After reaching an agreement with the United States and Mexico on November 30, 2018, Canada ratified the new North American Free Trade deal, called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement dubbed as CUSMA in Canada, on Tuesday, December 11. Canada’s cultural industry exemption from NAFTA has been maintained in the new agreement, with provisions adapting the legal framework to contemporary realities.

CUSMA’s cultural exemption will continue to provide stability to the Canadian screen industries and support key policy mechanisms such as federal and provincial tax credits and government investment in Canadian content. The amended agreement also includes minor changes: the elimination of a CRTC rule about the retransmission of broadcasting signals and a modification to the Canadian Copyright Act, extending Copyright protection from fifty to seventy years after the author’s death.

Canada’s cultural policies, developed since the 1980s, support the production and exhibition of Canadian of television programs and to a lesser extent, feature films. Today, restrictions on foreign ownership, CRTC regulations and requirements for Canadian broadcasters to commission domestic content represent the bedrock of Canadian television.

The broad cultural exemption Canada fought to keep was fully supported by the DGC and other industry stakeholders. This new renegotiated North American free trade deal allows policymakers to continue to advantage our domestic cultural industries and craft new content rules for the digital sphere. The ratification is timely, as we anticipate the release of an important government commissioned report in January, 2020, that will provide key recommendations for the modernization of fundamental legislation, including the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act.