What you need to know about the Liberal governments new cultural roadmap

OTTAWA — The federal government laid out its strategy Thursday to support Canada’s creative industries.Here’s what you should know about the plan.— No Netflix tax. Heritage Minister Melanie Joly said the Liberals are sticking to their pledge of not introducing new taxes to pay for Canadian content, either streamed or over-the-airwaves. Netflix does, however, play a big part in the plan. Joly announced the video-streaming giant will spend $500 million over five years for the creation of original content produced in Canada. It’s unclear how the money will be spent and what the government agreed to in brokering the deal. The agreement falls under the Investment Act, which means Netflix could face penalties if it doesn’t live up to its end of the bargain.— The Canadian Media Fund gets a boost. The CMF is a pot of money to support the production of Canadian content. Canada’s traditional broadcasters and TV service providers are mandated by law to contribute to the fund, based on a formula tied to their revenues. But declining advertising and subscription dollars have put pressure on the fund. Heritage Minister Melanie Joly says Ottawa will contribute more starting next year to make up for the industry shortfall.— No news industry bailout. Canadian newspaper publishers have also faced declining advertising revenues, and an independent body called on Ottawa during public consultations to find ways to help them survive. But Joly has closed the door to any suggestion that taxpayers prop up those publishers, saying the government’s approach “will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable.” Instead, the government has committed to aid smaller periodicals and local newspapers as they transition to digital platforms and away from printed newspapers. And here again, a new digital media giant, Facebook, is lending a hand, teaming up with Toronto’s Ryerson University to fund a digital news incubator.— Sell it to the world. The government says it will spend $125 million over five years on what it calls a creative export strategy. It includes a new export fund to promote Canadian creators abroad, and a new Creative Industries Council to help guide promotion efforts. Updates are also planned for programs such as the Canadian Book Fund and the Canada Music Fund.— Tear it down, build it up. Canada hasn’t updated laws surrounding the country’s broadcast and creative industries for more than two decades — laws created when the word “digital” wasn’t in the lexicon. Joly said the government will launch wide-ranging reviews of the Copyright Act, the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act, to bring them up to speed with the new realities. The country’s broadcast regulator, the CRTC, and the CBC’s mandate, will each also undergo a broad rethink. read more

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