An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.



In committee (Senate), as of June 29, 2021
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Broadcasting Act to, among other things,
(a) add online undertakings — undertakings for the transmission or retransmission of programs over the Internet — as a distinct class of broadcasting undertakings;
(b) update the broadcasting policy for Canada set out in section 3 of that Act by, among other things, providing that the Canadian broadcasting system should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians — including Canadians from racialized communities and Canadians of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds — and should provide opportunities for Indigenous persons, programming that reflects Indigenous cultures and that is in Indigenous languages, and programming that is accessible without barriers to persons with disabilities;
(c) specify that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the “Commission”) must regulate and supervise the Canadian broadcasting system in a manner that
(i) takes into account the different characteristics of Indigenous language broadcasting and the different conditions under which broadcasting undertakings that provide Indigenous language programming operate,
(ii) is fair and equitable as between broadcasting undertakings providing similar services,
(iii) facilitates the provision of programs that are accessible without barriers to persons with disabilities, and
(iv) takes into account the variety of broadcasting undertakings to which that Act applies and avoids imposing obligations on a class of broadcasting undertakings if doing so will not contribute in a material manner to the implementation of the broadcasting policy;
(d) amend the procedure relating to the issuance by the Governor in Council of policy directions to the Commission;
(e) replace the Commission’s power to impose conditions on a licence with a power to make orders imposing conditions on the carrying on of broadcasting undertakings;
(f) provide the Commission with the power to require that persons carrying on broadcasting undertakings make expenditures to support the Canadian broadcasting system;
(g) authorize the Commission to provide information to the Minister responsible for that Act, the Chief Statistician of Canada and the Commissioner of Competition, and set out in that Act a process by which a person who submits certain types of information to the Commission may designate the information as confidential;
(h) amend the procedure by which the Governor in Council may, under section 28 of that Act, set aside a decision of the Commission to issue, amend or renew a licence or refer such a decision back to the Commission for reconsideration and hearing;
(i) specify that a person shall not carry on a broadcasting undertaking, other than an online undertaking, unless they do so in accordance with a licence or they are exempt from the requirement to hold a licence;
(j) harmonize the punishments for offences under Part II of that Act and clarify that a due diligence defence applies to the existing offences set out in that Act; and
(k) allow for the imposition of administrative monetary penalties for violations of certain provisions of that Act or of the Accessible Canada Act.
The enactment also makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


June 22, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 21, 2021 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 21, 2021 Passed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.22; Group 1; Clause 46.1)
June 21, 2021 Passed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.18; Group 1; Clause 23)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.13; Group 1; Clause 10)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.8; Group 1; Clause 8)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.5; Group 1; Clause 8)
June 21, 2021 Passed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.4; Group 1; Clause 8)
June 21, 2021 Passed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.10; Group 1; Clause 8)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.2; Group 1; Clause 7)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.1; Group 1; Clause 3)
June 7, 2021 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 10:35 a.m.
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Jenica Atwin Green Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I want to celebrate Canadian content as well and highlight Trickster, which is a new series that is really great.

There have been comments about making Netflix finance Canadian programming. It appears as though the government has passed the buck back to the CRTC. The bill says that the CRTC should regulate similar types of broadcasters in an equitable way, but it also leaves the CRTC the option to not regulate Netflix and the foreign streamers at all. This would be entirely up to the CRTC.

Given its history of inaction on this front, is there reason to be concerned that nothing will change?

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 10:35 a.m.
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Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate what the member is saying. I do not believe that is the case. I believe the CRTC has done a fantastic job overall in protecting the interests of Canadians.

The legislation is fairly clear in what it is doing, and the CRTC is most capable of doing what is necessary to generate the type of Canadian content we all expect and want to see from web giants.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 10:40 a.m.
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Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to the bill before us today, Bill C-10.

Canada's cultural sector, communications and broadcasting companies and the media in general have been eagerly awaiting this bill.

The thing is, everyone was expecting a bill that would be in step with changes in the communications sector since the Broadcasting Act was first enacted decades ago.

I have a great deal fo respect for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who made a passionate case for Bill C-10 this week. Here is how he began his speech:

From 2011 to 2019, the number of Canadians with Netflix subscriptions has grown from one in 10 to nearly six in 10. The number of Canadians using Spotify to listen to music online has jumped from 2% in 2014 to nearly 30% in 2019. We welcome these innovations that bring so much richness to our lives and so much diverse content. However, prolonging the status quo will only further undermine our ability to tell our own Canadian stories.

Unfortunately, it did not take long for the minister, who signed on to the Liberal Party of Canada shortly before the 2019 general election, to pick up the Prime Minister's and the Liberal government's bad habits.

Bill C-10 is full of fine words and intentions, but provides few measures and, more importantly, few answers to the many questions Canadian consumers, companies and media are rightfully asking. The media industry was expecting, and calling for, more.

I will tell you about the developments in the media industry as I experienced them myself over the years. I started my career in radio, in 1984, at a tiny station in Asbestos, now called Val-des-Sources. That radio station was CJAN. I was a casual employee and hosted a weekend show. I was also a news host when the need arose.

At the time, the radio station and the local newspaper were the only sources of local information in the Or-Blanc RCM, as it used to be called. Two hosts and a reporter worked full time, and then there was a casual employee and the management staff. There were a lot of hours of local production.

Then I went to Thetford Mines, a bigger city, and worked in an AM radio station. Some of the people who were elected in the last election probably do not even know what AM radio is. CKLD had about 30 advertising employees, reporters and hosts. Production was 100% local.

These two stations were part of what was called the Appalaches network, an independent association covering the Eastern Townships, Chaudière-Appalaches and part of Centre-du-Québec. At the time, I wrote my stories using a typewriter and carbon paper so I could keep a copy. That is how it was.

Then we began to see technological developments and I was given a typewriter that miraculously kept one line of text at a time in memory, which meant that I no longer needed correction fluid to fix my mistakes.

Then FM radio, computers and cell phones came along. All of this turned broadcasting on its head. When I started at the station in 1985, there were between 25 and 30 employees. Seven years later, I had to leave. There were only four full-time news hosts left. This was before the Internet.

I took a break from radio for a few months and became editor-in-chief of the Thetford Mines Courrier Frontenac. At the time, we were publishing the Courrier Frontenac, the Wednesday edition and a monthly for another sector of the RCM, and there was also another specialized newspaper. We had a team of five reporters, as well as collaborators. In short, it was a prime example of a local communication undertaking.

To put things in perspective, at that time we had to have our camera film developed, layouts were done almost entirely by hand, and we had to deliver the finished pages to the printer ourselves for printing and distribution. That is how it was. Thetford Mines even had a second weekly.

There were enough journalists in Thetford Mines at the time to form a softball team. We called ourselves “Les Chevaliers du Crayon”, the knights of the pencil. There was enough local coverage and enough journalists in our community to have a softball team. That says it all.

When I left in 1998 to go into politics, there was only one weekly paper left and a dwindling number of journalists. Competition was still fierce, but it was still local. Then came the electronic bulletin boards that people could connect to through their modems and get access to free content. Cellphones became increasingly portable, and then there was the Internet, data compression protocols, high speed, Yahoo, YouTube, Facebook and all the social media.

Back home in Thetford Mines these days, we still have one radio station and one weekly paper. I can count on two hands the number of people who work at those two places, and I need only two fingers to count the number of full-time journalists left in Thetford Mines.

Yesterday was rather serendipitous. The Courrier Frontenac published an article in its weekly edition under the byline of News Media Canada. I will read a quote from it:

From the very inception of newspapers in Canada, the best journalism in Canada has been supported and sustained by advertising revenues. Yet virtually all our digital media outlets now face an existential threat because of the anti-competitive practices of web giants Facebook and Google. These two global giants control 80% of all advertising revenues.

Now let's talk about radio. Last August, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, or CAB, released the results of an economic study on the crisis in their field and the future of local broadcasting. The numbers that were released are terrifying. According to the forecasts in the report, 50 radio stations could well close their doors in the next four to six months, another 150 radio stations could do the same in the next 18 months and at least 40 of the 94 private local television stations in Canada could close down in the next 12 to 36 months.

These numbers have me worried. Lenore Gibson, chair of CAB's executive council, said the following in the press release accompanying this report:

Without immediate action, Canada will see a wave of local television and radio closures over the next three years. This will deny many communities a daily local media voice, and significantly reduce the diversity of news choices and voices in almost every community in Canada.

This is worrisome. Carmela Laurignano, vice-president and radio group manager of Evanov Radio Group, rightly stated, “If we allow local news to die, the health of Canadian society will be seriously undermined.”

Let us get get back to Bill C-10. How does it help radio stations and newspapers in my region and other Quebec regions? It does absolutely nothing for them. This was, however, a unique opportunity for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to take concrete action to help local production. When I say local, I really mean local, and that is 100% francophone back home.

Members will understand that I expected the amendments to the Broadcasting Act to be in step with the changes in the media industry in recent years. I am extremely disappointed. This bill will not hold Internet giants like Google and Facebook to the same competition rules as Canadian undertakings.

In its report entitled “Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy”, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, of which Canada is a member, made several recommendations concerning the collection of information in the digital economy and companies without a physical address.

The other members of the G20 and the European Union, Australia—which has been much talked about—South Africa, Japan and South Korea have all modernized their laws to adapt to the new realities of e-commerce, but not Canada.

In recent weeks, and since 2015, we have often heard say that Canada comes last among the G7 and G20 countries. There is one exception, namely that the Liberal government has made Canada the first country in the G7, the G20 and the world to approve an agreement with Netflix for a one-off investment, but with no guarantee from the Internet giant with respect to French-language content.

We do not know the details, but one thing is certain: Netflix, Disney, Apple, Amazon and Spotify are not taxed in Canada. They do not contribute to the Canada Media Fund, and they are in no way obliged to broadcast Canadian content. We are helping these companies that generate billions of dollars by allowing them to play by rules different from the ones imposed on local undertakings, which are obliged to pay taxes in Canada.

The result of all this is unfair competition that leads to significant job losses in the cultural and journalism industries and that erodes the quality of our national product. The problem is not a lack of creativity. We are well aware of Canada’s vast wealth of creativity. However, to create, we need resources and if we do not have the necessary resources because profits are leaving the country, we will lose hundreds of millions of tax dollars that could have been used to improve creation in Canada and Quebec.

When we started hearing about reforming the Broadcasting Act, we were all expecting taxation to figure into the reform. After all, this was one of the main recommendations in the Yale report, entitled “Canada's communications future: Time to act”, which was the basis for Bill C-10. I quote:

The application of GST/HST to foreign online services is a different matter. Consistent with actions taken by some provinces and many other countries, we recommend that sales tax be applied equitably to media communications services provided by foreign online providers. This would eliminate the disadvantage to competing Canadian providers.

Businesses are either taxed or they are not. During the Conservative Party leadership campaign, the member for Durham and Leader of the Opposition quite rightly proposed that the GST be removed for subscriptions to Canadian digital platforms, which would promote online cultural content broadcast by Canadian cultural businesses, such as Club illico and ICI That would level the playing field with foreign digital platforms, such as Netflix, Crave or Disney+.

Historically, every substantive reform of the Broadcasting Act has brought clear definitions for new technologies and how they compare to conventional players. In 1929, it was radio; in 1968, cable television; and in 1986, satellite television and pay TV. Then, there was a review in 1991. Now, almost 30 years later, there has been an unprecedented number of major technological breakthroughs, all occurring in a very short period of time. However, the bill introduced by the Liberal government does not explain how or on what terms the digital platforms and conventional players will compete with each other in the same market.

Furthermore, the definitions are vague and at times absent. What is the definition of “social media”, as mentioned in the exclusions list under the “carrying on broadcasting undertaking” category? Subclause 1(3) of the bill amends the Broadcasting Act by adding the following after subsection (2):

(2.1) A person who uses a social media service to upload programs for transmission over the Internet and reception by other users of the service — and who is not the provider of the service or the provider’s affiliate, or the agent or mandatary of either of them — does not, by the fact of that use, carry on a broadcasting undertaking for the purposes of this Act.

Does this include Facebook or YouTube? Does this include YouTube's pay channels, which have 2.5 billion views?

Another point that absolutely needs to be addressed is the fact that Bill C-10 will give the CRTC broad discretionary powers to define what is an online undertaking and to require such undertakings to spend money on producing and distributing Canadian content. Furthermore, the requirement for undertakings to contribute up to 5% of their gross revenues to the Canada Media Fund, which subsidizes Canadian productions, is not explicitly stated in the bill, nor is the calculation used to estimate the $830 million in contributions that the minister referred to. It could also be $1 billion, because the minister sometimes gives that figure as well.

Broadcaster contributions to the Canada Media Fund for 2019-20 totalled $193 million. The minister says that Bill C-10 will increase that to $1 billion. I would like to know what math he used to come up with that estimate.

The government chose, in the end, to hand over its responsibility to the CRTC rather than stick its neck out. First, we know the CRTC's position on this issue. In a 2018 interview with La Presse, CRTC chairman Ian Scott explained that there was no need to impose conditions on Netflix or other undertakings regarding French-language content. I quote:

It works very well because the objectives of the Broadcasting Act are being met: there is a healthy industry that is successful in both official languages. We see that the system is not broken, even though it is under severe pressure.

This is the CRTC chairman saying that.

Second, there are decisions such as the exemption order for digital media, which is continually renewed. We know that the CRTC is going to take at least nine months to make a decision. With Bill C-10, the Liberal government is rolling out a broad delegation of powers to the CRTC, without including clear guidelines on the percentage of Canadian content, contribution fees and expenses, French content requirements, and so on.

In fact, the bill even chooses to limit the oversight powers of parliamentary committees with respect to CRTC directives and regulations and the ability of a broadcaster to appeal a CRTC decision.

The message that the government is sending to the CRTC, ultimately, is that we need to just trust them and that we will see later. It will therefore wait several months for the CRTC to act, and Parliament will have a very limited oversight powers.

Not everyone shares the minister's optimistic opinion about the benefits of Bill C-10 for Canadian production. Here is what Michael Geist, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa and the Canada research chair in Internet and e-commerce law, had to say.

In the short term, this bill creates considerable uncertainty that could lead to reduced investment in Canadian film and television production and less consumer choice as potential new streaming entrants avoid the Canadian market until there is greater clarity on the cost of doing business. Canada is set to become a highly regulated market for Internet streaming services and the uncertainty regarding those costs are sure to have an impact. The regulatory process will take years to unfold with a call for public comment, a lengthy hearing, the initial decision, applications to review and vary the decision, judicial reviews, and potential judicial appeals. If any of the appeals are successful, the CRTC would be required to re-examine its decision and the process starts anew.

It is someone who studies laws and everything that is happening in the area of commerce and digital distribution who said that. I want to once again quote the Minister of Canadian Heritage. He said:

We will also go a step further and will instruct the CRTC on how to use these new tools. This will happen once the bill receives royal assent, as the bill makes amendments that allow for this essential policy directive.

What does “once the bill receives royal assent” mean? What will these instructions be? Why did the minister not include the instructions for the CRTC in a schedule to the bill? What is there in those instructions that the minister does not want Canadians to see? Are the instructions in question a way of saying that the government did not do the work, that it promised to do something but was not sure how to go about it and that it certainly does not want to be seen as the bad guy who hurt the social networks? Are they a way of saying that the government is going to make the CRTC do the dirty work and give it the responsibility for making all the decisions?

That is the problem with Bill C-10 and the Liberals. They are all about appearances instead of action.

In short, the bill is vague, and fails to address a number of important aspects. It does not guarantee that Internet giants such as Google and Facebook will have to compete with other companies and play by the same rules as Canadian companies. It does not explain how digital platforms and the traditional media will compete under similar conditions. It does not address the issue of exclusive content shared on digital platforms. It does not set out guidelines for the production of Canadian content and contributions to the Canada Media Fund.

We will propose amendments in committee. It is time to reform the Broadcasting Act. It has allowed too many local radio stations across the country to go under. It is allowing newspapers and traditional media to disappear, and is doing nothing to halt the propagation of hate speech.

The minister is asking that we help improve his bill. We will work with him, but we must agree that the current version is far from acceptable. We will need content, clarity and clarifications. The ball is in the minister's court. We will see whether the minister is prepared to listen to the opposition parties' recommendations and proposals.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11 a.m.
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Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec


Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his speech and his passionate testimonial about local media.

I myself delivered La Tuque's L'Écho when I was a boy. I also wrote for several local media outlets. However, there appears to be some confusion. Bill C-10 is about broadcasting, not the media. I publicly announced my intention to table another bill on the media and the use by Internet giants like Facebook and Google of Canadian content without appropriate compensation.

My hon. colleague is talking about the Yale report on which our bill is indeed based. It is somewhat ironic, since the former leader of my hon. colleague's party, on the day the report was published, proposed that we scrap it, so I am not sure I understand.

If the local media is so important, and I believe my hon. colleague in that regard, why is it that the Conservative Party has opposed our every effort to help Canadian media?

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11 a.m.
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Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, the best way to help local media, local radio and Canadian media would be to make their market free and fair. Unfortunately, the government's approach is to throw money at the problem over and over again, without actually dealing with the issues that put the media in this situation to begin with.

Focusing on cash-intensive band-aid solutions will not fix things for Canadian media. That is what we are against, the fact that the government is breaking out the band-aids and making itself look good, but does not want to tackle the real issue. That is what is so sad about what the Liberal government is doing now.

Plenty of articles have reported that the much-touted assistance the media is expecting from the government has not gone out the door yet. Many media organizations are still waiting for that promised assistance. Once again, the government is all talk and no action.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11 a.m.
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Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, which was very interesting, especially the personal and professional aspects. It was nice to hear him talk about his past.

We all agree that this bill is a weak response to the Yale report. However, this legislation was long overdue. It is important to remember that 16,000 journalists have lost their jobs since 2016. In Quebec and Canada, 250 media outlets have been forced to shut down, and there has been endless restructuring everywhere, including at La Presse, CTV and TVA.

I would like my colleague to give a clear answer to the following question: Will the Conservatives be voting against the bill, or will they propose a series of amendments?

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11 a.m.
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Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his kind comments.

I am glad to have had a career in local and regional media and to be able to share my experience with my colleagues. I worked in radio for a long time and had to live with the CRTC rules for years, so I know how CRTC decisions can impact different sectors.

The current version of Bill C-10 is imperfect, incomplete and insufficiently transparent. It is therefore very difficult for me to agree to support it in its current form. However, as the time has come to overhaul the Broadcasting Act, I hope that the committee will be able to make it more acceptable and ensure that the much-touted directives to the CRTC are made public. I hope that they will be included in the bill so that when we vote on the final version of Bill C-10, we will know what we are voting on.

At present, the government has good intentions, but Bill C-10 has so few tangible applications that it is hard for us to support the bill as drafted.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11 a.m.
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Niki Ashton NDP Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank my colleague for sharing his thoughts on the bill and for sharing his own experience, which is highly relevant to our debate today.

My colleagues have already highlighted the NDP's concerns about this bill, especially about whether the CRTC will be able to take real action and whether it will have the authority needed to protect Canadian content and Canadian artists. Does my colleague share these concerns?

Also, is my colleague concerned about the fact that the Liberals have already shown they are siding with the web giants? This is a problem for this bill, but also for Canadian media in general.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11:05 a.m.
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Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I share some of her concerns about how the current Liberal government is cozying up to the web giants.

The CRTC is being given a huge new mandate and is being asked to do the government's job for it. We have yet to see how the CRTC is supposed to discharge these obligations. It already has a lot on its plate, what with expanding Internet access in rural areas and taking care of its other responsibilities. Now, with Bill C-10, the government thinks it can snap its fingers and call on the CRTC to fix the problems that the government has not been able to fix since it came to power.

I am also very concerned about whether the CRTC will be able to quickly carry out the mandate that the government is assigning it through Bill C-10.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11:05 a.m.
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Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his excellent speech. He obviously has a lot of experience in this field.

Many francophones in my riding in Alberta enjoy French-language media content and would like to get even more. They are pleased with the work that our party is doing to protect the French language. This is important not just in Quebec, but also in the west and for francophones in every region of Canada.

The minister says that other topics will be addressed in a future bill. I think it is rather ridiculous that a clear plan was not presented in the bill. It is hard to assess a future bill that we have not seen.

I would like my colleague to elaborate on this process.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11:05 a.m.
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Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I quite liked my colleague's question.

During the last Parliament, I had the opportunity to visit a francophone radio station in Alberta. I can say that the people there were very passionate about their work and their mission, which is to inform francophone Canadians living in Alberta about local and national news and to be at the heart of their community. We must not forget that important aspect.

As for the minister's comments about another bill being introduced, we will judge that other bill when the time comes. Today we have to study the bill before us. As I was saying, we expected Bill C-10 to be in step with the changes that have occurred in the communications sector in the past few years.

Unfortunately, it is full of grey areas and uncertainty. There are no guidelines. The government is asking the CRTC to do our job. Then it criticizes us for asking questions about what is missing from the bill, when the minister himself says there is nothing in this bill because there will be another one that will have something in it. It is a bit hard to follow.

I completely agree with my colleague. He asked a very good question.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11:05 a.m.
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Hochelaga Québec


Soraya Martinez Ferrada LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Davenport.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to debate Bill C-10 and the measures it contains to support francophone creators and French-language content.

Our government is the first since 1991 to modernize the Broadcasting Act in response to technological change. I want to remind the House why this legislation is so important and crucial for our artists and creators.

TV and radio have been with us all of our lives. I remember TV shows such as Bobino et Bobinette and Passe-partout and films that have marked our history such as The Decline of the American Empire and Crazy. Each of us fondly remembers the programs that shaped our lives.

TV and radio are sources of entertainment, discovery, culture, and information. They move us, inspire us, fill us with wonder, and give us a window to the world. Television and radio help forge our identity, especially our francophone identity. They also help us to get to know and to understand one another in all of our diversity.

Historically, under the Canadian broadcasting system, traditional broadcasting services, such as radio, TV, and cable, were required to fund Canadian content, our stories, and our songs. However, online broadcasting services, such as Netflix, Crave, Spotify, and QUB Musique, are not subject to the same types of regulatory requirements as traditional services.

This situation has resulted in a regulatory imbalance and jeopardizes the future of Canadian content funding. Our bill seeks to ensure that traditional and online broadcasting services contribute to the creative sector. To achieve this, we need to change the definition of what constitutes a broadcasting undertaking to include online undertakings, which did not exist in 1991.

Amending this definition in the Broadcasting Act will require online undertakings to contribute financially to Canadian and Quebec cultural production. Of course, these contributions will need to support a wide range of Canadian creators and consumers, as well as francophones across the country.

We know that French Canadians and Quebeckers enjoy their TV productions and musical artists. French-language programming in the francophone market and francophone musical artists are very successful and enjoy good ratings.

For Quebec and all francophone minority communities, French-language TV and radio play a vital role in encouraging children to learn and use French and creating a sense of belonging among communities that are often isolated.

Television and radio play a very important role in forging our identity, and even more so in the case of francophones, who are a minority in North America. The arrival of online broadcasters has disrupted the Canadian broadcasting sector, and the French-language market was not spared.

Online broadcasters pose tremendous challenges to the availability and promotion of French-language content, especially content produced by our minority francophone communities and content produced in Quebec.

Statistics show that 47% of francophones watch mostly English content on Netflix, whereas French-language services capture 92% of the audience in the French-language market on traditional television. This shows that francophones look for content in their language.

We must also point out that the average budget for English-language film and video productions has been increasing for several years unlike the average budget for French-language productions, which has decreased and for which foreign funding remains relatively low.

With respect to music and digital platforms, in 2017, only six French Canadian artists were among the top 1,000 music artists with the most popular streams in Canada. Clearly, we must stop twiddling our thumbs. We must take action.

The creation of content in both official languages is a vital cultural objective, no matter the technological or other advances in the broadcasting sector.

That is why our bill gives the CRTC the tools it needs to ensure that the funding and regulations support Canadian content in both official languages and, more importantly, that they take into account the particular needs of francophones. The survival of French-language content and the protection of our cultural sovereignty depend on it.

For many years, the CRTC has been overseeing the implementation of a strict regulatory framework for traditional services to support and promote French-language content. Thanks to its efforts, in the past 10 years, the volume of French-language television production has been stable, accounting for 25% of the total volume of Canadian television production. The CRTC has also succeeded in promoting French-language music. French-language radio stations must devote at least 65% of their weekly popular music programming to French-language music.

We can be sure that the CRTC will establish a regulatory framework for online broadcasters that is just as strict. It will ensure that online broadcasters fairly and equitably support Canadian content in both official languages and that they take into account the particular needs of francophone creators across Canada, especially in Quebec.

I am pleased that the modernization of the Broadcasting Act will give the CRTC a regulatory framework for expenditures, to ensure that a portion of revenues is reinvested in Canadian productions.

In short, this bill acknowledges the importance of investing in the creation of diversified content that reflects all francophones and all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It demonstrates our commitment to fostering the creation of stories and songs in both official languages in the digital era.

We are committed to strengthening the Official Languages Act, taking into account the particular reality of francophones in North America. I know that my colleague is preparing to present this shortly. The ultimate goal of this bill is to preserve an enduring broadcasting ecosystem that continues to support Canadian stories and songs. This legislative and regulatory framework will provide Canadian broadcasters, producers and creators with unqualified support.

Since the creation of the first Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting in 1928, the Government of Canada has continually worked to develop policies in step with technological developments. I am proud that our government is continuing that tradition by modernizing the Broadcasting Act for the new digital era. I am convinced that every member in the House is keen to preserve our cultural sovereignty and encourage the all-important cultural sector.

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November 19th, 2020 / 11:15 a.m.
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Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, good morning on a cold snowy Edmonton day.

Does anything in Bill C-10 suggest that CRTC would change its mandate or limit its role as an effect of the bill?

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11:15 a.m.
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Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bill we are studying today aims to give the CRTC the regulatory powers it needs to better invest in Canadian creators. That is what is in the bill before us today.

Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

November 19th, 2020 / 11:15 a.m.
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Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague said some things that really made my ears perk up.

She said that the bill aims to maintain an ecosystem and that we need to protect our culture.

All that takes money. In the last Parliament, the Bloc Québécois repeatedly reminded members that the web giants pay no taxes here, despite being billionaires. They use Canadian culture and news but do not produce any at all.

Would my colleague not agree that this bill has more holes in it than Swiss cheese?