The Copyright Board of Canada was formally established in February 1, 1989.

In addition to the powers that were previously bestowed upon the former Copyright Appeal Board, the newly formed Board was assigned two new areas of jurisdiction, namely the collective management of rights other than the right to perform musical works, as well that the granting of licences for the use of works whose copyright owners are unlocatable.

Since then, the mandate of the Board has evolved over time to take into account the political, technological and economic changes that have influenced copyright.


  • 1925

    The first Canadian copyright collective, the Canadian Performing Rights Society (CPRS) is created to manage the public performance rights in musical, literary and dramatic works.

  • 1931

    The Copyright Act is amended to allow oversight of CPRS tariffs. Should the designated authority consider its practices as contrary to the public interest, the tariffs could be set by the government after an investigation by a commission created for this purpose.

  • 1932-1935

    Public inquiries into CPRS practices note the importance of establishing an independent body to review tariffs for the public performance of music to protect the public interest, on an ongoing basis and before tariffs come into force.

  • 1936

    Creation of the Copyright Appeal Board. Its mandate was to review and approve, annually, the tariff proposals submitted by collective societies for the public performance of musical and dramatico-musical works in their repertoire.

  • 1989

    Creation of the Copyright Board which succeeds the Copyright Appeal Board, with broader powers, including an arbitration role in the event of disagreement on royalties between certain collecting societies and a user.

    Increased role attributed by the Act to collective management of copyright, in particular by granting formal recognition to all copyright collective societies, a safeguard against criminal liability under the Competition Act.

    The Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act grants the Board the mandate to set and distribute royalties for the retransmission of works on distant radio and television signals.

  • 1997

    Expansion of the Copyright Board’s mandate, which now on also includes approval of tariffs for:

    • Authors’ reproduction rights;
    • “Neighbouring” rights of performers and sound recording makers;
    • Private copying of sound recordings of musical works; and 
    • Recoding and use of radio and television broadcasts for educational purposes.
  • 2012

    Introduction of new rights and exceptions that modified the setting of tariffs submitted to the Board, including making available online protected content and fair dealing for the purpose of education.

  • 2019

    Introduction of legislative measures aimed at clarifying procedures and improving the internal operations of the Board. The Board’s mandate is also explicitly codified, including the consideration of certain criteria.

    All collective societies are now authorized to negotiate agreements, file proposed tariffs or seek arbitration from the Board in the event of disagreement on the royalties or related terms.

  • 2020

    Coming into force of new regulations that specify time limits by which the Board must render final decisions in its proceedings, to make processes more predictable and efficient.