The Online News Act (Bill C-18) & Qualified Canadian Journalism Organizations

Mar 1, 2024

The Government of Canada has a new law called Bill C-18 (the Online News Act). The goal is to support news businesses to negotiate and receive fair compensation when third parties with a dominant market position monetize their news content in a market environment that has been disadvantageous to news businesses. The bargaining framework has been created to ensure that platforms compensate news businesses fairly. It encourages platforms to reach voluntary commercial agreements with a range of news businesses.. News businesses are not required to participate; they may choose whether to bargain under the regime. The government reached a deal with Google in November. Google will pay 100 million annually to news publishers and will continue to allow access to Canadian news content on its platform. The next step in this process is the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) who is responsible for overseeing the bargaining framework under the Act. The Commission’s new responsibilities include drafting a Code of Conduct to guide negotiations but important to us at this point in time is that CRTC will determine the eligibility of news businesses to participate in the framework.

Context: The Canada Magazine Coalition (AQEM, AMPA, MagsBC, and Magazines Canada) has fully collaborated with the federal government’s process of Bill C-18. In October 2022, the Coalition sent a memorandum and recommendations to the standing committee on Canadian Heritage and the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. There were several meetings with Senators to offer feedback on the magazine business and discuss our proposed amendments to articles 27 and 31 regarding the definition of “news” and to seek a larger definition that  includes more magazines.

Magazines Canada, and our fellow Magazine Coalition members, would like to know whether your magazine already qualifies under the article 27 (1) or/and are interested in doing so. If you would like to check your eligibility, please follow the government’s self-screening steps below:

QCJO – Qualified Canadian journalism organization
To be designated as a qualified Canadian journalism organization (QCJO), an organization is required to meet the criteria set out in the Income Tax Act.

Before applying for QCJO designation, see if your organization may be eligible by referring to the self-screening tool. For more questions about the QCJO designation process after self-screening, please fill out our webform which will be submitted directly to our office. We will contact you within 3 business days of receiving your request.

Apply for QCJO designation
Organizations need to apply by completing form T625, Application for Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization Designation. Complete the application form, attach any supporting documents and either submit it through MyBA , or send it to:

Canada Revenue Agency
Journalism Division
6th floor
Place de Ville, Tower A
320 Queen Street
Ottawa ON  K1A 0L5

If the application is complete, you will receive a confirmation letter from the CRA. If there is information missing, we will write to you to explain what is required to complete the application.

After you apply for QCJO designation
Once a completed application is received, the CRA will review the information and documents to determine if the organization meets the criteria for QCJO designation. The CRA will work with the Independent Advisory Board on the Eligibility for Journalism Tax Measures, who will review the application and make recommendations as to whether the organization produces original news content and follows journalistic
processes and principles. If the organization does not meet all of the criteria, it will be advised in writing with details on the criteria that were not met.

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