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Online Streaming Act adopted in Senate

The Senate has recommended more than two dozen changes to Bill C-11.

Legislation to modernize Canada’s broadcasting laws has been adopted in the Senate, following an intensive study that led to many proposed changes.

Bill C-11 aims to brings streaming services into the regulatory fold, in an effort to ensure they contribute in an equitable and flexible way to the creation and availability of Canadian content, among other measures. It notably prioritizes support for content from francophone, Indigenous, LGBTQ2+ and racialized creators.

“Modernizing the law means adapting it to today’s reality and laying the groundwork for the future,” said Senator Dennis Dawson, who sponsored the bill in the Senate.

“This must be done in a way that takes into account today’s reality — a reality where digital technology is increasingly present in people’s lives, a reality where there are a variety of business models in the current Canadian broadcasting system. The legislation must therefore establish an up-to-date regulatory framework with clear direction, the necessary tools and the flexibility to remain relevant.”

The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communication undertook an exhaustive study of Bill C-11 between June and December of 2022, hearing from nearly 140 witnesses. In total, the committee held 31 meetings, including nine meetings of clause by clause, for a total of 67 hours and 30 minutes.

The committee made a range of recommendations, including that the legislation:

  • Ensures the protection of the privacy of Canadians;
  • Promotes innovation and be adaptable to scientific and technological change;
  • Maintains the vital role of independent producers in our broadcasting system;
  • Supports the production of more original French language programming; and
  • Standardizes references to Black and racialized communities throughout the bill.

The Senate adopted the legislation at third reading on Thursday with the committee’s proposed changes. The proposed changes must now be reviewed by the House of Commons.

Online Streaming Act adopted in Senate