Online Streaming Act

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

Sponsor

Pablo Rodriguez  Liberal

Status

In committee (House), as of May 12, 2022

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-11.

Elsewhere

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.

Votes

May 12, 2022 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
May 12, 2022 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (amendment)
May 12, 2022 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (subamendment)

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

February 16th, 2022 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Kody Blois Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his remarks and for speaking in French. It is wonderful to see parliamentarians work on improving their skills in both official languages.

With respect to freedom of expression, the Minister of Canadian Heritage made it clear in his remarks that Bill C‑11, like the bill in the previous Parliament, is designed to make digital giants contribute to Canadian content, not to restrict freedom of expression.

Does the Conservative Party of Canada agree with the idea that broadcasters should support Canadian content?

February 16th, 2022 / 5 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

I won't have many turns, so I'm going to take this opportunity, Mr. Péladeau, to ask you what you think of Bill C‑11. The bill is currently being debated in the House of Commons.

Broadcasters and telecommunications companies are much more vocal this year than they were last year, at least as far as my contact with them goes. I'm curious as to how you feel about it. I don't think the legislation will shy away from regulating the web players or making them contribute. You raised a very compelling point, and you made a good case for a more deregulated environment, which you could and should benefit from. You feel the government should ease the burden on traditional broadcasters.

Give me a few examples of ways the government could lighten your load, to help you become more competitive in this new market.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

February 16th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in the House as the Conservative critic for Canadian heritage and present the official opposition's response to Bill C-11, the online streaming act.

I want to begin by recognizing and celebrating the contributions made by our creators, including artists, actors, musicians and everyone who works in the Canadian arts, culture and heritage sector. There is no doubt that Canada is home to world-class talent that has found success at home and around the world.

Meanwhile, our young talent continues to develop, which will contribute to our national culture for years to come. This is especially true of the exceptional Quebec and francophone talent that we all want to see flourish.

These creators and artists deserve to be treated fairly and to have the tools they need to succeed. They deserve an economic environment that allows them to be fairly compensated for their work as they tell our stories, whether through music, prose, movies, television or, increasingly, online content.

The Broadcasting Act has not been updated in any meaningful way since 1991. Believe it or not, times have changed a little since that time. When I was a seven-year-old kid in 1991, the phrase “be kind, please rewind” reflected so much of the broadcasting world. Now, three decades later, as a legislator, I can acknowledge that times have changed. Technology has changed, and how Canadians enjoy Canadian stories has changed.

What has not changed, as has been acknowledged, is the legislative and regulatory framework that governs this sector. The Government of Canada and, through the government, the CRTC must update their approach to the treatment of arts, culture and media to reflect the realities of the third decade of the 21st century. As many of colleagues know, my riding is home to some of the great cultural institutions in Canada, including the Stratford Festival, Drayton Entertainment, and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Moreover, our community has a vibrant music scene through events, such as Stratford Summer Music, and it is becoming an destination for television and film production.

When I was asked to serve as the official opposition's shadow minister for Canadian heritage, I was certainly honoured to do so. It has provided me with the remarkable opportunity to meet with so many arts and culture stakeholders from across the country. I have met with many artists, musicians and creators who are deeply invested in the future of the industry and the future of this very particular piece of legislation.

The Conservative opposition agrees that the existing system is outdated. However, we have watched the government fail and waver in its efforts to modernize the Broadcasting Act, adapt to our new digital reality and prepare for future disruptions that we cannot even predict today.

That is what the government and the CRTC ought to be doing. They should be there to ensure they are not in the way of the next disruption or the next innovation. Rather, they should be there to lay out the ground rules to ensure that when that next disruption happens, when that next innovation happens, it happens right here in Canada, and that it allows Canadians and Canadian creators to benefit from and export our top-notch talent around the globe.

In fact, in our 2021 election campaign platform, we committed that a Conservative government would conduct a full review of the CRTC to ensure that it better reflects the needs of Canadians and does not prevent Canadian broadcasters from innovating or adapting to changes in the marketplace. Speaking of election platforms, I want to be clear about where our Conservative opposition stands on updates to the Broadcasting Act related to foreign streaming service.

In our platform, we clearly stated that we would support legislation that updates the Broadcasting Act to deal with the realities of an increasingly online market and the need to provide businesses with certainty and consumers with choice.

We will require large streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime to reinvest a significant portion of their Canadian gross revenue into producing original Canadian programming, of which a mandated proportion must be in French.

If they fail to do so on their own in a given year, they will be required to pay the difference into the Canada Media Fund. The proportion chosen will vary based on the nature of the streaming service and would be determined based on the best practices of other jurisdictions, such as those in Europe and Australia, as well as the nature of the Canadian market.

Content reinvestment requirements will also recognize and incentivize partnerships with Canadian independent media producers.

We were also very clear in our platform that we would do this while ensuring that Canadians who uploaded content to social media platforms continued to enjoy freedom of speech and the ability to express themselves freely within the confines of Canadian law.

Let me be clear. Most Canadians understand and expect that large, foreign-owned streamers ought not to be given advantages over the regulated Canadian broadcasting sector. Large, foreign streamers should pay their fair share. What is more, it is logical to expect that those who benefit from the Canadian regulatory regime should also be expected to contribute to Canadian content. We want to see Canadians telling Canadian stories.

Much has been said about the origins of the current regulatory regime. In reviewing the interventions of past colleagues on this topic, I was drawn to the comments of the then minister of communications, the Hon. Marcel Masse, from November 3, 1989. At page 5,546 of Hansard, Minister Masse states:

...let us retrace the development of our broadcasting system. How did it start? How can we define it? Since its beginning, Canadian broadcasting has had to adjust to Canadian realities: the proximity to the United States, a vast and sparsely populated territory, as well as the existence of two official languages. Every measure taken by public authorities since the turn of the century can be explained by these economic, social and cultural challenges, which lie at the root of the bill before us today.

The minister goes on to state:

What has changed, however, is the technology of communications and the significant evolution of Canadian values.

With the important addition of the consideration of indigenous languages and culture, I would suggest that commentary, provided in the House on that November day in 1989, rings true today as well with the challenges and opportunities faced in today's broadcasting system here in Canada.

While we are going down memory lane, I want to turn back to something not quite as far back as 1989 and look at what happened in the previous Parliament with the former bill, Bill C-10. As all members of the House will remember, and many Canadians watching this debate will remember, in the previous Parliament the iteration of Bill C-10 was one of the most poorly managed and poorly messaged policy proposals that I have seen from the government.

The new bill, Bill C-11 picks up where the old Bill C-10 left off. That flawed bill made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The decisions that were made by the government seemed to fail from drafting to introduction to third reading.

Conservatives were not alone in our concerns with Bill C-10. Many individuals and organizations were concerned about free speech and the implications of government overreach and expressed strong concerns with the former Bill C-10. Professor Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor and the Canada research chair in Internet and e-commerce law, called the former Bill C-10, “an exceptionally heavy-handed regulatory approach where a government-appointed regulator decides what individual user generated content is prioritized”.

He further pointed out that “no one—literally no other country—uses broadcast regulation to regulate user [generated] content in this way.” Even the Senate, which is now filled with a plurality of senators who were appointed by the current Liberal Prime Minister and who generally share his agenda and ideology, refused to pass Bill C-10 before the Prime Minister called his unnecessary attempt at a power grab in the summer of 2021 election.

One of the main flaws with the former Bill C-10 related to user-generated content, which we will hear a lot about in my comments and the comments throughout this debate. Under that bill, there was originally an exception, proposed section 4.1, which would have allowed those who generated content on social media sites like YouTube and other content-sharing sites to be excluded. However, at committee, government members removed that exclusion, meaning the CRTC could have regulated the content individual users put up on those social media sites.

Further complicating the matter was the unclear and unaccountable authority Bill C-10 proposed to give the CRTC. Bill C-10 proposed to give the CRTC broad new powers, but not clear direction on what those regulations would be. With little to no government oversight, it was concerning that an unaccountable government agency would be enforcing and controlling what people see and do not see on social media sites, which brings us to the current bill before the House, Bill C-11.

I can appreciate a certain irony that this bill was introduced on February 2, groundhog day, because it certainly feels like we have been here before. When I was first appointed as shadow minister for Canadian heritage, I spoke with and I wrote to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and had wonderful, productive conversations with the minister. There were two things in particular that I urged him to do. First was not to reintroduce the flawed former Bill C-10 in the same form. The second request I thought was important was, should he introduce amendments to the Broadcasting Act, that the government not interfere with the work of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and that we as parliamentarians be given the opportunity to properly study and, if necessary, amend this bill. That is still my hope.

I want to talk a bit about what this bill would not do. It would not reduce the current regulatory burden faced by incumbent Canadian broadcasters, nor would it reduce the costs to Canadian broadcasters. The government could take immediate action today to support Canadian broadcasters by adopting Conservative policies.

As I said in this place and elsewhere, the CRTC part II licence fees should be scrapped. These fees amount to a tax on Canadian broadcasters and do nothing but provide additional revenues to regulators and, by extension, the Government of Canada. In fact, in the 2019-20 fiscal year, these part II licence fees amounted to $116,594,742. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, they were $113 million. In those two years alone, that amounts to a quarter of a billion dollars that went to CRTC coffers, rather than contributing to Canadian programming. This bill, unfortunately, would not scrap part II licence fees.

As I hinted at earlier, we will be talking a fair bit about user-generated content. In the old Bill C-10, there was an exclusion for user-generated content, which was then excluded at committee in the melee that was clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-10. In Bill C-11, the government has reintroduced an exclusion on user-generated content on social media and it is known as proposed section 4.1 of Bill C-11. However, in what can only be considered the ultimate in bureaucratic language, the Liberals added an exclusion to the exclusion as proposed section 4.2. This exclusion to the exclusion is so broad that the government, through the CRTC, could once again regulate wide swathes of content uploaded to social media.

I want to quote from key stakeholders who operate in the field. Matt Hatfield, from Open Media, said this:

Trying to exclude user generated content from CRTC regulation is a good step, and an acknowledgement by the government that last year’s Bill C-10 was a mistake.... The problem is that it isn’t clear if they’ve actually excluded user generated content. They’re working from a foundation of a clean separation of professional and amateur content on the Internet that simply doesn’t exist. Major Canadian Internet productions like podcasts could find themselves in the worst of all worlds—subject to CRTC regulation, while not able to seek CanCon funding.

What concerns me, and what concerns our official opposition, is the impact that this will have on creators, especially digital first creators who have found success in the digital world and should be encouraged rather than hindered.

According to a 2019 report from researchers at Ryerson University, “there are an estimated 160,000 Canadian content creators on YouTube, including 40,000 who have enough of an audience to monetize their channels. These 40,000 creators have in turn sparked the development of nearly 28,000 full-time jobs”. That is 28,000 full-time jobs through this type of digital first Canadian creation. This is just one small aspect, one positive economic part that we could realize through new media.

It is not Conservative politicians alone who are raising concerns about the impact this would have on digital first creators. We are raising these concerns on behalf of creators from across Canada.

Scott Benzie, the managing director of Digital First Canada, shared this about Bill C-11: “Bill C-11 still has many issues for Digital First Creators, the 'sandbox' that is said to be given to the CRTC is too broad and could include every piece of content online. Most concerning though is that there is still room in the bill for the government to force platforms to put 'approved' Canadian content ahead of independent Canadian content and artificially manipulate the algorithms. Even in the best case scenario this bill only has downsides for Digital First Creators while the traditional media industry gets their funding doubled.”

We can go on to Morghan Fortier, CEO of Skyship Entertainment, who shared these comments: “In Canada, digital content creators have built a successful thriving industry on platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and others that export a huge amount of Canadian content to the rest of the world. Creators bring revenue from other countries back home to Canada and use it to hire Canadian workers, and pay Canadian taxes. They've done this through their entrepreneurial spirit, their hard work, and largely without government interference or assistance. This achievement should be supported, celebrated and encouraged.”

I know my time is running short. I do want to offer a few final comments about Bill C-11, including the broad powers that are delivered to the CRTC. We, as parliamentarians, have a duty to examine and review proposals of the government. The challenge with this piece of legislation is the degree to which government envisions delegating its regulatory power to another entity, in this case, the CRTC. This is being done without, as of yet, clear policy direction from the government as to how these regulatory powers would be interpreted.

This “just trust us” approach does not inspire confidence. One example is the concept of discoverability, which could be so broad and vague that Canadians would be rightly concerned about what content the CRTC would have prioritized for Canadian viewing and, by extension, what would be further deprioritized for viewing by Canadians.

Also, Canadians want to know what constitutes Canadian content in the digital world. As I mentioned before, we want to see Canadians telling Canadian stories, but what is not clear is how the CRTC would adjust its criteria to ensure that real Canadian stories are captured within the CanCon rules.

We, as the official opposition, will be clear in our position on this bill. While we will not be supporting this bill at second recording, we will nonetheless fulfill our role as Her Majesty's loyal opposition in proposing reasonable amendments at committee. Our Conservative opposition will be there for Canadian creators, artists and broadcasters in asking the tough questions and raising important concerns here in the House and at committee.

February 16th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Thank you.

We have a bill in front of us. In fact, it will be introduced in the House this afternoon, Bill C-11, which will have major ramifications across this country.

Alex Freedman for Community Radio Fund, I notice you worked for CBC for 15 years. Good for you, because CBC is killing local radio stations in this country. They're down in revenue by nearly 40% to 45% coast to coast, yet CBC was just handed $150 million more by this government.

How can local radio stations compete with the public broadcaster? They're getting killed, not only in the last two years, but certainly over the last five to six years.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

February 16th, 2022 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Laurel Collins NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian cultural workers, our creators and our artists, as well as our broadcasters, have suffered because of the unfair competition from streaming web giants and big corporations such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

For years, the NDP has been calling for an end to this unfair system. I support the first steps in Bill C-11 to level the playing field. It is especially important to ensure that these corporations have obligations to fund and ensure discoverability of Canadian cultural content. However, web giants, including some of most profitable corporations like Netflix, Google, Amazon and Facebook, still do not pay their fair share of taxes on the profits they make in Canada.

The government likes to talk about tax fairness, but it continues to protect the profits of these big web giants by delaying the implementation of the digital services tax. Does the minister know how much these web giants have avoided in taxes since 2015?

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

February 16th, 2022 / 4:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question and thank the members of the Bloc Québécois for their sincere commitment to culture. I have had a number of discussions with my colleague across the way, the official opposition heritage critic. These have been constructive discussions, since we ultimately have the same goal.

We may have different opinions on how to get there, but we very much agree on the objectives. I would even say that we agree on many aspects of Bill C‑11.

As for my colleague's question, by requiring these online streaming companies to make no more and no less than a fair and equitable contribution to our culture, we will ensure that there is more money for all systems, which includes francophone broadcasters.

February 16th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Pierre Karl Péladeau President and Chief Executive Officer, Quebecor Media Inc.

Madam Chair, thank you.

My name is Pierre Karl Péladeau, and I am the president and CEO of Quebecor. With me today is Peggy Tabet, vice-president of regulatory and environmental affairs.

A few weeks ago, the CRTC held its hearings on the Rogers–Shaw deal. Quebecor did not participate in the hearings because we believe our issues have more to do with telecommunications than with broadcasting. We did not weigh in on the proposals put forward by Rogers regarding local news; nor will we do so today.

However, what I can tell you is that the CRTC is doing nothing to ease the regulatory burden on Canadian companies operating in an increasingly vulnerable sector. The television and local production sector is being undermined economically and financially, with local news and the entire news industry paying the price. The industry plays an essential role in upholding a strong and vibrant democracy, but it's survival is at stake, unless everyone wants CBC/Radio‑Canada to be the only one fulfilling that mission.

Bill C‑11 must take that into account. The regulatory and financial burden on broadcasting undertakings is no longer sustainable. The regulation of basic services, the requirements to contribute to a range of funds, expensive regulatory fees, broadcasting and spending quotas for Canadian programming, and endless reporting are just some of the conditions we must adhere to.

According to the Académie de la transformation numérique, 2021 marked the first time that more Quebec households had online video service subscriptions than cable TV subscriptions—71% versus 66%. That means less and less funding is available for the Canada media fund, since the web giants—Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Netflix, a.k.a. GAFAN—make no contribution whatsoever to the Canadian production ecosystem. Less funding means less local production, more foreign production and, of course, less local economic activity.

In the face of such worrisome data, how can broadcasting undertakings and local news survive under the weight of so much bureaucracy, while GAFAN operates free and clear of the crippling and outdated regulatory controls? It is high time that we, too, enjoy the same regulatory and commercial freedom.

If you find the broadcasting picture I just painted troubling, I have some more insight to share. I'm referring to the major repercussions of the Rogers–Shaw deal for the entire broadcasting landscape.

Keep in mind that Videotron's entry into the cellular mobile telephone services market, in 2006, had a disruptive effect, and Quebeckers benefited. They were among the first in the country to pay 35% to 40% less for wireless service than consumers in the rest of Canada. In recent years, the company has invested more than $4 billion to build a robust and powerful network, complemented by outstanding customer service. At the same time, Videotron has been a driver of innovation, creating Fizz, Canada's first all-digital mobile and Internet service brand.

Those achievements are all thanks to the measures put in place by the federal government, in 2007, aimed at breaking up the oligopoly of the big three telecommunications companies. Under the measures, Quebecor was able to acquire blocks of spectrum in the last auction with a major investment of nearly $830 million, which will help it expand its wireless offering in Canada. Quebecor will also be actively participating in the next auction and urges the government to keep these pro-competitive measures in place.

The oligopoly of the big three still holds 90% of the wireless market, so whether they like it or not, the policy to set aside wireless spectrum for new competitors is paramount if a strong fourth player is to emerge in every region of Canada.

With the right conditions and a swift decision from the CRTC on the terms for mobile virtual network operators, Videotron is the best player to foster real competition throughout Canada and drive innovation.

Thank you, Dr. Fry.

February 16th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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Executive Director, Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations

Catherine Edwards

Okay. I'll jump ahead.

We all know that local news is in trouble, but we've been erroneously handing money to vertically and horizontally integrated giants to solve the problem. At each hearing, they promised that with deeper pockets they would be able to support local production, but they don't. The local journalism initiative by the Department of Canadian Heritage has finally recognized that if you want to ensure communities have local news, you resource not-for-profit community media that are located in and committed to serving communities over the long haul.

CACTUS, the Fédération and the Community Radio Fund of Canada are generating news under LJI for a tenth the cost of public and private sectors, hour for hour, so we do not support further consolidation. It's bad for information diversity and it's also bad because the bigger the companies get, the more they capture our regulator. The CRTC staff openly refer to them, not the Canadian public, as their clients. The rot has gone so far up that we're being told not only by the CRTC, but by Canadian Heritage staff working on Bill C-11, that they cannot recognize not-for-profit broadcasting in a new broadcasting act, because other big entities think it's a zero-sum game. If they recognize that we exist, there's less money for them. The legal structure of our country is caught in their net.

We've elected you to defend the public interest when our bureaucrats and regulators are captured by industry. Should the merger go ahead, however, we urge you to support initiatives that ensure a diversity of information—

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

February 16th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

moved that Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, imagine a day without art and culture: no music, no movies, no television or books. It would be really boring. This is why I am so happy to speak today about Bill C-11, the online streaming act. This legislation will update Canada's broadcasting rules to include online streaming services and will require them to contribute in an equitable way to our culture.

This is the first of a few pieces of legislation that are part of my mandate as Minister of Canadian Heritage. The bills are with respect to online streaming, online news and online safety. All three will work together to make the Internet a fairer, more inclusive, safer and more competitive place for Canadians.

When the Internet came along, we all thought that it was great and wonderful, that we would let it develop on its own, that we would not get involved at all, and that it would create new opportunities, strengthen democracy and connect people.

That is true. The Internet has connected so many people and has had and continues to have so many positive impacts. The Internet is a true vector of change, but it is also responsible for an increase in polarization and misinformation. When it comes to culture, for example, the Internet has completely changed the way we produce and consume cultural goods.

What is more, unfortunately, anyone, particularly young people, can easily be exposed to completely unacceptable online content, such as content promoting hatred online, child exploitation and bullying. We all have a role to play, including the platforms that dominate the Internet and take up so much space in our daily lives.

We need to take action to address these issues now. If not, they will continue to harm Canadians, chip away our cultural sovereignty and weaken our digital society. This is about making the Internet a better place for all Canadians.

How are we going to do this? It starts with this bill, the online streaming act. It starts with making sure that online streamers contribute to the strength and vitality of Canada's cultural sector. Let us remember Canada's strong culture is no accident. We made that decision. We decided and we chose to be different. We chose to be different from our neighbours to the south. We chose cultural sovereignty.

We are reminded of this every day, especially yesterday on National Flag of Canada Day. When we chose the maple leaf as our flag, we were choosing a symbol of our national identity, a symbol that is distinct and set us apart from the cultural superpower to the south. After 57 years, the maple leaf is the most widely recognized Canadian emblem in the world. To each and every one of us, it is a symbol of a Canada, a country, made by all of us together.

Our culture is all of us. I say that often. It is our past, present and future. It is how we talk to one another and how we tell our stories.

For more than 50 years, the Broadcasting Act has helped us share our stories. That is how we built a strong Canadian culture. That is how we forged our Canadian identity, and that is how we brought Canadian voices to the world. We want to build on this for the future. We must recognize that times have changed.

The last time our system was updated was in 1991, and the world was a very different place. People were going to Blockbuster Video to rent movies. I am sure you used to go there yourself, Mr. Speaker. We all went to Blockbuster to rent VHS tapes and paid a fee when we brought them back late. We had Walkmans. That is how we used to listen to music.

So much has changed in the last 30 years. Online content delivery has changed how we create, discover and consume content, and the system in place today needs to reflect this.

Canadian broadcasters have been investing in the system for decades to create the content we love, so it is only fair that online broadcasters be asked to contribute. We are only asking them to do their part, nothing more, which is fair.

Companies like Netflix, Amazon and Disney, to name a few, are already investing in the Canadian economy, which is great. We all benefit from that. Some of their content is really entertaining. This means money for and significant investments in our country. We are very pleased that they continue to invest here and pursue their projects in Canada.

Let us be honest, though. There is another reason why they are investing in Canada. It is because we have incredible talent here, including directors, actors and technicians. We have amazing talent, by any measure, so it makes good business sense to come and invest in Canada.

Basically, what Bill C-11 does is it updates the rules so that all broadcasting platforms contribute to our culture. That is all. That is what the bill is all about.

The online streaming act would bring online broadcasters under similar rules and requirements as our traditional broadcasters. Unlike traditional Canadian broadcasters, platforms profit from our culture but have no obligation to contribute to it. With money leaving traditional broadcasters, day after day, to go to these platforms, this is putting our creators, our industry, our jobs and even our culture at risk. We have to act.

Our system must also pave the way for new and upcoming Canadian artists. There is so much talent in this country. For decades, our current system introduced us to the incredible artists that we all love, many of them now share their art around the world. They are known everywhere. There are so many talents. I am thinking of Anne of Green Gables, The Tragically Hip, C.R.A.Z.Y., Drake, Charlotte Cardin, Lara Fabian, Shawn Mendes, District 31 and Schitt's Creek.

I could name so many other success stories from television, film and the music business.

We want to make sure that our children as well as future generations grow up as we did, having the chance to watch our stories and to listen to our songs.

Culture is an extremely powerful and foundational form of expression. It enables us to share moments, feelings and dreams. It enables us to forge a shared identity. Its scope and influence are greater than ever.

People need their culture to reflect who they are. For example, as francophones, we depend on culture to preserve our language. If we want our children to speak our language, we need to keep our culture strong. To do that, we need a system that is both just and fair.

Indigenous peoples are counting on it too. Diversity and inclusion are Canadian values and they must be key elements of our cultural policy. This is a key pillar of the online streaming act. Racialized Canadians, women, LGBTQ2+ persons and persons with disabilities deserve to have a space to tell their stories to other Canadians but also to the world.

This bill claims that space and makes sure that online streaming platforms contribute to Canadian culture, to our culture.

Currently, our Canadian broadcasters have to follow a set of rules, but streaming platforms follow a different set of rules. It should be the same for everyone, and that is exactly what we are going to do with the online streaming act. Anyone who makes money from the system has to contribute to it.

It is true that in the previous Parliament there were many important debates about the role of social media in supporting Canadian artists and culture. That is why we listened to the concerns around social media and we fixed it.

In response to this debate, Bill C-11 clearly outlines that the regulator would have no power to regulate the everyday use of social media by Canadians. Let me be clear. We will not regulate users or online creators through the bill or our policy, nor digital-first creators, nor influencers, nor users. Only the online streaming companies themselves would have new responsibilities under this act. That is our goal and we will achieve that goal.

How will we do this? Our new approach to social media responds to concerns about freedom of expression. At the same time, it takes into account that music is largely broadcast online. That is why this bill includes very important updates that would only focus on relevant types of commercial content. In fact, a study conducted by Media Technology Monitor in 2020 found that about two-thirds of Canadian adults use YouTube to listen to music, which outpaces dedicated music services such as Apple Music and Spotify.

The proposed amendments in the online streaming act regarding social media would not apply to content uploaded by users or to the users themselves. They would only apply to commercial content based on specific criteria defined in the bill. This responds to the needs of music stakeholders who stated that platforms that broadcast commercial music must contribute to the system. This is a creative way of doing this. We are defining the sandbox for the regulator in the law. There is a sand box there. This is a compromise, an effort in good faith, by the government.

I met with many social media content creators, including YouTubers and other digital-first creators, and I heard their concerns. It was a great conversation. They are amazing. They are all over the world and they are incredible and creative. I heard them very clearly and will continue to listen to them. These creators share incredible content with audiences here in Canada, but also, as I said, around the world. This bill is not about them. It would not require them to do anything new. It would not change anything for them.

If I have not been crystal clear on this yet, let me add that once this bill has gone through the parliamentary process and received royal assent, we will make it even more clear to the regulator, through a policy directive, that this legislation does not touch users, only online streaming platforms. Platforms are in; users are out.

Once again, I want to be extremely clear. This law will never control what Canadians can or cannot see online. We will always be able to choose what we listen to and what we watch. Users are not broadcasters. The content will not be regulated and an individual online creators' content will not be regulated. Again, the principle is simple: Platforms are in; users are out.

Our goal of updating our system has not changed. The system needs updating because 1991 was a long time ago.

As a country, we made the choice decades ago to protect our cultural identity so our artists and creators would always have a place on our airwaves to showcase their work here at home and around the world. That is why one of the conditions for obtaining a broadcasting licence is investing in and promoting Canadian content.

Our goal here, as we have said many times, is to ensure that everyone contributes to Canadian culture and puts our music, our TV shows and our films on the map. That goal has not changed. What has changed is the medium, the market and other things. It is time to adapt. It is not 1991 anymore.

Since the last major reform in 1991, the system has served Canadians well by creating a distinct space for our culture. Thanks to this system, generations of Canadians have grown up listening to Canadian music on the radio and watching Canadian movies on television, and generations of artists have been able to showcase their art and touch the lives of many Canadians. Now that the Internet has opened the door to new cultural connections, we want Canada's cultural success to continue, expand and accelerate. Never before has this been so necessary. I would say that it is now or never.

We have said it, we have seen it and we have lived it: COVID-19 accelerated our transition to the online world, and I am certain that applies to everyone. Physical distancing has pushed Canadians toward online platforms and streaming services. Canadians are communicating with their friends and families online, and millions of people are teleworking. Students, including my daughter, are taking their courses online, and in these difficult times, many of us have found an escape in streaming online music, television shows and movies.

Canadian artists and creators are facing many pandemic-related challenges that have severely limited their revenue streams for almost two years. An unbalanced system with unequal obligations is only making this situation worse for our artists, our creators and our culture. With fewer resources, fewer opportunities and fewer productions, Canadian music and stories will become harder and harder to find, and that is not what we want. We want the opposite. Without intervention, current trends in the market are expected to result in a decline in the production of Canadian television content of almost $1 billion by 2023 when compared with 2018. This is only a measure of the economic loss. The truth is that our cultural identity is at stake.

A distinct space lets us speak to and understand one another, build our own Canadian identity, and work together to find solutions for national issues. As our space erodes, our ties dissolve, and our stories, values and perspectives fade, there is a problem, and doing nothing is not an option.

We have taken action and will continue to do so to protect our culture, our jobs, our creators and the voice of Canadians.

The online streaming act will make a direct contribution to the vitality of Canadian culture. We just want online streamers to do their fair share, no more, no less, to fund, create, produce and distribute Canadian content. The act will ensure the future of Canadian broadcasting, as well as promote and protect our cultural sovereignty.

This legislation is the result of years of hard work and consultation on the part of Canadians, industry, stakeholders and parliamentarians, and I want to thank them for their thoughtful insights and hard work. As we start the debate on this very important piece of legislation, let us remember that at the end of the day, this is about updating our system to reflect today's digital reality.

Things have changed and streaming platforms are the new big players. This bill would make sure that everyone contributes in a similar and equitable way to our culture. The objectives of our cultural policy and broadcast system have not changed. This is about fairness and good middle-class jobs in the cultural sector. It is about having the power to shape our culture and making sure that everyone can see themselves in our culture. It is about being proud of who we are, being proud of being Canadian.

February 14th, 2022 / 3:55 p.m.
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Mark Power Lawyer, Power Law

Good afternoon.

My name is Mark Power, and I'm a lawyer. I am here today with my colleague Darius Bossé, who comes from Madawaska.

I grew up in Toronto. My name is English, but my first language learned and still understood is French. I'm more comfortable in French. My mother comes from northern Ontario, from Kapuskasing, more specifically, and my father is from Timmins. My mother's family comes from Shawinigan.

We represent the legal team of the Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique, or FFCB. You just heard from its president, Ms. Crist. We are here to say a few words about the judgment rendered by the Federal Court of Appeal barely a few weeks ago, in late January. The focus of our presentation will really be on part VII of the Official Languages Act. There are other things that could be said, but we want to stick to part VII.

In support of our remarks and to assist in the work of the committee and its analyst, we have provided some documentation. Those of you who aren't here in person received it by email and those who are in the meeting room, in Ottawa, have received a briefing book. For those who have the PDF version, we've included bookmarks to help you find your way through the documentation. At the very start, you'll see a short five-page document, in English and French, of course, summarizing our comments on the Federal Court of Appeal's decision.

Then there are five bookmarks. Bookmark A is the judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal, which we have annotated in part to make it easier for you to read. Certain passages are highlighted in yellow. Bookmark B is an excerpt from the current version of the Official Languages Act. By underlining and striking text, we have shown the effect that Bill C‑32, which was tabled last June, would have had if it had been passed as is and had received royal assent. Bookmarks C and D are the bills that your predecessors previously introduced and considered. Lastly, bookmark E is Bill C‑11, which is under consideration. It concerns broadcasting.

Ten years later—it took 10 years—the Federal Court of Appeal has rendered an absolutely fantastic judgment promoting the advancement of French in Canada. At last. It has helped clarify matters pertaining to part VII of the Official Languages Act, particularly as regards the federal-provincial agreements, where the Government of Canada decides to withdraw from an area of shared jurisdiction.

At least two major gains have been made before the Federal Court of Appeal, and we should point them out very briefly. They concern consultation and linguistic clauses. I'll begin at the end. What's significant is that Bill C‑32, which was introduced last June, isn't good for French outside Quebec. It's very good for French in Quebec, and it isn't very good for Quebec anglophones. An enormous amount of work remains to be done to reform the federal Official Languages Act so that it helps us live in French, whether we live in or outside Quebec.

February 8th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

I'm pretty sure you've had time to make this your bedtime reading over the last few days.

Last year, when Bill C‑10 was being studied, a particular clause was removed. That created quite a controversy afterwards, which probably contributed to the failure of this bill. This is clause 4.1, which was reinstated in Bill C‑11.

I'd like to hear your comments on how the clause was worded in the current version of the bill.

February 8th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Scott, I'm going to take you in another direction.

I'm sure you've seen the new version of the bill to revise the Broadcasting Act, Bill C‑11.

February 7th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Some play to lift a trophy. We play to lift the country.

As the father of one of the athletes who took part in the summer games, Ms. Paul, I'm surprised that you never talked about mental health. We have been in the House of Commons for over a year asking for help on a three-digit mental health line. We are told by this government that it's coming; the CRTC is coming. Now we have Bill C-11, the online streaming, which will controlled by the CRTC.

As a father who watched an athlete struggle mentally to and from the games, I would like to know your position on this, as Niagara was cancelled last year. It's been moved up to August 6, but the adjustments on age eligibility and the requirements for qualifying will certainly change.

What is the mental aspect of your athletes coast to coast in this country as they prepare for 2022?

February 7th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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President, Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture

Annick Charette

I think the first thing we need to do is to take a different position on the work of artists. We need to recognize that they are the foundation, the raw material of culture, and provide significant accountability when public money is invested to ensure that it gets to the artists.

There are many programs as well. COVID‑19 has added to an already present structural crisis. We talked about Bill C‑11, which is very important to us. I also heard the ACTRA representatives say this, but it is important for the entire cultural community, because we know the losses generated by the lack of contribution from the Web giants.

As we have just said, there is a real need for self-employed people to have access to EI benefits. We understand that it will be difficult to create a new framework, but we need to work on it and have a clear intention.

We should also review the funding of public corporations such as the National Film Board, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canada Council for the Arts. It is by supporting our own arts institutions and private investors in the culture sector that we can improve things. As I said, you need to have a vision. Programs are not enough; you need a vision. I hope that this vision will be built by everyone.

February 7th, 2022 / 5:05 p.m.
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National President, Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists

Eleanor Noble

Yes, we really want Bill C-11 to pass and to modernize our Broadcasting Act. It's time. We need media giants like Netflix and Disney+ to be contributing to our industry so that we can develop Canadian stories and production. We have talented Canadians writers, producers, directors and performers across this country, and we need to start producing our own work and—