Update (Nov 29, 2 pm ET): Google has provided a statement in regards to the reported agreement with the Canadian government over Bill C-18.
What you need to know
- Three weeks before Bill C-18 is set to be enforced, Google has reportedly reached an agreement with the Canadian government.
- With this agreement, Canadian news content will continue to appear in Search results.
- Terms of the agreement have yet to be officially revealed, but sources claim Google will pay news companies around C$100 million per year.
In just three weeks, Canada's Bill C-18, also known as the Online News Act, will begin to be enforced. However, the CBC is reporting that "Google and the federal government have reached an agreement" that would reinstate Canadian news on Google's platforms. As for the terms, a source speaking to the CBC stated that Google will make "annual payments to news companies in the range of $100 million."
Bill C-18 was passed in June 2023 — directly targeting both Google and Meta — and seeks to provide a way for media outlets to be fairly compensated by companies. Shortly after the bill was passed, Google responded by stating that it would be "removing links to Canadian news from our Search, News, and Discover products." At the time, Google stated that Bill C-18 "remains unworkable," but it does appear that time heals all wounds now that an agreement has been reportedly made.
The C$100 million mark falls a bit short of the C$172 million projected compensation that was revealed by the Canadian government earlier this year. However, the source speaking to the CBC "argues that an agreement constitutes a victory and a net gain for Canadian media."
One reason why this could be viewed as a win for both Google and publishers is that Meta has already removed links to Canadian news outlets from its various platforms. The CBC points out that Meta has not come back to the bargaining table and seems content with the current state of affairs. But it will be interesting to see whether Meta's stance on the matter changes given Google's forthcoming agreement.
Provided that the updated framework is added before the cutoff, publishers will get paid by Google, and residents will continue to see links to Canadian news outlets in their respective Google services. While it might not seem like publishers will be paid very much compared to the billions Google makes in Search revenue, this is likely the best outcome for all parties.
In a deep dive explaining the situation, AC's Jerry Hildenbrand wrote, "What needs to happen is a compromise that helps everyone." Thankfully, it seems that's exactly what happened, even if the agreement was officially signed right before Bill C-18 went into effect.
Shortly after this piece was published, Google reached out to provide a statement in regards to the "outcome of recent discussions" between the company and the Canadian government. The statement reads as follows:
We thank the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, for acknowledging our concerns and deeply engaging in a series of productive meetings about how they might be addressed.
Following extensive discussions, we are pleased that the Government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues with Bill C-18, which included the need for a streamlined path to an exemption at a clear commitment threshold.
While we work with the government through the exemption process based on the regulations that will be published shortly, we will continue sending valuable traffic to Canadian publishers.
- Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs at Google and Alphabet
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.
Google has the Liberal Party to thank for C-18.Reply
Trudeau can't leave fast enough.
Same thing was said about Harper, Chrétien, Mulroney, PETrudeau..., can't leave fast enough. Once a Canadian PM has been in place for a bit (regardless of political colour), it's inevitable that lots of Canadians end up ripe for a change. At least that's what has happened in the past, since about the late 60s (I wasn't around before then).Reply
Not exactly a uniquely Canadian issue.spARTacus said:Same thing was said about Harper, Chrétien, Mulroney, PETrudeau..., can't leave fast enough. Once a Canadian PM has been in place for a bit (regardless of political colour), it's inevitable that lots of Canadians end up ripe for a change. At least that's what has happened in the past, since about the late 60s (I wasn't around before then).
Almost all leadership of every country is terrible. It's the one thing that unites us!
Sorry, I was probably not in a clean mind space with my post.