Released this week, a report commissioned by the federal government in 2018 suggests U.S. tech companies, including Amazon, Netflix and Facebook, should collect the same taxes as those collected by Canadian companies, and that they make strong commitments to supporting Canadian content on their streaming services. 

GST/HST should be applied to foreign online services, according to the report by the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel. Netflix currently pays provincial tax only in Quebec and Saskatchewan.

“Our recommendations for reform are practical and actionable providing the legislative powers and regulatory tools necessary to seize the opportunities and address the risks of the digital age,” Janet Yale, the chairwoman of the panel and a broadcasting and telecommunications industry veteran, said in a press release that came out with the report. 

Those recommendations also include an ad-free CBC and changes in the tax collection system. A bill could be tabled this year, Steven Guilbeault, the minister of Canadian heritage told the telecom news site Cartt earlier this month.

The report also suggests combining Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund into a new, publicly funded entity. 

Formed by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in the year 2018, this seven-member panel examines the broadcasting and telecoms laws in Canada, and advises the government on how different legislation could be reformed from time to time so that they are on a par with the ever-changing digital ecosystem. 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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