Post-secondary sector unites on copyright to declare that ‘Fair Dealing Works’

Ottawa, February 21, 2023 – On Fair Dealing week, student leaders, post-secondary institutions, academic staff, librarians and copyright experts across the post-secondary sector are coming together to stand up for educational rights in copyright law by launching the Fair Dealing Works campaign.  

The Fair Dealing Works campaign urges the government to maintain educational fair dealing provisions in the Copyright Act, highlighting the current balance that fair dealing helps to maintain between creators and users of educational materials. It brings together Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), Universities Canada, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) in a partnership towards the shared goal of maintaining fair copyright laws for education. 

Copyright must work for everyone who uses it – those who learn and those who create culture, research and scientific knowledge. Ensuring a balance in copyright law, which protects the rights of both users and creators, is key to a fair and durable copyright system. Educational fair dealing has been an important part of this balance. Any move away from this balance will have significant detrimental effects on the education sector, including increasing financial limitations for educational materials, restricting the breadth of materials students can access, and adding new barriers for researchers, stifling Canadian innovation. At the same time, limiting this long-standing user right will not guarantee new revenue for authors and creators in a changing and competitive digital landscape. 

“As an employer-responsive, demand-driven system, a balanced Copyright Act allows colleges and institutes to provide educational materials that meet the evolving needs of students and educators,” says CICan President and CEO Denise Amyot. “The current fair dealing model is a balanced and flexible approach. Maintaining fair dealing is critical for colleges and institutes because it provides access to the cutting-edge learning materials and innovative technologies needed to build in-demand skills, foster creativity and accelerate knowledge.” 

The Fair Dealing Works campaign has launched a website to provide accurate information on the current state of copyright law and to highlight the benefits fair dealing provisions offer in colleges and institutes, universities, and research libraries across the country. The coalition is also encouraging each of their respective memberships and the public to write to Ministers and their local Member of Parliament to highlight the importance of maintaining fair dealing in any future copyright reform. 

The recent extension of the general copyright term from life plus 50 to life plus 70 years has already weakened the user-creator balance in Canada. Learners, teachers, researchers and educational institutions agree that any move away from a user right that the Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly reaffirmed will adversely impact the quality and affordability of post-secondary education in Canada. Canadians want a copyright law that continues to work for everyone, which is why Fair Dealing Works!   

Visit to learn more and write to your Member of Parliament.  

About Colleges and Institutes Canada:  

CICan is the national and international voice of Canada’s largest post-secondary education network. It advocates, builds capacity, and drives knowledge to strengthen Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics. With more than 95% of Canadians living within 50 km of a member institution, and thanks to its extensive reach around the globe, CICan works to future-proof communities in Canada and abroad.  

We respectfully acknowledge that CICan’s offices in Ottawa are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation.  


For more information:  

Katrina King

Senior Digital Communications Officer
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Twitter: @CollegeCan