What is Bill C-11?
Bill C-11, also known as the Online Streaming Act, was supposed to be about promoting Canadian storytelling online. In reality, the bill has ended up so broadly worded that it lets the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) interfere with every part of your online life. That includes manipulating your feeds and search results, requiring you to provide proof of your age to access platforms like Reddit and Twitter, and controlling your favourite YouTube channels, TikToks, streaming shows, and more — even YOUR OWN uploads.2-6
Want to learn more about Bill C-11? Check out our FAQ.
Where are we now in the fight to protect our online choice?
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 — including content on popular platforms like Youtube, Spotify, and TikTok.
Following that, C-11 was sent to the Senate for study and changes:
- Thanks to a massive public outcry demanding Senators fix this dangerous bill — including an OpenMedia petition that now boasts over 103,000 signatures7 — a new amendment by Senators Julie Miville-Deschêne and Paula Simons significantly improved the language, focusing on professional audio content and excluding the great majority user-generated content from being regulated.8
- 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, which could require Canadians to show their personal IDs in order to access any platform that allows “adult” content — social media sites and mainstream streaming services included. Not only should an amendment this serious and far-reaching be thoroughly debated by elected officials and NOT the appointed Senate, it should never have been adopted at all, as it threatens the basic rights of Canadians. Protecting kids on the Internet is vital, but it cannot come at the expense of letting the government surveil our every online move.9
- Disappointingly, the Senate also failed to include 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.
Now, C-11 is headed 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.
What can I do?
Over 103,000 of us have made our demands loud and clear: only CANADIANS should decide what we see and listen to online, NOT the government or the CRTC. The Senate has heard us and made a major improvement to the Bill — but we can’t stop here.
If we don’t keep up our momentum, MPs in the House of Commons could undo all of your hard work to fix this bill. We CANNOT let that happen.
The finish line is so close, but stumbling now would have devastating consequences for Canada’s Internet as we know it. Email your MP right now to demand they support critical fixes to Bill C-11!