May 27, 2020

The Right Hon. Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister of Canada

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing on behalf of CWA Canada and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to urge the federal government to make digital companies such as Facebook and Google share advertising revenue with Canadian content providers.

These two companies control over 80 per cent of Canada’s $6-billion online advertising market, yet they pay no taxes and they pay nothing for the content they use. For far too long, they have been earning money by linking to stories from Canadian news companies without compensation. It is simply not fair. They should be paying for copyrighted content.

Even more troubling is the fact that, as these companies have raked in tens of billions of dollars over the years, thousands of Canadian media workers have been laid off and hundreds of Canadian publications have closed. It’s bad for journalism, bad for local communities, and bad for our democracy.

We call on your government to follow the lead of Australia and France, which are set to make digital companies pay for content use.

Such action is all the more vital as many Canadian news companies, which have long struggled with ad revenue declines, are now fighting for their survival amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

We thank you for your government’s support for the news industry during this pandemic, and for the coming tax measures under the journalism support package, but we need to solve the ad revenue problem for the long-term health of the industry.

CWA Canada is the country’s only all-media union, representing about 6,000 workers in print, digital and broadcasting operations, including the CBC, The Canadian Press, and newspapers coast to coast.

The IFJ is the world’s largest organization of journalists, representing 600,000 media professionals from 187 trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries.


Martin O’Hanlon

President, CWA Canada

The Media Union