Canada is no stranger to the modern podcasting phenomenon. With popular shows like ‘The Beaverton’, ‘Canadaland’, and ‘Innocence Canada’ racking up listens around the globe, it’s clear podcasting is having a moment in the North.
But lately there’s been some confusion about how podcasting is regulated in Canada, specifically regarding the operation of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC). Recently, reports emerged that the CBSC planned to introduce ‘content standards’ for podcasts, which sparked fear among the podcast community that Canada was trying to limit freedom of speech and artistic expression.
In response to the controversy, the Ministry of Canadian Heritage released a statement clarifying the situation and allaying any fears of censorship. According to Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, the CBSC has no mandate or power to regulate podcast content—much less that of independent podcasters operating outside of traditional media outlets—and has no intention of creating a ‘one-size fits-all code of conduct’ for podcast creators.
The Ministry went on to clarify other points of confusion, affirming that existing Canadian laws still determine the limits of free speech. Meanwhile, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is responsible for mediating and resolving disputes between podcast creators and online radio broadcasters, and considering new transmission and licensing policies as podcasting continues to increase in popularity.
So it looks like the podcasting community can breathe easy: their freedom of speech and artistic expression is safe in Canada. The government is focused on providing clear, up-to-date regulation without sacrificing the ability of independent creators to produce quality content.