John Hinds, CEO of News Media Canada (formerly Newspapers Canada) reads an email from PayPal at his office in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Hinds called it “scary” after PayPal froze his organization’s payments account over a weekly newspaper story about a Syrian refugee family in Manitoba. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

John Hinds, CEO of News Media Canada (formerly Newspapers Canada) reads an email from PayPal at his office in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Hinds called it “scary” after PayPal froze his organization’s payments account over a weekly newspaper story about a Syrian refugee family in Manitoba. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

LETTER: It’s time for Canadian politicians to ‘level the digital playing field’ for news

‘Google and Facebook… control the onramp to the internet highway in Canada’

We have a very serious situation in this country, and we are delighted to hear that Minister of Heritage Stephen Guilbault said on Monday that the government is preparing legislation to force tech giants to fairly compensate content creators.

Google and Facebook, two of the richest companies in history, control the onramp to the internet highway in Canada. They decide what we as a sovereign nation see and don’t see in the news. To make matters worse, they use the news produced by Canadians and don’t pay for it.

Meanwhile, all Canadian news media companies, big and small, are suffering for two reasons:

First, they don’t get paid for their content by Facebook and Google; and

Second, Facebook and Google take over 80 per cent of all Canadian digital advertising industry revenue. These massive American companies receive virtually all of the revenue and don’t pay for content. Movie content doesn’t work that way in Canada. Music content doesn’t work that way. TV show content doesn’t work that way. So why is news content treated differently?

We only have to look south of the border to see what happens when real news companies disappear, and social media platforms distribute divisive, fake news.

We need to support healthy, independent, diverse news companies as the backbone of our democracy.

This is urgent. It’s a fact that news companies across Canada are struggling while COVID-19 impacts are accelerating the decline. Journalism jobs are disappearing.

That means real news keeps disappearing and hate and fake news will fill in the void. Let’s not let this happen in Canada.

But there is good news. Australia has figured out the solution. They created a law that forces the tech companies to pay fairly for news content. This costs the taxpayer absolutely nothing.

We encourage all Members of Parliament to move quickly. Canada needs your leadership.

John Hinds is the President and CEO of News Media Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jacob Koomen takes his bike out for a spin near his home in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell Riverite to cycle length of Island to raise funds to cancer research

Long distance rides are no big deal for 73-year-old cyclist

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Busy day for Campbell River fire crews

Three incidents in rapid succession keep crews on their toes

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Most Read