A bill meant to force big tech companies to compensate Canadian media for news content appearing on their platforms is back in the spotlight amid BCE Inc.'s decision to slash 1,300 positions, including six per cent of its media arm.

Bell chief legal and regulatory officer Robert Malcolmson raised concerns this week about Bill C-18, saying it won't do what it's meant to if companies such as Google and Meta restrict or block news links on their sites.

Meta said this week it is blocking news for one to five per cent of its 24 million Canadian users on Facebook and Instagram in a temporary test that is expected to last the majority of the month.

Google blocked links to news stories for about five weeks earlier this year for some Canadian users in response to the bill.

Malcolmson said Bell could not afford to wait for a resolution to the impasse before announcing its layoffs.

Bill C-18 awaits third reading in the Senate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE)

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