The Department of Canadian Heritage has launched a review of the
federal government's cultural policy toolkit that could bring
significant changes to the governance framework that underpins the
broadcasting, media and cultural industries.
Announced this past weekend by Heritage
Minister Mélanie Joly, the review is a response to the
digital shift that is transforming the creative sector. The stated
goal of the review is to ensure that Canadian content is positioned
to succeed in an increasingly global marketplace which, as
stakeholders well know, has been buffeted by the rapid evolution of
new technologies that have changed the ways content is created and
Minister Joly made it clear in an interview with the Globe and
Mail that each of the main governance levers – laws,
policies, institutions and programs – will be evaluated. She
told the Globe that she believes "the current model is broken,
and we need to have a conversation to bring it up to date" and
that "everything is on the table".
Beyond a generally "digital approach", it's
anyone's guess as to what the policy outcomes of the review
will be. The minister has indicated that she doesn't want to go
into consultations with preconceived notions of what they might
yield, and has refused to speculate about eventual changes.
However, the "drivers of change" articulated in the announcement of the review
provide some sense of the likely focus:
A fluid environment that blurs traditional categories like
"creator" and "user", "artists" and
"audience", and "professional" and
The emergence of new players and intermediaries that have
disrupted traditional business models;
An increasingly open and interconnected world in which access
to a global marketplace comes at the price of stiff competition in
formerly local cultural markets; and
Changes in consumer expectations driven by increased digital
connectivity and mobility.
The consensus from the commentariat is that the
review will be the most comprehensive re-evaluation of the industry
since the Mulroney government revised the Broadcasting Act
Content producers and other stakeholders should note that an online
"pre-consultation questionnaire" can be accessed on
the ministry's website until May 20, 2016. The pre-consultation
will help define the scope of the public consultation which will
begin this summer and wrap up by the end of the year. An expert
advisory group will be struck to shepherd the review, which is
officially called Strengthening Canadian Content Creation,
Discovery and Export in a Digital World.
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