Copyright Board Canada
Canada



Operating context: conditions affecting our work

The legislative framework of the Board has changed exponentially over the years. The Board was created in 1989 by the Phase I of the modifications to the Copyright Act as the successor of the Copyright Appeal Board which had been in existence since 1935. A second major phase of amendments to the Copyright Act, adopted in 1997 as Bill C-32, significantly expanded the Board’s mandate and responsibilities.

A third major phase of amendments, the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11), came into force in November 2012. By adding new rights and exceptions, this third phase of amendments further expanded the Board’s mandate and workload.

In addition, decisions of the Federal Court of Appeal and of the Supreme Court of Canada continuously add to the legal and policy issues the Board must address and take into consideration.

Against this legal background, the Board must ensure to render fair, equitable and timely decisions that require dealing with increasingly complex legal and economic issues. Its decisions must be based on solid legal and economic principles, reflect a solid understanding of constantly evolving business models and technologies, and be fair and equitable to both copyright owners and users.

This operating background puts pressure on the Board to adjust its procedures to facilitate timely turnaround in its tariff certification process. In this context, the Board has already undertaken to develop options and recommendations as to how the Act’s scheme as well as the Board’s practices and procedures can be modified so as to better meet the challenges of today’s fast-paced digital economy. These options and recommendations will be developed as part of the forthcoming parliamentary review of the Copyright Act expected in November 2017.

Key risks: things that could affect our ability to achieve our plans and results

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.

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.

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 also a risk of failure to identify or retain the staff with the necessary technical expertise to achieve required results. Given the size of the Board, this is a significant risk that has the potential of directly affecting its capacity to adequately fulfill its mandate. 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.

Key risks
Risks Risk response strategy Link to the Board’s Programs Link to mandate letter commitments or to governmentwide and departmental priorities
Technology risk
  • Systematically monitor relevant publications and web sites, and attend industry seminars and conferences.
Copyright tariff setting and issuance of licences Innovation Agenda
Reversal risk
  • Issue fair and equitable decisions.
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.
 

Planned results: what we want to achieve this year and beyond

Programs

Program title: Copyright Tariff Setting and Issuance of Licences

Description

The statutory mandate of the Board is to establish tariffs to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society, and to issue licences when the copyright owner cannot be located. This program activity allows the Board to render decisions and issue licences such that the Board fulfills its mandate.

Planning highlights

Improving the efficiency of the regulatory process involves continual refinements in scheduling of witnesses, establishing and communicating the parameters of the hearing to participants, consulting with key stakeholders and developing codes of hearing practice and related guidelines for the conduct of hearings. By improving the efficiency of the tariff hearing process, this activity is expected to contribute to the objective of reducing the regulatory burden.

Delays in providing written decisions to Canadian copyright industry stakeholders can cause uncertainty, thus impacting on the Board’s capacity to provide incentives for the creation and use of copyrighted works. Therefore, we will gather data on the number of months between the date when a particular tariff file is closed, and the date of the corresponding decision.

In addition, pursuant to section 77 of the Act, the Board may grant licences that authorize the use of published works, fixed performances, published sound recordings and fixed communication signals if the copyright owner cannot be located. The Board’s objective with respect to this activity is to issue licences in a timely manner. Therefore, we will also gather data on the number of months between the date when a particular licence file is closed, and the date of issuance of the licence.

In an effort to devote resources to experimentation with new approaches, the Board is currently developing options in respect of its practices and procedures to improve the efficiency of its processes. Once implementation of these options is complete, the Board will examine the possibility of reducing the timeframes for publishing tariff decisions and issuing licences.

Planned results
Expected Results Performance Indicators Target Date to achieve target 2013-14 Actual results 2014-15 Actual results 2015-16 Actual results
Fair decision-making to provide proper incentives for the creation and uses of copyrighted works Percentage of tariff decisions published within 12 months 70% 2017-03-31 100% 78% 50%
Percentage of licences issued within 45 days 70% 2017-03-31 89% 86% 100%

Note: While 7 tariff decisions were rendered in 2013-14 and 9 in 2014-15, only two decisions were rendered in 2015-16. Even though only one of these two decisions was not rendered within 12 months, the resulting percentage for 2015-16 is nevertheless 50%.

 
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017-18
Main Estimates
2017-18
Planned Spending
2017-18
Planned Spending
2017-18
Planned Spending
2,490,530 2,490,530 2,490,530 2,490,530
 
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017-18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017-18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017-18
Planned full-time equivalents
15 15 15
 

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.

Planning highlights

The Board receives timely support from internal services, namely: finance; human resources; communications; information management and information technology. This activity contributes to the creation of an environment that will allow the Board to fulfill its mandate and realize its objective.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017-18
Main Estimates
2017-18
Planned Spending
2017-18
Planned Spending
2017-18
Planned Spending
584,199 584,199 584,199 584,199
 
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017-18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017-18
Planned full-time equivalents
2017-18
Planned full-time equivalents
3 3 3