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OpenMedia takes the C-11 fight to the CRTC

OpenMedia testified at the CRTC on C-11! Here’s what went down.

Your OpenMedia team is at it again. On December 7, 2023, we testified before the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) in Gatineau, Quebec. This hearing is the first round of discussion around the implementation of Bill C-11, in which the CRTC asked for input on how much money should be drawn from online streaming companies for the new Broadcasting Act, and we were there to make sure YOUR voices were heard.

We appeared alongside the Public Interest Advocacy Center (PIAC) and the National Pensioners Federation (NFP). Our  #proconsumer team consisted of OpenMedia Executive Director Matt Hatfield, Senior Campaigner Ramneet Bhullar, PIAC General Counsel John Lawford, PIAC Counsel Yuka Sai, and Trish McAuliffe, President of the National Pensioners Federation. You can read our opening remarks here, or watch the full testimony here. 

We used this opportunity to highlight the key concerns raised by YOU. We told the CRTC: if you’re creating space for telling Canadian stories online, C-11 needs to support a free and open Internet, put the needs of ordinary Internet users first, and foster competition. The new system shouldn't become a tool for traditional media to grab a share of the streaming market.  Instead, C-11 must honour user choice and expression, fostering a digital landscape that supports Canadian digital-first content creators while removing unnecessary barriers for them. We welcomed support for legacy creators to enter digital spaces, but told the CRTC that content that Canadians don’t find compelling shouldn’t receive indefinite support, and must not be forced into our feeds if we aren’t engaging with it.

For those not in the loop, this CRTC consultation carries significant weight. It’ll determine which platforms and services should be subject to regulation, the amount of revenue extracted from them, and the allocation of that revenue. We’ll let you know what they decide and what it means in the months ahead.

What's next? This consultation is one out of three phases of the CRTC’s implementation of Bill C-11, and is just the start of what matters to our community. There will be more key questions down the line that matter a lot – questions like what even IS Canadian content, who gets to make it, and whether it will be made *available* to us – which many of us are on board for! – or FORCED on all our feeds and search results, which we won’t accept.

There will be more opportunities to continue participating and engaging in the CRTC process in the months to come – including one specifically devoted to the question of what “Canadian” content even is – which the overwhelming majority of our community was concerned about — so stay tuned!

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