Our culture is under a high-speed threat and it’s time to act!

About twenty cultural organizations that are members of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, representing authors, artists, creators, professionals and cultural entrepreneurs in Canada and Quebec, are co-signatories of this open letter.

Canadians are increasingly consuming their music, videos, news and books through the Internet and on international streaming platforms. In less than a generation, these services have become essential. That’s not surprising. For about $10 a month, we get access to millions of songs. For an extra $10, we get hours of television or movie entertainment. It has never been easier to take your library with you to access an unlimited number of new titles.

Unlimited, instant and universal content, for which we pay very little. What’s the problem?

Well, digital has not only transformed the ways in which cultural content is accessed, it has also disrupted cultural economy without adapting the rules of the game.

In the music industry, according to figures from the Québec Association for the Recording, Concert and Video Industries, it is now necessary for an album to earn 30 million online streams to be profitable, compared to just 15,000 physical copies sold. A member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), who received royalties in 2018 received on average only $54 from digital sources.

In the audiovisual sector, broadcasters are experiencing a decline in both audiences and advertising revenues. In 2013, total web advertising revenues exceeded television advertising revenues in Canada and the gap only increased in subsequent years.

Streaming or video platforms such as Netflix and Spotify, most of which are foreign, have no obligation to promote and finance Canadian cultural content, unlike local radio and television stations, retailers and cable operators. The same is true for Internet access and mobile telephone providers, which are experiencing revenue growth and profit margins exceeding 38%.

It’s time to act!

In the past, Canada successfully adopted policies to protect culture and foster the development of rich and diverse local cultural ecosystems. These policies are no longer appropriate in the current digital environment and are no longer sufficient to promote our culture or generate sufficient income for artists, authors, creators, producers, cultural professionals and entrepreneurs. While the government has launched several consultations and begun to review fundamental laws for the cultural sector, the next mandate must be one of action. To ensure this, we are launching a Canada-wide campaign today.

It is still possible to take action to save our culture. Let’s follow the example of the European Union, where many reforms have been adopted in recent years. They now allow States to protect copyright in the digital environment, collect royalties and set quotas for European and national content on platforms.

We want each of the federal parties’ candidates to be aware of the issues that have shaken the sector for several years and to commit to taking prompt action to ensure that our policies apply to the Web. Our culture must be adequately and equitably funded by all parties who benefit from it. Our companies must have the means to support quality production. Our artists and creators must be able to make a living from their art and work. Our culture must be visible online. We must maintain this ability to understand who we are through our culture and share it with others. Because it’s also our identity at stake.

Our culture is under a high-speed threat. Let’s act… faster! #SaveOurCulture

 CDCE campaign website: www.saveourculture.ca


  1. Bill Skolnik, Cochair, Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and CEO & Executive Director, Directors Guild of Canada, Ontario division (DGC-Ontario)
  2. Solange Drouin, Cochair, Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
  3. Fortner Anderson, Member of National Council, League of Canadian Poets (LCP)
  4. Kate Edwards, Executive Director, Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP)
  5. Dave Forget, National Executive Director, Directors Guild of Canada (DGC)
  6. Marnie Gladwell, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Arts Alliance
  7. Greg Johnston, President, Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.)
  8. Stuart Johnston, President, Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA)
  9. Margaret McGuffin, Executive Director, Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA)
  10. Marc Ouellette, composer, Chair of the Board of directors, SOCAN
  11. Maureen Parker, Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada (WGC)
  12. David Sparrow, National President, ACTRA
  13. Meg Symsyk, President, Music Managers Forum Canada (MMF)
  14. Alan Willaert, Vice-President from Canada, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada
  15. Martin Théberge, President, Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF)
  16. Philippe Archambault, President, Association québécoise de l’industrie du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ)
  17. Edgar Bori, President, Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ)
  18. Katherine Fafard, Executive Director, Association des libraires du Québec (ALQ)
  19. Hélène Messier, CEO & Executive Director, Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM)
  20. Jérôme Payette, Executive Director, Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale (APEM)
  21. Gabriel Pelletier, President, Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ)
  22. Mathieu Plante, President, Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTEC)
  23. Sophie Prégent, President, Union des artistes (UDA)
  24. Richard Prieur, Executive Director, Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL)
  25. Élisabeth SCHLITTLER, General Delegate to Canada, Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD) et Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia (SCAM)
  26. Pascale St-Onge, President, Fédération nationale des communications – CSN (FNC)
  27. Roanie Levy, President & CEO, Access Copyright

CDCE Recommendations to Federal Political Parties

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDEC) brings together the main French- and English-speaking professional organizations in the cultural sector in Canada.

The Government of Canada has announced that it will review the Copyright Act, the Telecommunications Act, the Broadcasting Act and the Radiocommunication Act.

The CDEC makes 6 main recommendations to federal political parties in connection with the revision of these laws. Our culture needs to be supported. Let’s act.

The CDCE is proud to be one of the organizations supported by the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) welcomes the decision of the Ministry of Culture and Communications to renew its financial support of $125,000 for the year 2019-2020. The Government of Quebec's continued support allows civil society to play a real role in promoting the diversity of cultural expressions. In this regard, we also acknowledge Quebec's contribution of $30,000 to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD).

The assistance provided by the MCCQ to the CDCE will enable it to carry out many projects. As part of the revision of many fundamental laws for the cultural sector (broadcasting, telecommunications, copyright), it will provide CDEC with the necessary means to ensure that the voices of artists, creators and professionals in the cultural sector are heard.

The MCCQ's assistance will also enable the CDCE to continue its work to identify mechanisms to protect and promote cultural diversity in the digital age. Reflections on the practices of the cultural sector in terms of discoverability and the analysis begun on the interaction between artificial intelligence and cultural content will thus be pursued. On this subject, the CDEC will closely follow the work of the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology (OIISIAN).

By contributing to CDCE projects, the MCCQ more broadly supports all civil society efforts to implement the commitments made under the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. As the work of the Conference of the Parties to the 2005 Convention, in which the CDCE is also participating, ends today, the Government of Quebec is demonstrating that it continues to play an essential role with respect to the 2005 Convention.

For more information

Bill Skolnik, Co-Chair

Céline de Dianous, Communications Officer


The CDCE welcomes the renewed support of the Canadian government for the diversity of cultural expressions

In a press release issued today, the Department of Canadian Heritage announced $375,000 in funding for the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, at a rate of $75,000 per year for five years.

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) welcomes this announcement, which aims to support its action in favour of a dynamic and plural cultural sector. In addition to this amount, the CDCE would like to acknowledge the contribution of $375,000 over five years to UNESCO’s International Fund for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The funding announced today will enable CDCE to continue to promote the importance of culture in the development of societies. For twenty years, the CDCE has been the voice of civil society organizations working in the service of culture in Quebec and Canada; it defends the protection of culture in trade agreements, the preservation of the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital environment and the capacity of the State to put in place policies to support national cultural expressions. In the current context of the revision of the laws on broadcasting, telecommunications and copyright, its mobilization in favour of local cultural content is more essential than ever.

With this commitment from the federal government, the CDEC will also be able to extend and develop its international projects within the framework of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD), for which it provides the secretariat. Active since 2007, the IFCCD has been the result of a major mobilization of international civil society in favour of the adoption and subsequent ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Today, it brings together more than thirty organizations working around the world to raise awareness among civil society and governments of the importance of protecting the diversity of creation at the regional and international levels.

On this World Day for Cultural Diversity, the CDCE reaffirms its commitment to work with the Government of Canada to maintain an environment conducive to the development of diverse and multiple cultural expressions that are essential to Canadian society.

For more information

Bill Skolnik, Co-chair

Céline de Dianous, Communication Officer


Proposed Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on Implementing the Canadian Telecommunications Policy Objectives

On April 4, 2019, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) issued its comments and recommendations on the proposed order issuing a direction to the CRTC on implementing the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives to promote competition, affordability, consumer interests and innovation.

Changes to the broadcasting and telecommunications legislative framework will take time to be adopted. We believe that short-term measures are essential to restore balance in cultural ecosystems. For this reason, the CDCE requests that the proposed Instruction Order not override the imperatives of cultural sovereignty and include instructions to ensure a contribution by TSPs to the financing of Canadian content.

The establishment of a contribution from TSPs for the financing of cultural content would make it possible to reconcile innovation and cultural sovereignty. It would have no impact on affordability and would be consistent with consumer interests, which remain strongly committed to Canadian content.

Job offer: Video maker

Audiovisual production project: Cultural clauses in trade agreements

The organization:

The Canadian Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) is a non-profit organization that has been the voice of Canada's cultural community for the past twenty years. Its main mission is to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, both nationally and internationally.

The CDCE brings together 30 organizations representing the entire cultural chain, from creation to dissemination, in the fields of film, television, music, books, new media and the performing arts.

The CDCE works mainly to ensure that cultural goods and services are excluded from trade negotiations and that the diversity of cultural expressions is present in the digital environment.

The CDCE monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted at UNESCO in 2005 and acts to give it full force of application at the national level.

At the international level, the CDCE provides the secretariat of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD), which is made up of some thirty coalitions operating on five continents.

The project:

The project consists of three filmed interviews and a final video which, using the best extracts from the interviews, should make civil society aware of the importance of cultural clauses in trade agreements and equip it in its representations to governments engaged in trade negotiations.


- Three separate 15-20 minute interviews, each serving as the basis for a separate video

- A 5-minute main video with excerpts from each interview

- Subtitling in French for interviews in English, in English for interviews in French

- Conducting the interview = 3 possibilities:

by a representative of the CDCE, dialogue format, two people filmed
by a CDCE representative, questions cut off during editing, only the interviewee is filmed
by the video director, questions cut off during the editing, only the interviewee is filmed

Target audiences

The final video is to be used by IFCCD members, cultural communities and civil society in general, on all continents and in a wider number of countries, to raise awareness among society of the need to protect culture in free trade agreements. It must give cultural associations and organizations the tools and arguments to challenge their governments to take into account the importance of protecting national and local culture when negotiating free trade agreements.

Interview Locations

In Montreal, and possibly Quebec City and Ottawa, depending on the availability of stakeholders.


- Application until March 15

- Meeting with the CDCE team

- Conduct of the three interviews between 18 and 28 March

- Assembly from 28 March to 15 April

- First version issued on April 15

- Final version on April 18


To be defined with the CDCE team according to the budget allocated to the project.

The production will be the subject of an audiovisual production contract (transfer of copyright) between the director and CDCE.

CDCE will make non-commercial use of the videos.


The videos will be broadcast online on all CDCE and IFCCD networks. The terms of the broadcast will be specified in the production contract.


Application until March 15

Send a CV and examples of achievements to the following address:


Brief by the CDCE in the context of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review

This brief is the result of a collective reflection by the members of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE). It reports on the upheavals caused by the increasing circulation of cultural content online and proposes short-term and long-term solutions in the context of the revision of broadcasting and telecommunications laws.

The development of the Internet has strongly disrupted the business models of cultural industries. Online programming services have led to changes in the way cultural content is consumed, made money, produced, distributed and marketed in Canada and around the world.
While their market shares are steadily increasing, these companies are not required to comply with the conditions to which conventional broadcasters are subject, including the requirements to contribute to the financing and promotion of Canadian content in both French and English.
Similarly, telecommunications services providers are seeing their revenues increase as a result of increasing access to online cultural content, with no obligation to contribute to the financing of Canadian content.
In short, these companies benefit from cultural content, but do not contribute to the development of Canadian content.

The CDCE makes several recommendations as part of the legislative review.
First, they aim to better distinguish the regulation of telecommunications activities from that of cultural content activities.
The recommendations also aim to ensure that all actors who benefit from the Canadian system contribute to the financing of Canadian content. They also emphasize the responsibility for the promotion of Canadian content and the transparency of all programming services, whether Canadian or foreign. Finally, regulation should promote a balanced environment for the creation, production and dissemination of diversified local cultural content. The diversity of cultural expressions must be materialized in the environment allowing access to cultural content through the Internet.

The CDCE makes 14 recommendations to translate these broad objectives. Some of these recommendations can be implemented now.

5th Congress of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity

The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) met in Montreal for its fifth international congress on October 26 and 27, 2018.

Founded on 19 September 2007 in Seville, Spain, the IFCCD is the voice of cultural professionals around the world. Its member coalitions represent creators, artists, independent producers, distributors, broadcasters and publishers in the book, film, television, music, performing arts and visual arts sectors.

Since its foundation in Seville, the Federation has held its international congress in Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) in 2009, Bratislava (Slovakia) in 2012, Mons (Belgium) in 2015. This year, Canada hosted the event, which brought together eighteen delegates on site and four remotely. Nineteen countries were represented: Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Uganda, Senegal, Chad, Togo (Africa), Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay (Americas), Australia (Asia-Pacific), Belgium, France, Slovakia, Switzerland (Europe), Uganda and United Kingdom.

What to remember from the Montreal Congress

The IFCCD had experienced a slowdown in its activity since the Mons Congress in 2015, its secretariat having been vacant for almost two years. Organized to relaunch the IFCCD's work, the Montreal Congress provided many avenues for reflection and work for the coming years.

During the first day, IFCCD members discussed the composition of the organization, its means of action, the possibilities of supporting national coalitions and their necessary re-mobilization at the regional level around targeted actions. They also expressed their wish to rebuild the relationship with the UNESCO Secretariat and to get involved in the activities surrounding the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

During a round table discussion, everyone presented the challenges of cultural diversity in their country, developments since the ratification of the UNESCO Convention, progress, obstacles and the current situation of each coalition.

South America, which was particularly mobilized at the time of the adoption of the Convention, has experienced political changes that have marked the cultural sector and weakened the coalitions that have been in place in recent years. The lack of resources complicates coordination between civil society organizations in the field of culture. Nevertheless, IFCCD members are taking every opportunity to participate in legislative reviews or to establish, as in Chile, a national day for cultural diversity.

In Africa, the situation is also very much linked to the political context of each country. For many, the challenge is to depoliticize culture. There is a lack of resources in the region but also a problem with the management of funds, which are not always allocated properly. The discussions also revealed that the Convention is largely unknown in most countries and that governments must be made aware of the importance of cultural exemption clauses in trade treaties.

The situation in Asia-Pacific, which was poorly represented at this congress, made it possible to present the problems related to authoritarian regimes and the issues of freedom of expression that affect many artists. The territorial and linguistic challenge makes joint action difficult, but several organizations maintain a certain dynamism and activity in their countries.

In Europe, the focus is on strengthening national coalitions for better networking. As in Canada, the development of digital technology and its impact on culture are at the heart of general concerns. Coalitions are also mobilizing to recognize the specificity of cultural goods and services in trade agreements.

A dialogue with representatives of the governments of Quebec and Canada

The congress continued in the presence of representatives of the Canadian and Quebec governments, who came to meet the members of the IFCCD.

The Government of Quebec has identified three main priorities regarding the diversity of cultural expressions: the implementation of the UNESCO Convention in the digital context, the challenges of international trade, and international cooperation, in particular through UNESCO's International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD).

The presence of Canadian government officials opened a discussion on maintaining the cultural exemption in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. The France-Canada declaration on cultural diversity and the digital space was also mentioned.

The exchange highlighted that government support for the CDCE and the work of the IFCCD is valuable and extremely beneficial for all organizations around the world, and should be an example to be followed in other countries.

Finally, this exchange was also an opportunity to discuss the mobility of artists and the means to be implemented to improve their circulation.

Working with the research community

Researchers were invited to join delegates to provide input on the second day of the conference. Véronique Guèvremont, of the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, presented the Study on International Cooperation with French-speaking African Countries for the Implementation of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Digital Environment, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec and conducted in five African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal.

Destiny Tchéhouali, a researcher at the Centre d'études sur l'intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM - Université du Québec à Montréal) then discussed his work with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, in relation to international Internet governance and the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital age.

The discussion continued on the importance of collaboration with researchers, in particular on information sharing (statistical data, national reports) and the bridges to be built between the IFCCD and the various UNESCO Chairs, the academic community and networks such as the International Network of Jurists for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The IFCCD members then summarized their priorities and defined several working areas and projects for the year 2018-2019.

The Congress ended with the election of the Board of Directors, which maintained the current bodies to better prepare for the future. The next IFCCD Congress will be held in an African country in the fall of 2019.

A look back at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the CDCE

Photo © Camille Gladu-Drouin

On October 25, 2018, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions celebrated its 20th anniversary in Montreal. Its members were present as well as the many personalities who contributed to its development.

Organized in two parts, a conference followed by a reception, the event allowed the CDCE to reaffirm its priorities and review the highlights of its history.

Opened by Bill Skolnik, Co-Chair of the CDEC, Kelly Beaton, Acting Director General, Creative Market and Innovation, Canadian Heritage, and Ian Morissette, Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Crown Corporations, Ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec, the conference was an opportunity for the CDCE to address three themes at the heart of current issues for the diversity of cultural expressions.

A first panel “Evaluating the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in the Digital Age” was to guide the CDEC’s work on measuring the diversity of online cultural expressions, so that it could propose effective reforms and promote the influence strategies of cultural sector actors. The first observation is that there is a decrease in data every year. Patrick Joly indicated that 60% of the data related to the sale of books in French are currently available. The panelists, Jean-Robert Bisaillon, Patrick Joly and Josée Plamondon, stressed the importance of descriptive data to activate the discoverability of cultural content and, possibly, to measure the diversity of online cultural expressions. The various cultural sectors are not all at the same point, but the process is underway. The growing presence of transnational platforms raises the question of the development of international standards. The development of digital tools has significant potential for the sector, as demonstrated by the experience of the Quartier des spectacles partnership. Personal data protection issues and the reluctance of companies to share their data are aspects that constantly come up when it comes to usage data.

Secondly, Nathalie Guay presented the reflection initiated by the CDCE on the need for cultural ethics in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). AI interacts with cultural content in several ways, at the level of recommendation algorithms but also at the level of creative processes. While some developments present interesting opportunities – one can think of the potential of discoverability for niche content – others have negative consequences and raise many concerns, not only for creators but also for society in general: standardization of taste, lower remuneration, loss of control over personal data, increased investment to ensure discoverability, etc. For the CDCE, it is essential that the development of AI be guided by ethical principles, in particular that of the diversity of cultural expressions.

The last panel brought together the international guests of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity, which met in congress on October 26 and 27 in Montreal. Among them, Guillaume Prieur for France, Ray Argall for Australia, Mane Nett for Chile and Kodjo Noussouglo for Togo. Véronique Guèvremont, of the UNESCO Chair on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, opened the discussion on initiatives (regulations, agreements, pilot projects) implemented around the world to defend cultural diversity in a context of dematerialization of cultural goods and services. She noted that the initiatives to date are not yet up to the challenges of protecting and promoting the diversity of cultural expressions, some advocating the adaptation of artists, creators and producers to digital technology and others focusing only on adjusting tax models. The European Union is truly the region with the most significant progress, particularly with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AMS), which sets quotas for the exposure of European works on video-on-demand platforms and investment obligations for European creation. This is in stark contrast to the situation in Africa, where barely 2% of cultural content is African, even in traditional media.

During the reception that followed, several prominent figures from the political and cultural sectors took the floor to highlight the work accomplished by the CDCE over the past twenty years: the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Sheila Copps, former Minister of Canadian Heritage, Louise Beaudoin, former Minister of Culture and Communications, and then International Relations of Quebec, Solange Drouin, Co-Chair of the CDCE, Pierre Curzi, First President of the CDCE, and Robert Pilon, First Executive Vice-President of the CDCE.

Through their testimonies, the history of the Coalition has been retraced: its creation by the main Quebec cultural associations in the spring of 1998; the enlargement as early as 1999 to the main professional associations of the cultural sector in Canada; the campaign in the 2000s for the recognition of the symbolic value of cultural goods and services; the adoption in 2005 of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions; the efforts in the following years to convince cultural professionals from all continents to create their own coalition; the daily work, yesterday and today, with the thirty active members, to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, in Canada and around the world.

Through their presence and involvement in the debates, the members and partners of the CDCE expressed their willingness to continue the mobilization. In a context marked by the revision of the laws on broadcasting, telecommunications, radiocommunication, as well as the law on copyright, several voices were raised to highlight the importance of a change in the legislative framework concerning the financing and the dissemination of cultural content in Canada.

The event attracted a wider audience than the only networks of the CDCE, proof if any were needed, that the issue of the diversity of cultural expressions does not only concern cultural industries but also society as a whole.

Ethical Principles for the Development of Artificial Intelligence Based on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

The CDCE presents a first reflection on artificial intelligence (AI) so that discussions on its development and applications better integrate cultural issues in general, and those of the diversity of cultural expressions in particular.

On September 25, 2018, CDCE representatives and collaborators met with the Montreal Declaration team to reflect on the interaction between artificial intelligence (AI) and the diversity of cultural expressions (DCE). This text is the result of this meeting, additional research and feedback from CDCE members or allies, in particular on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the CDCE on October 25, 2018. It is not intended to be exhaustive. Rather, it relies on simplicity and conciseness to encourage the greatest number of people to read it.

The objective of the CDCE is to identify the challenges raised by artificial intelligence and the opportunities it creates for the diversity of cultural expressions, propose ethical principles to guide the development of AI in the cultural field and make recommendations to implement these principles.

Law Review: Issues and Perspectives for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Solange Drouin and Bill Skolnik, Co-Chairs of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, on behalf of the 30 member organizations

On October 25, our Coalition will celebrates its twentieth anniversary. Coincidentally, it is October 25, precisely, that we will meet with the Trudeau government-mandated committee of experts regarding the revision of the broadcasting, telecommunications and radio communication acts. Both events will be an opportunity to reiterate our commitment to the diversity of cultural expressions. New regulations adapted to the digital challenges are essential. We, members of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, a pan-Canadian organization bringing together the main Francophone and Anglophone cultural organizations in Canada, want to contribute to its development.

There is an urgent need to address the financing and dissemination of national cultural content. We believe that all who benefit from artistic creation must contribute to its funding. The field of contributors needs to be expanded to currently unrelated providers (internet service providers, mobile service providers) and web-based platforms, which can be simultaneously producers, broadcasters and online merchants. To impose this rebalancing is to defend the value of our businesses and our achievements.

Let’s also reflect on the evolution of the modes of diffusion of our cultural content. We must learn – and make understood - how an algorithm works. How are French and English Canadian music and films discovered on platforms such as Spotify or Netflix? What data do we have to compel them to share in order to ensure a minimum of Canadian online presence and to recommend the same content to their users? Can we get more transparency from the platforms?

Artificial intelligence is at the origin of recommendation algorithms. It is up to us to intervene to promote the diversity of cultural expressions and to put culture at the heart of discussions on the evolution of technologies and their impact on our industries. Artificial intelligence also brings promise for creation. However, its development could have a lasting impact on the production methods of the works and the work of the artists. If an artificial intelligence creates a new artistic form from the work of an artist, is the artist still the author? And is the work always a work if it is deprived of human intention?

Finally, we believe that protecting and promoting the nature and value of Canadian cultural content in all its forms on an international scale is essential. When renegotiating NAFTA - now USMCA - we campaigned for the maintenance of the cultural exemption. Our arguments have been heard. We applaud the efforts of the federal government, with strong provincial support, especially from Quebec, to ensure that culture is exempted from commercial commitments with Mexico and the United States. We have also followed closely the recent choices of the European Union: the vote in favour of the Copyright Directive in the digital age, and the adoption by the European Parliament of a quota of 30 % of European content in catalogues of video-on-demand platforms. These are major developments and, like our European partners, we believe it is essential to preserve the capacity of states to implement policies to support local cultural expressions.

On October 25, we will celebrate twenty years of progress in favour of culture. As a result of the work already accomplished, it is the challenges of today and tomorrow that mobilize us. On October 26 and 27, we will continue our reflection with our colleagues from African, European and South American coalitions at the 5th Congress of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) to be held in Montreal. Let’s take inspiration from international initiatives and find local solutions quickly!

Contemporary and Future Challenges for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Data Access, Artificial Intelligence and International Perspectives

Thursday October 25th, 1:30 pm to 8 pm

Galerie Gora, 279 Sherbrooke West, suite 2015, Montreal

Registration required online

The Cultural Exemption Maintained in the Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) congratulates Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez and the former Minister Mélanie Joly, for maintaining the cultural exemption in the new Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada. The CDCE salutes the tenacity of Canadian negotiators, the unwavering support of the Quebec government, and the steadfastness of the political leaders who stated throughout the renegotiation that they would not give ground.

According to the available analyses, this exemption, which will allow Canada to maintain its cultural sovereignty, was essential for the future of this sector in the digital age. In the context of the revision of the Copyright, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Radiocommunication Acts, maintaining the exemption will allow Canada to adopt policies and programs to ensure the sustainability and development of our cultural industries in the digital age, which support the creation and dissemination of our cultural content.

In 2016, cultural goods and services accounted for more than 650,000 jobs and a GDP of $53.8 billion. Beyond this important economic contribution, cultural content is a source of individual and collective identity and has a fundamentally symbolic value.

Without the existing government measures intended in particular for Canadian artists, creators, producers, publishers and broadcasters, the cultural sectors would never have been able to achieve such vigor and offer such a wide diversity of content in the face of U.S. productions, whose means of production and marketing are much higher.

The CDCE will continue its study of the agreement in the coming days with a more detailed legal analysis, especially since the texts must still be submitted to revision processes by the parties.

For further information:
Bill Skolnik, Co-Chair
Nathalie Guay, General Coordinator