Unifor welcomes overdue CTRC move on Canadian content

November 3, 2020

TORONTO – Unifor welcomes the announcement today that the CRTC will be given the power to compel foreign internet giants to create, stream and broadcast more Canadian content, something that is long overdue.

“This is about cultural sovereignty, something we swore to protect in the last trade deal. Telling Canadian stories to Canadians is not only vital to our culture, it is a source of good jobs and helps to define us as a nation in an inclusive way,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

“The fact is, American internet giants that have been devouring Canadian market share for years without paying a dime towards the production of Canadian news, sports and entertainment programming, something that our regulated Canadian media companies do.”

New legislation introduced today giving the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission the power to require foreign streaming services to play by Canadian rules could lead to as much as $830 million a year in new production work by 2023.

“This is a long way from the days when Stephen Harper dismissed any such move as a “Netflix tax.” The fact is, this would be a huge boost for Canadian media, and media workers and their families.” Dias said.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said today that once the CRTC is told by cabinet to proceed under this new bill, he’d like to see a roadmap for contributions by foreign streamers completed within nine months.

“The need is immediate. Getting this done cannot take one day longer than nine months. Our content creators and producers cannot afford any further delays,” Unifor Media Director Howard Law said.

“There have been plenty of consultations. The government and the CRTC know what to do, and the time has come to act.”

The review of the definition of Canadian content is also welcome if it encourages authentic Canadian shows, Law said.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, including 13,000 in the media sector. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.