In recent years, several lobby groups (along with the U.S. government) have worked extremely hard to convince the Canadian public that Canadian intellectual property laws are substandard, leading to claims
that investment in Canada is harmed because of our legal framework. Bill C-32 is obviously a response to that pressure, yet a new report
from the World Economic Forum – not exactly a group of radical extremists – has found that executives actually rank Canadian intellectual property protection ahead of the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and most of Europe. The WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report ranked Canada 13th for IP protection, including anti-counterfeiting measures. That is ahead of Australia (14th), Norway (16th), United Kingdom (17th), Japan (21st), and the United States (24th). Moreover, the 13th place rank represents an improvement
from 18th last year.
The number are not scientific. Rather, they are the result of the World Economic Forum’s Executive Survey. In other words, once we get past the lobby spin about what company’s think of Canadian IP laws, the executives themselves rank Canada ahead of the very countries we are told we need to emulate. None of this suggests that we should not engage in IP reform, including copyright reform. There is a need for change to Canadian copyright. But reform should proceed on the basis of the national interest and maintaining the copyright balance, not as a result of the attempts to paint Canada as an international laggard whose reputation is harmed by its legal framework.