Briefing

Heritage minister says Big Tech will need to start contributing ‘meaningful levels of Canadian content’

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Pablo Rodriguez indicated he would regulate digital streaming companies if the Liberal government is re-elected in the fall. He said firms would need to contribute to the creation of Canadian content, promote it and make it easier to find on their platforms. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: This is the first indication that the Liberals intend to impose Canadian content requirements on companies like Netflix, Amazon and Apple. Rodriguez’s statement follows years of pressure from CBC, Bell, Rogers and Corus over what they describe as an uneven playing field between domestic and foreign broadcasters. Netflix has vocally opposed any regulation, arguing that it already voluntarily contributes significant sums. Whether it and other foreign tech firms will actually have to pay anything under a rule change remains to be seen. The government did not say whether foreign tech companies would need to make financial contributions, like the Canadian-content spending-level requirements for domestic TV broadcasters. It stated that the panel reviewing the Broadcasting Act will need to decide what form the contribution will take. The panel’s recommendations are scheduled to be released in January 2020, three months after the election.