Industry Canada’s Digital Canada 150: Here’s What You Should Know
What do railways and Internet access have in common? According to the first few pages of Industry Canada’s new Digital Canada 150 strategy, they’re both important parts of nation-building. “Indeed, our modern nation-building project is that of connecting Canadians digitally with a strategy that provides a new direction and vision for Canada. This strategy is next in line to further unite our nation.”
Billed as a “comprehensive approach to ensuring Canada can take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age”, the strategy outlines 39 new and ongoing initiatives covering a wide range of policy priorities, including rural Internet access, telecommunications regulation, privacy and cyber-bullying as well as Canadian content. The goal is to have implemented these strategies by Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, resulting in “a thriving, digital Canada”.
The policy is divided into 5 key pillars: Connecting Canadians, Protecting Canadians, Economic Opportunities, Digital Government and Canadian Content.
- Connecting Canadians: 98% of Canadians, particularly those in rural and remote areas, will have access to high-speed, reliable Internet services. It also includes initiatives such as guaranteeing a more competitive telecommunications sector for consumers, and increased regulatory attention to providing Canadian consumers the best possible services and prices for wireless products.
- Protecting Canadians: The government will take the lead in protecting Canadians online – both in terms of making sure transactions are secure as well as renewed efforts to prevent cyber-bullying.
- Economic Opportunities: Investing in research and development, as well as encouraging small and medium-sized business to adopt new digital technologies that improve productivity.
- Digital Government: A renewed commitment towards providing “Open Data”, both in terms of expanding the possibility of public dialogue as well as making the federal government easier to access for Canadians.
- Canadian Content: Ensuring that Canadian content is easily accessible online and giving Canadian content creators greater capabilities to seize digital opportunities, promote Canadian content and play a prominent role globally. This is done primarily through continued investment into the Canadian Media Fund, Canadian Music Fund, and other such initiatives.
So, how does this impact your business/company? Several of the projects that the Digital Canada 150 strategy will now be funding (or continuing to fund) are intended to open up new opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses looking to leverage their place in this new digital economy and giving them access to the capital needed for these projects!
- Through the Business Development Bank of Canada, the Government has committed to spending an additional $200 million to support small and medium-sized businesses in adopting digital technologies that will make their businesses more productive.
- An additional $15 million annually has been committed to supporting internships with small and medium-sized businesses.
- The Canada Music Fund has been renewed on an ongoing basis, which you can read more about here.
Beyond these funding opportunities, some of the regulatory changes described in the Digital Canada 150 strategy are likely to have an impact on the music industry:
- The strategy highlights the ongoing efforts at modernizing Canada’s copyright laws in order to protect the rights of content creators, including a commitment to review the Act every 5 years.
- Digital Canada 150 also includes an explicit commitment to modernizing Canada’s intellectual property laws, and ensuring that they are harmonized with key international treaties: the Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty, Nice Agreement, Patent Law Treaty, and the Hague Agreement.
For more on the Digital Canada 150 strategy, please visit: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/028.nsf/eng/home.