CMEC Copyright Consortium Issues a Policy Statement on Fair Dealing

TORONTO, March 7, 2018 – The Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), has released the Education Ministers’ Policy Statement on Fair Dealing. The Statement underlines the provincial and territorial education ministers’ support for teachers’ and students’ use of the fair dealing provision in the Copyright Act for classroom learning.

The consortium is composed of the ministers of education of all provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec. The ministers have constitutional authority for education in Canada, are responsible stewards of copyright, and view copyright compliance as a priority. 

The Statement reflects the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court of Canada’s interpretation of fair dealing which provides teachers and students with the ability to use short excerpts from copyright-protected materials for educational purposes.

Education ministers view the current Copyright Act as good public policy that achieves an important balance between user rights and creator rights.

“It’s important that copyright law balances the necessary protection of artists and writers works with the ability of teachers and students to use short excerpts from copyright-protected materials in their school work,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development for Nova Scotia and Chair of the CMEC Copyright Consortium. “The current copyright law and the Supreme Court of Canada’s interpretation of fair dealing ensure that Canadian students are on a level playing field with students in other countries.”  

Federal MPs have begun a mandated review of the Copyright Act and are expected to be studying copyright law through 2018. One issue MPs may probe is the application of fair dealing to classroom uses of copyright-protected materials.

“We want to underscore for our federal counterparts that the guidelines respecting fair dealing used in K-12 classrooms are founded on the Supreme Court of Canada’s interpretation of fair dealing and play an important role in education,” said Minister Churchill.

The Education Ministers’ Policy Statement on Fair Dealing can be found at

In 2016, the consortium launched the Copyright Decision Tool, an on-line resource developed for teachers to consistently apply fair dealing in their classrooms. The Copyright Decision Tool —www.copyrightdecisiontool.cahelps teachers to decide if fair dealing permits them to use copyright-protected materials without first getting copyright permission.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada’s ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more information, visit us at

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Colin Bailey

Director, Communications and Governance
Cell: 437-777-4879
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259
Twitter: @CCMEC