Copyright Board Canada

Minister’s Message

Our 2017–18 Departmental Plan provides parliamentarians and Canadians with information on what we do and the results we are trying to achieve during the upcoming year. To improve reporting to Canadians, we are introducing a new, simplified report to replace the Report on Plans and Priorities.

The title of the report has been changed to reflect its purpose: to communicate our annual performance goals and the financial and human resources forecast to deliver those results. The report has also been restructured to tell a clearer, more straightforward and balanced story of the actual results we are trying to achieve, while continuing to provide transparency on how tax payers’ dollars will be spent. We describe our programs and services for Canadians, our priorities for 2017–18, and how our work will fulfill our departmental mandate commitments and the government’s priorities.

Through the programs of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Portfolio, we are working together to deliver Canada’s Innovation Agenda—a whole-of-government initiative to position Canada as a global centre for innovation, create better jobs and opportunities for the middle class, drive growth across all industries and improve the living standards of all Canadians. The work of the Portfolio also includes commercializing more research and ideas; providing more Canadians with the skills to participate in a global and digital economy; helping small businesses grow through innovation, access to capital and trade; promoting increased tourism to Canada; and supporting scientific research and the integration of scientific considerations in our investment and policy choices.

It is my pleasure to present the Departmental Plan for Copyright Board of Canada for 2017–18.

Minister’s Message

The Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Plans at a glance

The Copyright Board of Canada’s on-going priority is to ensure timely and fair processes and decisions for all of the tariffs and licences that are being examined or certified. The requirement to have timely decisions is expressly stated in the Act: the Board is to consider “as soon as practicable” a proposed tariff and any objections thereto. The Board is also to publish the approved tariffs in the Canada Gazette as soon as is practicable. The requirement to have fair processes and decisions is implicit: the Act gives the Board the powers, rights and privileges of a superior court of record; as such, the Board is required to follow the principles of natural justice which, taken together, ensure both fair processes and fair outcomes.

The rationale underlying this priority is to minimize administrative costs to Canadians from the setting of tariffs and to streamline the process in the face of increasing complexities in hearing subject matter, thus increasing regulatory efficiency. To the extent that this also leads to fairer decision-making, the overall innovation capability of parties affected by the copyright tariff process will be improved.

The Board will achieve this result by ensuring that participation costs in the hearing process are kept as low as possible, thus encouraging participation of the parties and streamlining the process. This implies in particular that the Board will provide appropriate guidance, information and analysis to the participants in order to facilitate the examination process and to foster greater participants’ satisfaction.

As it has done in the past, the Board will continue to engage in informal pre-hearing consultations and information gathering, and conduct well-organized proceedings which address key issues facing copyright-related industries.

Finally, for each process, the Board will examine how to structure and sequence witnesses and hearing stages so as to eliminate duplication and maximize time spent on relevant issues.

For more information on the Board’s plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Planned results” section of this report.

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

The Copyright Board of Canada (the “Board”) is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish, either mandatorily or at the request of an interested party, the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society. The Board also has the right to supervise agreements between users and licensing bodies and issues licences when the copyright owner cannot be located.

Mandate and role

The responsibilities of the Board under the Copyright Act are to:

  • certify tariffs for
    • the public performance of the communication to the public by telecommunication of musical works and sound recordings;
    • the doing of any protected act mentioned in sections 3, 15, 18 and 21 of the Act;
    • the retransmission of distant television and radio signals or the reproduction and public performance by educational institutions, of radio or television news or news commentary programs and all other programs, for educational or training purposes.
  • set levies for the private copying of recorded musical works;
  • set royalties payable by a user to a collective society, when there is disagreement on the royalties or on the related terms and conditions;
  • rule on applications for non-exclusive licences to use published works, fixed performances, published sound recordings and fixed communication signals, when the copyright owner cannot be located;
  • examine agreements made between a collective society and a user which have been filed with the Board by either party, where the Commissioner of Competition considers that the agreement is contrary to the public interest;
  • receive such agreements with collective societies that are filed with it by any part y to those agreements within 15 days of their conclusion;
  • determine the compensation to be paid by a copyright owner to a person to stop her from performing formerly unprotected acts in countries that later join the Berne Convention, the Universal Convention or the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization; and, conduct studies with respect to the exercise of its powers as requested by the Minister of Industry.

For more general information about the Board, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report. For more information on the department’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister’s mandate letter on the Prime Minister of Canada’s website.1