July 14, 2017 — Canadian Authors Association (CAA) applauds the July 12 decision of the Federal Court of Canada in Access Copyright vs. York University, the first major decision dealing with the new Canadian fair dealing exception of educational purposes. In that decision, the Federal Court held that York University could not “opt out” of the Access Copyright tariff system, and that its internal Fair Dealing Guidelines are not fair, both in terms of their content and their application.

Five years ago, the federal government added the “education” fair dealing exception as a user right under the Copyright Act. Canada is the only nation with such an exception. A series of subsequent court rulings since then have further jeopardized the right of writers to be paid for their work. The July 12, 2017 Federal Court of Canada decision in Access Copyright vs. York University therefore provides writers with long-awaited good news.

“The CAA is pleased with the Federal Court decision,” says Margaret Hume, president of the 96-year-old national writers’ organization. “Since 1921, we’ve stood up for the copyright of authors, and it appears that we must continually remain vigilant in defending that right. This court decision protects authors’ right to be paid for the copying of their work. We urge the federal government to take the next steps in bringing about the needed changes in copyright legislation.”

“This decision is a positive first step in creating a proper balance between the rights of users and the rights of writers and publishers,” says Anita Purcell, CAA executive director. “While there is much work yet to be done on both sides, creators can look forward to the upcoming review of the Copyright Act with greater optimism.”

This fall, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, will convene the mandatory review of the Copyright Modernization Act in which the educational purposes exception was enacted. Along with its sister writers’ and publishers’ organizations, CAA will participate fully in that process.


Founded in 1921, Canadian Authors Association is Canada’s first and longest-running national writers’ organization and has played an integral role in forging the country’s literary history. Today the association continues to offer resources, learning opportunities, networking and a special brand of community to writers at all stages of their careers. For general information about the association, visit https://canadianauthors.org/national/


Anita Purcell
Executive Director

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