Canada reportedly outlined details of proposed legislation requiring major tech companies including Facebook and Google to strike deals with news publishers to use their content, as the country follows a move by Australia in 2021.

Reuters reported Canada’s Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez used a press conference to outline details of the Online News Act put forward by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

The plan will require digital companies with “a bargaining imbalance”, to negotiate fairer deals with news businesses.

This imbalance is measured on metrics including global revenue, and final deals will be assessed by a regulator, explained Rodriguez.

If the deals struck do not meet criteria set by the act, the digital platforms will be subject to an arbitration process overseen by Canada’s telecoms regulator.

Rodriguez said Canada’s news sector was “in crisis”, with more than 450 outlets closing since 2008, including 64 in the last two years.

Google and Meta Platforms have committed to invest CAD1 billion ($800.1 million) into journalism initiatives in the country.

Canada’s government made its intentions clear to introduce similar laws to Australia around news content in February 2021.

Google and Meta Platform’s Facebook are required to pay media companies in Australia for content used on their platforms, ensuring they are fairly remunerated.