House supports majority of Senate changes to Bill C-11
The Online Streaming Act proposes to modernize Canada’s broadcasting laws.
The House of Commons has recognized the Senate’s meaningful contributions to Bill C-11, supporting a large majority of its proposed amendments.
“The response shows that the Senate was successful in executing its constitutional role as a complementary chamber of sober second thought in its consideration of Bill C-11,” said Senator Marc Gold, the Government Representative in the Senate.
“The Senate made meaningful contributions to the legislative process, and as a result, Bill C-11 has been improved. I am optimistic that a majority of senators will accept the decision made by the elected chamber.”
Implementing legislation to modernize the Broadcasting Act reflects a key electoral commitment of the Government, and formed part of the electoral commitments made by the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois during the most recent federal election.
Bill C-11 aims to brings streaming services into the regulatory fold, to ensure they contribute in an equitable and flexible way to the creation and availability of Canadian content, among other measures. It prioritizes support for content from francophone, Indigenous, LGBTQ2+ and racialized creators.
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 Government secured endorsement from the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois to accept 20 of 26 amendments proposed by the Senate, including two with modifications.
The changes include:
- Strengthening the protection of privacy;
- Promoting innovation;
- Maintaining the vital role of independent producers in our broadcasting system;
- Supporting the production of more original French language programming;
- Standardizing references to Black and racialized communities throughout the bill; and
- Enhancing the accountability of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) by having its reports tabled in Parliament.
Notably, the House of Commons accepted amendments proposed by senators of all four recognized groups in the Senate, including the Conservative opposition.
The consideration of the message on Bill C-11 will be a key priority when the Senate sitting resumes in April.
“The legislative process so far represents a healthy dialogue between both chambers. Upon Parliament’s return, I will be asking senators to accept the response of Members of Parliament and finally bring Bill C-11 to Royal Assent,” Senator Gold said.
“For Canada’s cultural sector, it has been a long road and a long wait, but the finish line is in sight. Ensuring web giants contribute to the creation and promotion of Canadian stories and music is a matter of survival for many in that industry,” Senator Gold said.