Yesterday, at the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA)’s Prime Time in Ottawa conference, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, participated in a keynote conversation with CMPA President and CEO Reynolds Mastin, in which she shared preliminary observations from the Canadian Content in a Digital World consultations. The full conversation has been archived on YouTube.
After showing a video with images from the consultations in various cities, Minister Joly spoke of the size and scope of the consultation, noting that 30,000 people contributed to the consultations through town halls, website submissions, and social media.
“We saw a broad range of people getting involved. Actors, musicians, producers, even private broadcasters, the public broadcaster, and also some telecoms and some digital platforms,” said Joly. “So, it was interesting to have this conversation – I think the time was just right. And that’s why also, I saw an evolution in the discussion, and clearly a need for modernization.”
Minister Joly mentioned that she felt “empowered” by the response of creators and other stakeholders in the consultation process, and spoke to the importance of fairness for content creators in developing policies. She acknowledged that content creators are at the heart of the cultural ecosystem, and stressed the importance of promoting Canadian content both at home and abroad.
“My job is to promote Canadian content. My job is to make sure that you have access to markets here at home and across the world,” said Joly. “My job is to be the Chief Marketing Officer for Canadian content and to develop these networks ultimately for the content creators and the industry here.”
To that point, Minister Joly noted that the Dept. of Canadian Heritage is currently developing Canada’s first-ever Cultural Export Strategy, which she said will be announced some time in 2017. The government is investing $35 million over two years towards the development of the Export Strategy, and Minister Joly says that a new Canadian Cultural Policy will also be announced in 2017.
The government has contracted Ipsos to analyse the results of submissions throughout the consultation process, and according to Minister Joly, we can expect a report to be released in the next few weeks.
Submissions to the consultation are now closed, but Focus On Creators will continue to advocate for policies that allow Canadian creators to earn a living from their work and continue to tell Canadian stories. As stated in our letter to Minister Joly, the work of Canadian creators is being consumed in greater volume than ever before, but many creators struggle to earn a living from their work. The cultural policy review as well as the five-year mandated review of the Copyright Act in 2017 provide an opportunity to put creators at the heart of cultural policy.
We are encouraged by the first impressions from the consultation and Minister Joly’s statements regarding the cultural and economic importance of Canada’s creators, and will continue to monitor for future developments.
If you’re a Canadian creator and haven’t yet signed our letter, we invite you to add your name at https://focusoncreators.ca/ourletter/, and to stay updated on our initiative by following us on Twitter and on Facebook.