OTTAWA, November 19th, 2019 - On November 7th, 2019, the Copyright Board of Canada published a proposal for an access copyright tariff for post-secondary institutions in Canada. The proposal, which will come into effect from 2021-2023, includes a $26 tariff per full-time university student, and $10 tariff per full-time equivalent student at other post-secondary institutions.
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has been actively monitoring the review of the Copyright Act since 2017. CASA had the opportunity to present to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology during the review of the Act, and was pleased to see some of the organization’s recommendations reflected in the Committee’s report to the Government in June, 2019. A concern expressed during CASA’s initial testimony to the Committee was the lack of transparency on the rationale for tariff rates. While CASA was pleased to see the Government legislate improvements to transparency measures on Copyright tariffs through bill C-86, the Copyright Board continues to miss the mark on communicating rationale behind tariff rates to those who are subject to paying them.
As highlighted in the Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ objection to proposed tariff rates in 2017, rates continue to be set without rationale provided to the public, and do not reflect the current market pricing for reproduction rights licenses for higher education in Canada. In comparison to the current proposed tariff, a similar licensing agreement between Copibec and universities in Quebec are charging $13.50 per full time university student until 2021.
“When Access Copyright tariffs are imposed upon post-secondary institutions, it is ultimately the students who have to pay for it through ancillary fees,” says Adam Brown, Chair of CASA’s Board and vice-president external of the University of Alberta Students’ Union. “Students are already paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks each semester, and it is frustrating to see additional fees being placed on the backs of students, particularly when we aren’t provided the reasoning behind their need.”
As an organization that strongly believes in an accessible, affordable, post-secondary education for all, CASA stands in objection to the proposed tariffs as an unnecessary tax on students. As long as the Copyright Board continues to impose tariffs that are placed upon students without rationale, it will continue to serve as an impediment to accessible academic materials for post-secondary students in Canada.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 23 student associations representing 280,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. With its partnership with the Quebec Student Union (QSU), CASA represents a total of 360,000 students across Canada and presents a national student voice to the federal government. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
Annie Sherry, Director of Communications and Operations