The Canadian federal government on Wednesday announced an agreement with Google that will see the tech company compensate news Canadian news publishers. This marked a shift from Google’s initial stance of potentially blocking all Canadian news content following the introduction of the new Online News Act.
Under the terms of the agreement, Google will contribute 100 million Canadian dollars ($73.5 million) annually, indexed to inflation, to support a diverse range of news businesses throughout Canada. This financial support extends to independent news entities and those representing Indigenous and official-language minority communities.
Pascale St-Onge, Canada’s heritage minister, expressed satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “A sustainable news ecosystem is good for everyone. News and journalism serve to inform communities, drive civic engagement and counter the rise of disinformation.”
Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs for Google and Alphabet, also welcomed the resolution. Walker stated, “We are pleased that the Government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues, including the need for a streamlined path to an exemption at a clear commitment threshold.”
The Online News Act triggered negative reactions from various tech companies. In June, Google declared its intention to remove Canadian news links from its search engine, news, and Discover products. Kent Walker cited the Online News Act as making the offering of Google News Showcase Products to Canadian news outlets untenable.
In response to the legislation, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, began blocking news content for Canadian users in August. This move created difficulties for some smaller news publishers that depended on Meta for distribution. It also prompted Canadian news publishers and broadcasters to file a competition complaint, raising concerns about the company’s dominant position in the online advertising market.