News Publishers: Governance of Canadian Journalism Collective must be robust

Ethnic, community, local, and national news publisher associations today outlined recommendations to ensure the governance of the Canadian Journalism Collective (CJC) is robust and in keeping with modern governance practices.

“Managing $500 million over five years is a responsibility that should be discharged honestly, in good faith, and in lockstep with the integrity of the Online News Act and its Regulations,” said Paul Deegan, president and chief executive officer of News Media Canada.

The Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association, Hebdos Québec, Manitoba Community Newspapers Association, National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, News Media Canada, Ontario Community Newspapers Association, and Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association are offering the following 10 recommendations to the CJC and to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC):

    1. The Canadian Journalism Collective should be a lean single-purpose entity with the sole purpose of distributing Google’s $100M CAD annual contribution to eligible news businesses on a cost-recovery basis.
    2. Its Board of Directors should represent the diversity of the Canadian news media business models that provide services to all markets and diverse populations.
    3. In keeping with the Board Skills Matrix applied by Glass Lewis for asset managers, which demands financial, audit & risk, and legal skills, the Board should include one lawyer and one chartered professional accountant, who should be independent from news businesses.
    4. To properly exercise their fiduciary duty and to avoid self-dealing, members of the Board of Directors cannot be recipients of funds under the Online News Act.
      Members of the Board of Directors cannot be related parties; they must be independent from one another.
    5. Voting should be one member, one vote.
    6. Directors should not receive fees from the Canadian Journalism Collective.
    7. The Board should appoint a three-person independent panel whose role is to validate news business eligibility. That panel should be comprised of one lawyer and at least one individual who has experience either as a public editor/ombudsman or a member of a press council.
    8. The independent panel should have powers to hire auditors to verify eligible newsroom employees.
    9. Back-office administration should be independent from any member of the Board of Directors.
    10. Previously, publishers called on the CRTC to make regulations with respect to the Online News Act.

News Media Canada,

Hebdos Québec,