Times Colonist

Media lobbies MPs over compensati­on from tech giants


OTTAWA — A lobby group for Canada’s newspapers and magazines has asked MPs to enact new rules to help its members negotiate compensati­on from social-media giants that post content the traditiona­l media produce.

News Media Canada wants the government to let the industry negotiate collective­ly with the likes of Google and Facebook.

There are similar rules in other countries, such as Australia and France, where Google announced last week it had signed compensati­on agreements with several daily newspapers and magazines.

News Media Canada’s CEO, John Hinds, said Canadian rules similar to those would negate the need for any new taxes or spending programs. “It allows the industry and the digital monopolies to negotiate fair terms for compensati­on,” Hinds told MPs on the House of Commons heritage committee Friday.

“It doesn’t raise taxes, it doesn’t deal with government sort of intervenin­g in the marketplac­e, but it allows a fair market interactio­n between the platforms and newspapers.”

The committee is studying the challenges the pandemic has created for media and culture groups. Several members of the committee lamented the reduction in local news coverage as their newspapers cut back on coverage and editions to keep the lights on.

Hinds said some smaller newspapers closed permanentl­y due to the pandemic, while larger publicatio­ns saw newsroom layoffs. The federal wage subsidy, he said, has been helpful in avoiding worse.

‘Hero pay’ brought back for Sobeys workers

STELLARTON, N. S. — Sobeys is bringing back pay premiums for staff in locations where COVID-19 lockdowns are in effect. Parent company Empire Company Limited said it has reinstated so-called hero pay in Manitoba, Toronto and Peel Region in Ontario as rising cases of the virus in those areas have prompted the shutdown of nonessenti­al businesses.

Each week, eligible employees will receive between $10 and $100 extra, depending on how many hours they work and how long the government lockdowns last. Empire says it currently expects to spend $5 million per quarter on the program.

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