February 10, 2022
In 1991 the world wide web was created, DVDs had not yet been invented, and it was the year the GST was first introduced. It is also the last time the Broadcasting Act was amended. As the way we consume information evolves at an exponential rate, the time for updates to the broadcasting act is long overdue.
On February 2nd, the government introduced bill C-11 The Online Streaming Act. An important bill which amends the broadcasting act, accomplishes several critical goals, and corrects some of the challenges of its predecessor, C-10.
C-11 accomplishes several critical goals in the campus/community sector.
“It ensures that all broadcasters, traditional or digital, are held to the same standard. If you are profiting from Canadian eyes and ears, then you need to ensure Canadians still have a voice. Traditional broadcasters have standards they must meet, and internet giants who profit from Canadian audiences also need to pay to ensure Canadian artists and creators are supported,” says Community Radio Fund of Canada Executive Director, Alex Freedman.
It acknowledges the critical role played by community and campus radio stations. As public and private broadcasters have shifted their focus to major urban centres, these stations continue to provide Canadians with local information, Canadian music, and news from sources Canadians know and trust. These stations are the third pillar of the Canadian broadcasting system and these amendments will help to ensure community and campus stations get recognition for their role.
Finally, C-11 ensures that ALL Canadian voices are supported in our broadcasting network. It ensures Indigenous broadcasters are supported… not just if the resources exist, but supported like other broadcasters. It also ensures diverse Canadian voices from all backgrounds as well as those living with disabilities have access to a system where their voices can be heard. Community stations have long been the only place where such voices have a platform and we wholeheartedly support these provisions.
C-11 does all this without infringing on the rights of individual Canadians to say what they feel on social media. It does not give the CRTC exceptional powers, rather it ensures everyone who broadcasts in Canada plays by the same rules. Finally, it creates a system to identify Canadian content creators.
“The Community Radio Fund of Canada supports the foundation upon which C-11 is built,” said Freedman, “recognizing that anyone who benefits from Canadian audiences should pay their share to ensure Canadian voices are supported. We look forward to working with the Heritage Minister, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to see this bill become law.”
For more information please contact:
Alex Freedman, CRFC Executive Director