Federal Government’s Economic Statement Significant steps, but an unsettled future

Montréal, 22 November 2018 – The Coalition for Culture and the Media welcomes the measures of support for Canadian journalism announced yesterday by Minister Morneau. The Federal government appears, for the first time, to have taken note of the scale of this sector’s problems. The measures announced, of $595 million over five years in support of news, will certainly help to slow the decline of media newsrooms.

In welcoming the Federal government’s far-from-negligible efforts, the Coalition nevertheless notes that these do not constitute a complete and global solution. Questions of regulatory and fiscal fairness remain at the heart of the problem facing Canadian media newsrooms. 

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Fiscal Fairness in a Digital World: Quebec Kept its Promise

Montreal, June 13th, 2018 – The Coalition for Culture and Media is very pleased by the adoption of the Draft Bill 150 by the Quebec National Assembly yesterday. In virtue of the latter, the providers of intangible goods and online services – as Netflix and Spotify – will be required, as of January 1st, 2019, to collect QST on sales made in Quebec, and even if they are established outside of our borders.

“We must applaud the fact that all parties have accepted to collaborate to a swift adoption of this important and much anticipated Bill. The cultural and media community has been wishing the establishment of these measures on taxation for several months now for economic reasons, of course, but also considers that the strong political signal sent by the parliamentarians in favor of the restoration of a fiscal fairness among all the digital players is very encouraging. We hope that Ottawa will seize this opportunity and take this first step so that eventually all governments in the country could collect the taxes on all the goods sold via electronic commerce” said the coalition spokesperson.

One more step towards communications laws for the 21st century

Montreal, June 5th 2018 – The Coalition for Culture and Media welcomes the launch this morning of the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act review.  The review, expected since spring 2016 and announced officially in the 2017 Budget, was set in motion by Ministers Mélanie Joly and Navdeep Bains, who named a panel of experts to make recommendations to the government about the changes needed to adapt these two laws to the digital era.

Minister Joly’s choice of a panel of experts who have a wealth of experience to guide the updating of the Broadcasting Act, is welcome.  That said, the Coalition notes that the delay in establishing the panel and its mandate means that it will only finish its work in a year and a half – after the next election.

Finally! The CRTC recommends regulating digital media: is the government listening?

Montreal, June 1st, 2018 – The Coalition for Culture and Media welcomes the CRTC findings presented in its much-anticipated report on the future of program distribution in Canada.

Several of these findings respond to the coalition’s expectations, in particular when it comes to regulating all online streaming services and making all industry players contribute – including foreign operators – to the financing of production and promotion of Canadian content. The coalition is also pleased that the CRTC has rejected the idea of deregulating traditional broadcasters (radio, television, cable operators) and appreciates the CRTC’s acknowledgement of the urgency to address the current situation.

Quebec Budget: The Government Paves the Way to Tax Fairness

The Coalition for Culture and Media applauds the Quebec government’s decision to update its taxation measures so they apply to foreign companies selling intangible goods and services online. The Quebec government is the first in the country to take a step toward tax fairness in the digital economy by requiring that businesses both here and abroad collect its sales tax (QST) as of January 1, 2019. It goes without saying that the Coalition believes that a good portion of the additional revenue that will be collected by the government should be reinvested in culture and media.

The Coalition’s member organizations expect that all the members of the National Assembly will support the government in this first initiative to adapt the Quebec taxation system to the digital economy. This support would be in line with the unanimous motion adopted last October by the National Assembly in favour of tax fairness for all digital platforms in the wake of Ottawa’s agreement with Netflix.

Taxation of Digital Goods and Services: A Budget that Disadvantages Canadian Businesses

In response to the tabling of the federal budget, the Coalition for Culture and Media deplores Ottawa’s inaction on the taxation of digital goods and services sold in Canada by foreign companies. The Coalition is all the more disappointed as it has been making appeals on this issue for several months, has collected thousands of signatures in support of said demands, and unfortunately finds itself faced with the government’s complete insensitivity to arguments for tax fairness.

The Coalition, like many players in the Quebec and Canadian economy, finds it inconceivable that the Canadian government should maintain an unfair taxation system that favours foreign companies doing business here using the Internet. This two-tier system exempts these foreign entities from having to collect sales taxes on the goods and services sold here, unlike Quebec and Canadian companies. Federal tax policy needs to be updated to level the playing field for companies competing online.

No Netflix Tax: another government decision without an understanding of the costs!

The Coalition for Culture and Media considers it inconceivable that the Trudeau government – who has been repeating for months that it will not tax Netflix – continues to ignore the amount in lost revenue by not taxing electronic trade.

The Coalition was surprised to learn in La Presse that the government is still not in possession of the financial data calculating the revenue lost annually lost by its decision not to tax products like Netflix or e-commerce platforms such as Amazon. This, despite financial advisor Marwah Rizqy calculating this loss at nearly 40 million dollars per year for Netflix alone, just for the federal government. These colossal sums of money, when combined with the amounts the provinces could collect, would allow to support multiple cultural productions, or even finance social programs.