Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and committee members.
I do want to recognize Wanda Noel, who has been the counsel for CMEC on the copyright issue for quite some time. I would like to recognize Andrea John and Chris George, in the audience, who are here in a supportive capacity. Selfishly, I would like to inform the committee that my wife and daughter, Katie and Cecilia Churchill, are also in attendance. That's who the baby is.
We very much appreciate the committee's time on a very important issue in this country. There has been substantial conversation around copyright since the 1990s. I think it's important to recognize that we're trying to accomplish two key public policy objectives.
One is to ensure that the rights of authors and creators are protected, that they're fairly compensated for their work, and that that industry can flourish in this country. The other is to ensure that our public education system is able to access the widest range of materials as possible to ensure the long-term success and well-being of our students.
Fundamental to this conversation are two key aspects around copyright. One is fair dealing, and our understanding of fair dealing. A difficult question to understand is what's fair in terms of trying to juggle these two public policy priorities. Luckily for all of us in the room, the courts have done a lot of work for us in that regard, and have worked very hard over the course of 10 to 15 years to establish an understanding of fair dealing in the country, which we, as ministers of education, believe our policies fit well within.
The second question is around the idea of a mandatory tariff to be imposed on the education system. This is something that we do oppose. We support the court's definition of fair dealing. We do oppose a mandatory tariff on education materials.
I think it's important to recognize why that is. We believe that with the scarce public resources in our provincial jurisdictions in this country, we need to ensure that every single dollar that we spend is in the classroom and geared toward student success, achievement, and well-being. A mandatory tariff would take tens of millions of dollars out of our education system, and out of the classrooms of potential future writers and creators in this country.
I think it's important to note that this is not an education sector versus the creative industry issue, although there is some disagreement. We have a vested interest in the success of a vibrant, robust, healthy, successful, innovative, creative sector in this country. In fact, our education system is dependent on that. We recognize that there have been some changes to the economic model of these sectors as a result of technology, the Internet, open source information, and information that's being used in our education systems.
We don't believe a mandatory tariff is the best way to provide support to that industry, because we believe that takes money out of our classrooms where our precious dollars are very much needed.
I do want to discuss two issues that I know have come up in conversations at this committee. One is around the amount of full textbooks that are being copied. I know that's a concern for the industry. That would be a concern for us as well. That would fall outside of the guiding principles of fair dealing and use of copyrighted materials in the country.
Thankfully, we've had the Federal Court of Appeal and the Copyright Board look at this question on two separate occasions, and they've discovered that 98% of copying that does happen in our education system is actually within the context of following the principles of fair dealing. I think that's something that we should take great pride in. Ninety-eight per cent is a passing grade. I don't think we should look at bringing in a mandatory tariff in response to what is a 2% anomaly in our education system.
Also, I know it's been argued that the revenues from the education sector to the publishers and to writers has been impacted by the change in fair dealing and copyright legislation. I think if you look at the Statistics Canada information that we've provided, you'll see that sales have actually gone up for the K-to-12 education sector for books in our country since 2012. That's something that we should also take great pride in. That's happening at a time when technology is changing and the delivery of education in our system is changing.
In closing I do want to state that as ministers of education in this country who are responsible to be stewards of our education system, and who are responsible for delivering high-quality education to our students, we do support the court's definition of fair dealing and I believe our guiding principles are in line with that. We've provided those as well to you, and we are committed to working with yourselves, the federal government, and industry to come up with innovative, creative ways to support that industry to make sure that it's successful and thriving so that we can all benefit from it.
We just don't believe that subsidizing it with money from the classroom is the best way to accomplish that.
I will let the committee know that we're also, as ministers, investing $5 million nationally to further copyright education with our educators to make sure they are very well aware of their roles and responsibilities and also to do further assessments of compliance around copyright. I thought that would be of interest for the committee as well.
Thank you very much for those opening moments, Mr. Chair. I'm very happy to entertain any questions.