On Friday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued new “registration regulations,” as part of its expanded mandate under the Online Streaming Act. The new rules oblige all streaming, social media and online subscription television and radio stations that live-stream over the internet, as well as services that offer both free and paid podcasts, to register with the CRTC by Nov. 28, unless they earn less than $10 million a year in broadcasting revenues in Canada.
In other words, creators who upload content are not required to register, as they are not subject to the Broadcasting Act, but the behemoths who carry their work, and help them pay the bills, will.
The internet promptly exploded with outrage. Most angry were podcasters, who suddenly found themselves in the glare of the CRTC’s outsized headlights. Naturally, politicians got in on the action: Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre tweeted, “We warned that Justin Trudeau’s online censorship law was coming to censor what people can see and say online. Liberals denied it. Now, it is exactly what they’re doing. Conservatives will repeal Trudeau’s censorship, and restore freedom of expression online for all.”
Will these regulations lead to censorship? Arguably, yes. That’s because the CRTC’s mandate isn’t just to ensure that broadcasters include a certain amount of Canadian content, but it does set the parameters of the Canadian broadcasting landscape.