The Online News Act

Digital platforms have come to play an integral role in Canada’s news ecosystem, shifting the way Canadians access news content that is vital to democracy. They can play an important role in supporting the production of trusted news and information.

The Online News Act:

Learn more about the proposed legislation:

Expected outcomes of the legislation

Once implemented, the Online News Act is expected to result in:

Eligibility criteria for news businesses

Eligible news businesses would be defined using criteria similar to that of a Qualified Canadian journalism organization (QCJO) as defined in the Income Tax Act.

News businesses would be able to benefit from the regime if they meet one of the following 2 criteria:

  1. They are designated as a Qualified Canadian journalism organization (QCJO) under the Income Tax Act s. 248(1),
  2. They are entities that:
    • regularly employ 2 or more journalists in Canada
    • operate in Canada (including its content being edited and designed in Canada)
    • produce news content that primarily focuses on matters of general interest

News content is not limited to a specific format, and could include print, audio, or audiovisual news.

The Online News Act includes an exemption from sections 45 and 90.1 of the Competition Act, in order to allow eligible news businesses that are designated by the CRTC to assemble and collectively bargain for the purposes of negotiation with digital platforms. In the months following the Online News Act coming into force, the CRTC would publish guidelines for news organizations to apply for eligibility status in the regime. These guidelines would be published in the Canada Gazette and on the CRTC’s website.

Next steps

Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, the Governor in Council would publish regulations specifying the application of the Act and the criteria for being exempted from the Act. The CRTC will set out the processes and procedures to implement the Act, including the bargaining process and the process for news businesses to apply to be designated. At any time during this period, digital platforms and eligible news businesses would be able to negotiate commercial agreements outside of the legislative framework.

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