Strengthening Canadian content creation, discovery and export in a digital world

Pre-consultation paper

Culture at the core of creativity and innovation

Creativity is the engine that drives economies and societies forward and improves quality of life. The new ideas and innovation it leads to – from the power of a documentary film to change our perceptions, to an app designed using ground-breaking virtual reality technology – hold tremendous potential for Canada’s economic growth and prosperity, attracting talent and investment while increasing our global competitiveness.

Today, Canada’s cultural sector is a hub of creativity, where geographic, artistic and technological frontiers are continuously explored and redefined. In 2010, the cultural sector accounted for 642,486 jobs and $47.7 billion, or 3.0 percent, of Canada’s gross domestic product – double the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors combined.

Nevertheless, there is work to be done to ensure that Canada – and Canadian content – is poised to succeed in the face of increasing global competition and alongside the rapid evolution of new technologies that are changing the ways content is watched, read, experienced and discovered. The opportunities are not limited to within Canada. In fact, these technologies and the global platforms that have emerged have given rise to new ways of distributing and discovering content, with the potential to reach new markets for Canada’s high-quality cultural exports.

The benefits of a strong creative sector are far-reaching: in addition to creating economic growth and many of the jobs of tomorrow, our creative industries are critical to promoting Canadian culture and the local content that fosters a sense of national and community pride, bringing Canadians together. While they build our sense of place and community, our creative industries also expose us to other experiences and points of view from across the country and around the globe – whether through the coverage of a daily newspaper, or an online platform supporting social sharing and collaboration. This fosters informed citizens and democratic values.

Succeeding in a digital world

Federal support for the content creation sector is based on a toolkit including funding mechanisms, legislation, national institutions and policies. The effectiveness of these tools is being challenged by rapid technological developments, globalization and the new ways in which creators are making content and Canadians are interacting with it. Change is happening at different speeds and being felt more acutely in some industries where disruption has led to difficult pressures including job cuts, reductions in services, and struggles to ensure fair compensation for artists and creators.

With these technological changes happening at a very fast pace, it is important for our government to understand how we can seize the opportunities provided by this digital shift to grow our creative economy at home and abroad, best-position our artists, journalists, cultural entrepreneurs and creators to succeed, and ultimately deliver on Canadians’ expectations to have access to great content in their communities and across platforms.

There are four main drivers for change:

  1. The environment is more fluid. Traditional lines between “creator” and “user”, “artist” and “audience”, “professional” and “amateur”, “citizen and journalist”, are blurring. The result is new models and forms of creation and expression, as well as new relationships and collaborations.
  2. New players and intermediaries have emerged. These are disrupting traditional business models and value chains, giving rise to the emergence of new industries well as changing how Canadians create, share, explore and experience culture. Canadian creators and journalists can take advantage of having new audiences available online, but face challenges of being fairly compensated and having their content stand out and be discovered.
  3. The world is increasingly interconnected and open. Audiences have access to an abundance of content and creative expression from all over the world, which can drown out local stories. Canadian artists and creators have new opportunities to access a global marketplace, but also face stiffer competition from other countries which are extending their cultural sector’s reach to foreign markets and developing approaches to reinforce their competitive position.
  4. The digital consumption of content is affecting expectations. Canadians’ access to a global wealth of content through the smartphone in their pocket, for example, is changing expectations about the type and availability of content. Digital connectivity has created opportunities for personalized content that is instantaneously accessible, free to consumers (or at low-cost), and mobile.

Engaging with Canadians

The time is right to examine the role of the federal government in helping Canada’s creative sector navigate these changes and begin charting a course to ensure Canada is poised to seize the opportunities ahead for economic growth and innovation.

To this end, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, with the help of an Expert Advisory Group, will lead public, stakeholder and online consultations beginning summer 2016 on strengthening Canadian content creation, discovery and export in a digital world.

The consultations will encompass information and entertainment content as presented in television, radio, film, digital media and platforms, video games, music, books, newspapers and magazines.

Working together, our objective is to begin identifying the tools and policy levers that will guide the work of Canadian Heritage over the course of the government’s mandate to foster a leading, resilient and innovative cultural sector that meets the needs of Canadians and Canadian creators.

Description of Diagram Federal Policy Toolkit

This diagram is entitled Federal Cultural Policy Toolkit and is comprised of four text boxes. All boxes have double-headed arrows linking to each other and each box contains a list of related government tools and policy levers.

The box entitled Legislative Framework contains the following eight pieces of legislation: the Broadcasting Act, the Copyright Act, the Income Tax Act, the Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act, the Investment Canada Act, the Telecommunications Act, the Radiocommunication Act, and the CRTC Act.

The box entitled Financial Support contains the following eight sources of funding: the Canada Book Fund, the Canada Periodical Fund, the Canada Music Fund, the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit, Export promotion funding, and TV5 funding.

The box entitled Policies and Regulations contains the following six items: the Foreign Investment Policy in Book Publishing and Distribution, the Foreign Investment Policy in the Periodical Publishing Sector, the Foreign Investment Policy in Film Distribution, the Policy on Audiovisual Treaty Coproduction, the Canadian content rules for TV and radio, and International agreements.

The box entitled National Institutions contains the CBC/Radio-Canada, the National Film Board of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Telefilm Canada.

Objective of the pre-consultations

To better define the scope of the consultations, the Minister of Canadian Heritage has launched a pre-consultation process designed to get public feedback on the issues of importance to Canadians surrounding content creation, discovery and export in a digital world. Following the pre-consultations, the Department of Canadian Heritage will develop a scoping document to guide the consultations.

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