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Copyright: fair dealing for the future of education

Fast Facts

  • Fair dealing has not reduced the purchase of copyright-protected educational materials. Over 70% of CICan’s members have maintained or increased licensing expenditures since 2012.
  • Almost 90% of colleges and institutes have adopted fair dealing guidelines or implemented new policies to manage copyright compliance.
  • Expenditures of print and electronic acquisitions for colleges and institutes have increased by 26% since 2012[1]

1 Statistics Canada: Table 37-10-0029-01 Expenditures of community colleges and vocational schools (x 1,000)

Copyright is an important topic for CICan members, students, faculty, and staff, all of whom regularly access and use copyright-protected materials. In Canada’s rapidly-evolving digital environment, it is imperative that the Copyright Act supports new ideas, allows the dissemination of knowledge, permits access to education, embraces technological innovation, and is flexible enough to accommodate changes that will occur in the future.

A balanced approach to copyright protects the rights of both creators and users and is essential to accessible and affordable post-secondary education. In 2012, this was recognized by both federal policymakers, via the fair-dealing amendment to the Copyright Act, and the Supreme Court of Canada ruling allowing instructors to copy “short excerpts” for students in their classes.  As a result, colleges and institutes enhanced Copyright Act compliance policies, guidelines, and training for staff and students.

The use of digital content has become the norm in today’s educational landscape. Learners expect quick, flexible, 24/7 access to materials on multiple devices, allowing them to learn not only in the classroom, but from anywhere they choose to work. In order to provide access to twenty-first century education to Canadians all over the country, the current scope of the fair-dealing provision must be maintained.