What is the Internet Tax?
The Internet Tax is a proposal that would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to pay into Canadian content funding, as Canadian broadcasters already do. Unfortunately, we know these costs will be passed directly on to customers, adding to the already extraordinarily high costs of connectivity in Canada. Additionally, broadcasters receive many benefits from Canadian content creation funds that ISPs do not get — making this an unfair playing field.
Why is it a bad idea?
Taxing the open Internet and penalizing Internet users to subsidize content industries is not the way forward to support quality content and artists in the 21st century. If the government wants to subsidize content and media industries, it shouldn’t come at the expense of Internet users.
Alternatively, the government should consider the following options:
- Close the loopholes to ensure all online services pay a federal sales tax (HST) in Canada and direct part of this money from the general budget back to funding and promotion of Canadian content. Paying sales taxes, as the rest of companies operating within Canada do, is a reasonable contribution to our economy, and provides the federal government with the necessary resources to support content creators and Canadian cultural products.
- Direct part of the proceeds of wireless spectrum auction proceeds to fund Canadian content and improved connectivity (e.g. as a “digital endowment fund” that fuels a larger national broadband strategy).
- Utilize funding already on the books from the general tax base. Bridge the digital divide and ensure all Canadians can be content creators.
- One of the best ways to support Canadian content production is to ensure all Canadians have access to more affordable, high-speed Internet connections, so we can all be contributors.