Federal funding for local journalism is timely for Canada’s media ecosystem


The 2018 federal budget has tabled relief for local journalism outlets across Canada. Between 2018-19 and 2022-23, the Trudeau Liberals have allocated $50-million for native news coverage. This comes as readers turn increasingly to international outlets to source their news.

Net revenue losses for advertising and circulation revenues among Canadian periodicals, 2015

Source: Statistics Canada

Government funding is much-needed to sustain and protect local media industries as international corporations encroach upon Canadian audiences. Periodical publishers’ revenues declined from 2013-15 in all regions surveyed by Statistics Canada. On average, advertising and circulation revenues decreased by 32.6 per cent and 16.6 per cent, respectively. At over 44 per cent less, Ontario sustained the most significant loss of advertising revenue, while Quebec’s 24 per cent drop in circulation revenue was the highest in Canada. Shattered Mirror addressed this financial challenge and the federal government has cited declining media revenues to justify their contribution to the Canada Media Fund.

The local journalism fund aligns with New Media Canada’s call to bolster “Canadian civic news” in an open letter  from June 2017.

Distribution of operating and advertising revenues for Canadian periodicals, 2015. 

Source: Statistics Canada

Conversely, Ontario and Quebec also reported the most revenues in Canada during the same period. According to Statistics Canada, Ontario generated nearly 58 per cent of operating revenue and 44 per cent of advertising revenue among Canadian periodicals, while Quebec made up about 20 per cent of national operating revenue. The new local journalism fund will allow Ontario, Quebec and other Canadian media organizations to continue generating revenues for audiences in Canada, a provision foreshadowed by Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly in January. “We have always supported local journalism and will continue to do so,” Joly had tweeted on Jan. 26.

Source and manipulated data tables may be accessed here. All info obtained from Statistics Canada.

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