It’s been a slow-motion disaster, happening before our eyes: tech giants have warned they’d block Canadian news if Bill C-18 was not fixed, but the Department of Heritage dismissed them as bluffing.1 Bill C-18 was jammed through with few remedies, and now reality is sinking in: when faced with paying for news or blocking it, both Meta and Google picked blockage.2,3
Bill C-18 was built on a rotten foundation that is now caving in. It's proving to be a lose-lose bill; news organizations are losing the enormous circulation social media provided them without any new dedicated funding to support themselves, and Canadians are losing access to quality, credible news outlets on the affected platforms.4,5
The majority of Canadians want two things: for platforms to help support news production, and for the government to do whatever it takes to keep platforms from pulling news.6 It is crucial that the Canadian government acts now on what YOU need and fix the flaws in C-18, through changes in how the bill should be interpreted, or by abandoning C-18 entirely and proposing better legislation that actually supports the news industry.
The Department of Heritage cannot ignore the consequences of their inaction. With a new Heritage Minister in charge, it's time the government acknowledges reality and starts making changes, and FAST. Email Minister St-Onge and demand that the government fix the existing bill, or present new, robust legislation that better safeguards freedom of the press and citizens' access to reliable news sources.