dpmike / iStock

Canadian Screen Sector Responds to CRTC’s Online Streaming Act

Foreign streamers to pay 5% of revenue for CanCon

6 mins read

Organizations in the Canadian screen sector are generally approving today’s announcement by the CRTC regarding Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act. The act seeks to make “meaningful contributions to Canadian and Indigenous content” and the framework was shared with media during a virtual press conference this morning.

The Online Streaming Act will require streamers whose operations are based outside Canada to commit 5% of their streaming revenue to support Canadian content. This ruling only applies to entities that are not affiliated with Canadian broadcasters and have annual streaming revenues of at least $25 million. The Act projects that this will inject $200 million in base contributions to the Canadian screen sector. However, this amount is far below the $1 billion quoted previously.

The distribution of such funds emphasizes local news and equity-seeking groups, such as the Indigenous Screen Office, the Black Screen Office, and the Broadcast Accessibility Fund. The bulk of the 5% revenue will go the Canada Media Fund (2%) and 1.5% to local news organizations. The ISO and the BSO will each receive 0.5% with the remaining 0.5% split between independent producers. Additional allocations are made for the audio sector and for Francophone content.

The announcement doesn’t make any commitments to documentary specifically. The preservation for the protection of genres such as documentary was a contentious talking point throughout Bill C-11 hearings, although it was cleared up prior to the Bill’s passage last year.

“Documentary is where many creators begin and grow their careers, thanks in large part to ongoing support from important Institutions such as those named in today’s CRTC ruling,” said Sarah Spring, executive director of the Documentary Organization of Canada. “We hope that future decisions will go one step further and provide clear mandates to support independent documentary production, and in the meantime DOC’s community of 1300 filmmakers across the country look forward to working with the Canada Media Fund, the Indigenous Screen Office, the Canadian Independent Screen Fund for BPOC Creators, the Black Screen Office, and Canada’s Certified Independent Production Funds to grow the incredible body of documentary production being made every year that is so important to Canada’s culture.”

“This vote of confidence from the CRTC is a significant step towards establishing the Black Screen Office Fund. We firmly believe that this fund has the power to revolutionize the lives of Black creators and dismantle existing barriers,” added Joan Jenkinson, executive director of the Black Screen Office, in a statement. “We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to collaborate with streamers, establishing relationships as a trusted partner who can effectively leverage these funds for transformative change.”

“This decision is a landmark moment for Indigenous storytellers and represents what can be achieved when we all come to the table to create meaningful change,” noted Kerry Swanson, CEO of the Indigenous Screen Office, in a statement. “What is ultimately a small percentage of money for the big streamers is a transformative opportunity for Indigenous peoples and a reason for celebration across an industry that is only starting down the path towards reconciliation and inclusion.”

“The ruling from the CRTC represents a watershed moment that was years in the making. It reflects the federal government’s long commitment to address the evolving needs of Canada’s broadcasting system and the new ways in which Canadians access and view content. Today’s decision tilts our industry toward a more level playing field,” said Reynolds Mastin, President & CEO of the Canadian Media Producers Association in a release.

However, Wendy Noss, President of the Motion Picture Association – Canada, disagreed and expressed dismay in a statement. “We are disappointed in today’s decision that reinforces a decades-old regulatory approach designed for cable companies. Today’s discriminatory decision will make it harder for global streamers to collaborate directly with Canadian creatives and invest in world-class storytelling made in Canada for audiences here and around the world,” she noted in a release on behalf of the association that represents streamers including, but not limited to, Netflix, Disney+, and Paramount+, and Hollywood studios like Warner Bros. “We hope the next stages of the process will consider the full scope of benefits that global streaming services bring to Canada, modernize the definition of a Canadian program, and lead to a new flexible approach that will deliver more value to Canadian creative workers and consumers.”

Correction (6/5/2024): This article previously cited the Disability Screen Office as a fund emphasized by the Act, but the CRTC lists the Broadcast Accessibility Fund as an example supported by the criteria.


Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

Previous Story

Taboo Review: Doc Remembers Amos Guttman and Mentors Lost

Next Story

Rebel Nun Shares Sister Helen Prejean’s Ongoing Fight Against Capital Punishment

Latest from Blog

0 $0.00