Unifor applauds last week’s passing of Bill C-18: The Online News Act as an important next step towards supporting local news and Canadian content in the media.
“The government has made it law for digital platforms, such as Google and Facebook, to pay their fair share. This is something Unifor members have fought hard for and now we need to make sure it works,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President.
“While tech platforms continue to profit – including by displaying news stories without paying their fair share for them – media workers, who tirelessly report fact-based, accurate stories to the public continue to struggle or face job cuts.”
Unifor believes this legislation is one important reform, but it’s not a silver bullet. Canada’s media policy framework requires a whole host of reforms to address the collapse of the financial model that supported local news creation for decades.
Bill C-18 forces tech giants to pay news outlets for posting their journalism on the digital platforms.
Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, confirmed on June 22, 2023 – on the same day Bill C-18 received royal assent – it plans on ending access to news on its platforms gradually over the new several months for all Canadian users, before the bill comes into effect.
“Meta’s reaction to this legislation is a bully tactic,” said Julie Kotsis, Unifor Media Council Chair.
“This is not a sound business tactic. They’re trying to hold Canadian public hostage in a game of chicken. Meta is just trying to threaten and intimidate legislators into bending to their will, but the Canadian public deserves better when it comes to access to quality journalism.”
Facebook blocked local news after a similar law was passed in Australia, but relented less than a week later, after the government tweaked the law to grant the platform more time to negotiate with publishers.
Both Facebook and Google now strike deals with Australian news outlets to use their content on their platforms.
To read more about Unifor’s Media Action Plan’s campaign on Bill C-18, head to: https://www.mediaactionplan.ca.