The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) welcomes Bill C-18, the Online News Act, as an important step towards recognizing the value of private broadcasters’ news content and providing the necessary framework for fair negotiation between news organizations and online platforms.

Maintaining professional newsrooms in communities across the country is a fundamental commitment of Canada’s private broadcasters, representing an investment of $681 million in news and community information programming last year. We also know that when Canadians seek news online, they have stated that their most trusted sources are the sites associated with broadcasters.

However, over the past decade, foreign online platforms such as Google and Facebook have cornered the markets in search and advertising, providing no compensation to news sites for the value gained from user interaction with their content.

As news broadcasters and publishers struggle to maintain the resources necessary to continue to inform Canadians, it is critical that a policy framework be developed to help recognize the value of their online content. This framework should recognize Canadian news organizations’ unique contributions to the public good, and the profit extracted from them by dominant digital platforms.

The CAB believes that Bill C-18 would provide a fair and reasonable negotiation framework for Canadian news organizations and large global digital platforms, similar to what has been proven to work in Australia.

Canada’s private broadcasters want to continue to be a dependable source for local, national and international news for Canadians. But to do so, they must have a fair opportunity to be compensated for the value of their news content.