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CHPC Committee Report

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Bill C-18, An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada
In accordance with its Order of Reference of Tuesday, May 31, 2022, your Committee has considered Bill C-18, An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada, and agreed on Friday, December 9, 2022, to report it with the following amendments:
Clause 2
That Bill C-18, in Clause 2, be amended

(a) by adding after line 6 on page 2 the following:

Indigenous news outlet means an undertaking or any distinct part of an undertaking, such as a section of a newspaper, whose primary purpose is to produce news content and that

(a) is operated by an individual who belongs to an Indigenous group, community or people; and

(b) produces news content primarily for Indigenous peoples. (média d'information autochtone)”

(b) by adding after line 6 on page 2 the following:

Indigenous peoples has the meaning assigned by the definition aboriginal peoples of Canada in subsection 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982. (peuples autochtones)”

(c) by replacing line 18 on page 2 with the following:

“primary purpose of which is to produce news content and includes an Indigenous news outlet.”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing line 11 on page 2 with the following:

“ates a news outlet in Canada. (entreprise de nouvelles)”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing line 15 on page 2 with the following:

“interest and includes such content that an Indigenous news outlet makes available to an Indigenous community by means of Indigenous storytelling. (contenu de nouvelles)”

Clause 4

That Bill C-18, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 8 and 9 on page 3 with the following:

“its sustainability, including the sustainability of news businesses in Canada, in both the non-profit and for-profits sectors, including independent local ones.”

Clause 11

That Bill C-18, in Clause 11, be amended by replacing lines 11 to 15 on page 5 with the following:

“(vi) they involve a range of news outlets in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors and they were entered into with news businesses that reflect a diversity of business models that provide services to all markets and diverse populations, including local and regional markets in every province and territory, anglophone and francophone communities, including official language minority communities, and Black and other racialized communities;

(vii) they ensure a significant portion of Indigenous news outlets benefit from them and they contribute to the sustainability of those outlets in a way that supports the provision of news content by and for Indigenous peoples; and”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 11, be amended

(a) by adding after line 15 on page 5 the following:

“(a.1) the Commission has held public consultations in accordance with any conditions that its Chairperson may specify;”

(b) by adding after line 32 on page 5 the following:

“(5) The order remains in effect for a period of not more than five years and, subject to this section, may be renewed.”

Clause 12

That Bill C-18, in Clause 12, be amended

(a) by replacing line 16 on page 6 with the following:

“ria to be satisfied within a reasonable period, which period must not be longer than one year.”

(b) by replacing line 20 on page 6 with the following:

“propriate, including a condition requiring that public consultations be held at a time and place in Canada to be fixed by the Commission.”

Clause 19

That Bill C-18, in Clause 19, be amended by replacing lines 2 to 11 on page 8 with the following:

“(a) negotiation or bargaining sessions over a period of 90 days;

(b) if the parties are unable, within the negotiation or bargaining period, to reach an agreement, mediation sessions over a period of 120 days, beginning on the day after the end of the negotiation or bargaining period; and

(c) if the parties are unable, within the mediation period, to reach an agreement and at least one of the parties wishes to initiate arbitration, final offer arbitration for a period of 45 days, beginning on the day after the end of the mediation period.

(1.1) On request of both parties, the Commission may extend a period provided for in any of paragraphs (1)(a) to (c).”

Clause 27

That Bill C-18, in Clause 27, be amended by replacing line 2 on page 10 with the following:

“as defined in subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act, or is licensed by the Commission under paragraph 9(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act as a campus station, community station or native station as those terms are defined in regulations made under that Act or other categories of licensees established by the Commission with a similar community mandate;”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 27, be amended by replacing line 4 on page 10 with the following:

“(b) produces news content of public interest that is primarily focused”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 27, be amended by replacing line 9 on page 10 with the following:

“Canada, which journalists may include journalists who own or are a partner in the news business and journalists who do not deal at arm’s length with the business,”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 27, be amended by adding after line 15 on page 10 the following:

“(iv) is either a member of a recognized journalistic association and follows the code of ethics of a recognized journalistic association or has its own code of ethics whose standards of professional conduct require adherence to the recognized processes and principles of the journalism profession, including fairness, independence and rigour in reporting news and handling sources.

(1.1) The code of ethics referred to in subparagraph (1)(b)(iv) must include measures for ensuring that no news content that promotes hatred or misinformation against any identifiable group is produced or made available and that any errors of fact are corrected promptly and in a transparent manner.”

That Bill C-18, in clause 27, be amended

a) by replacing, in the English version, line 15 on page 10, with the following:

“ment, or”

b) by adding after line 15 on page 10 the following:

“(c) operates an Indigenous news outlet in Canada and produces news content that includes matters of general interest, including coverage of matters relating to the rights of Indigenous peoples, including the right of self-government and treaty rights.”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 27, be amended by adding after line 20 on page 10 the following:

“(3.1) Despite subsection (1), a news business must not be designated as eligible if

(a) the news business is the subject of sanctions under the United Nations Act, the Special Economic Measures Act or the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), or is owned or controlled by an individual or entity that is the subject of such sanctions; or

(b) the news business has its headquarters in a foreign state, as defined in section 2 of the Special Economic Measures Act, that is the subject of measures under an Act referred to in paragraph (a).

(3.2) If a news business described in paragraph (3.1)(a) or (b) was previously designated as eligible, the Commission must, by order, revoke the order designating the business as eligible.”

Clause 28

That Bill C-18, in Clause 28, be amended by replacing line 23 on page 10 with the following:

“28 The designation of a provincial public broadcaster as an eligible”

Clause 31

That Bill C-18, in Clause 31, be amended by adding after line 27 on page 11 the following:

“(2.1) Despite subsection (2), an Indigenous news outlet is to be a subject of the bargaining process if it

(a) operates in Canada; and

(b) produces news content that includes matters of general interest, including coverage of matters relating to the rights of Indigenous peoples, including the right of self-government.”

Clause 33

That Bill C-18, in Clause 33, be amended by adding after line 7 on page 12 the following:

“(1.1) The Commission must ensure that the roster includes Indigenous persons.”

Clause 36

That Bill C-18, in Clause 36, be amended by replacing line 5 on page 13 with the following:

“the panel and may, on any terms that the Commission considers necessary, disclose to the panel any confidential information in the Commission’s possession that, in the Commission’s opinion, is necessary for a balanced and informed decision-making process, on the condition that the Commission ensures that the arbitration panel or each individual arbitrator that presides over the final offer arbitration, do not further disclose any such confidential information and under any further terms that the Commission considers necessary.”

Clause 38

That Bill C-18, in Clause 38, be amended by adding after line 16 on page 13 the following:

“(c) the bargaining power imbalance between the news business and the operator of the digital news intermediary in question.”

Clause 39

That Bill C-18, in Clause 39, be amended by replacing line 27 on page 13 to line 6 on page 14 with the following:

“(2) If the arbitration panel dismisses, in accordance with subsection (1), the final offer made by one of the parties, it must accept the final offer made by the other party.

(3) If the arbitration panel dismisses, in accordance with subsection (1), the final offer made by each of the parties, it must provide written reasons to the parties and give them an opportunity to make a new offer.”

Clause 51

That Bill C-18, in Clause 51, be amended by

(a) replacing lines 9 to 15 on page 17 with the following:

“51 In the course of making available news content that is produced primarily for the Canadian news marketplace by news outlets operated by eligible news businesses, the operator of a digital news intermediary must not act in any way that

(a) unjustly discriminates against an eligible news business;”

(b) replacing line 18 on page 17 with the following:

“(c) subjects an eligible news business to an undue or unreasonable”

Clause 52

That Bill C-18, in Clause 52, be amended by

(a) replacing line 20 on page 17 with the following:

“52 (1) An eligible news business or group of eligible news”

(b) adding after line 24 on page 17 the following:

“(2) In determining whether an operator has contravened section 51, the Commission may take into account any factor it considers appropriate, but it must take into account whether the conduct in question is

(a) in the normal course of business for the operator;

(b) retaliatory in nature; or

(c) consistent with the purposes of this Act.

(3) If the Commission is of the opinion that a complaint under subsection (1) is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith, it may dismiss the complaint summarily.”

New Clause 53.1

That Bill C-18 be amended by adding after line 30 on page 17 the following new clause:

“53.1 If the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is party to an agreement with an operator in relation to the making available of news content by a digital news intermediary, the Corporation must provide the Commission, within the time and in the manner that it specifies, with an annual report that includes the following information:

(a) the amount of compensation received by the Corporation under agreements it has entered into with operators in relation to the making available of news content by digital news intermediaries;

(b) information relating to the Corporation’s use of that compensation; and

(c) information relating to the contribution of those agreements to the sustainability of the Canadian digital news marketplace, including any such information that the Commission specifies must be included in the report.”

Article 84

That Bill C-18, in Clause 84, be amended by replacing lines 22 to 25 on page 32 with the following:

“graph 11(1)(b); and”

Clause 86

That Bill C-18, in Clause 86, be amended by adding after line 33 on page 33 the following:

“(c.1) if the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has provided an annual report under section 53.1 in the 12 months preceding the preparation of the auditor’s report, information related to that annual report;”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 86, be amended by adding after line 36 on page 33 the following:

“(3) The Commission must publish the report on its website within 30 days after the day on which it receives it.”

That Bill C-18, in Clause 86, be amended by adding after line 36 on page 33 the following:

“(3) The report must not contain any information that is likely to reveal information designated as confidential under subsection 55(1).”

Clause 93

That Bill C-18, in Clause 93, be amended by replacing lines 24 to 26 on page 35 with the following:

“93 (1) Section 6 comes into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, but that day must not be before the day on which the first regulations made under paragraph 84(a) come into force.

(2) Sections 7, 8, 11 to 17, 20, 27 to 31, 53.1 and 59 and subsection 60(2) come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, but that day must not be before the latest of

(a) the day fixed in accordance with subsection (1),

(b) the day on which the first regulations made under paragraph 84(b) come into force, and

(c) the day on which the first regulations made under paragraph 84(c) come into force.

(3) Sections 18, 19, 21, 22 and 32 to 44 come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, but that day must not be before the day fixed in accordance with subsection (2).

(4) Sections 49 to 52 and 68 come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, but that day must not be before the day fixed in accordance with subsection (3).

(5) Sections 79 to 83, 86, 87 and 90 come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.”

Your Committee has ordered a reprint of Bill C-18, as amended, as a working copy for the use of the House of Commons at the report stage.
A copy of the relevant Minutes of Proceedings (Meetings Nos. 43, 44, 47, 48, 50 to 52 and 54 to 60) is tabled.