After years of political pushback, the parliament has finally passed Canada’s new online streaming bill.
The controversial law is bringing changes to the country’s Broadcasting Act, allowing it to bring online streaming services under its regulatory authority.
This means companies such as Netflix and Spotify will now have to pay to help support Canadian media content.
What does C-11 bring?
The move marks the first time Canada is altering its Broadcasting Act since 1991. Senators voted in favor of C-11 as they wanted the act to take online content into account.
They argue that popular streaming platforms need to have the same content requirements and regulations as the country’s traditional broadcasters. In addition, the government wants these services to promote Canadian content.
One of the new requirements is that streaming platforms start investing more in the country’s domestic content and creators. They will also have to promote and recommend programming in Canadian official and indigenous languages.
Financial penalties will be imposed in case of act violations. The government said such measures are necessary to ensure domestic talent gets a bigger stage online.
C-11 becoming the law
C-11 has been subject to a lot of debate but has finally passed its final hurdle in the Senate on Thursday evening.
Senators voted 52 to 16 in favor of the bill’s version that parliament members passed earlier this month.
Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said that it’s important for the parliamentarians to contribute to the legislation’s final wording. He also asserted that it was time to move on from the old Broadcasting Act.
The Conservatives had previously declared their intention to repeal C-11 should they form the government. However, at the moment, it appears that the new online streaming act is a huge political victory for the Liberals.
Many people in the Canadian film, television, and music industries have expressed their support for C-11. However, critics of the bill have voiced many concerns.
They believe the changes to the broadcasting act will have a knock-on effect on everyday users. This is due to the provisions that would require the promotion of Canadian content.
Some of the affected services have said the same. YouTube ran an online campaign, warning users about the potential impact of the bill. It said that the changes could affect the livelihood of content creators on the platform.
TikTok, which is waiting for the outcome of a new proposed bill in the US, has also criticized C-11. It argued that the changes could negatively affect its users even though the government has promised otherwise.
There were attempts to add protections to the bill for users who create their own content, such as DIY and comedy videos. However, they were rejected as they could create loopholes for large platforms.
Rodriguez has dismissed all criticism, calling it inaccurate. The government is expected to clarify many uncertainties about the bill soon.