Stop C-10: NO CRTC regulation of user speech

The CRTC is about to be put in charge of every video, meme, and podcast we upload to the Internet.1 Censoring videos with language that doesn’t fit the CRTC’s broadcasting standards? Limiting our timelines to display content from our Canadian friends? Imposing CanCon content requirements on app stores and video games? Taxing YouTube channels to fund traditional media?

All of that and more is now possible, after the government’s bait and switch removed safeguards that exempted user-generated content from Broadcast Act Amendment Bill C-10 at the very last minute.2 

The government lied to us about this bill. Exempting our user content was a key part of C-10’s limitations, that helped get it through parliamentary readings and committee without more dissent. Removing that exception makes C-10 the most breathtaking power grab over online speech we’ve ever seen in Canada.

But there’s still time to stop this. Parliament has one final vote to decide if Bill C-10 becomes law. Tell your MP this kind of broad government censorship power is unacceptable – they MUST vote no to Bill C-10!

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When Bill C-10 was announced, OpenMedia campaigned against it. Even in its original form, Bill C-10 was a dangerous failure. It threatened to drive major online platforms out of Canada, while doing nothing to reform our broken system for determining and supporting official Canadian content, or support the homegrown Canadian creators already flourishing on the social web.3

A lone bright spot of the bill was the specific exemption to regulation granted for user-generated content, highlighted in the government’s own press release, and characterized by the Department of Justice as a “carefully tailored” limitation to the Bill’s scope.4, 5

In our worst nightmares, we never expected the government would break its own bill this badly, charging the CRTC with regulating every single one of the individual YouTube channels, TikToks and podcasts that we post and consume every day.

But that’s exactly what removing user-generated content exceptions from Bill C-10 accomplishes. No matter how the current government may promise it will direct the CRTC to limit its use of these new powers – once they’re written in law, those extreme new powers are there to stay. Current and future governments could easily demand the CRTC crack down and limit how user content in Canada appears on the web – without ever needing public approval or parliament to vote again.

That’s simply too much power to give to any government-appointed agency. If you haven’t already, tell your MP to vote NO on Bill C-10, and demand Broadcasting reform that is actually about supporting Canadian arts and culture – not censoring the Internet.

Sources

  1. Uploads to social media could be regulated under proposed changes to Canada’s broadcasting law - Toronto Star
  2. Freedom of Expression Under Attack: The Liberal Government Moves to Have the CRTC Regulate All User Generated Content - Michael Geist
  3. What’s wrong with Bill C-10? An FAQ - OpenMedia
  4. Supporting a Stronger, More Inclusive and More Competitive Broadcasting System - Newswire
  5. Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts - Department of Justice

Press: Matthew Hatfield | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 1 | matt@openmedia.org