The Broadcasting Act blunder series has previously examined Bill C-10’s enormous cost to the foundational elements of Canadian broadcasting policy including the beginning of the end of Canadian ownership and control requirements and how it downgrades the role of Canadians in their own programming. There is another significant cost that comes from a bill that Andrew Coyne of the Globe and Mail describes as “one of the most radical expansions of state regulation in Canadian history.” At a time when the government has emphasized the importance of intellectual property, the bill opens the door to less Canadian control and ownership over its IP.
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Canadian Government Consults on Expanding Pacific Trade Treaty to UK, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand
The Canadian government has launched a public consultation on expanding the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, formerly TPP) to other countries, specifically citing the UK, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand. The consultation could raise significant concerns as the UK would be the first non-Pacific country in the agreement and Taiwan could spark a response from China. Moreover, opening the agreement to new countries must likely factor in the possibility that the U.S. might want to re-enter the agreement if there is a change in administration in 2020.
I appeared earlier this week before the Senate Open Caucus to discuss the IP and e-commerce implications of the NAFTA renegotiation. The panel, which included Jerry Dias, Al Mussel, and Brenda Swick, featured an engaging discussion with senators from across the political spectrum. My opening remarks emphasized three points from a Canadian perspective: meeting international standards, doing no harm, and seeking a level playing field. The comments are posted below.
The Canadian government announced plans for the development of a national IP strategy in this year’s budget. The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development held a series of roundtables late last month and invited public comment. The comment period closed earlier this week and the submissions should soon be posted online. My submission is posted below.
Drawing on prior writing and committee appearances (and some overlap with NAFTA issues), the submission focuses on three broad areas: IP awareness, administration and fostering innovation. The innovation piece forms the majority of the submission with discussion of seven issues: knowledge transfer strategies, IP abuse and misuse, fair use/flexible fair dealing, anti-circumvention legislation exceptions, artificial intelligence, crown copyright and copyright term.
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau released his government’s 2017 budget today and while the spending promises may be underwhelming for some, the documents sets out an ambitious agenda for digital policy review. In fact, with changes to copyright, patent, broadcast, telecom, net neutrality, digital taxes, fintech, Canadian media, and Cancon all under consideration, the coming year will have enormous implications for the future of Canada’s digital policies.
The budget does include several spending promises, including $13.2 million over five years to support an affordable Internet access program, $50 million for kids coding programs, $29.5 million over five years for digital literacy, and $14.9 million for digitization of Indigenous language and materials. There is also new money for the growth of artificial intelligence sector and the much-anticipated revamping of innovation funding programs.
Yet the biggest digital implications may ultimately come from the policy reforms. First up may be new digital sales taxes. The budget includes a commitment to extend sales taxes to ride sharing companies such as Uber, a move that seems likely to ultimately lead to a broader extension of sales taxes to digital services such as Netflix.