Canadian journalists mourn “massive hit”

The Online News Act went into effect in June

Bill C-18 is impacting news organizations across Canada, one of which is the KelownaNow. (Claudia Culley)

Bill C-18 is impacting news organizations across Canada, one of which is the KelownaNow. (Claudia Culley)

Meta recently began blocking Canadian news from platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, following The Online News Act, which aims for Canadian journalists to be paid for their work. 

Over 470 media distributors in Canada have closed since 2008 in addition to one-third of Canadian journalism jobs. Also known as Bill C-18, which aims to solve this, is seeming to do more harm than good. 

Bill C-18 is based on an Australian law which brought $190 million to Australian media companies in the past year. Google, which plans to follow Meta in the ban, said it’s given Canadian journalists $250 million annually through website views in a public policy statement. Australia being a smaller nation, the move could cost Canadian journalists over $60 million annually.

Josh Duncan is the news director for the KelownaNow and says the bill has taken a “massive hit” on the news organization. 

“We already have advertising deals in place, but as views and reads on the website decline, … people might decide to not renew their deals,” Duncan says. 

Advertisements are crucial for independent newspapers. Outlets like the The Tyee have shifted to donation-based support before The Online News Act. This means the outlet publishing its content is not as impacted, however the massive loss in views to the website will mean fewer people will find their stories. 

“[Advertising is] how we pay our bills,” Duncan says.  

The KelownaNow had  70,000 followers on Facebook and 50,000 on Instagram, both of which vanished overnight. Social media is an integral part of news reporting, which Duncan says cannot be replaced. 

While the effects aren’t immediate, the KelownaNow is feeling them as views and traffic around their wildfire stories die down. As Canadian news is stripped from Meta’s platforms, Canadians eyeballs stay glued to them although their trust in media has sunk to a seven year low. 

“[There’s] a lot of hearsay [on Facebook] and just people saying, ‘Oh, I saw this,’ when you want the official word from trusted news sources,” Duncan says.  

In a statement from Meta, the company wrote they have begun ending news availability in Canada as a “business” decision to comply with The Online News Act. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a “bullying tactic.” 

“We know the people using our platforms don’t come to us for news,” Meta wrote. 

According to Statista, 29 per cent of Canadians between 2019 and 2023 used Facebook to receive their weekly news. Facebook generates revenue by selling advertisements, and users coming for news are shown such ads, which Facebook profits off. As the Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted, Facebook is a critical discussion ground for politics.

With the ban, international news outlets will also not be shown on Meta’s platforms. Canadians will either have to get news from other sources or rely on the “hearsay” Duncan has been noticing. 

To learn more about The Online News Act, visit