PublishedJanuary 20, 2023

CCIA Releases White Paper on Canada’s Proposed Online Streaming Act, Threats to U.S.-Canada Trade

Washington – When Canada’s Parliament resumes work on Jan. 31, it is expected to work towards finalizing Bill C-11, referred to as the “Online Streaming Act.” 

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has released a White Paper detailing how this flawed legislation would undermine existing significant investment from abroad for Canada’s creative sectors, and how it would conflict with Canada’s international trade commitments including those made to the United States under the U.S.-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The Online Streaming Act seeks to subject online audio and audiovisual services to the prescriptive mandates of Canada’s regulated broadcasting regime. It would direct government regulators to impose a series of obligations on foreign suppliers with the goal of funding and preferencing local content developers. Foreign suppliers already represent one of the most significant sources of investment into Canada’s creative sector, and key partners in bringing quality Canadian content to the global market. Disincentivizing the production and distribution of quality content through arbitrary mandates will undermine a remarkably successful partnership.

The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President of Digital Trade Policy, Jonathan McHale:

“Canada’s legislative reversal, through Bill C-11, of a successful, decades-long policy protecting the benefits of the internet for Canadian consumers is discouraging.  Bill C-11 reflects a misunderstanding that regulatory requirements for broadcasting  are needed for the internet to encourage local content development.  And, by requiring U.S. suppliers to fund or otherwise promote Canadian content, the legislation conflicts with several obligations to which Canada committed in USMCA. CCIA urges the Canadian Government to rethink this burdensome and restrictive policy.”

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