“Canada's Communications Future” Report: Important Recommendations for Cultural Sovereignty

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) congratulates the members of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel for their important contribution to the modernization of legislation governing Canada's communications sector. The CDCE welcomes the call for urgent action and the importance given to cultural sovereignty in the report, and urges the government to act on it.

Many of the panel's recommendations are consistent with the priorities put forward by the CDCE. "We are particularly pleased to note that one of the three immediate actions recommended is the adoption of a new exemption order to ensure that digital platforms contribute to the financing and development of Canadian content," said Jérôme Payette, CDCE Treasurer.

Among the CDCE's other priorities outlined in the report is the granting of new powers to the CRTC. The fact that it can impose spending and discovery requirements on all media content companies is an excellent thing. Similarly, the CDCE is pleased that the report calls for transparency requirements for media content companies with respect to online content consumption data and criteria for recommendation algorithms.

The CDCE and its members will continue their analysis of the report and lobbying in the coming weeks, with a view to having short-term measures adopted. Questions remain about the lack of recommendations for telecommunications service providers to contribute to the financing of cultural content, a choice that the CDCE finds difficult to explain given the profits that these businesses generate through growing access to online cultural expressions. Other uncertainties remain regarding the effects of the proposed changes on financing and the diversity of cultural content.

"This is an important step that is coming to an end and the process of reviewing the broadcasting and telecommunications laws must now move forward," said Jérôme Payette. "The government must now take the necessary measures to ensure that digital players contribute to the funding and development of cultural content. It is a matter of survival for the sector. »

As the report rightly points out: “Canada and its leaders need to get this right – the nation's cultural and national sovereignty, economic prosperity and democratic values are at stake.”


For more information
Bill Skolnik, CDCE Co-chair
Céline De Dianous, Communication and Research Officer

CDCE Welcomes Appointment of New Minister of Canadian Heritage

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) would like to congratulate Steven Guilbeault on his appointment as head of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

“We are very pleased to welcome Minister Steven Guilbeault as head of the Department of Canadian Heritage,” commented Bill Skolnik, CDCE Co-Chair. “The cultural sector faces several major challenges and the Liberals made it clear during their campaign that they wish to address them in the first year of their mandate.” The CDCE actively mobilized before the election to insist that Canada's cultural policies apply to the Web. “We now encourage the Minister to continue the ongoing legislative reviews, but we also ask him to undertake immediate actions, which are within his reach,” added Bill Skolnik.

One of these priority actions is to require the CRTC to amend its new media exemption so that programming undertakings contribute to the financing and promotion of Canadian content and deliver data on the cultural content accessed by Canadians. The CRTC must also be quickly given the necessary powers to enforce these new rules.

The CDCE also calls on the Minister to take action to ensure that Internet and cellular telephone service providers also contribute to the financing of Canadian content. It should be noted that the revenues of these companies are constantly growing, largely due to access to cultural content, which takes up 72% of the time spent online by Canadians.

All new financial contributions from online programming companies and telecommunications companies should be directed to existing cultural funds such as the Canada Media Fund, Musicaction/ Factor and the Radiostar/ Starmaker Fund.

The revision of the Copyright Act must also be at the top of the new Minister's priorities, including extending the private copying regime to digital media and devices that provide access to cultural content, and reducing the number of exceptions provided for in the Act. The remaining exceptions need to provide compensation for the rights holders.

Finally, the CDCE welcomes the consensus that emerged during the election campaign to levy the consumption tax on digital products and services and to tax the revenues generated in Canada by the Web Giants. These tax measures are in addition to the other measures requested for online programming undertakings and telecommunications companies.

The CDCE reiterates its congratulations to the new Minister and assures him of immediate availability to work with his team in the implementation of policies that benefit creators, artists, entrepreneurs and cultural professionals.


For more information
Bill Skolnik, CDCE Co-President
Céline De Dianous, Communication and Research Officer

The CDCE congratulates the newly elected members of the House of Commons and invites them to act quickly to save our culture

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) congratulates the MPs elected on Monday, October 21, 2019, and invites them to take note of the important mobilization of the cultural sector during the election campaign.

The Coalition, made up of organizations such as the Directors Guild of Canada, ACTRA, the Songwriters Association of Canada and many others, led a major campaign to protect and promote Canada's cultural expressions in the digital environment. Under the slogan "Save Our Culture", the creative industries have mobilized to demand that our cultural policies be applied online.

“The increase in campaigns and initiatives on cultural issues in recent months reflects an unsustainable situation for artists, creators, professionals and cultural enterprises in Canada: loss of visibility of local works, falling copyright revenues, declining funding for content development”, said Bill Skolnik, CDCE Co-Chair.

The federal election marks a new stage in this mobilization. The Liberal Party made several commitments during this campaign: taxation of the Web giants' revenues, revision of broadcasting and telecommunications laws in the coming year to ensure that all players who benefit from the system contribute to it (offering and promoting Canadian content, contributing to the creation of Canadian content), increased funding for Telefilm Canada, strengthening the mandate of Radio Canada, etc.

“It is our hope that the new team in place will work on implementing these commitments in the coming weeks”, said Bill Skolnik. “We invite the new government to work with the other political parties to obtain quick results and improve their proposals. The culture sector needs a global mobilization and we are ready to make our contribution to the work of the new government now."

The Coalition is calling on the new federal government to take immediate action to ensure that digital platforms contribute to the funding and promotion of Canadian cultural content, and that telecommunications service providers contribute to the financing of creative activity in Canada.

The revision of the Copyright Act must also be one of the new government's priorities in the field of culture. Authors, creators and professionals in the sector urgently need a legislative framework that allows them to be remunerated at the level of the value generated by their content. The new Copyright Act must be adapted to contemporary reality so that digital platforms pay rights to those who own them in Canada and the private copying regime includes technological devices that provide access to cultural content. The number of exceptions provided for in the Act must be reduced and the remaining exceptions must result in compensation for creators.

All these measures must be taken quickly because the cultural sector can no longer wait. In a constantly evolving digital world, with the continuous development of technologies and the uncertainties associated with the deployment of artificial intelligence, these fundamental laws, which date back to the 1990s, must be adapted. The future of our cultural ecosystems is at stake, we must act now.


For more information:

Bill Skolnik, CDCE Co-chair

Céline De Dianous, Communication and Research Officer


Positions of political parties on culture

The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) launched the SaveOurCulture.ca campaign on August 20 to ensure that its main recommendations to protect and promote the diversity of online cultural expressions are adopted by political parties during the election campaign.

We analyzed the platforms of the five main federal parties and reproduced in the following pages the commitments made on culture. We have added additional announcements that have been communicated in the media or by the parties themselves. Finally, we also retained new commitments made by the candidates of the five parties who participated in the Debate on Culture and the Media (DCM) on September 18 at the National Monument in Montreal[1].

We do not claim to be exhaustive and invite the reader to refer to platforms, articles, news releases and videos to learn about the arguments, assessments and criticisms put forward by parties and candidates. We will review any new information provided to us by email for possible inclusion in this document.

At the end of this document, we will recall the main recommendations made by the CDCE and transmitted to each of the parties before the election campaign was launched.

[1] The elements retained are not necessarily quotations and are reproduced from our notes. We have not reproduced the commitments contained in other documents or statements made by the parties.

Our music is under serious threat: let’s act!

More than 200 authors, composers, performers, producers, publishers, managers and other music professionals have signed an open letter expressing their concern about the deterioration of working conditions and remuneration in music and calling for our laws to apply fairly to digital platforms. Together, they show their support for the #SaveOurCulture campaign and invite everyone to write to candidates and party leaders asking them to take action: saveourculture

The Future of Media and Common Challenges with the Cultural Sector

The Commission’s hearings on the Future of the News Media could not have come at a better time to analyze the media crisis. The imminent bankruptcy announcement of the Capitales Médias Group offers a very concrete example of what this crisis can generate in terms of loss of local information, loss of diversity of information, and finally, the breakdown of our democracy.

This is also a particularly good time to do so in the run-up to the federal election because while Quebec can take action, as it did, for example, by deciding to collect the QST from the Web giants, the federal government also has an essential role to play.

This crisis comes at a time when cultural sector organizations in Canada, working under the umbrella of the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE), are campaigning for our cultural policies to be applied online (See the website of the #SaveOurCulture campaign).

There are many similarities between the situation in the information and culture sectors, and three of them are particularly relevant to consider when time comes to determining the most structuring solutions.

Comments from the CDCE in the context of the consultation on Future accession negotiations of the CPTPP

The CDCE thanks Global Affairs Canada for holding the current consultations that allow it to communicate its concerns and recommendations for negotiations on possible accessions to the Global and Progressive Agreement Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

In the following pages, the CDCE asks the Canadian government to take every opportunity to further improve the protection of culture in the CPTPP. Indeed, we recognize that the Canadian government’s efforts to move from TPP to CPTPP have been significant and have resulted in improvements to the text.

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.