From the Future of Media Project: Who Owns Canadian News Media?

February 22, 2022
Line of Canadian trucks on the road, with banners on their fronts that say "FREEDOM"

As news about Canadian protests made global headlines, IQSS Future of Media Project fellow Heidi Legg published a Canadian Media Ownership Index. The index details the ownership and digital consumption of Canada’s 125 most consumed media outlets that represent themselves as news. While not all on the list may be considered beacons of journalism, Legg used Comscore data, media reports, and news association lists to create the index of 125 digital sites.

What stood out to her was how much harder it was to discover ownership details compared to the US Ownership Index she published last May. Public companies are easiest to track. Registered charities, private media companies are more difficult with opaque donors and investors who may back the owner. In the US, many of the private media companies on the US index had already been covered by leading newsrooms that could be cited. Whereas in Canada, she found these new digital private sites were unwilling to disclose the full roster of investors. 

Heidi Legg
Heidi Legg

Another unique Canadian element was the new government Bill C-30 enacted in June 2021 to offer a federal labor tax credit to Canadian media outlets deemed Qualified Canadian Journalism Organizations (QCJO). The designation requires the organization to be engaged in the production of original news content, based in Canada and more.

Legg also illustrated the significant influence of US news in the Canadian digital media diet which she charts in this simple bar graph.

The Future of Media Project is a unique partnership between Harvard Business School and IQSS, with the goal of furthering research and identifying implementable solutions to rebalance truth, privacy, and power in the media industry. Visit the Future of Media Project website for more information on Heidi Legg's work, including all available Canadian and US media indexes.