Engaging Canadians on Fair Revenue Sharing Between Digital Platforms and News Media
GATINEAU, August 3, 2021
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the revenues of web giants are shared more fairly with Canadian creators and media. This is why we are exploring a made-in-Canada approach to ensure that contributions made by digital platforms to news and information are in the public interest. This is part of our general commitment towards a comprehensive, more consistent and more equitable regulatory framework applicable to web giants in Canada.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, published a discussion document highlighting perspectives raised in initial engagement on the issue of fair revenue sharing between digital platforms and news media, and is seeking further input from Canadians.
Earlier this year, Canadian Heritage sent out a questionnaire to a number of publishers, broadcasters, platforms, academics, unions, journalist associations and organizations representing the interests of racialized communities, official-language minority communities, remote communities and persons with disabilities.
The discussion document released today highlights the general ideas and perspectives raised in responses to this questionnaire. Overall, a large majority of submissions stressed the importance of action regarding declining revenues in the news sector. While there was no consensus on the preferred way for the federal government to address this issue, a number of considerations emerged to help inform policy development.
We now welcome additional comments from stakeholders and the public on the best way to achieve the balance of outcomes set out in the document. Written submissions should refer directly to the policy considerations set out in the document. They can be supported by additional information on investments and revenues within the news and journalism sector, information on online presence and business models of news media, or any other information and data that will support a better understanding of the online news and information ecosystem.
Canadians have until September 15, 2021 to submit their written responses. Details on how to participate are available on Canada.ca.
“We are committed to finding a solution that will ensure Canadians continue to have access to a diversity of local and regional news sources that serve their needs and interests. Canadian news publishers play an essential role in keeping our communities safe and informed. This broader engagement is a crucial step in ensuring a sustainable, fair and diverse news and information system and protecting the freedom of our press.”
—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage
The Government of Canada’s commitment is part of a broader effort among like-minded countries, such as Australia and France, to ensure fair revenue sharing. It builds on work by the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel and the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) and the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (CHPC).
In spring 2021, questionnaires were emailed to various stakeholders, requesting feedback on two distinct approaches for how the revenues of digital platforms could be shared more fairly with Canadian news media: (1) a mandatory code and arbitration regime; and (2) mandatory financial contributions from platforms distributed by an independent fund. Details are available in the discussion document.
The purpose of this questionnaire was to determine:
- stakeholders’ views on each model and their preferred approach;
- opinions on the design of each approach, including specific elements such as eligibility criteria;
- the impact of each model on stakeholders and the availability of Canadian news online;
- input on the policy objectives that should guide the government; and,
- any other circumstance that the government should understand in developing its approach.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Canadian
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