Canada’s News Publishers Call on CRTC to Make Regulations with Respect to the Online News Act

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TORONTO, ON – Technology – Multicultural, community, local, and national news publishers and trade associations, representing hundreds of trust titles, have come together to call on the CRTC to make regulations with respect to the Online News Act that will ensure consistency and fairness, maximize newsroom investment, enhance transparency and minimize misrepresentation.
“With $100 million annually at stake, news publishers want to ensure that maximum amount flows to newsrooms to maintain and grow journalism jobs in local communities across Canada,” said Maria Saras-Voutsinas, Executive Director at National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada. “The CRTC needs to make sure that the rules are clear to everyone, and the rules are followed by everyone.”
The Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association, BC & Yukon Community News Media Association, Hebdos Québec, Manitoba Community Newspapers Association, National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, News Media Canada, Ontario Community Newspapers Association, and Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association call on the CRTC to make the following regulations:
Ensure consistency and fairness across news businesses by adding specificity to definitions in the Act and regulations
  • Base ‘full-time equivalent’ on a standard work week and apply it to those who worked a minimum period of 40 consecutive weeks in an eligible news production role for the eligible news business in the previous calendar year.
  • Employees should be defined as those who received a T-4 or Relevé 1 from the news business in the previous calendar year and based on the federal guidance on the employer/employee relationship, which can be found here.
Minimize administrative expenses to maximize newsroom investment
  • Put a maximum cap on administrative fees the Single Collective can take at 0.5% (i.e., C$500,000).
  • Ensure that any interest earned on the C$100 million flows to eligible news businesses – not to the administrator.
Enhance transparency and trust and avoid conflict of interest
  • Prior to payments to news businesses being made, have the CRTC validate the eligibility of the news business and verify the number of full-time equivalent employees in an expeditious manner.
  • All administrative expenses (including salaries, consulting fees, etc.) over C$5000 incurred by the Single Collective must be reported to the CRTC, audited, and posted publicly.
  • Google’s C$100 million contribution must be held in trust at a CDIC member institution. Signing authority for disbursements over C$5000 must include an authorized representative from the CDIC member institution, and there can be no co-mingling with another party’s assets.
  • The Single Collective’s directors must declare any conflicts of interest, including but not limited to any other remuneration or benefit they receive from the digital news intermediary.
  • The Single Collective’s directors must recuse themselves from any decisions related to their own news business.
Minimize violations and misrepresentation by imposing administrative monetary penalties
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