According to a report by Michael Geist, Rogers is proposing an expansion of the ‘government media bailout’ to broadcasters, while saying that Netflix and other non-Canadian services that do not produce news should pay for the bailout and help fund the labour tax credits.
In its submission to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review (BTLR), Rogers notes that allowing broadcasters that produce news programming to access labour tax credits will help them continue to produce independent, high-quality news in Canada.
The broadcaster emphasizes that all broadcasters in the country should be required to in some way contribute to the production of national or local news.
While non-Canadian digital media undertakings will be required to contribute to the Canadian broadcasting system through commitments made in their service agreements, we do not believe that they should be extended the right to access CAVCO tax credits or funding from the CMF and Telefilm. For reasons of equity and fairness, we believe that only those broadcast undertakings, including digital media undertakings, that are incorporated in Canada and pay and collect taxes in this country should have access to the financial support mechanisms that are largely funded by Canadian taxpayers and used to fund the production of Canadian programming.
Geist argues the Rogers proposal is flawed because of the following:
Rogers wants the rules changed so it can access those funds by removing the distinction between independent producers and broadcasters. Moreover, the company seems to acknowledge that this proposal would prima facie violate Canada’s trade obligations under the USMCA. It responds that the government can rely on the cultural exemption found in the agreement to implement its approach. What it neglects to say, however, is that use of the exemption opens Canada up to retaliatory measures by the U.S. that could result in hundreds of millions in new tariffs.
Meanwhile, Bell and Shaw have also filed their submissions to the BTLR panel outlining their own suggestions, with Bell also calling for the regulation of U.S. providers like Netflix.