OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) — The Trudeau government’s Online News Act, which has resulted in Canadians being blocked from viewing and sharing news on Facebook and Instagram, is set to take effect this year, according to a newly released timeline.
On September 2, the Department of Canadian Heritage announced that Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, will take effect December 19, 2023, and the consultation period has been reduced to only 30 days, from September 2 to October 2.
“This accelerated timeline limited the Department of Canadian Heritage’s ability to consult during the development of the regulatory proposal,” admitted a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.
Canada’s Senate passed the Online News Act, or Bill C-18, in June and it quickly became law. The new law, when fully implemented, will force social media companies to pay Canadian legacy media for news content shared on their platforms.
The rushed timeline is in seeming contradiction to an August 24 announcement from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that the negotiations between the government and media companies about the implementation of the censorship law may not be completed until 2025.
On September 1, Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge told media that the Trudeau government estimates Google would need to offer $172 million and Facebook $62 million to post news to Canadians on their platforms.
When the bill was passed, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, immediately announced that they will not be paying the fees and has already blocked Canadians from sharing and viewing news on their platforms.
While Google has yet to censor content for Canadians, the company previously announced it would remove links to Canadians rather than pay the fees.
According to a July 10 survey, most Canadians voiced concern over losing access to news on social media and Google.
While a September 2 legal notice from St-Onge admits that the timeline is “aggressive” and “accelerated,” the Liberal minister seems to be of a different opinion on social media.
“The proposed regulations released today for the Online News Act are reasonable and fair,” she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The proposed regulations released today for the Online News Act are reasonable and fair.
— Pascale St-Onge (@PascaleStOnge_) September 1, 2023
“I invite platforms, news businesses and Canadians to participate in the consultation process over the next 30 days,” St-Onge added.
Many prominent Canadian have warned that implementing the Online News Act could mean the end of free speech in the country.
“The free exchange of information in Canada is dead and our bloody Charter of Rights–the hypothetically crowning achievement of Pierre Elliot Trudeau–has been absolutely undermined by his own son @JustinTrudeau,” Canadian Dr. Jordan Peterson wrote.
Canadians wishing to voice their concerns over the censorship legislation are encouraged to participate in the consultation period. To comment on the proposed regulations, click here.