Home Canadian News Feds promise $600 million in incentives for Canadian news organizations

Feds promise $600 million in incentives for Canadian news organizations


The federal government is pledging nearly $600 million in incentives over the next five years to help support Canadian news organizations, including a new refundable tax credit to offset the costs of hiring staff to produce original content.
The governing Liberals introduced the package of measures in the 2018 fall economic statement released Wednesday. For years, industry advocates have called on Ottawa to support domestic news media as they contend with job cuts and outlet closures precipitated by technology-induced changes in the sector.
“We’ve made some investments to make sure we can continue to have an important free press that can ensure we have a strong and healthy democracy,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters Wednesday after the release of the economic statement.
The labour tax credit is meant to help outlets create a “wide variety” of news and information for Canadians, according to the statement. The government is promising to establish an independent panel from the field of news media and journalism to define eligibility for the tax credit and to provide strategic advice. Once implemented, the tax credit will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019.
The Liberals are introducing two more tax incentives for news organizations, as well as earmarking $14.6 million over five years for the creation of a francophone digital platform. Eligible non-profit news organizations will now be able to issue official donation receipts so donors can access tax benefits for charitable giving. They will also be eligible to receive funding from registered charities. As well, the government is creating a temporary non-refundable 15 per cent tax credit for digital subscriptions to Canadian news outlets.
The francophone digital platform, designed to enhance the “vitality” of French culture and language, will be created with TV5Monde public broadcasters.
In addition, charities and non-profit groups will be able to access up to $755 million for community improvement projects over the next 10 years as part of a new Social Finance Fund introduced in the fall economic statement. The government says the fund will support “innovative solutions” to social challenges and could create as many as 100,000 jobs over the next decade. Details on the structure and governance of the fund are expected to be released in early 2019.