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Bill C-11 is law. Now what?

After many plot twists and last-ditch efforts, Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, has finally became the law of the land. So… what comes next? We reached out to politicians, industry leaders and those with a stake in the outcome to give us their thoughts on what lies ahead

Huge kudos to the government and the Minister for getting the bill passed. Now the real work begins to make sure our reality meets the grand vision. Regulations must bring streaming services into the Canadian broadcasting system and ensure greater support for Canadian programming. And with the government’s recognition of the significant contribution of the Canadian independent production sector, regulations must also ensure there is a foundation for fair negotiations between independent Canadian producers and huge broadcasters and global content companies.

– Damon D’Oliveira, Partner, Conquering Lion Pictures; CMPA Board of Directors

We are living in a historical moment for the Canadian media industry. The future has arrived, and we are at a unique convergence of law, regulation, policy and ideas. The longawaited modernization of the Broadcasting Act will create a more level playing field for our industry, ensuring Canada remains at the forefront of innovation and global competition. There is no shortage of creators and good stories in Canada—stories that define us as a nation. It’s time to collaborate and capitalize on this opportunity to invest in a stronger, more inclusive industry that can excel on a world stage.

– Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, Canada Media Fund

“With all of the complexities surrounding Bill C-11, there has been less focus on the potential it holds for an exciting new era of Indigenous storytelling and economic reconciliation in Canada. The new system must adequately contribute to supporting a robust Indigenous screen sector, and the capacity and ecosystem required for our success. A system that is designed to create access for new and diverse voices and talent will give Canada an edge in a competitive global market and foster the innovative and unique stories we all want to see on our screens.”

– Kerry Swanson, CEO, Indigenous Screen Office

“We must get ambitious about growing the domestic industry. We’ve seen foreign service production explode, and that reflects the global content boom of the past decade, but it’s passed the domestic production sector by. At the WGC, we’ve just watched the aggregate earnings of our Canadian members decline by nearly 22 per cent in inflation-adjusted terms over the past five years. Bringing the streamers into the broadcasting system should mean a much bigger system, not status quo or worse as broadcasters bow out. And Canadian screenwriters must be at the centre of things. They’re the Canadian authorial voice of the medium.”

– Neal McDougall, Assistant Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada

“We are heartened by the federal government’s renewed and strengthened commitment to Black Canadian creators and audiences. We are hopeful that the end result of the extensive public CRTC hearings will be a Canadian broadcasting system that provides more opportunities for Black Canadians to see themselves, and the broader Canadian audience to see content created by Black Canadians. We also look forward to a renewed regulatory framework that will include the streamers and bring more revenue into the Canadian broadcasting system for the creation of Canadian content.”

– Joan Jenkinson, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Black Screen Office

“A modern, forward-looking framework for Canada’s broadcasting system that enables diverse global streaming services the flexibility to play to their strengths will expand opportunities for Canadian creatives; promote content made by, with or about Canadians; strengthen Canada’s production ecosystem; and bring more of Canada to the world. An innovative approach that recognizes the new perspectives and opportunities that global players bring, and ensures flexibility and adaptability for the future, is the best way to ensure support for all the objectives of the Broadcasting Act—cultural, social and economic.”

– Wendy Noss, President, Motion Picture Association – Canada

“This is a defining moment for Canadian film and television. As we move forward modernizing our system, ensuring all players are investing—and invested—in original Canadian programming, we must choose to be bold, projecting ourselves toward a future where Canadian stories continue to break through and thrive. Success on the world stage will depend on a robust independent production sector that meets growing global demand for a diverse range of voices, including sovereignty- and equity-seeking groups. History has taught us our industry can only prosper in an ecosystem guided by clear rules, engaging and activating all players.”

– Dave Forget, National Executive Director, Directors Guild of Canada 

“The real challenge will be in the application of Bill C-11. The CRTC must now develop real expertise in the streaming and internet space, because it’s not a sector that it previously regulated. Since quotas are excluded, the Commission will probably have to adopt a case-by-case approach for Canadian, francophone or Indigenous content expectations for each platform. Except for reiterating that the impact on algorithms should be minimized, the government’s directives to the CRTC give little indication of how “discoverability” of francophone music on platforms like Spotify and YouTube should work. This is an important issue for me, because I am concerned about the small percentage of francophone music consumed on these platforms. The directives also do not specify what is to be considered a Canadian production, which is a key issue for the industry. So we’ll have to be very patient.”

– The Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne, Senator (ISG)

“During the Senate’s study of Bill C-11, I worked closely with groups like the Black Screen Office, whose team are hopeful that the Online Streaming Act will positively impact their communities. They want to produce content about people we don’t see or hear from as much as we should—and we know their stories are important to audiences in Canada and the world. I’m hopeful that Bill C-11 will help us access content that reflects the diversity of this country. We’re all seeking connection. As regulations are developed, marginalized voices need to remain at the forefront.”

–  The Hon. Bernadette Clement, Senator (PSG)

“ACTRA fought hard alongside our guild friends and the industry to ensure our voice was collectively heard in the federal government’s recent modernization of the Broadcasting Act. Despite the passing of Bill C-11, we recognize the fight is not over. We must continue our advocacy to ensure the CRTC policy direction on its implementation will promote Canadian content and Canadian production, and develop and nurture the professional artists and other talent essential to bringing stories to life. Ahead of us are even more challenges, created by the advent of new technologies and the shift to digital, which have a significant impact on performers and their work”.

– Marie Kelley, National Executive Director, ACTRA

“Now that Bill C-11 has passed and its intent is clear, consultations to make the regulations are under way, as are negotiations between the federal government and the stakeholders, web giants included. I do think that this bill creates a good balance, a logical balance, between the needs of Canadian producers, broadcasters and the major platforms. I hope this discussion moves away from one of the multinational web giants versus the Canadian democratically elected governments.” 

– The Hon. Andrew Cardozo, Senator (PSG)