Broadcasting Act Reform – Bill C-11 is officially introduced

Caroline Jonnaert and Élisabeth Lesage-Bigras[1]
Lawyers, patent and trademark agents

In keeping with the promise made during the last federal election, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, introduced Bill C-11‑, the Online Streaming Act[2] (“Bill C-11”), on Wednesday. This is the second bill to reform the Broadcasting Act[3], as the previous bill[4] (“Bill C-10”) died on the order paper after the election was called.

I. New bill, New Provisions

Following the Canada’s Communications Future: Time to Act report, the main objective of Bill C-11 is to require online broadcasters to contribute to and showcase Canadian content[5]. Currently, online broadcasters who present content on the Internet are exempt from most broadcasting regulations. The Bill seeks to bring streaming services, as well as certain social media activities, under the jurisdiction of the Act so that they can contribute to the funding and promotion of Canadian culture. Bill C-11 also aims to update the Broadcasting Act to ensure inclusiveness, diversity and accessibility. Finally, the bill reviews the powers and tools available to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the “CRTC”), “to provide a modern and flexible regulatory framework for broadcasting”[6].

II. New Provisions, New Discussions

The introduction of Bill C-11 is welcomed by several Québec artists’ associations. The Canadian cultural industry welcomes this initiative, which would create a fairer regulatory environment and promote Canadian content. In this context, the industry intends to actively collaborate in the parliamentary consultations with a view to the rapid adoption of the bill. Our telecommunications team will follow the development of this reform with attention. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the regulation of digital platforms or its content, do not hesitate to contact the members of our Regulatory Affairs group.

CIPS, 2022.

[1]          Caroline Jonnaert is a lawyer and trademark agent and Élisabeth Lesage-Bigras is a lawyer at ROBIC, L.L.P., a multidisciplinary firm of lawyers and patent and trademark agents.

[2]        Bill C-11 “An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts“, 1st  Session, 44th Parliament, 70 Elizabeth II, 2021-2022. 

[3]        Broadcasting Act, S.C. 1991, c. 11.

[4]        Bill C-10 “An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts“, 2nd Session, 43rd Parliament, 69 Elizabeth II, 2020.

[5]        Canadian Heritage, “Government of Canada Introduces Legislation to Help Next Generation of Canadian Artists and Creators“, February 2, 2022, online.

[6]        Government of Canada, “Online Streaming Act“, February 4, 2022, online.