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Cultural and newspaper review must move faster

September 29, 2017

TORONTO – The money committed by Netflix to investing in Canadian productions is good news for this country’s cultural industry, but does not go far enough to help ensure Canada’s media can continue to tell Canadian stories, Unifor says.

“The announcement of the new Netflix commitments to Canadian movies is good to see, but much more is needed,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

"We have to move a lot more quickly on long-term solutions for our news and entertainment industries as audiences and advertising dollars move to the Internet. France has done so, Canada should too."

Dias said he is encouraged by more funding for the Canada Media Fund and that incoming CRTC Chair Ian Scott would take a fresh look at how to adapt to the explosion in Internet broadcasting, currently exempted from CRTC regulations supporting Canadian entertainment and TV news programming.

“The last CRTC policy review under the Harper government just ignored the threat of American online broadcasters. Things have only got worse. While it looks like this minister wants a rethink, we are seventeen months into this policy review and we’ve got to move faster,” said Dias.

The absence of a more significant commitment from Google or Facebook to invest in the Canadian news industry is disappointing, Dias said, adding strong action is needed for the beleaguered newspaper industry.

A 2016 report by the Public Policy Forum of Canada recommended a $300-million aid package for newspapers, and in June 2017 the organization representing newspaper publishers made a similar proposal to the Minister.

“Journalists are being laid off and news coverage is sinking because Google and Facebook are grabbing the advertising dollars. This government has to respond before it’s too late,” said Dias

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at stuart.laidlaw@unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.