Online news in Canada

As the Canadian government battles it out with tech giants Meta and Google over Bill C-18, people are starting to lose access to online news in Canada via their social media channels.

Meta started blocking online news in Canada on Facebook and Instagram soon after Bill C-18 became law in June. And Google has already announced they will also be removing Canadian news sites from Google Search, Google News and Google Discover in the near future.

What is Bill C-18?

The purpose of Bill C-18 (also known as the Online News Act) is to make tech companies pay Canadian news publishers when links to their content are shared on sites like Google and Facebook.

Is Bill C-18 a good thing?

Having worked in online news in Canada for many years, I find Bill C-18 to be a terrible idea that is only going to hurt most news publishers more than help them. News publishers rely on the traffic Facebook and Google send to them in order to sell advertising on their sites. Without that traffic, ad dollars disappear and more media layoffs will happen.

Options for getting online news in Canada

While news is currently blocked on Facebook in Canada there are a few things Canadians can do to ensure they are still getting the important information they need.

Visit online news sites directly or use their app

While getting news on social media is ideal for those who want to share their opinions and feel more connected to the community, getting it straight from your favourite news sites directly is the best option for the time-being. Most news sources also offer an app you can read articles on and get notifications from right on your phone or tablet.

Subscribe to online newsletters and e-mail alerts

Most of the news sites and sources you visit also offer a variety of online newsletters, including top stories of the day and breaking news alerts. These are great at staying updated on what’s happening and instantly being notified of any big breaking news stories.

Use a VPN

Using a VPN service like NordVPN allows you to trick sites into thinking you are located in a different country. This will open up all the news links posted to Facebook you currently can’t see being in Canada. As a bonus, a VPN also allows you to see different content on streaming services like Netflix and also helps make your internet browsing a safer experience. There is a great NordVPN back to school deal on at the moment that will save you 54% and give you three extra months on a 2-year subscription.

Subscribe to Apple News+

Since switching back to an iPhone almost two years ago I have come to love Apple News. While there is a limited free version, subscribing to Apple News+ opens up a whole new world of content from newspapers and magazines. Apple News+ is $12.99 per month on its own or you can get it as part of the Apple One Premier bundle, which also includes Apple Music, Apple Fitness+, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 2TB of iCloud+ storage, for $37.95 per month (Apple One Premier can be shared with up to five people).

What’s next for online news in Canada?

Realistically, the government will come to a private agreement with Facebook the way Australia did when they tried to pass a similar law in 2020/21. If the current government doesn’t, they will most likely lose power in the next election (Canadians love Facebook too much) and our next government (who will probably run their entire campaign around getting rid of Bill C-18) will remove it once they’re in power.

Share your thoughts on Bill C-18 in the comments below.

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By Brian McKechnie

Brian McKechnie is a writer and entrepreneur based in Ontario, Canada. He has worked for many major Canadian media outlets and is the founder of Northern Sunshine Ventures Inc.

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