Government must act to protect Canadian media

OTTAWA, June 15, 2017 /CNW/ - Unifor welcomes the Heritage Committee report on Canadian media and local news.

"The Heritage Committee conducted a 15-month study of Canadian media and have recommended 21st century solutions for 21st century problems," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "The reality is that the Canadian media industry is in crisis because Facebook and Google are devouring the Canadian advertising dollars that journalism depends on."  

Unifor says the Committee's recommendations, if adopted, will help to replace the loss of Canadian advertising dollars currently leaving the country. The union indicated support to implement tax measures designed to keep Canadian digital advertising dollars within Canada, and to apply domestic tax laws to digital content coming into Canada through U.S. tech giants Google and Facebook. Unifor also welcomes the Committee's emphasis on tougher license conditions for television companies airing local news.

However as Canada's media union, Unifor is disappointed in Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly's hasty rejection of a recommended five per cent levy on broadband internet services to fund Canada's media industries. Unifor has long supported a revenue levy on Internet Service Providers profiting off the distribution of Canadian news and other media content.

"For Minister Joly to immediately dismiss the very sensible idea that Internet Service Providers should contribute their fair share to Canadian journalism without proper consideration is disappointing," said Unifor Media Director Howard Law. "Our expectation is that she has an even better idea in mind."

Unifor will continue to communicate with the Heritage Ministry about the needs of the media sector, in advance of Joly's planned release in the fall of her ministry's review of Canadian content in the digital era.

"Measures that the federal government takes, or fails to take, will determine the very future of Canadian content," said Dias. "This report puts the onus on Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to take the bold action our media outlets need."

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including more than 12,000 in the media sector. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

SOURCE Unifor

For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O'Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).

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