What’s Canadian? Minister to update definition of Canadian film and TV productions

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez will consider what qualifies as a Canadian film or television show as part of a move to modernize the country’s broadcasting laws.

The Canadian definition of content is at the heart of a bill before Congress that would require streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ to recommend a certain amount of Canadian programming and invest in it. Canadian stories”, as traditional broadcasters are supposed to do.

Critics say the current rules need to be updated, and some shows on Canadian affairs – including Amazon’s series on Toronto Maple Leafs – haven’t checked enough boxes to count as Canadian. .

Disney’s “Turning Red,” which tells the story of growing up as a Chinese-Canadian teenager in Toronto and stars Sandra Oh, born in Ottawa, isn’t considered Canadian by regulation. Nor is it the critically acclaimed adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on the novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

But the Canadian Media Producers Association said the rules must ensure that Canadians continue to own intellectual property rights to their work.

It also wants the required streaming platforms to give Canadian TV and film producers a larger share of the profits if their work is successful.

“Our broadcasting act must ensure that Canadian independent producers have a fair opportunity to negotiate with content buyers, including,” said Reynolds Mastin, president and chief executive officer. including streamers, to own, control, and monetize the intellectual property they develop and produce.”

In an interview at the National Arts and Culture summit in Ottawa, Rodriguez said “we have to modernize” Canada’s definition of content, and he’s “open to all kinds of suggestions.” and ideas.”

The minister said he was talking to arts and culture ministers in other countries “to look at what they do, and of course we have to adapt it to our country.”

“I’m meeting with Germany’s culture minister on Thursday and this is one of the things I’ll discuss and I’ll do the same with my other counterparts,” said Rodriguez.

Elevating Canada’s stories

The UK has a broader definition of British film that includes works that focus on British subjects, such as the life of William Shakespeare.

Some experts warn that if the definition of Canadian content isn’t broadened, it could create an incentive for studios to invest in Canadian talent if their work doesn’t officially qualify as Canadian content. Canadian.

Michael Geist, the University of Ottawa’s Canada Studies Chair in internet law, said “current rules are unfortunately outdated, leading to policies that don’t really help ‘advance Canada’s story’. ”

Geist said the current system is “no more than a markup exercise,” meaning that “works by Canadian authors may not be considered Cancon-certified, while works with little to no connection with them.” related to Canada like ‘Gotta Love Trump’ is somehow counted as Canadian.”

“Gotta Love Trump” is a movie supporting former US president Donald Trump, featuring a former presidential photographer and a former “The Apprentice” contestant.

Bill passed to Parliament

Marvel’s “Deadpool” stars Canadian A-lister Ryan Reynolds and was filmed in Vancouver. Canadian Paul Wernick co-wrote the screenplay based on a character from a Canadian comic book.

However, the film does not qualify as Canadian under the Canadian Audiovisual Certification Office’s regulations.

Those rules require a Canadian producer and a Canadian director or screenwriter. Points are awarded to the number of Canadians in leading roles or other key creative positions. Canadians must also stand out in production and post-production.

As the streaming bill passes Parliament, the heritage minister plans to give “policy direction” to the broadcast regulator, the Canadian Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, showing how modernize Canada’s definition of content.

Rodriguez said at the summit he plans to equip CRTC with more tools to regulate streaming and digital platforms like Twitter. He said the “priority” was “making sure we have a modern regulator.”

The Minister is passing two bills through the National Assembly under which the CRTC will play an important role as a regulatory body. The streaming bill, known as C-11 in Congress, would modernize broadcast laws to regulate streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime.

The online news bill, C-18, would make tech giants like Facebook and Google pay to reuse news produced by professional Canadian news organizations.

“Some critics argue that the CRTC has failed to satisfy consumers and creators, that it lacks the expertise and resources to deal with the new law. Basically, they say that the CRTC has no internet.” , Rodriguez said at the summit. “I hear these concerns.”

“Government and technology don’t always go well together. But let’s not forget that CRTC has a long history of supporting Canadian culture,” he added.

He said in an interview that he doesn’t think there is a better agency than CRTC to do the job.

“Do they have all the tools they need? Probably not,” he said.

“And that’s our job, to give them the tools and resources they need.”

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