No plan to tax ISPs: heritage minister
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.