The Supreme Court of Canada provided Canadians with a decision related to Crown copyright on September 26, 2019 (Keatley v. Teranet, 2019 SCC 43). The court found that copyright belongs to the government for the type of documents submitted to the government in this particular case (land surveys). However, the court could not agree about how to interpret the provision, especially as it relates to scope, and issued both majority and concurring opinions. These opinions underscore the need for greater clarity about Crown copyright in Canada.

If the top legal minds in our nation can’t agree on the scope of the Crown copyright provision, how are government employees and other users of government information supposed to apply it in their work? The current state of confusion is not in the public interest.

In my view, the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Keatley v. Teranet supports a review and reform of the Crown copyright regime in Canada.

Commentary related to Keatley v. Teranet