Online Streaming Act

The Broadcasting Act:

It supports Canada’s creators, artists, and creative industries, and ensures that Canadian music and stories are available and accessible.

The last major reform of the Broadcasting Act was in 1991—in the very early days of the Internet. The rise of online streaming services has dramatically changed how we watch series and movies and listen to music. We all enjoy these services, but a number of foreign companies stream into Canada without regulations and without the obligation to contribute to and distribute Canadian stories and music.

Introduction of proposed legislation

On February 2, 2022, the Government of Canada introduced the Online Streaming Act to update the Broadcasting Act for today’s digital world.

The legislation clarifies that online streaming services fall under the Broadcasting Act and ensures that the CRTC has the proper tools to put in place a modern and flexible regulatory framework for broadcasting. These tools include the ability to make rules, gather information, and assign penalties for non-compliance. These obligations will never extend to users—this is about the platforms that stream into Canada.

It is easier than ever for people to create and share content online, reaching an audience that might be a few close friends or the entire world! These new ways of expressing ourselves enrich our lives and our culture; however, they do not make individuals into broadcasters for the purposes of the Broadcasting Act. To be clear:

One of the reasons we are updating the Broadcasting Act is to support greater diversity and inclusion in the broadcasting sector. This ensures greater representation of Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, cultural and linguistic minorities, LGBTQ2+ communities, and persons with disabilities. This means our culture and content will better reflect a 21st century Canada.

The Bill would strengthen Indigenous broadcasters and create new opportunities for storytelling, feeding the vitality of Indigenous languages and cultures.

The Bill would also strengthen the existing accessibility measures in the Broadcasting Act to ensure the provision of programs that are accessible without barriers to persons with disabilities.

What are we trying to accomplish?

Once implemented, this Bill is expected to:

Next steps

Once Parliament has approved the Bill and it has received Royal Assent, the Minister of Canadian Heritage will ask the Cabinet to issue a Policy Direction to the CRTC on how it should use the new regulatory tools provided by the Bill.

In consultation with stakeholders in an open and transparent manner, the CRTC will develop and implement regulations to ensure that both traditional and online broadcasting services, including web giants, offer meaningful levels of Canadian content and contribute to the creation of Canadian content in both official languages.

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