Cultural industries summary
As countries become more economically integrated, it is increasingly important that nations are able to preserve a strong sense of national identity and belonging. The ability to tell our stories and express our culture in all of its diversity is integral to Canada’s national sovereignty. Canada is home to many Indigenous communities, a vibrant Francophone culture that is unique in North America, and Canadians of every faith, background, and culture shape our country each day. In 2016, Canada’s cultural industries accounted for more than 650,000 jobs and $53.8 billion in GDP.
Over the years, Canada has developed an important suite of policies and measures that aim to promote and protect its cultural industries and their ability to thrive in Canada and abroad. Without a cultural exception, federal and provincial tax credits and program funds to support our newspapers and magazines, book publishers and producers would be at risk. The cultural exception also protects Canada’s broadcasting system, ensuring sustained investment in content created and produced by fellow Canadians. With so many shows and movies competing for our attention, it is more important than ever that Canadian stories continue to feature on our screens and devices. In the context of trade agreements, the cultural exception allows Canada to take measures to support and protect its cultural industries, without contravening the terms of the agreement.
The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) maintains the general exception for Canada’s cultural industries, which are integral to the national identity of our country and people. This exception will continue to preserve Canadians’ ability to create and have access to a diversity of content, including in the online environment. The general exception for culture further demonstrates that economic liberalization can be achieved while maintaining a strong sense of national identity and cultural sovereignty.
Technical summary of negotiated outcomes: Cultural industries
- Maintains Canada’s existing cultural industries exception under NAFTA, a key provision designed to preserve Canada’s cultural sovereignty, including in the online environment. CUSMA defines cultural industries as those engaged in the publication, distribution or sale of books, magazines, film, video and music, as well as broadcasting.
- The general exception for culture preserves Canada’s flexibility to adopt and maintain programs and policies that support the creation, distribution and development of Canadian artistic expression or content, including in the digital environment.
- Preserves Canada’s existing broadcasting retransmission regime, but provides for simultaneous substitution during the broadcast of the Super Bowl and gives U.S. programming services specializing in home shopping access to the Canadian market by authorizing them to negotiate affiliation agreements with Canadian distributors.
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