Canada Extends Basic Term of Copyright Protection To “Life of Author Plus 70 Years” Starting December 30, 2022

On November 17, 2022, the Government of Canada published an Order in Council to bring into force recent amendments to Canada’s Copyright Act (the “ Act”) which extend the basic term of copyright protection under the Act in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, from 50 years to 70 years after the end of the year of the author’s death. The changes to the Act will come into force on December 30, 2022.


The amendments, discussed in our earlier Update, were part of Bill C-19.1 Bill C-19 was designed to implement Canada’s commitment in the Canada - United States - Mexico Agreement to extend its basic term of copyright protection for works to “life plus 70” from “life plus 50”, thereby aligning it with the counterpart longer terms of copyright protection in the United States and the European Union.2

Bill C-19 was granted Royal Assent on June 23, 2022, however, the changes to the Act come into force on December 30, 2022, pursuant to the Order in Council.


The Government of Canada’s decision to bring the 20-year extension of the copyright term into force on December 30, 2022, one day before the end of the 2022 calendar year, has several implications. First, the 20-year extension will not apply to any works that are already in the public domain before December 30, 2022. Second, if the copyright in a work would have expired on December 31, 2022 (i.e., 50 years after “...the end of the year of the author’s death”), the term will now be extended by a further 20 years to December 31, 2042. Finally, the new 20-year extension will apply to any work whose term of copyright does not expire on or before 2022.

For further information concerning these amendments, please contact any member of our Entertainment Group.

The author would like to thank Max Borins, Articling Student-At-Law, for his assistance in writing this Update.


1Bill C-19, Budget Implementation Act, 1st Sess, 44th Parl, 2022 (assented to 23 June 2022), SC 2022, c 10 <>. 

2Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), 1 July 2020 <Government Bill (House of Commons) C-19 (44-1) - Royal Assent - Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1 - Parliament of Canada>.