The news from earlier this week that Postmedia would be transitioning a dozen community newspapers to digital-only form only reinforces the need for swift action by parliamentarians in the wake of unprecedented financial challenges facing the newspaper industry, says News Media Canada president and CEO Paul Deegan.
“There is no question that the environment for Canadian news publishers is very challenging,” says Deegan. “Advertising has not come back to pre-pandemic levels.”
Deegan said News Media Canada continues to work with the federal government and several provinces to push forward legislation that would help unlock much-needed funds to help support publishers.
“The Online News Act, C-18 was promised during the summer 2021 election campaign will help, but we need parliamentarians to act and pass it soon, so the monies from content licensing agreements can flow,” he says.
At the provincial level, Deegan is hopeful that British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan will follow the lead of Ontario and exempt newspapers from costly Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) levies.
“Too many provinces are currently regulating printed newspapers like waste packaging and hitting the sector with high levies,” Deegan says. “It’s essentially a job-killing tax”.
“Governments and business across Canada can support their local newspapers by buying local and advertising in them. Local news keeps communities connected and engaged,” he says.