Netflix streaming in 46% of Canadian homes, Liberals take aim at creating a new digital internet tax.
With Netflix reaching 5.2M Canadian homes as of April 2016 the Liberal government is looking to create a tax which will fund and pay for CanCon. CanCon represents the face of Canadian Content production, which includes radio, television, and requires broadcasters to include a percentage of Canadian-produced content mandated by the (CRTC) Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission.
“It’s about the participation of digital platforms to the system. “This is a broader question” than just taxes, “We’re looking at all scenarios right now and certainly we want to engage with the different digital platforms in a conversation on how they can support Canadian content.” – Heritage Minister Melanie Joly (Source: CTV News)
The Heritage Minister has previously rejected a Netflix tax that would see streaming services hand over a share of their revenue for CanCon. Joly has not committed to whether or not the government is looking at charging GST or HST on streaming services, or whether it plans to institute a new tax on Internet services.
However, a professor at the University of Ottawa who runs a prominent blog on media and digital technology had this to say.
“The prospect of millions in new revenues may be too tempting to resist,” “Joly’s legislative overhaul could involve changing the law to allow for the imposition of new fees on Internet services,” – Michael Geist University of Ottawa
With organizations such as openmedia.org fighting back the Internet Taxes by creating petitions and asking for donations to keep the Internet services at lower rates to ensure Canadians have better access to the internet.
It is plain to see the struggle between meeting the CRTC requirements for Canadian produced content for broadcasting and keeping service rates a manageable level for Canadians will not be easy in the coming years. If Canadians don’t want to see higher rates for internet services, when already paying some of the highest rates in North America, organizations such as openmedia.org will certainly become more prominent in the future.