No plan to tax ISPs, Joly says

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - EMILY JACK­SON

TORONTO Her­itage Min­is­ter Mélanie Joly re­it­er­ated there will be no tax on in­ter­net ser­vice providers, but it’s not clear how she plans to get new dig­i­tal play­ers to sup­port Cana­dian con­tent as broad­cast­ing shifts to the in­ter­net from tele­vi­sion.

“I’ve said it in June, the prime min­is­ter also said it in June. There will be no ISP tax,” Joly told re­porters af­ter dis­cussing her Creative Canada strat­egy at the Em­pire Club of Canada in Toronto on Thurs­day.

Joly out­lined the need to mod­ern­ize the broad­cast and tele­com acts for the in­ter­net era on the same day Canada’s broad­cast reg­u­la­tor, at her re­quest, em­barked on a mis­sion to fig­ure out how Cana­di­ans will con­sume au­dio video con­tent in the fu­ture and how new plat­forms can sup­port con­tent cre­ation.

The Cana­dian Ra­dio-tele­vi­sion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion launched a con­sul­ta­tion on how these new ac­cess mod­els will “en­sure a vi­brant do­mes­tic mar­ket that is ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing the con­tin­ued cre­ation, pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of Cana­dian con­tent.”

“We will be work­ing with the CRTC to un­der­stand what are the new play­ers in the sec­tor and also how can there be new ways of sup­port­ing Cana­dian con­tent,” Joly said. “In the con­text of stream­ing ser­vices, our leg­is­la­tion right now doesn’t deal with the re­al­ity of the in­ter­net.”

Canada’s ex­ist­ing sys­tem was set up for a broad­cast world where con­tent was con­sumed on ra­dios and tele­vi­sion screens. In this world, broad­cast­ers are re­quired to con­trib­ute a per­cent­age of rev­enue to fund Cana­dian pro­gram­ming. But the funds avail­able for lo­cal cre­ators have de­clined as tele­vi­sion rev­enues stag­nate.

Many have eyed the new plat­forms where con­sumers ac­cess con­tent — namely, stream­ing ser­vices and in­ter­net ser­vice providers — as pos­si­ble sources to make up for the lost broad­cast rev­enue. Many oth­ers have de­cried any levy on these ser­vices as a bad idea.

Joly did not re­veal any ideas on ways these new play­ers will sup­port Cancon.

Mélanie Joly

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