Copyright Board Canada
Canada



Minister’s Message

As Canada begins a new chapter in 2016–17, creating a culture of innovation is more important than ever in driving economic growth.

The recent name change of our Innovation, Science and Economic Development Portfolio recognizes this, placing a deliberate emphasis both on innovation and scientific discovery, and their equal importance for economic development nationally and throughout all of Canada’s diverse regions.

We have promised Canadians a government that will bring real change—in both what we do and how we do it. We will invest in growing our economy, increase transparency and use the best evidence available to inform decision making.

Through the programs of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Portfolio, we will work to develop and deliver an innovation agenda for Canada that will help improve our productivity performance, grow the economy and enhance our prosperity and well-being.

This 2016-17 Report on Plans and Priorities of the Copyright Board of Canada provides information on how the Board will support the Government on achieving our agenda in the coming year and we are fully confident that the Copyright Board of Canada is prepared to successfully support us and work with our partners inside and outside government to deliver for Canadians. However, given our commitment to more effective reporting, this year’s report will be the final submission using the existing reporting framework.

The Prime Minister and the President of the Treasury Board are working to develop new, simplified and more effective reporting processes that will better allow Parliament and Canadians to monitor our Government’s progress on delivering real change to Canadians. In the future, the Copyright Board of Canada’s reports to Parliament will focus more transparently on how we are using our resources to fulfill our commitments and achieve results for Canadians.

These new reporting mechanisms will allow Canadians to more easily follow our Department’s progress towards delivering on our priorities, which were outlined in the Prime Minister’s mandate letters to us.

It is our pleasure to present the Report on Plans and Priorities for the Copyright Board of Canada for 2016–17, which sets out how the department’s work will contribute to attaining these shared objectives.

Minister’s Message

The Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Minister’s Message

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan
Minister of Science

Minister’s Message

The Honourable Bardish Chagger
Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Section I: Organizational Expenditure Overview

Organizational Profile

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development:
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.

Deputy Head:
Claude Majeau, Vice-Chairman and CEO

Ministerial portfolio:
Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Year established:
1989

Main legislative authority:
Copyright Act

Organizational Context

Raison d’être

The Copyright Board of Canada (the Board) is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish, either mandatorily or at the request of an interested party, the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society. The Board also has the right to supervise agreements between users and licensing bodies and issues licences when the copyright owner cannot be located.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the Board under the Copyright Act are to:

  • certify tariffs for
    • the public performance of the communication to the public by telecommunication of musical works and sound recordings;
    • the doing of any protected act mentioned in sections 3, 15, 18 and 21 of the Act;
    • the retransmission of distant television and radio signals or the reproduction and public performance by educational institutions, of radio or television news or news commentary programs and all other programs, for educational or training purposes.
  • set levies for the private copying of recorded musical works;
  • set royalties payable by a user to a collective society, when there is disagreement on the royalties or on the related terms and conditions;
  • rule on applications for non-exclusive licences to use published works, fixed performances, published sound recordings and fixed communication signals, when the copyright owner cannot be located;
  • examine agreements made between a collective society and a user which have been filed with the Board by either party, where the Commissioner of Competition considers that the agreement is contrary to the public interest;
  • receive such agreements with collective societies that are filed with it by any part y to those agreements within 15 days of their conclusion;
  • determine the compensation to be paid by a copyright owner to a person to stop her from performing formerly unprotected acts in countries that later join the Berne Convention, the Universal Convention or the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization; and,
  • conduct studies with respect to the exercise of its powers as requested by the Minister of Industry.

Strategic Outcome(s) and Program Alignment Architecture

1 Strategic Outcome: Fair decision-making to provide proper incentives for the creation and use of copyrighted works.

1.1 Program: Copyright Tariff Setting and Issuance of Licences

Internal Services

Organizational Priorities

Priority: Ensure timely and fair processes and decisions.

Description

The requirement to have timely decisions is expressly stated in the Act: the Board is to certify and publish tariffs “as soon as is practicable.” The requirement to have fair processes and decisions is implicit: the Act gives the Board the powers, rights and privileges of a superior court; as such, the Board is required to follow the principles of natural justice which, taken together, ensure both fair processes and fair outcomes.

The rationale underlying this priority is to minimize administrative costs to Canadians from the setting of tariffs and to streamline the process in the face of increasing complexities in hearing subject matter, thus increasing regulatory efficiency. To the extent that this also leads to fairer decision-making, the overall innovation capability of parties affected by the copyright tariff process will be improved.

Priority Type

Ongoing

Key Supporting Initiatives

Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Link to Department’s Program Alignment Architecture
Ensure that participation costs in the hearing process are kept as low as possible, thus encouraging participation of the parties and streamlining the process. Ongoing Ongoing Copyright Tariff Setting and Issuance of Licences
Provide appropriate guidance, information and analysis to the participants in order to facilitate the examination process and to foster greater participants’ satisfaction. Ongoing Ongoing
Engage in pre-hearing consultations and information gathering, and conduct well-organized proceedings which address key issues facing copyright-related industries. Ongoing Ongoing
Informally survey hearing participants, with follow-up examination and determination of alternative procedural practices to improve the efficiency of the regulatory process. Ongoing Ongoing
Examine, for each process, how to structure and sequence witnesses and hearing stages so as to eliminate duplication and maximize time spent on relevant issues. Ongoing Ongoing
The Board established a Working Committee on its Operations, Procedures and Processes, comprised of key stakeholders, to examine possible improvements to the Board’s current practices and procedures, with a view to reducing uncertainty and streamlining the processes while safeguarding the fairness of the process. In December, 2014, the committee finalized a discussion paper dealing with the identification and disclosure of issues to be addressed during a tariff proceeding and with the interrogatory process. The paper was released for public consultations in February, 2015. After reviewing the comments and responses received, the Board will make public the changes it will implement. Ongoing Ongoing
The Committee is continuing its work, and is currently developing a draft issues paper on the issue of the confidential treatment of the information. This paper will be released for public consultations in fiscal year 2016-17. In addition, the committee has been asked to establish its next set of priorities, using its terms of reference as starting point. The choice of priorities is expected to account for concerns raised in the comments received in March, 2015 about the need to focus on reforms that will bring about true efficiencies: case management; scheduling; dealing with tariffs that are unopposed or agreed upon; the amount of time it takes for a proceeding to begin; and requiring a statement of issues prior to filing interrogatories. Ongoing Ongoing
 

Priority: Advance the analytical framework for decisions and the regulatory processes for tariff-setting.

Description

Among the most significant risks which the Board faces in achieving its strategic outcomes are the potentially disruptive impact of new technologies, in particular on how copyright material is utilized, distributed and monitored. Fair and equitable decisions critically depend on the Board’s ability to identify, understand and assess the industry issues before they adversely impact existing copyright regimes.

The Board is required, under the Act, to give reasons for its decisions. In keeping with the modern principles of judicial review, the Federal Court of Appeal typically defers to the Board’s expert understanding of the facts before it. The Board can only maintain this deference by constantly advancing its analytical frameworks.

By its involvement in international activities as they relate to copyright tariff setting in other parts of the world, the Board ensures that its own tariff-setting processes and decisions are cognizant of developments outside of Canada.

Priority Type

Ongoing

Key Supporting Initiatives

Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Link to Department’s Program Alignment Architecture
Systematic monitoring of the relevant journals, other publications and websites, and attendance to industry seminars and conferences. Ongoing Ongoing Copyright Tariff Setting and Issuance of Licences
Knowledge of the international experience is also a key tool in addressing the challenges of changing technology and the impact of global events. By comparing experiences across different countries, the Board expects to gain early warning of significant developments and their likely impacts on the Canadian situation. Ongoing Ongoing
 

Risk Analysis

Key Risks

Risk Risk Response Strategy Link to Program Alignment Architecture
Technology risk
  • Systematically monitor relevant publications and web sites, and to attend industry seminars and conferences.
  • No modifications to the risk mitigation strategies.
Fair decision-making to provide proper incentives for the creation and use of copyrighted works.
Reversal risk
  • Issue fair and equitable decisions.
  • No modifications to the risk mitigation strategies.
Fair decision-making to provide proper incentives for the creation and use of copyrighted works.
HR risk
  • Run well-organized job competitions, designed to target a significant share of the pool of potential candidates.
  • Create a stimulating working environment conducive to a high retention rate among its employees.
  • No modifications to the risk mitigation strategies.
Fair decision-making to provide proper incentives for the creation and use of copyrighted works.
 

Among the most significant risks which the Board faces in achieving its strategic outcomes is the potentially disruptive impact of new technologies (i.e., in terms of how copyright material is utilized, distributed and monitored). The Board’s approach to managing the technology risk is to systematically monitor relevant journals, other publications and web sites, and to attend industry seminars and conferences, as described before in this report.

The decisions the Board makes are constrained in several respects. These constraints come from sources external to the Board: the law, regulations and judicial pronouncements. Others are self- imposed, in the form of guiding principles that can be found in the Board’s decisions: for instance, the coherence between the various tariffs, their ease of administration and the need for some stability in the tariffs.

Court decisions also provide a large part of the framework within which the Board operates. Most decisions focus on issues of procedure, or apply the general principles of administrative decision-making to the specific circumstances of the Board. However, the courts have also set out several substantive principles for the Board to follow or that determine the ambit of the Board’s mandate or discretion.

A smaller risk, which the Board faces in achieving its strategic outcome, is reversal risk. While decisions of the Board are not appealable, they are subject to judicial review. The ability to schedule a number of cases in a year could be impaired if a case from a previous year were reversed on judicial review. The Board’s principal strategy to mitigate this risk is issuing fair and equitable decisions.

There is always a risk of not being able to hire or retain the staff with the necessary technical expertise to achieve required results. To mitigate this risk, the Board runs well-organized job competitions, designed to target a significant share of the pool of potential candidates. The Board also takes measures to encourage a large number of applications. The Board also works at creating a stimulating working environment conducive to a high retention rate among its employees.

Planned Expenditures

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2016-17
Main Estimates
2016-17
Planned Spending
2017-18
Planned Spending
2018-19
Planned Spending
3,111,724 3,111,724 3,111,724 3,111,724
 
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents [FTEs])
2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
18 18 18
 
Budgetary Planning Summary for Strategic Outcome(s) and Program(s) (dollars)
Strategic Outcome(s), Program(s) and Internal Services 2013-14
Expenditures
2014-15
Expenditures
2015-16
Forecast Spending
2016-17
Main Estimates
2016-17
Planned Spending
2017-18
Planned Spending
2018-19
Planned Spending
Strategic Outcome 1: Fair decision-making to provide proper incentives for the creation and use of copyrighted works
Copyright Tariff Setting and Issuance of Licences 2,251,535 2,486,300 2,632,671 2,520,496 2,520,496 2,520,496 2,520,496
Subtotal 2,251,535 2,486,300 2,632,671 2,520,496 2,520,496 2,520,496 2,520,496
Internal Services Subtotal 528,137 583,206 617,540 591,228 591,228 591,228 591,228
Total 2,779,672 3,069,506 3,250,211 3,111,724 3,111,724 3,111,724 3,111,724
 

Alignment of Spending With the Whole-of-Government Framework

Alignment of 2016-17 Planned Spending With the Whole-of-Government Framework (dollars)
(Dollars)
Strategic Outcome Program Spending Area Government of Canada Outcome 2016-17 Planned Spending
Fair decision-making to provide proper incentives for the creation and use of copyrighted works Copyright Tariff Setting and Issuance of Licences Economic Affairs An innovative and knowledge-based economy 2,520,496
 
Total Spending by Spending Area (dollars)
Spending Area Total Planned Spending
Economic Affairs 2,520,496
Social Affairs -
International Affairs -
Government Affairs -
 

Departmental Spending Trend

Departmental Spending Trend Graph

(dollars)

Departmental Spending Trend Graph

Actual spending increased from $2.8 million in 2013-14 to $3.1 million in 2014-15, a reflection of some vacant positions at the Board that have been staffed. Forecast spending for 2015-16 increase at 3.25 million, a reflection of higher spending for the Board’s audiovisual equipment. Over the next three fiscal years, total planned spending are about $3.1 million.

Estimates by Vote

For information on the Copyright Board's organizational appropriations, consult the 2016-17 Main Estimates on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website.