The CMEC Copyright Consortium (the Consortium) is composed of the ministers of K–12 education of Canada’s provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec. Since 1999, the Consortium has been working to advance the views of its members on copyright issues related to education. As responsible stewards of copyright, the ministers hold copyright and fair-dealing compliance as a priority and provide a unified position on copyright issues that impact K–12 education. The Consortium believes that the Copyright Act must balance two equally important sets of rights:

  • the rights of creators to control the use of their works and to receive compensation for such use; and
  • the rights of the education community to have fair access to copyright-protected works.

The Consortium communicated these priorities in the Education Ministers’ Policy Statement on Fair Dealing, released in 2022.

The Consortium has also developed the Fair Dealing Decision Tool, an online resource to help guide educators on the use of copyright-protected materials.


Canada’s copyright law and educators


Canada’s copyright law is now clearer and easier for teachers and students to follow.

This allowance is a result of federal copyright legislation passed by Parliament in June 2012 and a Supreme Court decision in July 2012, which changed the rules for the educational use of copyright-protected materials.

The Fair Dealing Guidelines for educators

In response to the 2012 changes in law and the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada interpreting fair dealing in an education setting, the Consortium developed and published the Fair Dealing Guidelines to help teachers and school administrators understand how to use copyright-protected works appropriately.

The fair-dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits the use of a copyright-protected work without obtaining permission from the copyright owner or paying copyright royalties if the use is considered “fair.”

The Fair Dealing Guidelines apply to non-profit K–12 schools and postsecondary education institutions and provide reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court decision.

If educators copy materials, they need to know their limits by consulting the Fair Dealing Guidelines.

The Consortium publication Copyright Matters!, 5th Edition, provides the education community―teachers, students, parents, and administrators―with user-friendly information on copyright law.