Online Streaming Act

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


Pablo Rodriguez  Liberal


Second reading (Senate), as of June 23, 2022

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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 21, 2022 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 21, 2022 Failed Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (hoist amendment)
June 20, 2022 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 20, 2022 Passed Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
June 20, 2022 Failed Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
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)

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


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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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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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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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—

February 7th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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President, Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture

Annick Charette

I obviously cannot answer that in 15 seconds. However, I can tell you that we really want Bill C‑11 to be passed as quickly as possible and that we will support the government in this regard.

February 7th, 2022 / 3:55 p.m.
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Eleanor Noble National President, Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists

Thank you, Madam Chair, vice-chairs, committee members and staff.

I am Eleanor Noble. I live in Tiohtià:ke, Montreal. I'm a Canadian performer and the national president of ACTRA, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.

On behalf of ACTRA's 28,000-plus members working in English-language screen productions across Canada, I am pleased to appear today before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to share the artists' perspective as part of the committee study of the arts, culture, heritage and sports sectors' recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

When looking back to the early days of the pandemic and the loss of employment experienced by millions of Canadians, it was Canadian artists and other self-employed workers who were left overnight with no income or social safety net to fall back on. Because many of us self-employed workers are not eligible for employment insurance, this made an already vulnerable group of Canada's labour market even more vulnerable.

ACTRA was grateful that the federal government acknowledged gig workers in the rules for the Canada emergency response benefit and subsequent Canada recovery benefit, as well as the more recent Canada performing arts workers resilience fund. These benefits were a lifeline for Canadians working in the arts or entertainment industries who were temporarily or permanently laid off due to the pandemic and who would have faced even further financial hardship. The Canada emergency wage subsidy was also instrumental in keeping our union operational when our revenue vanished.

Thank you for having the foresight to step in and introduce these programs. While these federal support measures have proven effective in the short term, they demonstrate the need for long-term solutions to fill the gaps exposed by the pandemic.

The changing needs of Canadian workers, as well as the ongoing pandemic, have resulted in a fundamental shift in the use of and need for a modernized employment insurance program that reflects and is inclusive of all Canadian workers. An expanded EI program that addresses the needs of a modern economy would allow self-employed workers to contribute to and collect EI, despite not having a traditional employee-employer relationship as defined under the current system.

We are also awaiting relief for Canadian seniors who have had their guaranteed income supplement withheld. Although financial help was announced in the fall economic statement, affected seniors are still waiting.

During the pandemic, many of our eligible senior members applied for and received emergency benefits. Unbeknownst to them, the unintended consequence of receiving these benefits was the effect it had on their GIS. Despite having paid taxes on the emergency relief payments they received, many seniors have either been cut off from the GIS or had the amount severely reduced as a result. The government must follow through on its commitment to alleviate the financial hardship that low-income seniors are facing. Their GIS must be retroactively reinstated immediately.

After the initial nationwide shutdown in March 2020 due to the pandemic, work on film, television and digital media programs gradually resumed in the second half of the year in various capacities across the country. Our ACTRA branches have continued to work closely with government, industry partners and stakeholders to adjust health and safety protocols to keep our industry safe and open. ACTRA members have also played their part by remaining vigilant in following these guidelines.

It's paid off. Our industry is cautiously optimistic about its current state, and across our union, our branches have reported good levels of production allowing our members to return to work.

However, to keep up the momentum, our industry must be provided with the necessary tools to ensure its long-term success.

In addition to following strong health and safety protocols, a significant contribution to our industry's recovery is the federal government's $149-million short-term compensation fund. The fund addresses the lack of insurance coverage we required to restart our industry by compensating independent production companies for interruptions or shutdowns due to the pandemic. With the fund set to expire at the end of March 2022, ACTRA hopes to see it further extended for as long as necessary to keep our industry open, or until a permanent alternative solution is implemented.

Another action the federal government can take to ensure the long-term viability of our industry is the swift passage of Bill C-11, the online streaming act. This legislation will go a long way in securing the success of our domestic production industry. With the tabling of this bill last week, I was pleased to see the federal government recognize the importance of investing in and promoting Canadian content, but action must be taken to pass this legislation as soon as possible to support Canadian programming.

ACTRA has been calling for modernizing the Broadcasting Act for over a decade.

Thank you.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

February 4th, 2022 / 11:35 a.m.
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John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think that the Liberals are also supporting Facebook, spending $4.2 million in advertising on Facebook alone in the last two years.

It was like Groundhog Day on the day this bill was introduced, because the challenges that were in Bill C-10 are there again in Bill C-11.

In the old Bill C-10, there was an exclusion for user-generated content, but then the Liberals excluded that exclusion in committee. This time, the exclusion for user-generated content is excluded by another exclusion.

Why can the government not simply exclude user-generated content that is on social media, and protect Canadians in that way?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

February 4th, 2022 / 11:35 a.m.
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John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is trying to use 20th-century rules to address the digital world of 2022. Through Bill C-11, the government is once again delegating more power to the CRTC for some future solution at some future time.

However, the government can act now and give support to Canadian broadcasters by simply abolishing CRTC part II licence fees. Will it?

Broadcasting ActRoutine Proceedings

February 2nd, 2022 / 3:20 p.m.
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Honoré-Mercier Québec


Pablo Rodriguez LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)