Published Sep 28, 2017We just learned that Netflix would be playing a major role in the development of Canadian content, with the streaming giant set to spend $500 million over the next five years to fund original Canadian productions. Now, as promised, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly has outlined the Liberals' culture policy reboot, which also includes major tech players like Facebook and Google, as well as updates to the Canada Music Fund, Canada Book Fund and Canada Media Fund.
As part of a speech today (September 28) to unveil the new "Creative Canada" policy, Joly reinforced the theme that foreign platforms like Netflix and Facebook are key to the promotion and protection of Canadian stories.
"We want them to participate in our goals to support the creation and discovery of Canadian content that showcases our talent, our cultures and our stories," she said. "I'm pushing for commitments that benefit our industries."
Along with Netflix contributing $500 million to Canadian content, Joly went on to explain that Facebook has teamed up with Toronto's Ryerson University to fund a new digital news incubator.
"This is a welcome first step," she said of the Facebook collaboration. "Our intention is to foster many more."
While details remained murky, Google was also mentioned in the plan, as well as the Liberals' intention to avoid bailing out Canada's struggling, more traditional news media.
"Our approach will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable," she said. "Rather, we will focus our efforts on supporting innovation, experimentation and transition to digital."
As CBC points out, among the Liberals' rebooted plans to cultural policy will be the following:
● A federal boost to the Canada Media Fund starting as of 2018.
● A $125 million injection into a creative export strategy, which includes a fund to get Canadian content creators recognized abroad and the launch of a Creative Industries Council.
● Updates to funding the Canada Music Fund and the Canada Book Fund.
● Reforming the Copyright Board of Canada and reviewing the Copyright Act, all with the aims of protecting creators.
● A review to help modernize the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act, which has not been updated in 30 years.
Unfortunately, it's a bit unclear at this point what changes will be specifically taking place in regards to certain funding projects, such as the changes to the Canada Music Fund. Overall, though, the plan plots a course that aims to rework many of Canada's laws and regulations that oversee broadcasting, telecommunications and copyright, as well as the private and publicly supported funds that back musicians, writers and publishers in the coming months.
In regards to the Netflix deal, the streaming platform will indeed continue to operate free from paying tax or charging Canadian viewers any sort of streaming tax.
"We know that access and affordability of Internet and wireless are real issues for many," she said. "We pay some of the highest rates in the world."
She also said the recent rise in Netflix fees in Canada were not connected to the Liberals' new plan.
In closing, Joly said, "If we get this right, we will be a leader in the world."