Canada’s Bill C-11 also known as the Online Streaming Act, would regulate digital streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Spotify like ti dose traditional broadcast TV. One of the main goals seems to be to ensure that Canadian programming isn’t overwhelmed by American streaming services, according to a CBC report.
For years Canada has put caps on how much content can air from the United States. This is done to protect its own TV and movie business. In short, in Canada, each TV station and radio station must broadcast a set amount of content made in Canada. After that is reached, TV and radio stations can broadcast content from the United States, UK, and more.
At this time, these rules about protecting Canadian-made content do not apply to online streaming services. With this new C-11, if Netflix, Disney+, and Spotify want to be available in Canada, they will need to have a set amount of Canadian-made content on their services.
Many services are very concerned over the bill as it doesn’t clearly define what Canadian content is. It also doesn’t say how much Canadian content a foreign streaming service needs to have. These are all decisions that would be made after the bill is passed, and it will be up to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to decide them.
For TV currently, if a show or movie is to be considered Canadian made it needs to have 75% of its programming expenses and 75% of its post-production expenses paid for by Canadians or Canadian companies. There is also a complicated point system to determine how much of the production staff, for example, is Canadian.
There are also concerns over how this bill will impact YouTube and TikTok, for example. Will YouTube need to limit content made outside of Canada, for example?
As major US streaming services like Disney+, Paramount+, and more expand worldwide, bills like this are likely to become more common. The fear many countries have is major Hollywood companies will overpower smaller but locally made studios.
Currently, C-11 is only one step away from becoming law, and many expect it to do so soon.