Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to meeting 132 as we continue our statutory five-year review of the Copyright Act.
Today we have with us Mark London, Director at the Art Dealers Association of Canada; April Britski, Executive Director, and Joshua Vettivelu, Director, from the Canadian Artists' Representation; and Debra McLaughlin, General Manager at Radio Markham York Inc.
We're also joined by Moridja Kitenge Banza and Bernard Guérin, the President and Executive Director, respectively, of the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec.
Hello, Mr. Kitenge Banza and Mr. Guérin.
Welcome, everybody. You will each have up to seven minutes for your presentation. If you go over, I might have to cut you off, but that's okay.
We're going to get started with the Art Dealers Association of Canada. Mark London, you have seven minutes.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
With your permission, I'll present in English,
but I'll be happy to answer you in the official language of your choice.
My name is Mark London, and I'm the owner of Galerie Elca London in Montreal, which was founded by my late parents in 1960. My gallery specializes in the sale of Inuit art from the 1950s to the present.
I am here today speaking as a member of the board of directors of the Art Dealers Association of Canada. At present, the association is comprised of 76 commercial art galleries, and collectively we represent several hundred artists from coast to coast.
While many try to paint the relationship between artist and dealer as an adversarial one, the truth is that we're partners. I like to say that when the sun shines, it shines for everyone. However, I'm here to tell you that there are storm clouds on the horizon. Many ministers from across our great country have received pro forma letters from constituents demanding that Canada enact an artist resale royalty.
While this noble concept is indeed law in many countries, it exists more to level the playing field between trading partners than to benefit artists. What is seldom mentioned is that the ARR simply does not benefit those whom it was designed to help. In most cases, the sole beneficiaries of significant ARR monies are the estates of a handful of wealthy artists.
For commercial galleries, the administrative costs of the ARR represent a significant financial burden. Indeed, the greatest beneficiary of the ARR, regardless of country, is the organization tasked with collecting and distributing the funds. One could easily argue that any organization arguing to become the administrator of the ARR is doing so because this represents a lucrative revenue stream.
In 2013, the introduced private member's Bill , an act to amend the Copyright Act. While Mr. Simms might have put some thought into drafting the bill, it is obvious that he did not consult with anyone who sells art for a living, or for that matter anyone who buys it. Ladies and gentlemen, it would be impossible in the allotted time to detail exactly why this bill, particularly as written, would be a nightmare, but I can give you some highlights.
The first bombshell is advocating an ARR of 5% on any resale greater than $500. Can you imagine the administrative costs to both art gallery and collective agencies to catalogue, research, and disburse a cheque for $25? In the United Kingdom, for example, the threshold for an ARR is any sale over a more reasonable 1,000 euros, which is currently approximately $1,500 Canadian. I should also point out that most countries with an ARR impose a maximum payout, which Bill does not.
Another bombshell is proposing an ARR on any sale of a work for $500 or more that is subsequent to the first transfer of ownership by the author. This presupposes that all works find their way onto the market in an identical manner. In most cases, an artist brings his or her works to a retail gallery on a consignment basis, and they are paid when and if the work is sold. In theory, the ARR would apply only when, years down the road, a collector decides to sell.
I'm here to inform you that the art world isn't that simple. There are numerous ways in which art works find their way onto the primary market that are in direct conflict with the ARRs proposed. For example, printmakers often work with print publishers, who sell the prints to retail galleries outright. In this scenario, the first sale to an art collector effectively becomes the second resale. When a collector sells what is intended to be the first resale, it's actually the third.
As mentioned, I deal exclusively in Inuit art. When an artist in Cape Dorset brings his or her work into the local co-operative, it is purchased outright. I then purchase the piece from the co-operative. When a collector purchases a piece from my gallery, that would be the first retail sale, but technically the third resale. When the collector decides to part with the piece, that would be the fourth resale, not what would ordinarily be the first.
Lest any of you think this would actually be beneficial to artists, it is important to point out that all of these additional costs would have to be passed along to the consumer in the same manner as freight, insurance, framing or any of the other myriad expenses required to bring art works to market. Repeated ARR expenses calculated on goods that have yet to reach the retail market would have a compound effect that would only be detrimental to the artist's ability to sell in a competitive market.
When the Mulroney conservatives enacted the GST in 1991, they assured Canadians that replacing the 13.5% manufacturers' sales tax would lower prices for the consumer. While this might have been the case for microwaves or toaster ovens, it had a devastating effect on the art market. Overnight, prices went up by 9%. Our sales for 1991 were slightly less than one third of our sales for 1990. While artists' groups take great pains to assert that the ARR is not a tax, I can assure you that semantics will matter little to those who will come up against it.
Since we are arguing semantics, I would suggest that the beneficiary of any tax should be the public purse. In other words, all Canadians benefit when taxes are paid. You would know better than I do that the higher the tax rate, the greater the likelihood that people will try to avoid or evade taxation.
Indeed, should an ARR come into effect, there would be an immediate reaction on the part of art collectors. At the very least, in the immediate aftermath of an ARR, sales would tumble, putting at risk the thousands of Canadians whose livelihood depends on the art business. We might conceivably see a future in which most of the major sales of Canadian art would be transacted in a jurisdiction that does not have an ARR. Since most of us live but a short drive from our American neighbours, it's not too hard to guess where these sales would happen.
Additionally, since private sales are generally not subject to ARR, traditional galleries and auction houses will surely be circumvented by sellers and buyers working directly to avoid the ARR.
One also wonders what the detrimental effect to the public purse would be when neither GST nor PST is collected. This is particularly worrisome since, historically, when a government needs to sharpen its pencil and cut some budgets, the axe falls first on arts and culture.
Our position is that the ARR is a utopian concept. The research is clear that ARR does not work as intended and that its benefits are greatly offset by its detrimental effects on the marketplace. The Canadian art market is simply in too precarious a situation to risk something that has proven to be so ineffective.
In case I haven't been clear, we think the ARR is a terrible idea. Given that the Copyright Act is subject to review only every five years, we urge you to treat the ARR as a stand-alone issue rather than a component of a larger copyright act.
In that seemingly no art world professionals were consulted in the drafting of Bill , we look forward to the opportunity to sit down with you and other stakeholders in order to give this matter the serious consideration it deserves.
Thank you very much.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about copyright.
As mentioned, I'm April Britski, Executive Director of CARFAC, the national association for visual artists, many of whom are watching this presentation today in homes and studios across the country with great interest.
Our brief includes three recommendations. Our colleagues at RAAV will speak to two of them more specifically, and I will focus on one of them, the artist's resale right, which you just heard about.
The artist's resale right entitles visual artists to receive a royalty payment each time their work is resold publicly through an auction house or a commercial gallery. The resale right allows artists to share in the ongoing profits made from their work. We've all heard headlines about an artist's work breaking sales records at an auction, but what most people don't realize is that artists don't get paid anything from those sales, at least not in Canada.
Once this is established in Canada, artists would be paid on sales at home as well as when their work is sold in countries that have the artist resale right. France first legislated this in 1920, and it now exists in at least 93 countries worldwide, including the entire European Union. It has been discussed in trade negotiations with the EU, as well as at the World Intellectual Property Organization, which is advocating for mandatory international implementation.
We have only five minutes to speak today, and our brief is limited to 2,000 words, but CARFAC has a detailed proposal for how we recommend that it could work for Canada. We keep up to date on developments and legislative reviews in other countries and have studied this issue extensively. I'm sure you have many questions, and I hope that I have answers.
First, you may ask yourself, why do we need a law? Can't the market just regulate itself? Why do we need a new tax?
Let me be clear. A copyright royalty is not a tax. It is not collected by government or spent by government. It is not administered by governments, and we wouldn't ask you to intervene in the administration of it. It also doesn't require any government funding. It is, in fact, a taxable copyright royalty, something that artists would have to report on their taxes.
We need a legal mechanism, because if people aren't required to pay, they won't—the previous presenter won't, as you can see.
We just need a legal framework. After that, there are ways to allow the market to administer it efficiently, and we have good models. We have 93 models to look at, actually, for ways to administer it, and many of the questions you may have about the mechanics have been considered by these other countries, and certainly by us.
With respect, what we're asking for is 5% on ongoing profits of eligible works of art. It wouldn't apply to all sales—for sure it won't—and I don't think that's unreasonable. Artists are the primary producers of culture in this country, and yet they are paid less than anyone else in our sector. None of us at this table would have a job without them, quite frankly, and they deserve better.
I'll let my colleague Josh speak a little more.
Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for your time today. My name is Joshua Vettivelu. I'm an artist and an educator.
When I was going through art school, there was a saying that I heard often. It was that if you choose to be an artist, you'll only see money from your work when you're dead. Even though that's a bit of a jokey saying, I believe there's some truth to it, and today I'm here to extrapolate some of the gravity of that joke, especially as it applies to senior and Inuit artists.
First nations, Métis, and Inuit artists, specifically those from the north, have the most to lose from the absence of the artist's resale right. It is important to note that indigenous and Inuit artists make up a large portion of our art market. The population of Nunavut alone is made up of 33% artists. In 2015, the Inuit visual arts and crafts economy of Canada contributed over $64 million to the Canadian GDP, and it accounts for more than 2,100 full-time-equivalent jobs.
Why are indigenous and Inuit artists poised to lose the most? The first point is that indigenous artists, specifically those in the north, suffer from a lack of access to the primary market, and if they do have access, it is often exploitative. What does that mean? The structural conditions of colonialism, which are very real, often force indigenous artists to sell their work for lower price points to make ends meet and to provide for their families and communities.
An example of this is Kenojuak Ashevak's The Enchanted Owl. It originally sold for $24. It was later resold at a public auction for $58,000. With the artist's resale right of 5%, she would have made approximately $3,000. This summer, the Art Gallery of Ontario had a giant retrospective of Kenojuak's work, and the city was plastered in reproductions of The Enchanted Owl. The question I have for all of you is, what does it mean for Canada to compensate an indigenous artist who is a Governor General's award-winning artist only $24 for her most well-known creation? It is just a straight fact that this is what she received for that work.
Point number two is that an indigenous artist is more than a singular person. I have a quote here from Goo Pootoogook, who is Annie Pootoogook's brother:
”She had a lot of cousins and friends who didn't have much money, and she would sell her artwork and take care of them,” he said. People began following her on her weekly trips to the co-op, he said, because they knew she was about to be paid. “She would say, 'It's only money,'” he said.
What this shows us is that artists in the north are also economic pillars of their community. When you are an artist whose community and family are not doing well, you put that money back into your community.
That also tells me that we cannot dismiss the importance of a $50 royalty to a community's mental and physical health. It is confusing to me that we would dispute these amounts, which ADAC has deemed negligible for artists but debilitating for its own businesses.
Point number three is that there's an argument that the artist is constantly participating in the market throughout their career, but an increase in an artist's profile doesn't equal more sales. Increasing the cost of the artist's next body of work isn't always a real solution, as most people want to purchase the work that made the artist famous in the first place. We know this in the case of Mary Pratt, who was one of Canada and the east coast's most well-known painters.
To conclude, I guess what I'm really advocating for is some harm reduction in the ways that we view artists' labour. I do not think it is a utopian fix. I think it is a Band-Aid, but as we know, Band-Aids are in every first aid kit.
North America has a long history of devaluing the humanity and labour of indigenous people. I thank you for your help in ensuring that artists, specifically artists who have been abused by our country, are compensated for all the wealth that is made in their name.
My name is Debra McLaughlin. I'm the co-owner and general manager of CFMS, a radio station operating in York region, Ontario. My business partner and I are independent broadcasters—a disappearing entity in Canada. More than that, we come from two of the most under-represented groups in media ownership: women and immigrants. As such, we have a slightly different take on many issues.
I'm here today to address three key points: Collection of copyright should not cost more than the payments themselves; all radio stations are not equal, and even a scale based on commercial revenue does not reflect the economic disparities in the system; music plays a diminishing role in generating revenues for many radio stations.
CFMS broadcasts in markets that live in the shadow of the largest city in Canada, Toronto. Serving the cities of Markham and Vaughan and the towns of Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville, the station delivers important local information to close to 700,000 residents. Despite being inundated with radio stations from surrounding markets, these areas had no voices until we launched in 2013. Research from Ekos showed that a remarkable 52% of residents who lived in these municipalities could not name their mayor, but they could name the city of Toronto's mayor. These same respondents scored available radio as “poor” on providing relevant surveillance information, such as traffic, weather and local news headlines.
The areas for which we are licensed come together with five other distinct communities to form the regional municipality of York, the seventh-largest market in Canada, with a population of 1.1 million. Although they are clearly unique in terms of government, demographic composition and economic infrastructure, the industry's audience rating service, Numeris, absorbs these markets into the larger Toronto CMA definition for the purposes of reporting ratings. This obliterates their distinctiveness and any possibility that media planners and buyers might analyze York region as a market on its own.
As the provider of the currency valuation for broadcast advertising revenues in Canada, the decision by Numeris not to distinguish or measure smaller markets reduces or eliminates access to significant revenues. Stations licensed to areas such as Scarborough, Mississauga, Milton, Orangeville and many other small places in the GTA are treated similarly, reducing their ability to compete for advertising dollars.
Like every other radio station, we are competing with new technologies and new platforms, adjusting to a changing environment. Our focus is local reflection. It is the only way we can distinguish our brand. We tell the stories of the characters and life in markets where residents do not define themselves as being part of Toronto.
In restricting our focus to these markets and providing a narrative of the experience of their residents, we are fulfilling the requirements of the Broadcast Act. We also broadcast in third languages on our single frequency. We deliver programming in English 18 hours a day Monday through Friday, and 16 hours on Saturday and Sunday. The remainder of our schedule is third-language Canadian programming, giving a voice to residents with a non-English, non-French mother tongue.
Our particular licence is unique in this system. It might even be perceived by the CRTC as an experiment. However, with growing multicultural communities, especially in tight spectrum markets, it may also be a model of stations and service requirements to come.
In order to report on the nine third languages and the English programming to which we have committed, we work with six different producers and a full-time music director. To meet SOCAN reporting requirements, it takes on average the equivalent of 24 hours per month, or close to $9,000 per year, to research and translate the information provided. This investment of resources results in a payment to the collectives of less than half that amount on a yearly basis. If we look at it over four full years of operation, we have paid over $32,000 to deliver just $13,000 in copyright payments.
Given our challenges in generating revenues, this seems particularly onerous, and the rationale for doing this is weakening. With the multiple platforms on which music can be enjoyed—streaming, audio services and satellite radio—and the proliferation of broadcast signals both within and outside market borders, the value of music as a driver to the listenership of many radio stations has diminished.
With the deregulation of formats by the CRTC, listeners have not only experienced duplication of music and artists across stations, but also the collapse of traditional formats across eras and genres. It is not unusual to have high duplication of music across stations that are targeting different populations and even distinct demographics.
A case in point is an artist like Taylor Swift. As an example, her current hit song can be heard on 10 of 26 stations licensed in the GTA. The audiences of these stations range in age. They could be from 18 to 34 or 35 to 64. They're heavily skewed female in some cases, and balanced male-female in others.
To put this in context, when rights are negotiated in television, there is an exclusivity for a period of time, and a tiering of costs. Rights for first runs are more expensive than syndicated, and rights for cable distribution are less than for broadly received networks. This is not the case for music.
Studies done over the years in multiple markets by different reputable research companies indicate that the number one reason listeners turn to radio is local news and information. The finding is almost uniform across age groups and genders. Music is second or third.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that the contribution music creators make to the radio landscape is insignificant. It is, however, diminishing. By opening up distribution platforms and promotional streams, musicians and their representatives have unintentionally, perhaps unwittingly, but nonetheless certainly diminished the significance of their contribution to the hours tuned to radio.
Any changes to the Copyright Act should therefore consider the impact of new delivery means, the revenue they generate based on their use of copyrighted material for the companies that operate them, and the absence of their contribution to incenting the creation of new material. I believe the Copyright Act must anticipate new ways of recovering value from these benefactors of Canadian music, and recognize that radio no longer benefits in the way it once did.
Not all radio is equal, either. Vertically integrated companies may lose revenue to radio, but they more than make up for it through increased sale of bandwidth that consumers use to stream music. Judging by their annual reports, these companies actually come out ahead in the exchange of services. The value of music creation is therefore much more valuable for these companies than it is for smaller stations doing just as important a job in bringing news, information and entertainment to Canadians located outside of major centres.
When the cost of reporting on the use of music outweighs the revenues it generates for artists by almost three to one, it is clear that something has been lost in the application.
As you heard from CAB earlier in this process, radio provides more than just royalty. It is reported by more than 70% of the Canadian population as their primary source for new music. This is a role we value. But in the ecosystem of music, we plant the seeds and increasingly other entities harvest the crops. We pay considerably for them to do so.
Thank you for your time. As one of Canada's smallest broadcasters, we appreciate the opportunity to have a voice in this process.
I'm the Executive Director of the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec, or the RAAV. I'm joined by Moridja Kitenge Banza, the President of the RAAV and a visual artist.
Our presentation will focus on three topics. These topics are the discriminatory nature of paragraph 3(1)(g) concerning exhibition rights; the abuses of fair dealing and of the exception for the purpose of education; and the action that must be taken regarding resale rights. I'll speak very briefly about resale rights, since this issue has already been thoroughly covered by my colleague from CARFAC.
Since the recognition of exhibition rights in the Copyright Act, in 1988, many visual artists have benefited from a significant increase in income. It has gradually become standard practice to pay the artists royalties to exhibit their works in contexts other than sales or rentals. The amounts paid are increasing each year, even though they're still insufficient. Unfortunately, the June 8, 1988, deadline indicated in the act ensures that all works produced before that date aren't covered by the exhibition right. In our view, this is absurd.
As a result, older artists and the heirs of deceased artists don't receive royalties. The deadline establishes what we call indirect discrimination on the ground of age. As you know, the works produced before June 8, 1988, are the works of older artists. The section doesn't say that artists of a certain age are excluded. However, in practice, older artists are the ones who face unfair discrimination. The discrimination is unintentional.
In a way, there's also a second type of discrimination based on the category of works, since the restriction doesn't apply to other categories of works. In our view, this limitation based on the date of creation may violate section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As I just said, this limitation isn't intentionally or directly discriminatory on the ground of age. However, in our view, it constitutes indirect discrimination. The provision, which appears to be neutral, has a disproportionate adverse effect on a specific group of visual artists as a result of their age, a ground of discrimination prohibited under the law. Over time, the date has become increasingly arbitrary and has further isolated older artists.
We understand that, at the time, the application of the right for works created before the date minimized the financial impact on museums and galleries. However, 30 years later, this argument is no longer valid. It must become standard practice to pay exhibition royalties, regardless of the date of creation of the works and, indirectly, the age of the artists who created them.
Here are some facts. Visual artists are fairly old in comparison with the general public. We conducted a brief study of our members. We established that the average age of our members is 59, and that over one third of them were born before 1965 and likely created works before June 1988. As a result, a significant percentage of visual artists are deprived of royalties for their older works, whereas younger artists who created their works before this date can claim exhibition royalties.
Older artists can still try to negotiate exhibition royalties for their works. However, more often than not, they won't be successful, given the lack of a legal basis. It should be noted that some promoters pay the royalties voluntarily.
You can easily imagine the inherently unfair situation where, in the same exhibition, some artists would receive exhibition royalties and others wouldn't receive them. In reality, only the older artists would be part of the unpaid group. It's nonsense and simply unacceptable.
Recently, Karl Beveridge a well-known artist based in Toronto, told me that one of his exhibitions, Photography in Canada: 1960-2000, was displayed in various museums. Some museums paid him exhibition royalties and others did not, since his works were created before 1988. It's nonsense.
The second topic is the issue of fair dealing. The Copyright Act, as written before 2012, already gave access to all artistic, literary and musical works in schools and universities, often through collective licences established with collective societies representing artistic creators.
Educational organizations and institutions were therefore already able to provide simple and affordable access to copyrighted works. The concept is very vague, but its scope is extremely broad. The exception for education under section 29 of the Copyright Act has led to serious consequences since 2012. Various users have applied a very liberal interpretation of the exception to avoid paying copyright royalties.
In short, this exception has had two main effects. First, certain users haven't renewed their licences with collectives societies. In addition, the payment of royalties under the agreements has dropped significantly, since the balance of power is now altered and strongly favours users.
A number of educational institutions responded quite radically to the exception by quickly implementing their own guidelines on fair dealing following the adoption of the 2012 amendments.
For example, Université Laval has not renewed its collective licences with collective societies and has drafted its own policy on the use of the works of others. The university defined the concept of fair dealing by allowing up to 10% of a protected work to be reproduced without the need to seek permission from the owner. This has altered the balance of power and upset the balance between other educational institutions and copyright collective societies, which have been forced to negotiate lower copyright royalties.
As you know, it wasn't until Copibec filed a class action that Université Laval agreed to suspend its policy and sign a licence retroactive to the date of the class action's institution. In our view, this situation and the various cases involving Access Copyright and different users such as York University and the departments of education in several Canadian provinces clearly show the need to review and better frame the concept of fair dealing, particularly in an educational context.
Here are some facts. During the previous review of the act in 2012, some people, including the representative of the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada, stated that adding the education component to the exception would not affect the income of copyright holders. On the contrary, what we feared has come true. The copyright royalties received by creators are plummeting and the commercial uses adopted by users are worrying, to say the least.
As mentioned earlier, this exception for educational use has been a source of legal dispute between collective societies on one side and governments and universities on the other side. For example, in 2016, the Federal Court heard the case involving Access Copyright and York University. The university had filed a counterclaim seeking a declaration stating that its use of reproductions of works was fair under section 29 of the act.
However, according to the Federal Court decision written by Justice Phelan, York University's own guidelines on fair dealing were unfair, whether it—
That's an interesting question. I watched the presentation at home. I thought, oh, that hasn't actually come up in any of the research we have done before. It hasn't shown up as an issue in any of the legislative studies of resale in other countries or other governments. Of course, that doesn't mean it isn't a problem.
I looked into it a bit further. I contacted the collective that managed the resale right in the U.K. They say their approach is to treat a fake the same way they would treat a cancelled sale. If it were determined that an artwork was in fact forged, they would return it to the seller or the art market professional. If the money had already been paid to the artist, they would either inform the artist and their estate that they should take it back or, if they regularly received payments, they would just deduct it from a future payment. That's how they would deal with it.
I thought, well, how big of a problem is this potentially for Canada? We obviously don't have as big a market or likely as many forgeries as they do in other countries.
I came across an article in the National Post. One of the artists who crossed my mind was Norval Morrisseau. It is known that there are quite a number of forgeries of his work out there. As such, while he was alive he set up the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society. They maintain a database that has works that are known to be his, and in fact in many cases works that are known not to be his.
There are things like that you can check it against. Aside from that, it doesn't mean that things can't come up. The article said that in 2003, $15,500 worth of fake Morrisseau paintings were purchased. This was described as one of Canada's largest art frauds, and it was just $15,500.
I appreciate that intervention. We should be looking to see what the practice of others is.
In the Canadian context, you spoke earlier of exploitation of artists. We know that in certain industries, such as diamonds internationally, there are a lot of concerns about exploitation, in that case so-called blood diamonds, etc. The Canadian experience is that when we take diamonds, we actually authenticate them and enshrine in them that they are authentic. That's to make sure that people are not being exploited, that people know that when they're buying something it's a valid part. It's important to have.
Going back to the art dealers, first of all, if I were to a purchase a piece of art and sell it for quite a large amount, there would be a capital gain on that. I'd already be looking at it with tax planning in mind. However, I also know that some people will try to exploit that.
They've said their proposal would be done through public galleries or auction houses. Would that not push people to try other means, such as selling privately, taking something out of the country altogether or even posting it on international forums where they may make a sale?
Welcome to all the presenters, especially Ms. McLaughlin, who is coming from York region, with Richmond Hill at the heart of it.
Let me start by taking a different slant on visual art. We talked about ARR a lot, but in this forum I have visual artists, an association and an art dealer. It gives me a great opportunity to ask the question I asked last time, which was actually deferred to this panel.
I wanted to talk about the impact of the digital era and the visual art that's being created through new technologies, such as 3-D printing and AI. As you all know, through various computer systems or computer programs, you can scan many different archives and create a new art type, and you can make it into visual art through 3-D printing.
I'm going to start with the two artists we have here. Whom would you consider the owner of the art when it's created through this method? Either of you could start.
In the traditional gallery-auction house model, we're the intermediaries between the consumer and either the producer or the seller, in the case of resale. In other words, a gallery has an exhibition of an artist's work and people come in and buy it. If people are going to try to circumvent this because all of a sudden a seller of a work wants to net $10,000 but not $9,500 if it's subject to the ARR or whatever, so all of a sudden they want to net $10,750 or something like that....
All this is to say that if the seller is unwilling to pay that.... It is interesting to note that in Bill it was proposed that it should be the responsibility jointly and severally of the seller and the dealer. If the seller defaults on paying the ARR, all of a sudden people will come after the dealer to remit it on the seller's behalf. All of a sudden we're shouldering a tremendous burden. Sometimes a commission is as low as 10%. If we have to lose half of that because the seller reneged or whatever, it's hurtful.
My point is that for anyone trying to circumvent the model, it's fairly easy now, with the Internet, to just post it somewhere: here's_my_collection _for_sale.com. It's no longer at auction or in a retail gallery, but the seller can find the buyer easily enough. The two of them can get together to negotiate the price, which, as I said, will not include the ARR, and it will not include GST, HST or PST.
All these things will negatively impact.... The gallery model might disappear. Some artists will argue that this is great, but they might be forgetting that galleries do a lot to promote the art form and to promote their artists. We co-exist in a system that has worked pretty well for many years.
Thank you very much. It's a great discussion.
Just very quickly, I taught a bit at our local Sault College in entrepreneurship. Most programs had a requirement to take entrepreneurship, and part of it involved the fine arts students who used to take it.
I am reminded of a story from when I used to section them off, just the fine arts students. A young first nations man asked me how I or anyone else could put a value on his art. I said I could start with how much the paint had cost him, and then the canvas, and then how many hours he had put into it, from idea to development to actually doing it. That's just to begin with. I said that of course the market takes care of things afterwards. People will purchase based on investment, on whether the piece moves them, or on their values, and you learn how to put a value on works.
I was reminded in some of your testimony about scarcity afterwards, about artists saying that's when they make the most money.
Framing that in terms of some of this discussion, I have to ask a couple of questions. How did you come up with 5%? Why 5%? Why the $1,000? What about passing this on, the ability to collect this, to the estate—to children or others? Do you have an opinion on that?
I'll also be sharing some time with David Lametti.
It does seem to be a challenge. That's how the system works. You have to go through the process of studying and bringing it into the House and all that kind of stuff.
I did have a question.
On the weekend, in my riding, I went to an art show. There were some indigenous artists and I found a piece that I really liked. The price was pretty good. Now I'm thinking maybe I ripped the guy off or something.
This is the challenge. When you're talking about an art gallery, there's a whole process behind it. When you're talking about an individual like me, maybe I'll keep this forever, or maybe 10 years from now somebody will say, “Hey, I'll give you $5,000 for it.” Where does that fit into this thing? This is why this is complicated. Then I'm the bad guy because there is no registration.
That's where I think Mr. Lametti was going. If there was a registration, then that art would follow along to whichever artist it belongs to. It's complicated, and I'm trying to wrap my head around it. With that experience I had, it's a beautiful piece, but....
There is no timetable on this, so I am sure the chair would be able to fit this in, working with the clerk.
There is a significant public interest here. Since the original story ran in the media, I have also had media in my own local area ask about this.
This is a big country. We have a variety of different types of ownership, telecommunications, towers, etc. Canadians are going to want to know, when they give their children or other loved ones a cellphone, what reasonable expectations they should have that it will work, and under what conditions.
That's something people here in Ottawa recently discovered, and there's public interest in our just doing a short study on this to see if we should be concerned about what the capacity of the system is, and what the different parts of the system are. Different parts of this country will operate under very different conditions, so maybe we should just have a good discussion around it.
I encourage members from all sides to support this. It would be a good thing for us to do.
Yes, thank you, Mr. Chair.
The main motion and the amendment do have merit and are reasonable and important. Of course we know about the flooding in New Brunswick, the wildfires in B.C. and the tornadoes in the national capital region. We've seen on the news, as was explained, that people were impacted, and our hearts certainly go out to those impacted. We've heard stories from our colleagues. We've seen what's happened, both the tragedy and the triumph of the human spirit, neighbours helping each other and Canadians at their best.
I think we should take a bit of caution with this particular motion in this committee, for a couple of reasons. The first is about the assessment of the telecommunications infrastructure and the tools that are available to our first responders. How are they integrated? We need to know that. We know that the climate is getting wetter, wilder and warmer, and we should proceed with caution in order to be able to build back better.
There are a couple of things that I just want to make sure we clearly understand with this particular motion.
Number one, I think it needs to be strengthened by communication with other departments, but in particular with Public Safety.
Second is the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Public Safety Canada is the lead federal department for the domestic implementation of the Sendai framework. Number one, it focuses more on local actions than in the past. Number two, it has a clear definition of risk, which is inclusive of all natural, man-made and technological risk but excludes conflict-related emergencies. Number three, it focuses on preventing new risk as much as reducing existing risks. That falls under Public Safety.
In my opinion, this particular motion should be strengthened by communication but also should fall under Public Safety.
As meritorious as this motion is, it is my recommendation that this committee not move forward with this motion.
I recommend that we support the motion. I am going to be voting for it.
The industry committee has always had purview over telecommunications policy, in particular CRTC. This is not just an isolated incident with the recent tornadoes that came through Ottawa when the telecommunications networks, particularly the cellphone networks, went down. It was also an issue last May. Our nationwide emergency public alert system, which is to operate over mobile networks, failed. That was a nationwide test, I think you'll remember, last May. It failed in Quebec, and it partially failed in Ontario. I think this is something the committee should take a look at.
I am concerned about committees not doing their job in looking at these very serious matters. We have a Congress to the south of us that takes a look at these issues. We always seem to play follow-up and catch-up to that oversight function.
There was a major near disaster with Air Canada, as reported by the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States, where they said that an Air Canada jet came within mere feet of crashing at San Francisco International, almost crashing into a number of airliners and almost causing a thousand deaths. I'd like to hope that our parliamentary institutions are robust enough to take a look at that and not just defer to other governmental institutions.
It's the same with this. This is a question of emergency response. It's not a partisan issue. I think we should hear from officials from the CRTC about why the national alert system failed over mobile networks last May, what they're doing to address this, and what gaps there were in our telecommunications networks more recently here in Ottawa. This is our job, as a Parliament. If we can't do it, then it really speaks to a weakening of our parliamentary institution.
I am going to support it. I think it's important that we take a look at it. With the amendment that passed, it's not going to delay the study because we'll have plenty of time to do things in parallel.
I appreciate the motion being brought forth. There are a couple of points I want to make that are important. One is specific to the motion, and the second has to do with how this committee operates in the future.
The first is related to the motion. I think some good points have been made about public safety, but the reality is that at the end of the day, the CRTC is the actual authority for this, for the mechanics behind how we lay out things. In fact, what we need to do is look at the decision-making process in terms of how spectrum auction has been sold off, the terms and conditions, and what's physically available and capable out there in the market that's been created. That's really under the CRTC entirely.
Second, we have another round of auction coming up, and we need to find out what the gaps are in terms of public policy. I think the motion in itself is important because it kind of gives us a road map of what we currently have out there. That's not with fault or blame. It's whatever has been done out there. This is the footprint we have and the strengths and weaknesses of the footprint.
Most importantly, it allows municipalities and first responders to have an idea of what's predictable out there. I would argue as well that some clarity and public information are necessary, because even our first responders rely on other technical devices, but at the same time they have their own personal devices during times of emergency when it's difficult to understand what works and what doesn't work. They often have to work through these crises and have the same frustrations as ordinary consumers do about them.
There are several fronts to that. If we don't do that, in connection with the launching of the new public spectrum, we can't even lay out those terms and conditions, so I think the timing is important for that.
The second part I would speak to is whether this committee wants to continue to operate in the way it traditionally has. I think it's a reasonable request, regarding something that falls within our jurisdictional footprint, to spend a couple of meetings on something like this. I think the motion has been crafted in such a way that it actually wouldn't require an onerous process. It's been done fairly. If we are basically not going to entertain new motions being brought forth—and this isn't my motion—this will be going on, on a regular basis, because it's going to be clear that the government is only interested in shutting down anything that they don't want to even operate on or hear about or be part of.
If that's the road we're going to go down, then that's fine. We're working co-operatively on a science initiative. At the same time, the minister went into my riding and met with the local Liberal riding association on science in my riding. I understand that's happening on the outside of things, but here in our committee, we have a chance to continue the good work we've been doing.
If we're going to resort to this, so that when a reasonable request comes forth.... We had one the other week, and there's another one this time. If that's the road we're going to go down, then that's fine, but don't for a minute think that these are isolated, one-off working relationship issues that we can do. This is really about how our committee is going to function in its entirety.
I support it. I'm glad that members sought it, because if we can strike even a subcommittee, if there's a problem with that, to get at least some public awareness out there, and have some people come in and present some of the things that happened.... There's lots of misinformation about how things didn't work and what did work. I think that has value in itself. To be quite frank, the Conservatives were in power the previous time, and then the Liberals and so forth. It's not even about calling who.... It's what's out there right now. Unfortunately, we don't own a record for it.
The thing is—and Michael is correct—that we are abdicating our responsibility as a committee. You can also see this with our current study in how we are probably not necessarily giving it some of the respect that's necessary for Canadians with regard to calling forth witnesses and testimony here for Canadians. This is a way of elevating that to be more responsible, which other countries are doing.
All we're asking for here is a good accounting of the process for the record so we understand what's happening, what's taking place, and give recognition to what is going on. That's not political. It's nobody's fault for any of that stuff, but we would get an idea of where we're at.
Last, if we do have concerns about public safety, part of our responsibility can be to make those recommendations to the public safety committee and so forth so we can make it a little more wholesome if we want.
We do our little part that's necessary for our first responders.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, Dane, it's a great motion. There's no question that I support the intent of the motion. However, more important is the process to get where you want to go. From my former life, I have a great deal of experience with respect to emergency preparedness, both at the provincial level—which by the way is the delegated authority, not the federal level—as well as the regional and municipal levels. We have dealt on many occasions with more drastic situations, like that which happened here in Ottawa, and less.
One of the biggest frustrations I felt as part of the lead on the emergency preparedness team—along with the chiefs of police, fire and EMS—was the lack of discipline and planning within a process. That is why recent provincial governments, at least in Ontario, have made it a priority to put disciplined emergency preparedness plans in place, with the proper delegated authorities to then lead when these situations happen. I wanted to preface my comments by saying that.
For the most part, it goes to Brian's latter comments with respect to this committee's role. I forget what word he used exactly, but he's right. It is a small role. The bigger role belongs to public safety.
If anything, I would suggest that the motion state that we urge the public safety committee to do this, and that we want to be a part of it. Telecommunications, quite frankly, is a small part of the overall bigger picture when it comes to emergency preparedness. In my experience, in situations like this, telecommunications are completely wiped out; therefore, you have to find a contingency to those telecommunications.
Please let me finish my comments, and then I'll determine whether I want to make it a friendly amendment or not. Thank you.
What I would suggest that the committee move forward with is that the delegated authority.... Being a rookie MP, I'm just assuming that the delegated authority for public safety is Public Safety. There are other committees as well; it's not just going to be this committee. I sit on TRAN. It's going to have infrastructure implications. It's going to have transportation implications. It's going to have community implications. It's going to have telecommunications implications, and the list goes on. The steward to all that should be Public Safety. They would then delegate out to you and to infrastructure, transport, health care and everybody else. That's how you get a wholesome blueprint.
By the way, I would even include the provinces and municipalities. That is how you get a blueprint. Let's not bite off more than we can chew. Let's keep it disciplined in terms of who the delegated authority is, and work from there. Therefore, everybody is involved. That way, the committee doesn't have to go back in three or four weeks, after you've spent some time on the study, and say, you know what, it's now time to get X, Y and Z involved. We should keep the horse before the cart here. Let the delegated authority do that, and of course call upon this committee to give your two cents' worth when it comes to telecommunications.
Mr. Chairman, I'll take your lead on that. If you want that as an amendment, I would make that a friendly amendment to take this great intent and suggest, urge, encourage—whatever word you want to use—Public Safety to take on this role and be the delegated authority to move forward in this direction. It could then call upon the different standing committees to contribute what they would otherwise contribute within their own disciplines.
So, we're on the main motion as amended.
This is really our committee's responsibility. I've been on this committee on and off for years. This is the primary responsibility of the CRTC, and in every news article for the last year, whenever there has been a discussion about telecommunications breakdowns in the event of a natural disaster and emergency, the CRTC has been the primary spokesperson.
On May 7, the countrywide emergency public alert system for mobile devices broke down, failed in Quebec and was a problem in Ontario. Who was the chief spokesperson for the Government of Canada? It was the CRTC. On September 25, 2018, the CBC website said, “Didn't get the tornado emergency alert? It could be your phone”. CRTC was the primary spokesperson. On September 30, CBC said, “Residents question lack of communication” during the tornado in Ottawa. The chief government spokesperson was from CRTC.
This is our committee's responsibility, because the CRTC falls under our purview. It's not Public Safety that's responsible for the oversight of the country's telecommunications and mobile systems networks. It's our committee, because we are responsible for the CRTC. Public Safety is not the lead on this issue. It's our committee. It's clear in every single news article about the breakdown last May in the newly introduced emergency public alert system, and with the incidents that happened here in the city of Ottawa several weeks ago, that the CRTC is the primary lead on this within the Government of Canada.
Therefore, our committee is the primary committee of some 24 committees of the House of Commons that is responsible for looking at these sorts of questions.
If you're not sure, you can actually go to the CRTC website. Under “Emergency alert messages and the national public alerting system”, it describes CRTC's responsibility.
It lists the providers that are participating in emergency regulatory systems. It's everything from numbered companies to Access, AEBC Internet, Bell, Bell ExpressVu, Bragg Communications, Cogeco, Nexicom Communications, Northwestel, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Shaw Direct, Telus, Tbaytel, Vianet and Vidéotron. It goes on and on. There's more than just that. It actually provides a map you can look at with regard to how the CRTC works with the different service providers, in terms of providing an actual physical footprint. There is no debate about it.
You can just go to CRTC, if you need it: crtc.gc.ca. There's a whole section about that and the process for the alerts, and how it actually involves not only these providers but radio and television as well—the other traditional broadcasters.
You're right, Mr. Chair. We have adopted other motions, but if we're going to be basically completely stuck in copyright alone and not have any breathing space for these types of things, it's not really healthy.
We've had a good run here. I don't think this is an unreasonable request. I have called them out in the past when I've seen stuff brought here that I thought might be politically motivated or have some type of bias. This is a sincere approach to dealing with an issue that touched us all. I saw commentary from all political parties about it. I saw some good comments from the minister about it, with regard to what he's going to do. The minister actually validates this through his public commentary, which you can visit on many CBC sites, with video and other types of interviews that were done. He's actually getting involved in this.
It's an incomplete story. This is a helpful process. That's why I proposed the amendment.
The mere fact that the subamendment was agreed to shows an openness. It's not just them digging in on their particular motion. They've adopted the amendment to accommodate a fair concern that might be expressed about timing for everything. I'm really hopeful that we can actually get this passed and go on to some meetings that would be very helpful and do something worthwhile. I just don't understand why we would miss the opportunity that is in front of us. One of the biggest challenges I've seen in this place over the years is the missed opportunities.
Mr. Chair, with your leadership and the way we approach these things, we can actually have a couple of good meetings that will at least provide some public information that is really helpful for people.
We can characterize the Ottawa weather.... You've seen smaller and larger disasters, but there was real human tragedy and suffering that took place. I've seen it in Leamington as well, where represents the Chatham area, and there are other places.
It's important, too, because if we find something in there, it would be a good time for the CRTC to educate the public about what to do. It's a really great, strong opportunity to come and actually be here in front of Canadians to talk about the emergency preparedness situation that the CRTC has, and get it out there.
It's not about casting blame; it's not about pointing fingers. It's about what happens next. If we are unprepared as a country.... Maybe there are things being done that we don't know about yet, that are going to happen. That could be in the mix of things. If there aren't, then we need to decide that as parliamentarians.
I would just finally conclude by an appeal to keep the structure of this committee, which I think is its backbone, and when there are reasonable things brought forth, to engage in them without compromising our principles and get stuff done.