Report to the Midyear Meeting
April, 19-22 2022

During this period, there continued to be strict controls and restrictions for journalists who covered all developments related to the Covid Pandemic and its management.

As we head into a sixth wave of the pandemic, Provincial Health organizations and chief medical doctors have expressed the need to reinstate lifted controls after the Liberty Convoy Protests, especially in the Provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta.

As the situation started to get out of control by blocking vital commerce across the border bridges with the United States, the Federal Government invoked the Emergencies Act. It gives Federal Government sweeping powers to restore order and put an immediate end to protests and blockades in all cities and border towns.

For the approval of the Emergencies Act, The New Democratic Party placed its support behind the Liberal Party, guaranteeing the passage of the Law. As a result, the Emergencies Act was lifted by February 23.

In the wake of those occurrences and with new global challenges appearing on the horizon, new research from different analysts of public reaction has shown that Canadians are increasingly concerned with freedom of speech and general liberties.

In view of the economic crisis afflicting media - 450 of item have closed down since 450 - due to the severe decrease in their advertising revenues, an issue that has been addressed by press organizations and the federal government, the Executive Branch presented a bill to alleviate the situation. On April 5, it submitted to Parliament an initiative that seeks to generate more income for the media from digital platforms.

Bill C-18 (An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada), similar to a February 2021 Australian legislation, will force digital platforms, such as Google and Meta, to pay media outlets for the use of their content on which they generate digital advertising revenue.

The initiative, which could be approved next June, proposes a 12-month period of voluntary negotiation between the platforms and the media. If no agreements are reached within that period, a mandatory negotiation supervised by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will be established.

The national government also approved a $55 million fund in the federal budget to support the news publishing industry for one year starting in 2023. $10 million will go to the Local Journalism Initiative to support content production in "underserved communities" across the country. $5 million will go to create the Changing Narratives Fund project to help journalists, creators, and organizations of racial and religious minorities. And $40 million will go to the Canadian Heritage for the Canada Periodical Fund, as the government seeks to drive digital transformation in the media.