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.