Feds Unveil Plans to Extend CanCon Regulations to Streaming Services

On Nov. 3rd, the federal government introduced a bill that would update the Broadcasting Act in order to extend Canadian content regulations (a.k.a. CanCon) to the music and TV/film streaming services like Spotify and Netflix.

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault says the legislative changes will ensure “online broadcasters” (i.e. streaming companies) contribute to the creation and promotion of Canadian content and would result in streaming companies being required to invest more than $800 million in Canadian creators, music, and stories by 2023.

“Canadians have a right to recognize themselves in the music they listen to and the television they watch. We are proposing major changes to the Broadcasting Act in order to ensure online broadcasting services that operate in Canada contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of Canadian stories,” Guilbeault says.
The amendments would also provide the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) with addition enforcement tools. The CRTC has long declined to use its authority to regulate web-based companies.

“The Bill also provides that the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect the needs and interests of all Canadians—including Francophones and Anglophones, Indigenous Peoples, Canadians from racialized communities, and Canadians of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, abilities and disabilities, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and ages,” the government’s announcement says. As well, the Bill would “create a more flexible approach to regulation that allows the CRTC to establish rules for all broadcasting services that operate in Canada, including rules that create more sustainable sources of funding for Canadian stories.”

For more information, go to the Department of Canadian Heritage’s website at

To learn more about the complexities of applying CanCon regulations to streaming services, read our 2019 feature here:

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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