The Writers Guild of Canada is encouraged by the findings of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel released in its final report, Canada's Communications Future: Time to Act, on Jan. 29.
We would like to commend the Panel on its hard work and the time and care spent compiling the report. And we wholeheartedly agree that it is, in fact, time to act. We are losing members daily to the film & TV industry in L.A. and they are not coming back for want of opportunity to make their stories in their own country. We believe key recommendations in this report, if adopted, will go some way to reversing this trend.
“We entered this process with two clear messages," says WGC Executive Director, Maureen Parker. "The first is that online broadcasting players, both Canadian and foreign, must contribute to the production, distribution and discoverability of Canadian content. Secondly, Canadian creators—in particular the Canadian screenwriters and showrunners who provide so much of that content with its unique, Canadian authorial voice—must be at the core of the system. The WGC is incredibly encouraged that the Panel has affirmed both of those principles in its report.
The Panel clearly made the distinction between foreign service production, driven by large Hollywood studios, and domestic Canadian production, which is where Canadian stories are told and Canadian viewpoints are expressed. It is this domestic production that is most under threat by digital disruption, and it is this content that is in greatest need of support.”
The WGC now encourages the federal government to act on these recommendations quickly.
“We hope the federal government soon requires the CRTC to hold hearings and issue a new order so that those media content curators that derive revenue from Canada and are currently exempt from licensing, such as Netflix, are required to contribute to Canadian content through spending and discoverability requirements," says Parker.
“We thank the Panel for its hard work, and look forward to dealing with these issues promptly, through new legislation and regulation."