Why do we need this report?
Canadian media, both private and public, are in free fall. We’ve lost more than 16,000 journalists since 2016. More than 250 media outlets have closed. Just last year, there were layoffs and restructurings at CBC, CTV, Torstar, The Globe and Mail, La Presse, and Groupe Capitales Médias, to name just a few.
There are many reasons for this downturn, but the main culprit is the flight of advertising revenue away from traditional media in favour of online platforms like Google and Facebook. When it comes to entertainment, we must also factor in the flight of subscription revenues. Canadian streaming services like Crave are competing with foreign giants like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and Disney who pocket sales taxes, pay no income taxes, and have no obligation to finance Canadian content.
The heart of the problem are the laws and policies that perpetuate this disadvantage. Netflix doesn’t sidestep sales taxes because it is a criminal enterprise. They do it because the government allows them to.
Ultimately, it comes down to a question of sovereignty: will Canada govern the Canadian digital economy according to our democratically-determined laws and rules, or will we continue to allow foreign digital behemoths like Google and Facebook to impose their rules, morals, and standards on us?