The Canadian lower house of parliament has passed a new piece of legislation that would compel streaming services operating in the country to offer more local content.
Bill C-11 cleared the House of Commons by 208 votes to 117, including support from New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois members. The bill will become law once the Senate adopts it and it receives royal assent.
The bill would serve to update the Broadcasting Act, and brings streaming platforms within regulatory oversight.
While the primary focus of the bill has been major video streaming services such as Disney+, Prime Video and Netflix, it will also include other streaming platforms such as YouTube and Spotify who will be compelled to promote Canadian artists by law.
Critics have argued that the current phrasing of the bill would also see it apply to amateur videos and user-generated content on YouTube. Liberal MP Tim Louis however said that these allegations were ‘misinformation’ and that “the bill explicitly excludes all user-generated content in social media platforms and streaming services.”
“In plain language, that means that users, even digital-first creators with millions of subscribers, are not broadcasters and therefore they will not face any obligations under the act. Any suggestions otherwise are simply untrue,” he told the Commons.
The introduction of this new bill in Canada comes at a time when similar measures are being introduced in Europe. Denmark recently introduced a 6% streaming levy to support local media, while Swiss citizens voted in favour of a similar law dubbed ‘Lex Netflix’.
Similar laws have been implemented in Portugal (where streamers must pay 1% of their income to the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisuals), and in France and Italy where streamers must invest in European content. Spain is also considering similar laws.