Senate passes bill regulating online streaming in Canada

Canada's Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11) has passed the final hurdle in the Senate, receiving royal assent on Thursday evening. The legislation requires streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify to pay for Canadian media content, including TV shows and music, and promote Canadian content in both official languages and Indigenous languages. The bill gives the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the power to regulate digital media companies and impose financial penalties for violations of the act, similar to traditional broadcasters. However, critics warn that the bill could over-regulate the internet while supporters argue that it will boost the Canadian media and arts sectors. The public debate has been contentious, with the Conservatives and tech companies criticizing the bill as an attack on freedom of expression. Google, YouTube's parent company, launched a public campaign against the legislation, saying it would negatively affect users' experience on the platform. Nevertheless, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, C-11's sponsor, has dismissed much of the criticism of the bill from the Conservatives and tech companies as inaccurate. The bill's journey through Parliament has been difficult, with nearly a year of debate and amendments. The government has insisted that the legislation is not intended to regulate independent content creators, but the bill's broad language means it's unclear what it will do in practice. The government is expected to clarify many areas of uncertainty through a policy directive to the CRTC. A Senate amendment that the House of Commons accepted requires the CRTC to hold public consultations on how it will use its new regulatory powers.


More from Press Rundown