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QUESTION PERIOD — Ministry of Canadian Heritage

Online News Act

December 6, 2023

Of the $100 million that was just announced in your deal with Google, can you tell us how much of that is new money in addition to what Google was already paying in its deals with Canadian publishers? Additionally, can you tell us how much of that money will go to the CBC, how much to private broadcasters, how much to large newspaper chains and how much to smaller minority language, ethnocultural and other specialty organizations or start-ups?

Hon. Pascale St-Onge, P.C., M.P., Minister of Canadian Heritage [ + ]

Thank you for the question. Regarding the proportion of the $100 million that is new money, it’s impossible for me to give you an answer because the agreements between certain media outlets and Google are not public.

That being said, from what I understand, a tremendous amount of money was added for all media through this agreement. The eligibility criteria are listed in section 11.1 of the Broadcasting Act. The media outlets must take part in the process so that the platform can secure an exemption and not have to appear before an adjudicator to settle a dispute. The media includes official language minority media, Indigenous media, ethnic media, local, regional and community media, as well as traditional and independent media, of course.

I ask because the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated earlier that the vast amount of the money he calculated under Bill C-18 would go to the CBC and private broadcasters because they had the largest costs. Can you tell us if the money will be divvied up based on the operational costs of the organizations, or will there be a different method to make sure that Indigenous minority language and independent start-ups get a piece of the pie, and that the money doesn’t all go to the large legacy outlets?

Ms. St-Onge [ + ]

The final regulations will be published. They are currently being examined by the Treasury Board. They will be made public before the act is implemented on December 19, and that will no doubt answer many of your questions on how the money will be divvied up.

Obviously, journalism is what we want to support with this legislation, so the media outlets have to have journalists working for them in order for them to be eligible under the act.

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