Update on Canadian Copyright Act review

In February’s Academic Innovation Newsletter, you read about the launch of the federally mandated Statutory Review of the Copyright Act, led by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

During the yearlong review, the Committee is hearing from multiple stakeholders to understand what works, and does not work, in Canadian copyright since the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11).  The 2012 Act saw the addition of ‘education’, ‘satire’, and ‘parody’ as accepted purposes under fair dealing. Fair dealing, technological protection measures, and Indigenous knowledge in Canada’s Copyright Act are among the review’s potential topics of discussion.

Recommended changes from the review could greatly affect how education institutions access copyright-protected material, particularly if the Committee recommends fair dealing be restricted, which industries such as publishing are endorsing.

The copyright review is taking place in three Phases. During these three phases, the Committee has been hearing from witnesses representing specific sectors of activity including publishing, visual arts, telecommunications, Indigenous communities, legal experts, academics, and professional associations.

The review will last the rest of 2018, although experts expect recommended changes will wait until after the 2019 election.

Phase I so far

Phase I hearings held in Ottawa included witnesses in education and publishing, who discussed how the Copyright Act affects their industry and stakeholders. A common theme that dominated these early discussions was the 2012 addition of education as a permitted use under fair dealing. Publishers and educators were on opposite sides of the debate, discussing whether the inclusion of education created a balance between creators’ and user’s rights, or not.

Education stakeholders hope to demonstrate to the Committee the vital role fair dealing plays in schools across the country. Fair dealing is an integral part of education. It allows our students to access and use materials while maintaining a balance between creators’ and user’s rights. If education were restricted in the Copyright Act, Canadian students would feel the loss the hardest.

In May, the Committee conducted meetings in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. The public can access these consultations through The Blues (unofficial transcripts of the meetings), video recordings, briefs and edited transcripts.

The Committee is accepting written briefs until late fall 2018. Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) is working with like organizations during the public consultations and written briefs phase, to present a united and cohesive message.

Langara’s Copyright Office is following the review closely and will provide the Langara community with updates as the review continues.

Your responsibilities


Questions? Please contact Langara’s Copyright Office.


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