Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

How the government's Online News Act will compensate media outlets

Ottawa has been locked in battle with U.S. tech giants Google and Meta over the sharing of Canadian news on their platforms
Google and Ottawa have reached a deal over the controversial Online News Act. The legislation has resulted in Meta pulling Canadian news off its platforms. | Brett Jordan/Unsplash

Canadians will still be able to search for news stories on Google after the tech giant struck a last-minute deal with the Liberal government that will put $100 million a year into local newsrooms. Google had been threatening to bar Canadian users from accessing news coverage over the Liberal government's controversial Online News Act. 

Here's a quick look at how the law will work when it takes effect no later than Dec. 19: 

— Global tech players will be required to agree to compensate Canadian news outlets for content that is shared or otherwise repurposed on their platforms.

— To receive a share of the $100-million windfall, newsrooms must be designated as qualified Canadian journalism organizations under the Income Tax Act. They must also produce news content of public interest, operate in Canada and employ at least two or more journalists.

— The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio-Canada will receive a portion of the $100 million, with the amount being determined through the final regulatory process which is set to be completed by the end of the year. 

— Companies impacted by the Online News Act must have global annual revenue of $1 billion or more, "operate in a search engine or social-media market distributing and providing access to news content in Canada," and have 20 million or more Canadian average monthly unique visitors or average monthly active users. 

— Google and Meta are currently the only companies that meet the government's criteria. Meta has so far refused to negotiate, opting instead to prevent Canadian users of its largest platforms, Instagram and Facebook, from accessing news content. 

— Ottawa's deal with Google provides companies an exemption from the law if they meet certain criteria, such as paying a cap commensurate with revenues. In this case, $100 million is what Google will pay each year. 

— Impacted companies will be required to negotiate with news outlets, either through individual deals with publishers and broadcasters. As in Google's case, they can also negotiate en masse with a collective group of outlets, which distributes the proceeds based on final regulations.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2023. 

The Canadian Press