Internet advocates unite on a user-centric approach to Bill C-11’s policy direction
Several groups outlined vital recommendations to protect the rights of Canadians
May 9, 2023 — Today, OpenMedia and seven leading experts, academics, and organizations released an open letter to the Minister of Heritage Pablo Rodriguez outlining their recommendations and key considerations for the government policy directive to the Canadian Telecommunications-Radio Commission (CRTC) regarding Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act.
The letter expresses concern that Bill C-11 will violate the right to a free and open internet and urges the government to use its policy direction to the CRTC to resolve interpretive ambiguities in the legislative text. It also includes specific recommendations for moving Bill C-11 forward appropriately, including more clearly protecting user-generated content, setting boundaries on discoverability, updating CanCon requirements, and limiting the scope of platform inclusion.
“A free and open Internet is essential to a diverse and inclusive democracy,” said OpenMedia Campaigns Director Matt Hatfield. “As we’ve said throughout C-11’s consideration, any measures to promote Canadian cultural content must respect the rights and choices of Internet users. Our recommendations in the letter seek to strike a balance between promoting Canadian content and protecting online freedoms. We hope that the government will take these recommendations seriously and engage in meaningful consultation with Canadians to ensure that the final policy direction to the CRTC reflects the needs and priorities of all users and creators.”
“As it stands, Bill C-11 constitutes an unprecedented and dangerous expansion of government regulation in Canada, says Timothy Denton, Chairman of the Internet Society, Canada Chapter. “Without adequate safeguards in place, Bill C-11 offers an enormous growth in power for the CRTC. This bill will likely have significant consequences for online free expression in Canada by allowing regulators to pick winners and losers. The government must carefully consider their next steps to strike a proper balance between promoting Canadian cultural content and preserving the open nature of the Internet.”
The letter stressed the importance of protecting user-generated content and ensuring that the CRTC does not inappropriately regulate Internet content or manipulate user choice. The groups are also calling for a thorough revision of the CanCon certification system to ensure it provides fair terms of support for all Canadians.
Since December 2020, OpenMedia community members have sent over 200,000 messages to our MPs, Senators, and the Department of Canadian Heritage, calling on them to protect user content and respect our online choices in Bill C-11 and its 2020 predecessor, Bill C-10. Recently OpenMedia has launched a new campaign demanding that the Heritage Minister’s policy direction respects user content and choice.
Digital First Canada
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Samuelson-Glushko, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic
Internet Society Canada Chapter
Konrad von Finckenstein