Now more than ever, Canadians engage with their media, be it audio, audiovisual, or social, online. These realities demand that Canada’s regulatory system be adapted to ensure online services pay their fair share and contribute to the Canadian broadcasting ecosystem. Bill C-10 remains an essential step towards this goal.
In recent days, some have critiqued this Bill as an “affront to freedom of expression” resulting in an “open ended censorship regime for the internet.” The Conservative Party of Canada has made clear its opposition to this Bill. Each point to recent amendments to article 4.1.(1) as infringing on Canadians’ rights. These comments have put in jeopardy the progress of Bill C-10 through Parliament in advance of the summer.
Let us be clear: these characterizations are both factually incorrect and dangerously misleading. They represent neither the text nor the purpose of Bill C-10.
Before it was amended, article 4.1(1) would have excluded social media from the Broadcasting Act. Tangibly, this would have meant that the same content played on other online platforms that are covered by the Act, would not be when hosted on social media, such as YouTube. The removal of this article ensures that broadcasting content is treated equitably and fairly, regardless of platform.
By removing article 4.1(1), opponents to Bill C-10 have expressed concerns on the grounds of freedom of speech and individual liberty. These concerns choose to ignore clause 2.1, which stipulates:
A person who uses a social media service to upload programs for transmission over the Internet and reception by other users of the service — and who is not the provider of the service or the provider’s affiliate, or the agent or mandatary of either of them — does not, by the fact of that use, carry on a broadcasting undertaking for the purposes of this Act.
Put simply, this clause excludes individuals from the provisions of the Bill, and ensures Canada’s broadcasting policy is rightly focused on those who seek to profit from their creation online. It ensures that each Canadian can rest assured that the Government is maintaining a level playing field for content creators while protecting the right to freedom of speech for all Canadians.
In sum, the CDCE calls on opponents to Bill C-10, including the Conservative Party of Canada, to cease their fearmongering and work with our sector to modernize Canada’s broadcasting policy. A level playing field is essential to the vitality of Canada’s cultural sector and our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadians would be well served by earnest debate on the merits of Bill C-10 and its expedient progress through Parliament.
For more information, please contact:
Céline De Dianous, Research and Communications Officer: 514-277-2666