The giant American entertainment service has grown rapidly over the years, posting revenues of over 6 billion dollars in 2015. The service has over 5.2 million subscribers, generating upwards of 620 million dollars in revenues in Canada alone. Despite this, Netflix does not pay any Canadian taxes.
“It is unfair that everyday Canadians go about paying their taxes while big companies are getting let off the hook,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “Big corporations like Netflix should be paying their fair share. At this point, they’re not paying any.”
Canadian entertainment companies who pay taxes and employ local workers are doing their part while creating quality programming. “Local companies that provide Canadian jobs are playing by the rules while their competitors get a free ride,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. “The government needs to step in to level the playing field.”
Netflix benefits not only from Canadian tax exemptions but also from lack of regulation. The CRTC has refused to have global digital players like Netflix follow the same regulations as Canadian broadcasters and cable operators, even if they offer comparable products and services. This allows Netflix to do business in Canada without contributing to the funding of Canadian programming or being required to offer a minimum amount of made-in-Canada content.
The federal government and the CRTC must step in to address the lack of regulation of global digital players like Netflix.