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COVID Alert App by Michael Geist (CC BY 2.5 CA)

What You Need to Know About the COVID Alert App

I was very pleased to participate together with CBC’s Adrian Harewood in a public event last night sponsored by the Toronto Public Library on the COVID Alert App. Over the course of 90 minutes, we addressed the background that led to the app, answered questions about concerns, and explained why Canadians should feel comfortable downloading it. The full session is embedded below.

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December 4, 2020 3 comments News
Registration by Official GDC https://flic.kr/p/r8r2MH (CC BY 2.0)

The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 11: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – Licence or Registration Required

The government’s launch of Bill C-10, the Broadcasting Act reform bill, was careful to note that it was not creating a new licensing system for Internet services. For example, the Canadian Heritage FAQ states “Canadians will still be able to watch all of their favourite programs and access their preferred services. This Bill in no way prevents online streaming services from operating in Canada, or requires them to be licensed.” Previous posts have explored why this is unlikely to be the case with the new rules leading to less consumer choice as services choose to avoid the Canadian market given the new costs and requirements imposed by the government. The Broadcasting Act blunder series continues today with the first of several posts unpacking the shift from licensing to regulation, concluding that for many services, it could be a distinction without much of a difference.

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December 3, 2020 5 comments News
2020 CFC Annual Gala & Auction by Canadian Film Centre, Photo by Vito Amati Photography, https://flic.kr/p/2ivYmL4 (CC BY 2.0)

The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 10: Downgrading the Role of Canadians in their Own Programming

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has painted Bill C-10, his Broadcasting Act reform bill, as a big win for Canadian creators, telling the House of Commons that the bill will mean “more opportunities for our creators and talent in the production sector.” The Broadcasting Act blunder series continues today with a closer examination of how the bill alters the way Canada has traditionally tried to ensure that Canadian talent plays a pivotal role in creating that content. It finds that bill actually downgrades the requirements and opens the door to reduced Canadian participation in productions in their own country.

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December 2, 2020 3 comments News
Taxes by Blink O'fanaye https://flic.kr/p/8Px1Xk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 9: Why Use Cross-Subsidies When the Government is Rolling Out Tech Tax Policies?

The Broadcasting Act blunder series continues with a slight tangent to consider the implications of yesterday’s Government of Canada Fiscal Update for the claim that reforms are needed to ensure that foreign Internet companies make appropriate contributions to the Canadian market. Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault emphasized the issue when discussing Bill C-10 in the House of Commons, talking about payments being a “matter of fairness” and concerns that foreign Internet streamers “make money off the system with no obligation to give back.”

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland yesterday outlined the better way to ensure equality of treatment and payments into Canada, namely tax policy. 

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December 1, 2020 6 comments News
Discover by Sascha Kohlmann https://flic.kr/p/et5hca (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 8: The Unnecessary Discoverability Requirements

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has cited the need to improve the “discoverability” of Canadian content as a critical reason to support Bill C-10, his Broadcasting Act reform bill. Speaking of his daughter’s use of digital services, Guilbeault told the House of Commons that the bill “will allow her not only to take advantage of an international offering, but also to discover Canadian content.” While few would oppose ensuring that Canadian content is easy to find and well marketed, the Broadcasting Act blunder series continues today with a look at the evidence on the issue of discoverability, finding there is little to support claims that regulatory intervention for streaming services is needed.

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November 30, 2020 2 comments News