The fair dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits use of a copyright-protected work without permission from the copyright owner or the payment of copyright royalties.
To qualify for fair dealing, two (2) tests must be passed. First, the "dealing" must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act: research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, and parody. Educational use of a copyright-protected work passes the first test. The second test is that the dealing must be "fair." In landmark decisions in 2004 and in 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance as to what this test means in schools and post-secondary educational institutions.
These guidelines apply fair dealing in non-profit K-12 schools and post-secondary educational institutions and provide reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court decisions.
- Teachers, instructors, professors and staff members in non-profit educational institutions may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyright-protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire and parody.
- Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright-protected work under these Fair Dealing Guidelines for the purpose of news reporting, criticism or review must mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.
- A single copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course:
- As a class handout;
- As a posting to a learning- or course management system that is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of a school or post-secondary educational institution;
- As part of a coursepack.
- A short excerpt means:
- Up to ten percent (10%) of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work);
- One (1) chapter from a book;
- A single article from a periodical;
- An entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works;
- An entire newspaper article or page;
- An entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores;
- An entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work.
- Copying or communicating multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work with the intention of copying or communicating substantially the entire work is prohibited.
- Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in these Fair Dealing Guidelines may be referred to a supervisor or other person designated by the educational institution for evaluation. An evaluation of whether the proposed copying or communication is permitted under fair dealing will be made based on all relevant circumstances.
- Any fee charged by the educational institution for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work must be intended to cover only the costs of the institution, including overhead costs.
Approved: January 8, 2013
Amended: January 9, 2018; August 21, 2018
Reviewed: July 2021