Union Expresses Encouragement and Calls for Transparency in the Online News Act
TORONTO – NEWS – Unifor has expressed its satisfaction with the federal government’s recent announcement concerning the Online News Act, formerly known as Bill C-18. The agreement with Google aims to ensure that Canadians can continue accessing local and national news content while compelling tech giants to allocate $100 million annually to support local news outlets. Unifor eagerly anticipates the finalization of the regulations surrounding this crucial development.
Upholding Quality Journalism and Democracy
Unifor National President Lana Payne conveyed the union’s contentment with the government’s resolute stance in preserving access to quality journalism on Google. The continued availability of such news sources is considered vital for the fabric of Canadian society and democracy. Payne further noted that this arrangement represents a significant step towards ensuring that tech giants like Google fulfill their responsibilities by supporting local news.
Online News Act Implementation
The Online News Act, slated to take effect on December 19, 2023, mandates companies such as Google and Meta to establish agreements with Canadian news outlets, thereby compensating them for the news content featured on their platforms.
As part of this framework, Google has committed to providing $100 million annually in a cash deal, indexed to inflation, which will be distributed to news outlets nationwide, including independent media entities and those representing Indigenous and official-language minority communities.
A Call for Immediate Implementation
Unifor has noted that despite this promising development, the agreed-upon sum falls short of the government’s earlier estimate based on draft regulations. Given the pressing challenges faced by Canadian journalism, Unifor urges the swift implementation of this revenue stream.
Furthermore, the union stresses the importance of transparency and inclusivity in the allocation of funds, ensuring that smaller, independent news outlets receive their fair share of support.
Flexibility and Revisiting Agreements
The agreement with Google also includes a provision that allows the Canadian government to revisit its arrangement with the company should other nations, such as Germany, negotiate more favorable terms in similar disputes with Google.
Unifor’s Commitment and Expectations
Unifor, with its substantial presence in the media sector, representing over 10,000 media workers, including 5,000 members in the broadcast and film industries, has actively made recommendations for Bill C-18. The union eagerly anticipates reviewing the finalized framework in mid-December.
In addition, Unifor hopes that Google’s agreement will serve as a catalyst for Meta, which previously halted negotiations with the Canadian government and blocked Canadian news on Facebook and Instagram. The union calls upon Meta to reconsider its stance and end its restrictions on Canadian news distribution.