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Cost Estimate for Bill C-18: Online News Act

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Published on October 6, 2022 PDF

This report presents the PBO’s response to the request from a Member of Parliament to provide an independent analysis of the financial cost for implementing Bill C-18, An Act respecting online communication platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada.


  • The financial costs of the Bill to the federal government arise mainly from legislative development by Canadian Heritage and administration by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The private sector, essentially news businesses, incur transaction and compliance costs under the Bill.

  • We expect the total public cost to develop and implement Bill C-18 to be an average of $5.6 million per year over 5 years for Canadian Heritage and the CRTC. Budget 2022 allocated $8.5 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to the CRTC to support the implementation of the Bill. In response to PBO inquiries, the CRTC and Canadian Heritage stated that “the funding in Budget 2022 would not be ongoing, as the CRTC’s administration of the regime would initiate a cost recovery process”.

  • We expect news businesses to receive from digital platforms a total compensation of $329.2 million per annum and spend about $20.8 million in transaction and compliance costs for negotiating their first deals under the Bill.