TORONTO – Bill C-11, also known as the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020, is an Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, according to the Canadian Government. But what does that mean? Well, this week Brandon sat down with Jeanette Patell, Head of Canada Government Affairs & Public Policy for Youtube Canada, to discuss the controversial new Bill, and why it has Canadians so riled up!
“Bill C-11 effectively would expand Canada’s broadcasting rules and policy to the online environment,” Patell explained.
Traditional broadcasters, like Global, CBC, and CTV, are regulated by the Canadian government through the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). However, outlets broadcasting through digital platforms like TikTok and Youtube have not been subjected to the same rules and regulations.
“Not in the same way. Obviously, we have to follow the laws in Canada, but with regards to the CRTC, the CRTC has set certain rules for broadcasters like Bell or Rogers including on things like having to have a certain amount of Canadian content in their repertoire and their programming,” Patell said, adding that the government is considering applying those rules to platforms like Youtube.
A lot of people are confused about the reasoning behind the new Bill. Many popular content creators are Canadian, like Lilly Singh, and of course The Brandon Gonez Show! Patell explains that fundamentally the concept is well-intentioned.
“I think they’re looking at the evolution of how Canadians are creating and consuming content and they’re trying to update the rules to reflect that,” Patell said, adding that the issue is the rules from traditional media do not transfer well to digital platforms.
She explained that these rules would affect both creators and viewers.
“Right now for viewers, when they come to Youtube, they know that they’re going to be able to find the content that they love,” she explained.
“For creators, they count on being able to connect with a global audience, so that you can put the content that you want to create onto the platform and compete on a level playing field to reach those global audiences,” she added.
But Youtube’s concern with the new proposed Act is that it would tamper with what Patell calls the “authentic and organic environment” for digital content. This is because the Bill would give the CRTC the right to decide how content is presented to Canadians.
“You could go from an environment where today viewers are connecting with the content that they love, and creators are being recommended to viewers who will love them no matter where they are in the world. And all of that could be disrupted,” she explained to Brandon.
Patell also explained that if passed, Bill C-11 could restrict Canadian content from global audiences. She says that on Youtube there are about 2 billion logged-in users, an audience that all creators have access to. Canadian YouTubers rely on that worldwide audience because about 90% of their watch time comes from audiences outside of Canada.
“It’s really important that we don’t put that at risk,” Patell said.
But the Canadian government is referring to the proposed Bill as a means to protect Canadian culture.
“Canada’s strong culture is no accident. We chose to be different. We care about our cultural sovereignty, and we believe diversity makes us stronger. Our culture is who we are. It is our past, our present and our future, it is how we tell our stories. The Online Streaming Act will help make sure that our cultural sector works for Canadians and supports the next generation of artists and creators in this country,” Canada’s Minister of Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, said in a statement.
Jeanette Patell explained the ins and outs of how Bill C-11 would affect content on Youtube for audiences around the world, as well as how she believes the new system would pick “winners” and “losers” on this episode of News You Can Use!