Government of Canada outlines proposed regulations for the Online News Act
GATINEAU, September 1, 2023
A strong, independent, and free press is fundamental to our democracy. The Online News Act, passed into law this spring, will help newsrooms across Canada negotiate fair compensation when their work appears on the dominant digital platforms.
Today the Honorable Pascale St. Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced proposed regulations to implement the Online News Act.
The proposed regulations provide clarity on which platforms are subject to the Act and greater certainty on what they need to do to obtain an exemption from the mandatory bargaining process. To obtain an exemption, platforms must enter into agreements supporting the diverse production of Canadian news in communities across Canada. The total value of agreements must meet a certain threshold in order to qualify for an exemption.
The regulations and accompanying Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 30-day public consultation period beginning on Saturday, September 2, 2023. The government welcomes the participation of businesses, academics, civil society and all Canadians. Following the public consultation, the final regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. Once finalized, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will be bound by the regulations.
This process of consultation will further allow respondents to provide their views on the proposed regulations that lay out the thresholds for who the regulations will apply to, the contribution formula to be considered as part of granting exemptions from mandatory bargaining, and how such platforms will contribute fairly to a diversity of news organizations in their contributions.
The CRTC will further define the mandatory bargaining process, the code of conduct to support fairness and transparency, the rules on undue preference or discrimination, and the eligibility of news businesses through their own separate regulatory process. The CRTC recently published details on how it will consult on the implementation of the Online News Act. Information about how to participate is available on the CRTC website.
“Canadians rely on digital platforms to access their news and information, but these tech platforms have to act responsibly and support the news sharing they and Canadians both benefit from. The Online News Act requires these dominant platforms to bargain fairly with news businesses—both big and small. The consultation on the proposed regulations today helps to provide clarity for platforms and news organizations while opening a dialogue toward real results. I look forward to engaging with platforms in a constructive way. I believe we share the goal of ensuring quality access to information and news for Canadians. Tech giants can and must contribute their fair share—nothing more. Canadians expect a vibrant news landscape where we can get the facts when we need them.”
—The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage
The CRTC is the independent public authority responsible for regulating and supervising Canada’s broadcasting system.
The Online News Act received Royal Assent on June 22, 2023.
The legislation was developed based on the principles of market fairness and sector sustainability while maintaining press independence, with minimal government intervention.
The Online News Act is one of three projects that are a key part of the government’s digital agenda:
- Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11): Highlights Canadian stories and music.
- Online News Act (Bill C-18): Would require large digital platforms to bargain fairly with news businesses over news content.
- Online Safety (in development): Would promote a safer and more inclusive online space.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
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