My colleague, Monique, just referred to the panel's recommendations regarding Canada's news industry. I'd like to pause on that for just a minute, because there has been some confusion about the problem the panel was actually trying to address and what we actually recommended. Allow me to start with the problem.
The news industry in Canada is in serious crisis. In the last decade alone, over 200 community and daily papers have closed. In Quebec alone, 57 weekly or bi-weekly newspapers shut down between 2011 and 2018. The challenges facing the news industry are complex, but one thing is clear: The old financial model can no longer support the news industry.
The advertising model that used to sustain a healthy news industry by generating revenues that paid for the journalists who did the research, writing and reporting is dying. That has coincided with the rise of some of the biggest, most powerful media and communications companies in the world.
Today, individuals, reporters and editors watch as their work is aggregated and shared, without compensation of any sort, by the likes of Facebook, Apple, Google and others. If we allow this to continue, not only will we see a decline in Canadians' ability to access Canadian news and perspectives on the local, national and international stories of the day, we will also see the continued erosion of one of the most vital pillars of our democracy.
Our report recommends reasonable, responsible steps to ensure that the work of Canadian news organizations and individual journalists cannot be repackaged, repurposed and monetized for profit without compensation for those who do the work.
We believe it's not beyond the reach of policy-makers to bring the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon into some sort of rules-based construct. Already in Canada we license news organizations like CBC, CTV, Postmedia and others, while wholly protecting editorial independence. Why should we not register the largest media companies in the world in the same way and with the same editorial protections and exemptions when it comes to news functions online? Why shouldn't we insist they pay their fair share for leveraging the work of our journalists and news organizations?
Let me be clear. Nowhere does our report recommend or suggest that government should play a role in determining who is and is not a journalist, nor do we advocate for regulation of news content, editorial practices or any interference whatsoever with the independence of news media.
I expect you will have questions on that, and I look forward to the discussion.
All of our recommendations are rooted in the belief that Canadians deserve to live a connected life, but making that a reality means we need advanced telecommunications infrastructure that is secure, accessible and affordable.
We've recommended a number of measures that would accelerate and make the rollout of advanced infrastructure, including 5G, more efficient. We recognize in particular the expansion of broadband is a special challenge in rural, remote and many indigenous communities. That's why we've recommended that, where there's no economic case to be made for the private sector to drive expansion of broadband, the federal government must step in and ensure those communities are not left out or left behind. We would ask the government to commit to 100% broadband coverage and dedicate the resources required to make it happen by the year 2030, and that the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development submit an annual report to Parliament on the status of broadband deployment.
We know the affordability of Internet and mobile wireless services has been a challenge for too many in this country. With that in mind, we've also recommended a legislative tool kit that will help facilitate competition, reduce prices and encourage innovation in telecom markets. I won't go into the details of those recommendations because time is short.
We have a total of 97 recommendations in the report. We'll give you a chance to ask on any of those you'd like. We believe the measures we've proposed will enable Canadians, no matter who they are or where they live in this country, to seize the promise of new technologies and platforms offered.
On behalf of the whole panel, we are very grateful to the government for entrusting us with this important work.
We now look forward to your questions.