12 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 1 JANUARY 2019
maintain financially sustainable business models. At a time when people
increasingly get their news online, and share news and other content
through social media, many communities have also been left without
local news outlets to tell their stories. Concerns have been expressed that,
without government intervention, there may be a decline in the quantity
and quality of journalism available to Canadians, including a significant
loss of local news coverage.
In November 2018, the Prime Minister, together with other world leaders,
committed to take action to support a strong and independent news sector
in the digital age. The Government recognizes the vital role that local
journalism plays in communities all across the country, and is committed
to finding ways to help keep people, and communities, connected
through local news providers.
Economic mechanisms that the federal government is looking to implement
include “allowing non-profit news organizations to receive charitable
donations and issue official donation receipts, introducing a new refundable
tax credit to support original news content creation, including local
news, and introducing a new temporary non-refundable tax credit to support
subscriptions to Canadian digital news media”. The statement also
noted the importance of independence in the administration of these measures
and added that “to this end, an independent panel of journalists will
be established to define and promote core journalism standards, define professional
journalism, and determine eligibility”.
We start 2019 in a world where, rather than looking forward, many of us
are fighting a rearguard action, trying to figure out how to prevent our societies
from spiralling into a past of fractured continents and violence. While
no doubt there is more to be done, we commend the Canadian government
for at least acknowledging and working toward securing the role of the
press, one of the institutions that has historically been recognized as a foundational
pillar on which a promising future can be built.
1. Edmonton Journal v Alberta (Attorney General),
1989 2 SCR 1326.
2. 1986 2 SCR 573.
3. Office of the Prime Minister, “Statement by the Prime
Minister on World Press Freedom Day” (3 May
2018), online: <pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2018/05/03
4. Stuart Thomson, “$600M in Federal Funding for
Media ‘a Turning Point in the Plight of Newspapers
in Canada’”, National Post (21 November 2018),
5. Canada, Department of Finance, Investing in Middle
Class Jobs (2018) at 40, online: <budget.gc.ca/