aboriginal Peoples' Television Network (APTN)
  • Emily Molnar, Artistic Director of Ballet BC, Dancer
  • Monique Savoie, Founder, President and Artistic Director of Society for Arts and Technology (SAT)
  • Justin West, Founder and President of Secret City Records and Secret City Publishing, Recording Artist Manager
  • Kenneth Whyte, Journalist, Author, Chairman of the Board of the Donner Canadian Foundation, Senior Fellow at C.D. Howe Institute, Former Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Rogers Communications Inc.

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