Additional support to strengthen local and diverse journalism
OTTAWA, October 20, 2022
A free and independent press is essential to a healthy democracy. Canadians rely on local journalism to stay informed on what is happening in their communities and around the world. The last few years have not been easy for Canada’s news organizations, and today the Government of Canada is taking a further step in its efforts to support them.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez today announced the rollout of two Budget 2022 commitments to support diverse and local stories in the news. First, Canadian Heritage will be relaunching the Special Measures for Journalism component through its Canada Periodical Fund with a new investment of $40 million over three years, starting in 2022–23. This funding includes a $1.5 million investment over three years through the Fund’s Business Innovation component, starting in 2022–23, for unique new projects that focus on innovative ideas to support magazines and community newspapers. The Government will also invest an additional $10 million in 2023–24 for the Local Journalism Initiative to strengthen support for local journalism in underserved communities across Canada.
The renewal of the Special Measures for Journalism will continue to support the availability of quality news stories and help publications adapt to the continually evolving media consumption habits of Canadians. These measures will enable more than 800 community newspapers and magazines to bring their stories to many diverse local, regional and national communities. The Special Measures for Journalism 2022 call for proposal will launch soon for 2022–23 fiscal year funding. Details on the Special Measures for Journalism and the Business Innovation components will be available on the Canada Periodical Fund webpage.
The additional investment in the Local Journalism Initiative will significantly increase local news stories in diverse communities throughout Canada where no coverage or limited coverage existed before, which is good news for democracy. To maintain the independence of the press, non-governmental administrator organizations with industry expertise will continue to distribute the funding to news organizations.
“What is being announced further demonstrates our commitment and determination to support our local journalism. These past few years have been difficult for our magazine publishers and our community newspapers. We have been there for them and continue to be there for them because we know how important they are to our communities across the country and because they are a pillar of our democracy. Today, we take another step forward and continue our support for a free, strong and independent press.”
—Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Heritage implemented the new Special Measures for Journalism component through its existing Canada Periodical Fund. In 2020–21, more than $45 million was provided to assist more than 790 free, digital and small-circulation periodicals. In 2021–22, more than $23 million was allocated to 765 recipients. The renewed funding will help ensure that most periodicals will continue to create content accessible to Canadians.
A survey of 2020–21 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations recipients indicated that 84 percent of them believe that the Special Measures for Journalism helped their businesses stay in operation during the pandemic.
In 2019, the Local Journalism Initiative was launched as a five-year commitment with a budget of $50 million to ensure trusted, local perspectives are available and to encourage local community engagement. The Recovery Fund for Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors increased the initial funding support to $60 million over five years. The Budget 2022 funding commitments are further strengthening this support to a total of $70 million over five years.
This initiative supports the production of civic journalism for underserved communities and provides funding support to more than 400 journalist positions across the country on an annual basis.
The Canada Periodical Fund’s Business Innovation component supports a diverse range of projects to encourage innovation to adapt to changing market conditions and the diversity of content sought by Canadian readers. In 2021–22, the Business Innovation component provided funding to 124 projects.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
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