We have seen digital media giants moving into the Canadian media landscape, siphoning off much needed advertising revenue, upending the traditional funding models that supported newspaper publishing and broadcast TV.

At the same time, foreign streaming companies have taken advantage of outdated broadcast legislation that allowed them access to the Canadian market without paying their fair share back into the Canadian media production, as traditional broadcasters are required to do.

The Canadian government has struggled to reform and update Canadian broadcast policy, and more media outlets are closing every week, or shuttering local outlets that provide essential community news. After years of conversation and consultations, the federal government has finally passed the Online Streaming Act and the Online News Act, two pieces of much needed legislation that will – in different ways – help create a fairer and more stable funding model for Canada’s media outlets.

Unifor media members and leadership fought hard for these important pieces of legislation, despite concerted counter campaigns from the digital media and streaming giants and their supporters. The union will continue to fight for fairer, sustainable and long-term funding models that support media outlets across the country, from small, independent voices to national-level, mainstream outlets.

But we know we cannot rely solely on the government. 

Creating a stable funding model for local news will not have one or two solutions. Bill C-11 and C-18 are just pieces of a puzzle. The Labour Tax Credits, The Labour Journalism Initiative are other initiatives already in place and we’re working on other pieces of the puzzle, including closing the tax loopholes in the advertising market that disadvantage Canadian publications, allowing philanthropic money and alternative business models.

Unifor has been working hard for years to protect and promote fact-based journalism in Canada. In 2016, we launched our Media Action Plan, a public campaign driven by Unifor media locals, to fight to save local news and confronting harassment in journalism. 

For more information about supporting the fight to save local news, head to the Media Action Plan site.

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C-11: The Online Streaming Act