November 30, 2023

Review of the Copyright Act: The Book Industry Requests an Urgent Meeting with Honourable Ministers St-Onge and Champagne

The Canadian book industry is pleased that a new report from the House of Commons, released last week, supports its claim that the Government of Canada should review the Copyright Act. The industry is requesting an urgent meeting with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, on this matter.

Called to testify last spring as part of the study by the Standing Committee on Science and Research, Gilles Herman (Éditions du Septentrion), then Vice-President of Copibec, rightly pointed out that in 2012, the legislator added several exceptions to the Copyright Act allowing circumvention of intellectual property, including introducing the concept of fair dealing for educational purposes, without specifying its scope of application. Since then, most Canadian educational institutions have disengaged from the collective licensing regime they had previously adhered to, resulting in financial losses of approximately $200 million in 10 years, directly attributable to this legislative gap. 

“If the Canadian government does not correct the copyright law, the risk is that the education sector of the future will no longer teach Canadian content because Canadian publishers will have simply disappeared,” he affirmed.

This observation echoes the report from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage entitled Shifting Paradigms which, as early as 2019, stated that the government should amend the law “to specify that fair dealing provisions do not apply to educational institutions if the work is accessible on the market.”

 It is high time to close the gaps in the law and protect the future of Canadian literature.

Access Copyright, the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL), the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP), the Canadian Authors Association (CAA), the Canadian Publishers’ Council (CPC), Copibec, the Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG), the Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens (REFC), Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ), and The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) urge the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale Saint-Onge, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, and all elected officials to take action so that these fundamental recommendations in favor of Canadian education and literature soon materialize in the law.

For more information, contact:
Jack Illingworth, Executive Director
Association of Canadian Publishers