Bill C-11, the Liberal government’s attempt to modernize Canada’s Broadcasting Act and bring digital players into the regulatory system, is moving onto the next stage.
The proposed legislation, also known as the Online Streaming Act, passed with a vote of 208 to 117 in the Canadian House of Commons on Tuesday (June 21) after being adopted at the third reading. It’s now at the first reading stage in the Senate, where it must be passed before going to the Governor General for Royal Assent.
This was the last week for the government to attempt to move the legislation through the final session before the House’s summer recess, which will last until September.
Members of Canada’s Conservative Party have been among the critics of the bill, saying it raises issues over freedom of speech when it comes to user-generated content on platforms like YouTube. Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez has insisted C-11, which was tabled in February, is about regulating platforms that function as broadcasters and not the users or content creators.
The Online Streaming Act aims to update the Broadcasting Act, which saw its last major reform in 1991, with regulation such as ensuring greater representation in entertainment media for minority communities and mandating contributions to the Canadian content system.
The Department of Canadian Heritage projects Canada’s creative sector could receive more than CDN$1 billion annually in mandated contributions, but some industry observers and stakeholders have expressed concern that the wording of the bill is too broad and that it contains grey areas that need to be clarified.
From Playback Daily’s Victoria Ahearn
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