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The Trudeau government is planning on insisting that streaming companies include more Canadian content. They want to introduce the new legislation by next year. The change is meant to affect companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus.
The new rules are meant to be enforced through Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault. According to National Post, Guilbeault was asked to “introduce legislation by the end of 2020 that will take appropriate measures to ensure that all content providers, including internet giants, offer meaningful levels of Canadian content in their catalogues.”
Presently, half of the programming aired by Canadian broadcasters has to be Canadian content from 6 p.m. to 12 p.m. For streaming services, however, there aren’t any clear rules set in place to regulate the amount of Canadian content being streamed.
Guilbeault has had a mandate letter sent to him with instructions on how to accomplish this.
Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa, noted that streaming companies might retaliate against the regulations depending on details.
He talked about how it would depend on the percentage of streams required to be Canadian and whether or not it is a reasonable number.
He also talked about how the government should take time to properly define what they consider Canadian content if they are going to demand more.
Geist noted, “You could take the new Margaret Atwood book and produce it as a T.V. show or film and the fact that Margaret Atwood wrote it would be irrelevant.”
“The problem with that is our existing definitions of what is Canadian content, don’t actually result in more Canadian content at all.”