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Canada’s 2022 budget promises competition reform, commits to problematic news legislation

April 7, 2022 - Today the Government of Canada announced the 2022 federal budget, including promises to amend the Competition Act, and dedicated funding for the CRTC to implement Bill C-18, the Online News Act.

OpenMedia Campaigns Director Matt Hatfield had this to say:

“Canada’s Competition Act is systematically failing Canadians. Minister Champagne’s promise to fix it is welcome and long overdue — but will he actually follow through? If the Minister is going to commit to reform, he needs to kill the so-called ‘efficiencies’ defence in the Act, which enables plainly anti-competitive buyouts like Rogers-Shaw to go ahead. Canadians need an empowered Competition Bureau that can proactively investigate and deal with competition problems across our market, whether that be in the monopolies of Big Telecom in Canada, or the anti-competitive practices of Big Tech platforms.”

“More concerning is the government’s fiscal commitments to implement convoluted Bill C-18, the Online News Act,” Hatfield continued. “Tying independent journalism in Canada to financial agreements with online platforms is dangerous, and could seriously undermine the independence of our news outlets in the years ahead. We firmly believe a simpler approach would work best. Using some of the revenue expected from the upcoming Digital Services Tax (DST) to fund an expanded, more transparent and fully independent journalism fund would be a much safer approach to addressing Canada’s news production crisis.”

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