A Major Breakthrough: Google and the Government of Canada Find Common Grounds on Bill C-18

November 29, 2023

Recently, Meta blocked news links in Canada, and Google threatened to follow, but the latter seems to be interested in resolving the conflict with the Canadian government. 


After repeated denial and extensive negotiations, Google has ultimately reached a consensus with the government of Canada on the enactment of Bill C-18, expected to be enforced in two weeks. 


“Following weeks of productive discussions, I am happy to announce that we have found a path forward with Google for the implementation of the Online News Act,” proclaimed Pascale St-Onge, the Canadian Heritage Minister. She added, "This will benefit the news sector and allow Google to continue to play an important role in giving Canadians access to reliable news content.”


Bill C-18, which received Royal Assent in June, holds Google and Meta liable to compensate news publishers for linking to their content. In response, Meta blocked news links in Canada and Google also proclaimed to follow. Somehow, Google agreed on a resolution with the government to contribute C$100 million as annual financial support, indexed to inflation. This aid was to be allocated to news businesses nationwide, including independent organizations and those from indigenous and minority communities.


This agreed-upon payment is lower than the government's initially suggested formula of four per cent of annual Canadian search revenue for Google and Meta, resulting in C$172 million and C$62 million, respectively. Google, however, insisted on a capped financial liability, a condition thereby acknowledged in the agreement. 


“We thank the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, for acknowledging our concerns and deeply engaging in a series of productive meetings about how they might be addressed, ” said Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs at Google. 


“We’re pleased we will be able to continue sending valuable traffic to Canadian publishers while we are in the process of receiving an exemption based on agreed-upon contributions to support the Canadian news ecosystem,” said Google.


While the Canadian government reaches a common ground with Google, no talks have yet been resumed with Meta and news links remain blocked on both Instagram and Facebook. 


The collaborative efforts demonstrate a commitment to fostering a robust news sector and providing Canadians with reliable news content.


Source: https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/google-reaches-an-agreement-with-the-government-of-canada-over-bill-c-18/554271


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