The Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, recently announced new regulatory measures related to podcasts and online streaming services. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) plans to require certain podcasters to provide information about their activities within the country.
Online streaming services operating in Canada with annual revenues exceeding $10 million are expected to register by November 28. This is described as a one-time requirement intended to gather fundamental data.
The CRTC has also set specific conditions for these online streaming platforms regarding providing information on content and subscribership. In addition, the commission is consulting on how these platforms can contribute to Canadian and Indigenous content.
In response to these changes, various figures have voiced their opinions. The Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley commented on the regulations, suggesting that the CRTC’s decision was too invasive. Dr. Jordan Peterson, a prominent Canadian psychologist and podcast host, also disapproved of the move.
Previously, following the introduction of the Online News Act (Bill C-18), Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, decided to restrict news-sharing capabilities in Canada.
Online writer Jen Gerson suggests that if complaints to the CRTC about The Line’s content exist, platforms like Apple Podcasts might decide not to publish it. She states:
The potential outcome is a dampening of open dialogue. The concern is that media creators might avoid topics or language that could be seen as controversial, fearing loss of access to platforms like Spotify. This is more than just a hobby for many; it’s a source of income.
Furthermore, she raises the possibility that significant distributors, primarily from the U.S., could choose not to feature Canadian content to avoid compliance with the Broadcasting Act, drawing a parallel to Meta’s decision and its impact on Facebook feeds in Canada.
This means Canadian and international publishers won’t be able to have their news links and content viewed by the Canadian audience on these platforms. This has sparked discussions about access to news content and freedom of expression in the digital age in Canada.