Copyright Protection Term Extended by 20 Years

By Sepal Bonni

Jan 2023 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on January 26, 2023



As of December 30, 2022, the general term of Canadian copyright protection changed from the life of the author plus 50 years, to the life of the author plus 70 years, therefore increasing the term of copyright protection by 20 years.

As previously reported in Charity and NFP Law Bulletin No. 433,, this long-awaited amendment fulfills one of Canada’s obligations under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. Many other industrialized jurisdictions have a 70-year term, including the UK, EU and Japan.  Section 6 of the Copyright Act is the key provision, stating that: “Except as otherwise expressly provided by this Act, the term for which copyright subsists is the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and a period of 70 years following the end of that calendar year.”

For works with multiple authors, the term of 70 years begins upon the death of the last-living author.   Previously, amendments were made for longer terms of protection for anonymous and pseudonymous works.

The extension in the term of copyright is not retroactive and therefore will not impact works that were in the public domain before the amendments came into force on December 30, 2022.


Read the January 2023 Charity & NFP Law Update