General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsCAB concerned commercial broadcasters not represented in Google collective

CAB concerned commercial broadcasters not represented in Google collective

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) says it’s concerned commercial broadcasters – the largest employer of journalists in Canada – aren’t represented on the new collective chosen by Google to distribute funds under the Online News Act.

The digital giant announced Friday that it had selected the Canadian Journalism Collective-Collectif Canadien de Journalisme (CJC-CCJ) to distribute its annual $100M CAD contribution to eligible news businesses. 

CJC-CCJ is led by Erin Millar, the CEO & Co-founder of Indiegraf, a tech provider for small and start-up publications. Millar is a journalist and entrepreneur who also founded The Discourse. The not-for-profit organization is made up of 12 independent publishers and broadcasters including Village Media, IndigiNews, Pivot, The Resolve, First Peoples Radio, and the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS).

It was largely speculated Google would choose to move forward with the collective put forward by CAB, News Media Canada, and CBC/Radio Canada, which encompassed the vast majority of broadcast and print news organizations in Canada.

“We strongly believe that for Google to be granted an exemption from the fair bargaining regime set out in the Online News Act, they and the Canadian Journalism Collective will need to demonstrate clearly that the $100 million in compensation will be distributed in a fair, effective and competent manner that supports news activities undertaken by professional journalists,” said CAB President Kevin Desjardins, in a statement provided to Broadcast Dialogue. “We are disappointed because we put forward a proposal that was fair and transparent, working with stakeholders who represented the vast majority of professional news organizations in Canada.”

Jean LaRose, who represents First Peoples Radio and the Dadan Sivunivut companies, said the CJC-CCJ approach is inclusive and the collective will be reaching out to those organizations who weren’t selected.

“Our goal is to ensure everybody has an equal voice, that everyone that signed up with Google is properly funded, and in the end we will have a very open, transparent reporting process so everyone will be able to see who was included and what was distributed, in accordance with the Act,” said LaRose.

“We approached this with a mindset that a lot of the smaller players felt as if their participation would be sort of automatic when the bigger orgs set up their structure…we would have a voice somewhere, but we felt that wasn’t fair. If you break down independent radio, online news, commercial broadcast, we feel that there needs to be a fair representation of all the groups on there, so they are all comfortable with how this plays out and the process is equitable,” he added. “Google feels our approach is the best and now we have to live up to that expectation and we plan to.”

LaRose said more details of their proposal and their corporate structure will be released once the CRTC has formally recognized the organization and granted Google its exemption.

End of Google News Showcase

Google noted in its announcement Friday that as it moves forward with the requirements of the Online News Act, its Google News Showcase program will cease to operate in Canada later this year as it transitions to the new contribution model.

“We will be maintaining some Google News Initiative (GNI) programming in Canada,” wrote Jaffer Zaidi, VP, Global News Partnerships. “This includes a range of collaborative tools and resources that can support the advancement of quality journalism. However, with our monetary contribution in Canada now streamlined into the new single collective model, these investments will be non-monetary in nature.”

Google says under the new model, it will continue sending traffic to Canadian news publishers at no cost.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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