Your voice, DELIVERED: 103,000+ petition signers urge Senate to fix Bill C-11!
Canada’s Senate just introduced a key amendment that nips many of Bill C-11’s problems in the bud — but brought a HUGE new threat to our privacy along with it.
103,000+ community signatures. A TWO THOUSAND-page petition. ONE passionate movement to protect our feeds, content, and online choice. The power of your voice has delivered some of our biggest wins yet in the fight to fix Bill C-11 — but this battle isn’t over yet.
What fixes to C-11 are the OpenMedia community calling for?
This week, OpenMedia delivered over 103,000 community signatures to Canada’s Senate urging key amendments to Bill C-11 — AKA legislation that could STILL give the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) sweeping new powers to regulate and manipulate YOUR videos, search results, podcasts, Netflix recommendations and more (check out our FAQ for more info!).
Even now, momentum shows no signs of slowing. Those petition numbers keep climbing day by day — a MASSIVE showing of opposition to the unchecked dangers of this bill.
When Bill C-11 was first passed by our MPs in our House of Commons earlier this year, it included an extremely broad set of exceptions that meant the vast majority of user content could be regulated by the CRTC. Meaning: your Netflix and YouTube favourites, the TikToks you make, and the podcasts you listen to could all be regulated as ‘broadcasting,’ subject to CRTC broadcasting rules and requirements. Your favourite content, and even your own uploads, could be systematically downranked in favour of content that the CRTC deems “Canadian enough,” according to their wildly outdated 1980s-era criteria (unsurprisingly, you'll find many of your favourite movies, YouTube channels, and TV shows don't fit the bill of what they think is "Canadian").
C-11 was then sent to the Senate for study and changes, prompting the OpenMedia community to rally around urging Senators to fix the major problems with this bill. Our demands weren’t complicated: amend Bill C-11 to respect Canadians’ choices and expression as Internet users, and do not give the CRTC the power to regulate our posts and manipulate our feeds, playlists and search results — an unjustifiable intrusion into our online lives.
Click to read our petition delivery in full. See Appendix B for a detailed look at our original proposed amendments to Bill C-11 in the Senate.
So — what happened at the Senate with Bill C-11?
- Thanks to a massive public outcry from the OpenMedia community and beyond, a new amendment by Senators Julie Miville-Deschêne and Paula Simons significantly improved Bill C-11’s language. The change focuses the CRTC on professional audio content, and excludes the vast majority user-generated content from being regulated by the CRTC.
- The bottom line? IF the House passes this amendment, your cat videos — and your personal videos and posts — should FINALLY be out of Bill C-11. And that would be a HUGE WIN!
- Unfortunately the Senate also slipped in a shocking new provision to C-11: an order to the CRTC to implement age verification requirements for online platforms. This nasty last minute change could require Canadians to show their government-issued IDs in order to access any platform that allows “adult” content — social media sites like Twitter and Reddit and mainstream streaming services included.
- Anonymity when we want it is a KEY part of what makes the Internet work. We all have a right to intimate privacy. That right is especially important for those of us who have marginalized sexual identities that may not be ‘out’ to our full social circle.
- Beyond our intimate privacy, this sneaky amendment also threatens our right to anonymous political and cultural speech on many large platforms that host some adult content.
- The expression and privacy consequences of this change could be ENORMOUS. Yet the Senate did not hear a single expert witness’s testimony before making this change.
- While protecting kids on the Internet is important, an amendment this serious and far-reaching should be thoroughly debated by elected officials, and seriously threatens the basic rights of Canadians.
- The government of Canada themselves rightly recognized this was out of scope during the Senate’s debate, and voted against adding it to Bill C-11, recommending it be reviewed during future online harm legislation.
- This provision MUST be properly removed and reconsidered elsewhere — either by the Senate on third reading, or by the House of Commons, when C-11 is referred back to them.
- Disappointingly, the Senate also failed to include any amendments to Bill C-11 that protect our feeds and search results from supposed ‘content discoverability’ — AKA the CRTC’s new powers to downrank your favourite shows, videos, podcasts, and more if the government deems them not “Canadian” enough.
- The CRTC’s power to manipulate our feeds and search results to promote their questionable definition of what is “Canadian” — still not updated since the 1980s! - is as expansive as ever.
- We don’t know how or when the CRTC will update their definition of CanCon, or how invasive they’ll be with these powers.
- We’re still recommending the Senate and House place some limits on this power, either by restricting it to static promotion of ‘Canadian’ content on some lists, without affecting our dynamic feeds and searches, or by making it an option we can choose to opt into.
- But if they leave this power unchanged, OpenMedia will take up protecting creator fairness and our online choices directly with the CRTC.
- We’ll be fighting for a fair, modernized definition of CanCon that includes all Canadian creators, especially online ones and those with marginalized identities; and we’ll do everything we can to convince the CRTC to not trample on our feed and searches, and respect our right to choose our own content.
What comes next?
Bill C-11 will receive a third vote in the Senate shortly, then head back to the House of Commons for a final vote on the Senate’s amendments. It’s CRITICAL that our MPs take two very important steps: defend the Senate’s good amendments protecting user-generated content from the bill, and reject the inappropriate, privacy-violating, and undemocratic addition of an age verification requirement.
On board? Email your MP here!