Google signs deal with organization to distribute $100M to Canadian news companies


OTTAWA — Google announced which organization it has selected to distribute the $100 million the tech giant has promised to Canadian news companies Friday.

Google agreed to pay Canadian news publishers $100 million annually, indexed to inflation, in order to be exempt from the Online News Act, which compels tech companies to enter into agreements with news publishers.

The Canadian Journalism Collective will be responsible for ensuring eligible news organizations get their share of the money.

The collective is a federally incorporated non-profit organization that was createdfor this purpose, and was founded in May by a group of independent publishers and broadcasters.

The steering committee is made up of 12 independent media outlets that represent French language, community and Indigenous news, and publications that specifically represent Black and minority Canadians.

Some of the organizations include Pivot, The Resolve, IndigiNews, Village Media and the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations.

The collective is committed to distributing the funding in a “fair, transparent, and inclusive manner” Sadia Zaman, the CJC’s independent board director, said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the full diversity of the Canadian news ecosystem, including traditional print and broadcast organizations, and independent local news publishers, including those who serve Indigenous, Black and racialized communities and Francophone communities.”

The committee plans to establish its governance structure in the coming weeks.

It’s unclear when eligible news businesses will receive the cash. The payment is contingent on Google formally receiving an exemption from the federal broadcast regulator.

“We hope these next steps will be completed as quickly as possible, so Canadian publishers and journalists can soon begin to receive the proceeds of this new contribution model,” Google said in a blog posted on their website Friday.

Earlier this year, Google put out an open call to news organizations that wish to receive compensation under the Online News Act, and about 1,500 outlets applied for the cash.

The collective will review all news publishers that responded to the open call, and distribute the funds to publishers that meet the criteria.

Newsrooms can be eligible for the funding if they are designated as a qualified Canadian journalism organization under the Income Tax Act.

They can also be deemed eligible under the Online News Act, which has its own criteria.

They must also produce news content of public interest, operate in Canada and employ at least two or more journalists.

The money will be distributed proportionately based on how many full time-journalists the companies employ.

Small print and digital outlets can expect to receive about $17,000 per journalist that they employ, an official with the Canadian Heritage Department has said.

The Liberal government has previously put a cap on how much money the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and other broadcasters can get.

CBC/Radio-Canada will get no more than a $7-million share of the annual fund, and $30 million at most will be reserved for other broadcasters.

The other $63 million will be shared among other qualifying news outlets, such as newspapers and digital platforms.

“Tech giants will be contributing their fair share—nothing more,” Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said in a statement in response to the news Friday.

“Canadians expect a news landscape where we can get the facts when we need them.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2024.

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press






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