Original language of petition: English
The Government would like to thank the petitioners for expressing their concerns regarding federal support for Canadian news media organizations. A robust, independent news sector that consists of a plurality of voices is a foundational pillar of our democracy. Financial pressures facing news media in Canada, and indeed globally, have been mounting for years. In an online world where free content is readily available and advertisers have an abundance of options, monetizing original content is an unprecedented challenge. Since 2008 for example, advertising in the newspaper industry has decreased from $3.9 billion to $1.6 billion: a 59% decline. The result of these pressures has been layoffs, closures and consolidation, all in an effort to both manage costs and remain competitive against much larger digital organizations. According to the Local News Research Project, 279 local media outlets have closed since 2008 and an additional 144 have either merged, reduced frequency or reduced service. Despite these challenges, newspapers continue to produce a substantial proportion of original reporting, content that is later reproduced or discussed by other news organizations. In light of this, the Government has developed a number of measures to aid Canadian news media. For example, the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) is a program that provides direct support to Canadian paid print magazines, print non-daily newspapers and digital periodicals to enable them to overcome market disadvantages and continue to provide Canadian readers with the content they choose to read. Each year, the CPF provides over $15 million to over 300 non-daily newspapers. In Budget 2018, the Government announced the creation of the Local Journalism Initiative, a program that is providing $50 million over five years to support the hiring of journalists so that they may produce original reporting for underserved communities across the country. Budget 2019 went further still by announcing three additional actions to support Canadian journalism: enabling news organizations to become qualified donees and issue tax receipts; introducing a refundable labour tax credit on journalist salaries; and, establishing a temporary tax credit for subscriptions to Canadian digital media. These measures; which are estimated to cost $595 million over five years, will foster a sustainable, pluralistic media ecosystem. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges that span the global economy and Canadian news outlets are not insulated from this pressure; in this context, support is perhaps more important now than ever. To this end, the Government has announced an additional $500 million in emergency support funding for heritage, cultural and sport organizations. In recognition of the vital role non-daily newspapers and periodicals serve for communities across the country, approximately $63.7 million has been earmarked for the Canada Periodical Fund to provide emergency relief support to Canadian magazines and community newspapers. The Government recognizes the Canadian news media’s essential role in maintaining a healthy democracy, especially in this time where information is vital to all Canadians. As the news media landscape continues to evolve, the Government will continue to provide support while safeguarding the fundamental principal of press independence thus ensuring Canadians have access to reliable information from diverse, trustworthy sources.
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.
|Province / Territory||Signatures|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||43|
|Prince Edward Island||16|