Landmark Agreement: Ottawa and Google Forge Historic Deal to Back Canadian Media

Landmark Agreement: Ottawa and Google Forge Historic Deal to Back Canadian Media

The Canadian government and Google have reached a groundbreaking deal to address the challenges faced by the country’s media industry. This agreement comes as a response to the impending Online News Act, scheduled to take effect on December 19. The legislation had triggered a threat from Google to block news on its platform.

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge described the deal as historic, emphasizing that it establishes a fairer commercial relationship between digital platforms and journalism in Canada. Under the framework, Google will make annual payments of approximately Can$100 million to Canadian news companies, ensuring that Canadian news continues to be shared on Google’s platforms.

While the compensation amount is less than the government’s initial estimate, the deal avoids a potential online news blackout in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted the significance of the agreement, noting its potential impact on democracies worldwide facing similar challenges in the media landscape.

The agreement allows Google to negotiate with a single group representing all Canadian media, streamlining the process and preventing individual deals that might lead to substantial payouts. The funds will be distributed based on the number of full-time journalists employed by each publisher and broadcaster.

Google’s global affairs president, Kent Walker, expressed satisfaction with the Canadian government’s commitment to addressing concerns, and Google will continue directing valuable traffic to Canadian publishers.

While the deal is welcomed as a positive outcome, some acknowledge that the Online News Act may not entirely solve the challenges faced by Canadian journalism. The legislation aims to support the struggling news sector by requiring global tech giants like Google and Meta to make commercial deals with Canadian news outlets or face binding arbitration.

Meta, which has blocked access to news articles on its platforms in Canada, has criticized the legislation as “fundamentally flawed.” The Canadian government estimates that the Online News Act could cost Google and Meta a combined Can$230 million, holding them accountable for their impact on traditional news organizations and the drain of advertising dollars from the struggling industry.


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