Online streaming act covers streaming giants, promotes Canadian content

The Liberal government is reviving proposed legislation that would subject streaming companies, such as Netflix, to the same rules as traditional broadcasters.

The Online Streaming Act introduced today would force web firms to offer a set amount of Canadian content and invest heavily in Canada’s cultural industries, including film, television and music.

The bill seeks to update the 1991 Broadcasting Act which predates the internet revolution that changed the way people watch film and video content.

Streaming services would be regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, but non-commercial social media users and creators would be exempt.

A previous bill to modernize the Broadcasting Act did not get through the Senate before the September general election, though it was passed by the House of Commons with the backing of the Bloc Quebecois and NDP.

John Nater, the Conservative Party’s heritage critic, maintains the bill was flawed and sent a letter last week to Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez calling on him to halt plans to reintroduce it.

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