Federal Budget Ignores Copyright Market Failure

The Writers' Union of Canada
Press Release

The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is extremely disappointed this week’s Federal Budget failed to deliver on previous promises to fix Canada’s broken copyright market framework, and to address cultural sector needs in key funding areas. Neither budget delivered since the 2021 federal election has meaningfully addressed specific cultural commitments from that campaign.

“Professional creators’ rights and immediate economic needs are completely ignored in Budget 2023,” TWUC Chair, Rhea Tregebov noted with frustration, “despite longstanding promises from this government to repair our marketplace. I can’t count the number of times we’ve been told in meetings with government that our issue would be addressed with urgency. What is the hold-up?”

Canada’s global outlier status on the protection of creators’ rights means copyright-related economic losses to the writing and publishing sector are now counted in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The crisis is widely understood in Ottawa, and all debate about solutions is over. In fact, workable proposed solutions based on successful international models have been before this government since 2019.

What’s more, long-promised increases to key support programs such as the Public Lending Right and the Canada Book Fund did not make it into the billions in new spending proposed by this budget. While Canada’s writers and publishers are encouraged and expected to increase our cultural output to the world, cornerstone support programs for our work remain static, resulting in real-dollar losses. This formula for cultural growth is unsustainable.

“While discouraged by seemingly endless delay,” added TWUC CEO John Degen, “the Union will continue to hold government to its promises. Cultural labour is real work, deserving of the same strong regulation, support, and legal protection as any other sector.”

The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is the national organization of professionally published writers. TWUC was founded in 1973 to work with governments, publishers, booksellers, and readers to improve the conditions of Canadian writers. Now over 2,600 members strong, TWUC advocates on behalf of writers’ collective interests, and delivers value to members through advocacy, community, and information. TWUC believes in a thriving, diverse Canadian culture that values and supports writers.

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For additional information:
John Degen, Chief Executive Officer
The Writers’ Union of Canada

Date: March 31, 2023