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Major Content Policy Bill C-11 Has Finally Passed

Updated: May 3, 2023

By Ken Rogers, Academic Director

On April 27, 2023, Canada's Online Streaming Act, Bill C-11, passed the Senate and become law after years of political opposition and parliamentary scrutiny. The act reformulates the Broadcasting Act, first introduced in 1991, to regulate popular online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Disney+. Platforms will be required to invest in Canadian content and creators and subjected to regulations comparable to traditional broadcasters. Critics of the bill warned that it could impact what everyday users see online, and some tech companies, including YouTube, ran online campaigns lobbying against it. The bill has been under parliamentary scrutiny for over a year, with over 100 amendments contemplated by the House of Commons, and the longest study ever conducted by a Senate committee. The regulatory work will now be left to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which will draft the policy framework for implementing the new powers granted by Bill C-11. The consultations will be where stakeholders can raise concerns. The next stages for the legislation include a directive from the government to the CRTC, submissions to the Commission from all parties, and finally, the CRTC ‘s policy directives. Estimates for the duration these procedures extend up to two full years, so we will be following this story closely for quite some time to come.

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