Close shot of a tablet with the red Netflix start screenQuébec’s Provincial Council for the Communications Sector (CPSC) is extremely disappointed with the budgets of the Couillard and Trudeau governments. Both lack a measure to counter tax avoidance and unfair competition by foreign companies such as Netflix, Google, Facebook, etc.

According to the CPSC, which represents approximately 7,700 unionized workers in Quebec’s communications sector, both governments are well aware of the problem, which undermines public finances and seriously weakens Quebec media and cultural enterprises.

“For Netflix alone, across Canada, the annual shortfall is over $100 million in taxes. In Quebec, the total of online sales results in a loss of $120 million a year in sales tax, according to the Minister Leitão himself. These numbers are troubling and show that our local businesses suffer unfair competition that threatens their survival,” noted Alain Caron, Chairman of the CPSC.

“We have already asked Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to force the companies involved to regularize their situation. For example, the governments can impose automatic tax collection by the Canadian banks and credit card companies involved in purchases.

“Solutions exist, but obviously, the political will is lacking and complacency has the upper hand. If nothing is done, our media, cultural, information and communications companies in Quebec will suffer serious consequences,” said Caron.

CUPE represents some 7,700 members in the Quebec communications sector, working in the following companies: Groupe TVA, the NFB, RNC Media, Shaw Media (Global), CIMF – Gatineau, CKOB – Trois-Rivières Telus Québec, Vidéotron, Cogeco, Technicolor, the SETTE, and the Journal de Québec.

The CPSC is a sector group within the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which has more than 110,000 members in Quebec. CUPE is also present in the following sectors: health and social services, education, universities, energy, municipalities, Quebec government corporations and public agencies, urban and air transport, and the mixed sector.