Picture shows an electronic table with a red screen with white block letters that say NETFLIXCUPE was on Parliament Hill on Monday afternoon, calling on the government to finally make foreign digital businesses like Netflix pay their fair share in taxes.

Two CUPE representatives, senior economist Toby Sanger and research representative Nathalie Blais, appeared at the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade as part of their study on e‑commerce.

Their testimony to the committee focused on how large, multi-billion dollar foreign digital companies are getting a free ride on taxes, and the bias that has created against Canadian enterprises in the media and cultural sectors particularly. “Not only are our governments losing out on significant revenues, but we’re suffering economically and culturally, with a loss of jobs, main street businesses and a weakening of our media,” said Sanger.

“In order to support Canadian companies doing business online, the government needs to eradicate the tax bias that works in favour of foreign companies like Google, Facebook, or Netflix,” added Blais, CUPE’s researcher on media and cultural industries.

The solution, according to Sanger, is to finally require companies like Netflix to start collecting and remitting sales taxes, noting, “in my 25 years of involvement on tax policy, this is one of the clearest no‑brainers.”

CUPE represents 7500 workers in TV, radio, print, cable distribution, and telecommunications, mainly in Quebec. It is part of the Coalition for Culture and Media launched in 2017 to promote continuity, fairness and support for the media and cultural sectors in Canada. More than 40 organizations are part of the coalition throughout Canada and over 4000 citizens and groups have endorsed its Declaration for the sustainability and the vitality of national culture and media in the digital era. You can add your name at http://www.standingforculture.info/

You can listen to a recording of the meeting here