On 1 March 2023 the Copyright Board of Canada published and brought into effect the final version of their Rules of Practice and Procedure (the "Rules").

The Copyright Board, established in 1989, has never before adopted formal rules of procedure. The new Rules aim to increase consistency and predictability for parties involved in tariff and arbitration proceedings as well as to provide reliable directions for participation and a clear understanding of what to expect during the process. This change is expected to make participation in the proceedings more accessible and transparent for both parties and the public.

Key changes to board proceedings which came into effect with the new Rules include:

  1. Collective societies will now be required to provide a detailed Notice of Grounds when filing a proposed tariff. This means that potential users of the proposed tariff will have more information to base their objections on and evaluate their interest in participating in the proceedings. Additionally, detailed information on objections from users will be required in the form of a Notice of Grounds for Objection. By introducing these Notice of Grounds requirements, the Board aims to streamline and improve early information exchange between potential parties, and establish reasonable and transparent timelines for the approval process.
  2. A new Joint Statement of Issues requirement will encourage parties to agree on specific issues to be considered during the proceeding, reducing time and cost for all involved by clearly identifying issues in dispute.
  3. Case management practices have been integrated into most proceedings to assist with clarifying positions, resolving issues, setting next steps, and expediting proceedings. In some proceedings, a formal case manager will be appointed by the Chair of the Board to issue orders, convene conferences, and potentially resolve issues of procedure.
  4. A new process by which a person who is not a collective management society or objector can request to participate in a proceeding as an intervener. The Board will consider whether the person has sufficient interest in the proceedings and whether they can provide useful and different information or submissions, while also avoiding prejudice or interference with the proceeding's fair and expeditious conduct. Additionally the rules also introduce a process for submitting a letter of comment, which must be provided to all parties, considered as part of the proceeding, and put on the public record.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.