What the federal government is doing to support news publishers during the COVID-19 pandemic

The text below is a news release from the Department of Canadian Heritage that was released this afternoon.


GATINEAU, March 25, 2020 — In unprecedented times, Canadians turn to the web, newspapers as well as conventional television and radio stations to get well-sourced and factual information relevant to their community. The media is an indispensable communications link between different levels of government and the public.

The Government of Canada is taking action to support our publishing and news sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts will help ensure Canadians can continue to get reliable news and information related to COVID-19, so they can make the right decisions to stay healthy and safe.

New Independent Advisory Board on Eligibility for Journalism Tax Measures

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) confirmed that the Independent Advisory Board on Eligibility for Journalism Tax Measures is now in place. The role of the board is to make recommendations to the CRA on whether a journalism organization meets certain criteria to receive the Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization (QCJO) designation. The QCJO designation is one of the prerequisites organizations must meet to take advantage of the new tax measures. The tax measures were introduced in Budget 2019.

The board is composed of current and retired faculty members from post-secondary journalism schools across Canada. The members are Dr. Colette Brin, the chair, Ms. Kim Kierans, the co-chair, as well as Ms. Margo Goodhand, Mr. Pierre-Paul Noreau and Dr. Karim H. Karim.

Members were selected based on the linguistic, cultural and ethnic diversity of the country. Their full biographies are available online.

Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund: A Simplified Process

Canadian Heritage is working to establish a simplified process for submitting and processing 2020-21 funding requests for the Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund. The process will significantly reduce the time it takes to process files. Eligible beneficiaries will be able to access financial assistance much more quickly than usual. The beneficiaries of these programs will be contacted in the coming days to better explain the simplified approach for 2020-21.

Quick facts

  • About the Board
    • As recommended by the Journalism and Written Media Independent Panel in its recommendations to the government in July 2019, the government appointed an Independent Advisory Board.
    • The Independent Advisory Board’s role is as a special adviser to the Minister of National Revenue, or CRA officials delegated by the minister.
    • The Independent Advisory Board will provide recommendations to the minister on whether an organization meets the criteria for QCJO designation related to original news content and journalistic processes and principles.


View the full release here.