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Yellowknife’s Cabin Radio uncertain what Canada’s Online News Act will do to its business



As tech giants begin to block Canadian news links from their sites for some users, the N.W.T.’s only entirely-online news organization says it doesn’t yet know how the change will affect its business.

The Online News Act is a piece of Canadian legislation that requires tech companies like Google and Meta to compensate news outlets for sharing links to their pages. The law received royal assent last month and is slated to take effect in January. In response, the tech companies have said they will stop posting links to Canadian news outlets. Meta — parent company to Facebook — has already begun to do this as a test on a fraction of its users.

Cabin Radio is a Yellowknife-based startup with a website that hosts multimedia news stories as well as an online radio station. Its Facebook page has about 19,000 followers and its Instagram just over 7,000, as of Thursday. It also has a Facebook group dedicated to sharing and discussing Cabin Radio articles.

Cabin Radio co-founder and news editor Ollie Williams says it’s not yet clear how the new Act will change its service.


“Obviously we will take as many steps as we can to protect our interests and make sure we can serve our audience, but right now I would struggle to tell you exactly what that’s going to look like,” he said.

A screen with a blue square with a white letter f on it next to a white square with multicolour letter G on it.
This file photo taken on October 1, 2019, shows the logos of mobile apps Facebook and Google displayed on a tablet. Tech giants Meta and Google are blocking Canadian news sites from their platforms for some users in response to the Online News Act. (Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images)

Williams said he doesn’t think any Canadian news outlet really knows how the Online News Act will affect their sites and he says Cabin Radio doesn’t have time to strategize.

“For an organization of our size who already have enough things to worry about; keeping the lights on each day and getting our jobs done, we haven’t had the ability to even start to thoroughly understand what the Online News Act will, in practicality, do to the environment that we operate in,” he said.

“I wish I could worry more about that but it’s just not a priority for me until it has to be.”

Local outlets should work together, professors say

Gordon Gow is a professor of media and communications at the University of Alberta.

He says the Online News Act plays into larger faults with the structure of the industry and inequality between major news outlets and smaller ones.

He says the Act enables a news sphere where smaller, local publications are shut out by giants like Postmedia and Torstar who have more bargaining power.

Gow says critics argue that Act props up an antiquated business strategy and impairs digital-focused startups from innovating.

University of Calgary communications, media and film professor Gregory Taylor shared a different perspective. He says the Online News Act exists to put smaller outlets on more equal ground and provide them with their fair share from the tech giants.

Though, he says, news companies will have to wait out the tech giants’ retaliation before the platforms eventually come around.

Taylor says that with comparable legislation in Australia and other countries considering doing the same, Canada should hold its position.

“Facebook is really trying to assert itself, but in the end they can’t afford to lose a lot of these markets,” he said.

“I believe that we are at the leading edge of getting these companies to contribute to our democracy by bringing in this kind of funding model.”

Both professors agree that smaller outlets should aim to coalesce and negotiate together.

“For small outlets in the North, I think they’re going to have to be trying to work with a collective voice. I think there is a real opportunity for them to access some funding at a time when journalism, in particular local journalism, has been in drastic decline across the country and so if handled well by small news outlets across Canada this bill presents an opportunity.”

For consumers, Taylor suggests going straight to the outlet’s website. That’s something that Williams said Cabin Radio’s audience has been doing more and more over the years.

When Cabin Radio began, Williams said social media accounted for about two thirds to three quarters of their website’s traffic. Over the past year or so, he says it’s closer to one fifth to one quarter.

“So there’s a big shift that has gone on there over five years and we are not as reliant as we used to be on the likes of social media or even Google to drive traffic to the website,” he said. “But obviously anyone in our line of work is going to prefer to be able to use those channels than not.”



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'ET Canada' cancelled by Corus Entertainment, blames 'challenging' advertising market – CTV News



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Entertainment Tonight Canada to end after 18 seasons



A woman wearing a large pink dress holds a microphone and speaks to a camera while attending a red carpet event.
Cheryl Hickey, longtime host of ET Canada, speaks to the camera on the red carpet of the 2019 Canadian Country Music Awards at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. ET Canada will end on Oct. 6 after 18 seasons. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Canadian media company Corus Entertainment has announced it is ending flagship entertainment program Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada after 18 seasons.

“The costs of producing a daily entertainment newsmagazine show in a challenging advertising environment have led to this decision,” read a statement posted on the company’s website on Wednesday.

“We recognize the impact this decision has on the dedicated team who have worked on the show and we thank them for their meaningful contributions over the years.”

The show’s final episode will air on Oct. 6, with reruns airing in the same time slot on Global TV until Oct. 31, a Corus spokesperson told CBC News.


The cancellation won’t impact Corus’s obligation to produce Canadian content under the rules set out by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the spokesperson said.

ET Canada’s website and social media platforms will also be shut down. The spokesperson declined to comment on how many people had been laid off as a result, but said the program’s hosts were impacted.

The network said it has no plans for another entertainment news show.


An hour-long, magazine-style show that focused on entertainment, celebrity, film and TV news, ET Canada began airing in 2005 on Global TV, which is owned by Corus Entertainment.

The program has been hosted by Canadian media personality Cheryl Hickey since its launch, with regular appearances by entertainment reporters, including Sangita Patel — a co-host since 2022 — plus Carlos Bustamante, Keshia Chanté and Morgan Hoffman.

The cancellation leaves ETalk, CTV’s weeknight show, as Canada’s lone major entertainment news program.

Andrea Grau, founder and CEO of entertainment publicity firm Touchwood PR, said ET Canada offered a Canadian perspective that made it stand out in the U.S.-dominated entertainment landscape.

“There was this great Entertainment Tonight brand that was going on in the U.S. — we all watched. And the idea of a Canadian arm of it was very special because it could give a different slant,” she said.

ET Canada’s demise comes during a major shift in the industry, she said, as publicists struggle to find entertainment outlets that can shine a spotlight on emerging Canadian artists and projects.

“Even though we share a language with the U.S. and we share pop culture, we are still Canadian and we have a different perspective,” Grau said, noting that ET Canada’s hosts were a mainstay on the U.S. press circuit.

“You see those relationships that have been built over the years of having Sangita [Patel] standing on a red carpet interviewing someone, or Cheryl Hickey interviewing someone. They’re recognizable to [celebrities] after all of these years, too,” she said. “They’ve created such a strong brand.”


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Canada just had its lowest number of births in 17 years. What’s behind it?



The number of babies born in Canada dropped to a 17-year-low last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a declining fertility rate, data shows.

A Statistics Canada report released Tuesday showed there were 351,679 births registered across the country in 2022, which was a five per cent decrease from the previous year. This was Canada’s sharpest drop recorded since 2005.

Before 2022, the lowest number of births recorded was in 2005, with 345,044 babies born nationwide.


While the number of births in all provinces and territories declined last year, Nova Scotia was the notable outlier with a 12.8 per cent increase in live births.

The biggest decrease was in Nunavut, with the number of births dropping 11.8 per cent compared with 2021.

Canada, like many other developed countries, has been seeing declining birth trends over the past several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s plans to have kids, said Kate Choi, an associate professor of sociology at Western University.

“Although the fertility decline was indeed part of a larger trend of fertility decreases that have been occurring in Canada, the magnitude of the decrease is larger than what we would have anticipated in the absence of COVID-19,” she told Global News in an interview.

Click to play video: 'Infertility: Shedding light on a common problem'

Infertility: Shedding light on a common problem

The high cost of living has magnified the size of the drop in births, Choi said.

“It’s very expensive to have children and right now, when everything is expensive, it’s very hard for young adults to be able to have the type of lifestyle that allows them to have children, which is contributing to delayed and forgone fertility,” she added.

It’s a concerning trend for Canada, according to Choi, who said decreasing birth rates have the potential to exacerbate population aging issues.

Canada is considered a low-fertility country and its fertility rate has been declining over the past decade.

The latest Statistics Canada data from 2021 reported a fertility rate of 1.44 children per woman that year — marking a slight increase following a steady decline since 2009.

The fertility rate is an estimate of the average number of live births a female can be expected to have in her lifetime, according to StatCan.

As some couples delay their plans to have kids for a variety of reasons, egg freezing and other fertility treatments are on the rise in Canada.

Click to play video: 'More IVF babies born after summer egg collection: study'

More IVF babies born after summer egg collection: study

Lifestyle changes and work decisions are contributing factors, with a shift toward smaller families, said Mark Rosenberg, an expert in geography and professor emeritus at Queen’s University.

“I think mainly the factors we should focus on are first and foremost women’s decisions around the labour force and delaying birth until they’re in their 30s,” he told Global News in an interview.

There is also an increasing number of younger people living in single-person households, Rosenberg added.

Despite the drop in births, Canada’s population has been growing at a “record-setting pace,” surpassing the milestone of 40 million people earlier this year, due to a focus on increasing immigration.

Meanwhile, the StatCan report Tuesday also showed a rise in the proportion of babies who were born with a low birth weight — less than 2,500 grams.

Seven per cent of all babies had a low birth weight in 2022 compared with 6.6 per cent the year before.

Babies with a low birth weight are at an increased risk of complications, such as inhibited growth and development and even death, according to StatCan.

“When we see higher rates of low birth weight babies or higher rates of babies that are born who are overweight, those are issues that we should be concerned about because they reflect on people’s health,” Rosenberg said.

— with files from Global News’ Katherine Ward


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