Obama in the Backseat: Rally to Save the Internet by Free Press (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/osRvjr

Obama in the Backseat: Rally to Save the Internet by Free Press (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/osRvjr


Ontario Government Asks the CRTC To Impose New Regulations and Fees on Internet Giants Such as Netflix and Google

This afternoon, the Ontario government appeared before the CRTC as part of its future of television hearing. The Ontario government issued a clear call for new regulation of so-called new media companies such as Netflix and Google. The government states:

In order to create a more level playing field, the ministry recommends decreasing this regulatory imbalance. The ministry believes the best way to accomplish this is to expand the regulation of new media TV, rather than by lightening the current regulation of traditional TV.

What does the expansion of regulation involve?

For the Ontario government, it includes regulating foreign online video services. The Ontario government wants the CRTC to impose Canadian content obligations on the foreign providers, though interestingly it recommends exempting Canadian online video providers. The recommended regulations would include reporting requirements on all revenues and financial contributions to Cancon production once the services reach a certain size.

In fact, the Ontario government says that if foreign operators do not face new regulations, the CRTC should consider “non-regulatory incentives” for financial contributions (it cites elimination of data caps for some online video providers as an example, though acknowledges that such an approach may violate net neutrality rules).


  1. What’s your take on this? Isn’t this kind of like Kanute trying to hold the tide back. The regulation of content over the Net ship has long sailed.
    Even Rogers is moving towards a streaming model with their NHL games.
    Consumers are cutting the chord, the CRTC is going to a pick a channel model and consumers are saying, let us watch what when we want when we want to watch it on which ever screen we want.
    Be interested in your commentary?

    • There was a young man on saying the same thing as Ontario but i wish the Crtc asked him how would this give Canadians more choice.

  2. I wonder if this has to do with the new joint venture, Shomi, from Rogers and Shaw? They probably have doubts on how well their service will do against actual competition that they can’t bully directly.

  3. To me, the great thing about Netflix is I press on what I want to watch, regardless of whether it is Canadian content or not.

    Regulating Netflix to add more Canadian content is just a hassle, especially if that means quality content has to be removed to make place for specifically Canadian content.

    We know what we want to watch, you don’t need to hold our hands.

    • Why would content have to be removed so Canadian content could be added? Wouldn’t it be better for consumers if Netflix was required to reinvest a very small portion of the profits it makes from access to the Canadian market into the production of even more content?

      • Content must be acquired ($$) and stored ($$), the content providers (netflix, etc) have a finite amount of funds to acquire programs and store them. They also want to spend their money on something that will give them a return on their investment, that’s how a free market works. If they are forced to provide content that their customers don’t want they are essentially being fined for the market not having the demand the government wants it to have.

      • >> Wouldn’t it be better for consumers if Netflix was required to reinvest a very small portion of the profits it makes from access to the Canadian market into the production of even more content?

        Umm pretty much non of us cares where the content comes from. We just want content. If it means my bill goes up because the GOV forced Netflix to carry more content and created a media welfare system then I want no Canadian content.

  4. Pingback: Ontario wants Netflix to face Cancon rules | canada.com

  5. Regulating over-the-top services is quite different to regulating other aspects of the Internet, and I don’t think the ship has sailed at all.

    There are good reasons why many countries have a toolkit of regulatory and incentive programs to promote national content and culture in the wake of what would be called “dumping” in other industries.

    To leave culture purely to economic forces leads to a winner-take-all oligopoly: I don’t know whether this initiative is the right one, but I am glad to see a Canadian government standing up for Canadian arts.

    • There are other ways to promote the arts other than forcing customers and content resellers to pay for it.

    • Even regulating over the top would be very very risky and with a election year in 2015 this is something Harper has to be careful with if your saying we want to give you more choice but in reality end up giving people far less choice that won’t go over well and very well could csot him the election.

      As for protecting Canadian culture thats all good and fine but you can’t do that by banning all other non Canadian channels etc you do that your not going to fix anything short term or long term your just going to make things worse.

      Now again with a election year there is a lot that partys can do and try and drum up votes such as if a party said we would open up the air waves and allow American companys to move in that would win a massive amount of votes.

  6. I agree lets restrict the internet, after all China and Iran are already doing it. Furthermore I suggest that at least 67% of the cat videos on YouTube should be Canadian cats.

    • I think you found our answer! All Netflix has to do is add a few thousand movies of Canadian cats. That should push that Canadian content percentage way over the top leaving lots of room for good shows. And it should be relatively cheap without the licensing issues on the cat movies.

      • Depends if it’s regulated by the number of hours of qualifying content vs the amount spent acquiring/licencing qualifying content. I suspect the incumbents will fight for it to be the latter.

      • There is going to have to be some give and take by both sides if services like Netflix have to go by certain rules ok fine but in return sim subs have to be banned now back to Netflix even Ctv etc don’t have a few thousand Canadian shows they have 5-10 thats it and thats all Netflix would need.

    • I would argue for equal funding for cats AND dogs!

  7. Pingback: Ontario government wants the CRTC to regulate the Internet - Hardware Canucks

  8. Herb Anderson says:

    You do not need Canadian cats, use VPN with an American IP address for Netflix from the states

  9. brian halliwell says:

    one of the reasons that has caused me to “cut the cord” is the social engineering and bureaucracy that, take your pick government /corporate interests wish to apply to the system to support the overhead. If the MONEY was spent educating the ones that could make canadian content INTERESTING i would not have to spend so much time looking ELSEWHERE ,

  10. Mandatory Canadian content rules make sense when the transport medium is a limited resource, like the airwaves or the cable and phone line in your back yard. Its not like you could choose one cable operator over another to get the Canadian contents you might want. So rules make sense to guarantee access to Canadian media for those that want it. But the Internet is a bit like each person having his own personal spectrum, its not per say a limited resource. There is all the space needed for Canadian contents as long as people want to watch it, its a true free market; you can be a two bit backyard video producer and still reach the whole world in a few days. Make good contents and you’ll have your audience.

    • What i would like tos ee if shows that are filmed in Canadas to fall under Cancon rules why because most of there staff there using is Canadian there paying taxes etc this would make the most sense.

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  12. I don’t like the way the government letter states things and then in subsequent paragraphs assumes that what they said earlier is “de-facto” and what does the tourism ministry have to do with all this ? It is nothing to do with them unless it is a stupid method of going “backdoor” on the matter. This is a trade and industry issue NOT tourism and culture. Is somebody trying to do the trade ministers work for them to protect him (sacrificial lamb). Also dislike how they lump consumers in with industry when we all know that the former tends to hate the latter and the latter only wants to extract more money from the former without adding any value to what they offer. I smell a very large RAT in that letter from the government and not a well hidden rat at that.

  13. If our governments – including Ontario – insist on being a part of this, I believe they should be focused on the distribution of content (versus creation or protection of content) and ensuring that all citizens have access to quality internet services THAT THEY ARE FREE TO CHOOSE regardless of source, be it by wireless, landlines or through public access such as places like libraries.
    Our governments – including Ontario – should focus on simple priorities like making sure Net Neutrality and affordable services remain a fact for all citizens.

  14. Pingback: Ontario Government Soft Pedals Netflix & Google Regulation, But Record Speaks For Itself - Michael Geist

  15. I’m not normally politically active, but I will go to war and rally like minded people as far as I could if this became a serious reality. Limiting my choice online in the name of striking some fair balance with Canadian content is not something that interests me, especially if it

    • There is a guy talking now (Dillworth) he seems to want American channels banned so Canadians would watch local stations now would this be creating more choice I don’t think it would.

  16. Andrew Fernandes says:

    Yay! More products and services that will stay away from the Canadian market because of poorly thought out regulation!

    • Its this idea we should ban anything that competes with Canadian channels that is what i really take issue with.

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  20. This is going to far. Why governments have to control EVERYTHING? What if people of Ontario are tired of being told what to watch! I for one, have never watched a show just because is made in Canada. Stop force feeding us what we don’t want. By forcing this bill, we (the consumers) end up paying more for the services to include mediocre shows.

  21. And we wonder why Ontario is in such bad economy? Investors don’t want to invest here for the fear of all the unnecessary taxes and regulations.

  22. George Kalivrousis says:

    Maybe the CRTC should start by mandating CTV (BELL MEDIA) to increase their CANADIAN CONTENT on prime-time, which is pathetic . This being done then we can worry about the Canadian content on NETFLIX

  23. George

    If anything they should lower the Cancon requirements.

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  26. Funny our Governments don’t stop business from importing millions of products from China, putting Canadians out of work and closing factories here.

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