Digital content creators in Canada may experience a bump in their engagements due to a new Federal law.
The Online Streaming Act has passed its final vote in the Senate and has been given royal assent. As per the new law, digital platforms like Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok will be required to promote and support Canadian content.
Originally proposed in 2022 by the Liberals, the bill is an update to the existing Broadcasting Act which expands the powers of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to include online streaming platforms. It also lays out steep penalties for platforms that don’t comply with the mandate by making Canadian content available to users in Canada.
The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, who sponsored the bill, said it simply requires streamers to contribute to Canadian culture.
“Today, we are standing up for our stories, our artists, our producers and our creators. We’re standing up so that Canadians have even more opportunities to see themselves in what they watch and listen to,” said Rodriguez.
“With this legislation, we are ensuring that Canada’s incredible talent has a bigger and brighter stage online.”
The new law won’t apply to individuals posting on social media, which had been a concern for those opposed to the changes. Instead, it will only apply to platforms like Facebook and TikTok.
Critics raise concerns about impacts on content creators
Bill C-11 has received support from the New Democratic Party, Bloc Quebecois, and the music, film, and television industries. However, critics have raised concerns about the potential impact on content creators and the everyday user experience online. This is due to provisions that would require platforms to promote Canadian content, which could have secondary consequences for online content creators.
Some tech companies, like YouTube, have put in a lot of effort to lobby against the bill. For instance, YouTube ran an online campaign to warn users who earn money from making videos about the potential impact on their livelihoods. On the other hand, the Conservatives have been leading the charge against Bill C-11 in Parliament, arguing that it would lead to censorship of online content in Canada.
YouTube contended that bill C-11 posed a risk to the current approach of personalized content presentation because the CRTC would have the authority to shape the presented content for viewers.
Due to this divide, the legislation has been under scrutiny in both the House and Senate for over a year, following an unsuccessful attempt before the last election.