It is time to axe the internet tax

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support for as little as $5 per month!

Image: OpenMedia

The laws that affect all of Canada's communications systems are up for review right now, and the stakes are high. The Broadcasting and Telecommunications Acts review is riling up lobbyists from all sides, as this is a unique opportunity to sneak in their wish lists into the acts that will shape the future of Canada's internet for years to come. The relentless attempts by corporate and public lobbying bodies to introduce an internet tax indicate that this proposal is high on their wish lists.

Sadly, this time the internet tax is being proposed by the CBC and the CRTC themselves. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -- our national public broadcaster -- and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission -- Canada's telecom regulatory body -- are introducing the new tax proposal as part of their submissions to the Broadcasting and Telecom Acts review. Their intention: subsidizing content industries.

An internet tax would require internet service providers (ISPs) to pay into content funding, like conventional broadcasters do. This completely disregards the fact that the internet is used for much more than just streaming content -- think of all the emails, messaging, shopping, educational uses, video conferencing and all the other uses that have little to do with the consumption of streamed content. Moreover, this corporate subsidy would be paid for by passing the bill on to internet users in Canada, who already pay some of the highest prices for telecom services in the industrialized world for sub par service. Higher internet prices will unequivocally make these technologies even less accessible, exacerbating Canada's digital divide.

The idea is that the new tax will help fund Canadian creators, but this argument has long been debunked. Pretty much in the style of the "trickle-down" myth, these subsidies usually get stuck in the hands of established content corporations and rarely make it into the hands of those who need it the most: smaller independent content creators. Taxing the open internet to subsidize a struggling Big Media content industry is not the way to go.

Fortunately, we have another shot at preventing this new internet tax proposal from coming into effect. OpenMedia has set up a tool that allows constituents to write directly to members of Parliament to let them know, with informed arguments, why an internet tax would be bad for people in Canada and urge them to reject the proposal before it's too late.

We encourage you to take action now, before the election season kicks off, so no matter who wins the election the message is loud and clear: people in Canada reject the internet tax and would rather see more effective solutions to support content creators in Canada. For example, a good start would be to ensure all online services pay a federal sales tax (HST) in Canada and to direct part of this money from the general budget back to funding and promotion of Canadian content.

To learn more and take action, check out our action at and share it with your friends to get the message out.

Marianela Ramos Capelo is the design specialist in the communications team for OpenMedia, a non-profit organization that works to keep the internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free.

Image: OpenMedia

Related Items

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.