Google Headquarters, Mountain View, California Photo taken from

Google has determined which Canadian media companies will receive a portion of the $100 million bailout it is being forced to distribute in compliance with the federal Online News Act.

The technology company agreed with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to pay $100 million to Canadian news publishers annually to comply with the Liberal Government’s Online News Act, which requires tech giants to enter into financial agreements with news publishers to be exempt from additional regulations.

The act required Google to run an open-call process for news organizations to apply and receive contributions, should they be deemed eligible. Google started the process on Feb. 28, 2024, and concluded it Apr. 30, 2024. Thousands of organizations submitted their names to receive funding.

In a landmark deal, Google announced that the Canadian Journalism Collective would manage the distribution of $100 million annually to Canadian news companies.

The Canadian Journalism Collective is a federally incorporated non-profit founded in May by a coalition of independent publishers and broadcasters that will oversee the allocation of funds. 

The collective includes 12 media outlets representing the French language, Indigenous news, and publications serving black and minority Canadians. The participating organizations are Pivot, The Resolve, IndigiNews, Village Media, and the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations.

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist highlighted that the Canadian Journalism Collective had been battling against a consortium of large media companies, including News Media Canada, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and the CBC. This big media collective proposed a governance structure that heavily favoured legacy media and broadcasters, raising concerns about transparency and equitable fund distribution.

The payment schedule remains uncertain as it hinges on Google receiving a formal exemption from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

 “We hope these next steps will be completed as quickly as possible, so Canadian publishers and journalists can soon begin to receive the proceeds of this new contribution model,” said Google in a blog post.

The collective will evaluate applications from news organizations that submitted their names and distribute funds to eligible publishers. To qualify, news organizations must be designated as qualified Canadian journalism organizations under the Income Tax Act, which includes requirements such as producing public interest original news content, operating in Canada, and employing at least two journalists.

CBC has said that it will receive no more than $7 million of the $100 million annual share. $30 million will be reserved for other broadcasters while other qualifying news outlets will share the remaining $63 million. 

The Online News Act, known as Bill C-18, was introduced in the House of Commons in April 2022 and became law in June 2024. Google initially opposed the bill, warning that a “link tax” could disrupt its services. 

“The Government of Canada acknowledged our concerns with the bill and, after engaging in a series of productive meetings, agreed to address these issues and create a viable path to an exemption at a clear and commercially acceptable commitment level,” said Google.

Despite Google’s newfound excitement for cooperation with Bill C-18, the CEO of a digital content firm said that Bill C-18 was a disaster for smaller companies. Some smaller companies reported losing over 40% of their revenue and risked closing their doors. Other critics argued that the bill gives the government excessive control over online news dissemination. 

On top of that, Meta stopped sharing Canadian news due to Bill C-18, which was a generator of much traffic for the majority of news organizations, specifically smaller publications. 

The annual $100 million is part of a five-year deal worth $500 million.