The right to fair dealing

Fair dealing is an important feature of copyright law and a right all Canadians have. Fair dealing allows you to share small portions of larger works, under certain circumstances, without contacting copyright owners and negotiating payment.

Universities Canada’s recommendation

Maintain fair dealing for education to support accessibility and innovation in teaching and learning for all Canadians.

Case law supports fair dealing for education

Fair dealing has always been part of Canadian copyright law. In 2012, fair dealing for education was added to the other kinds of fair dealing to clarify that, as the Supreme Court said, teachers and professors could share short excerpts with their students.

Canadian courts have affirmed educators’ use of fair dealing. Landmark Supreme Court of Canada decisions have:

  • recognized fair dealing as essential for “the long-term interests of society” and as a “right” – a term with important legal significance
  • created a legal method to determine when/how to use fair dealing
  • ruled in five combined decisions that fair dealing was much broader than how the education sector had been using it up to that point, before Parliament added “education” to the Act
Universities Canada