The department of Canadian Heritage announced today that it is proposing to issue policy directions to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in a bid to outline the scope of Bill C-11, enacted last month.
The bill, which requires streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, and Disney Plus to pay to support Canadian media content such as films, music and TV shows, faced 3 years of extensive consultations.
But critics warned that the language of the bill, notably the powers attributed to the CRTC, remains vague and overreaching, which the proposed policy directions aim to clarify.
Specifically, the directions would instruct the Commission to do the following:
- Support the production, audience access, programs owned and controlled by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Further, the CRTC would be directed to support narrative sovereignty which emphasizes the importance of Indigenous people telling Indigenous stories.
- Exclude content made by social media creators, podcasters who use platforms that exercise no control over transmission of content, video games or content on social media not made available on non-social media broadcasting.
- Ensure its expenditure requirements support the creation of programming by Black and other racialized communities, OLMCs (Official language minority communities), and other equity-seeking groups, taking into consideration the challenges they face, including systemic racism and the minority context of French in Canada.
- Craft a clear methodology for financial contributions and obligations to support and promote Canadian programming. It would also be responsible to support the training and development of Canadian creators.
- Implement discoverability in a way that respects and, where possible, increases choice for uses, while minimizing the need to alter algorithms of broadcasting undertakings. Disruptions to programs and undertakings not applicable to Bill C-11 should be avoided.
- Review the definition of Canadian programming and ensure it is multi-faceted and aligns with evolving Canadian content policies
- Ensure any financial or non-financial requirements imposed on broadcasting platforms are equitable relative to their size and nature. Foreign and Canadian undertakings should be treated equitably and the CRTC should consider incentive and outcome-based tools to minimize regulatory burden, promote competition, and avoid unintended impacts on technological innovation.
These directions would bind the CRTC as it engages with Canadians and interested parties on how to implement the new regulatory framework.
The public consultation will start on Saturday, Jun. 10 and last for 45 days, after which the government will bring forward the final policy direction.