Sask. justice minister concerned over details of Bill C-10
REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s justice minister has written to the federal Canadian heritage minister voicing his concerns about Bill C-10, a bill aimed at regulating streaming giants like Netflix and Spotify.
When it was first introduced, Bill C-10 aimed to have increasingly profitable streaming companies become regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which regulates all traditional broadcasters in Canada. Television broadcasters are subject to the Broadcasting Policy for Canada, while streaming services like Netflix, Crave and Amazon Prime Video are not.
These changes would result in these online platforms spending millions of dollars to support Canadian content and creators.
Minister of Justice Gordon Wyant is concerned the Bill would impact Canadian’s right to freedom of expression.
“I urge you to stop Bill C-10 from proceeding, or at the very least make amendments to stipulate that all creative internet content generated by Canadians will be exempt from any regulatory supervision by federal government agencies,” Wyant wrote in a letter to Minister Steven Guilbeault, who brought the bill forward in late 2020.
In a statement sent to CTV News late Sunday night, the Guilbeault said he used “unclear” language in and interview on CTV’s Question Period that aired on Sunday, when he referred to people and online channels being subject to federal regulations as part of the government’s updates to the Broadcasting Act.
“What we want to do, this law should apply to people who are broadcasters, or act like broadcasters. So if you have a YouTube channel with millions of viewers, and you're deriving revenues from that, then at some point the CRTC will be asked to put a threshold. But we're talking about broadcasters here, we're not talking about everyday citizens posting stuff on their YouTube channel,” Guilbeault said in the interview.
After implying that Bill C-10 would permit the Canadian Radio-television and telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to impose discoverability regulations on individuals who have a large following online but Guilbeault has since clarified that’s not the case.
“The federal government needs to take a step back to review Bill C-10 especially with respect to private content on the internet, and make it clear to Canadians that they are not going to interfere with the rights of Canadians to post on the internet with respect to private content,” Wyant said to reporters Monday.
The bill proposes the first substantive amendments to the Broadcasting Act since 1991. But it also makes corresponding amendments in a series of other laws, including the Canada Elections Act, the Access to Information Act, and the Copyright Act.
Bill C-10 was passed into the committee study phase, with mixed reactions among MPs, in mid-February.