Politics

Bill to reform broadcast and telecom rules coming soon: Guilbeault

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is promising to table legislation to reform Canada's broadcasting and telecom rules within months, but is saying little about what might be in it.

Independent panel report calls for more Canadian streaming content

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault speaks at the Prime Time 2020 conference in Ottawa Thursday, January 30, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is promising to table legislation to reform Canada's broadcasting and telecom rules within months, but is saying little about what might be in it.

On Wednesday, an expert panel delivered a report recommending sweeping new powers and responsibilities be given to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, including oversight of foreign streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Apple.

The panel also recommended Ottawa immediately require these streaming companies to start collecting and remitting GST/HST.

Guilbeault said he agrees that companies operating in Canada should pay taxes here. He suggested a measure to tax online streaming services could be in the upcoming federal budget.

He also suggested he agrees with the call for a registration regime that would require online streaming giants that operate in Canada to invest in Canadian programming.

Guilbeault said companies like Netflix are spending money already to create content in Canada, but the government wants to see this happen in a more organized way to ensure Canadian cultural content is available to audiences here and around the world.

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