Lobby Guide

Key Messages for Fair Copyright

Below are some key messages to help you prepare for your lobby meeting. For more detailed information and further recommendations, read CAUT’s Education Review.

  • The purpose of copyright law is to serve the public good, advancing equally the interests of both creators and users of works. CAUT and its 70,000 members are well positioned to understand the importance of balanced copyright law. Academic staff write thousands of articles, books, and other works every year, making CAUT Canada’s largest creator group. At the same time, teachers and librarians’ success depends on making information available to others.
  • In 2012, with the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act, the Supreme Court expanded fair dealing, allowing educators and students to use a small portion of copyrighted material without fees for the purpose of education or research.
  • Large publishing corporations, such as Access Copyright, have chosen to blame their declining profits – and Canadian creators’ economic hardships – on the post-secondary education sector and this expansion of fair dealing. With the mandated review of the Copyright Modernization Act underway, these large publishing corporations are lobbying to have fair dealing overturned.
  • The reality is that the post-secondary education sector continues to license tens of millions of dollars of content annually, part of the over one billion dollars spent on content by this sector in the last three years alone. The declining profits of publishing corporations stem from structural changes in the industry and the rise of alternative ways of creating, licensing, and sharing works, not from fair dealing
  • Fair dealing for educational purposes is operating as it should – as a limited right to allow students, teachers, and researchers to access and build upon existing literary and artistic works – and should be maintained.
  • This review of the Copyright Act also provides an opportunity to ensure that Canada’s copyright law does not continue to facilitate the appropriation of Indigenous communities’ knowledge and cultural heritage. In its current form, the Copyright Act fails to recognize the fundamental conflict between Western concepts of intellectual property, and Aboriginal understandings of the origin, use, and control of creative works. In consultation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations, CAUT recommends that the government devote resources to explore and develop specific legal frameworks to protect those works.

Checklist for meeting a Member of Parliament

Before the Meeting

  1. Review the background and briefing documents, as well as the MP’s biography.
  2. Connect in advance with your lobby group members to establish who will take the lead on each issue topic, the order in which group members will speak, who will take a photo and who will complete the “Lobby Report” after the meeting.
  3. Print the  “Copyright Law: Working for Canadians” to leave behind with your MP.
  4. Arrive at your meeting location 15 minutes prior to the start.

At the Meeting

  1. Introduce yourselves to the staff, as well as the elected representative.
  2. Make a short statement about our position and reinforce that argument with local stories and experiences.  See “10 Simple Rules to follow when meeting with your MP” for more information.
  3. Try to stay in control of the meeting. Don’t get sidetracked by the elected representative or any staff who are also in attendance. Stick to the issues you asked to discuss first and foremost.
  4. Try to get a commitment from the elected representative before the end of the meeting. Make sure any commitments are mutually understood, including those made by you to follow up.
  5. Ask if the MP will pose for photo with your lobby group. Share the photo on social media including the handle @CAUT_ACPPU and using the hashtag #faircopyright and #CDNpse.
  6. Say “thank you” to the elected representative and be sure to thank the staff who worked to make your meeting happen.
  7. Leave your “Copyright Law: Working for Canadians” with the representative and their staff.

After the Meeting

  1. Debrief.  Share your impressions of the meeting and determine what, if any, follow-up action is required and who will do it.
  2. Fill out your “Lobby Report", right away! Email it to acppu@caut.ca.
  3. Tell your colleagues about the meeting through emails, social media post (see “Tips for using Twitter”) and/or an in-person meetings.
  4. Encourage others to contact their local MP office by writing letters or calling to thank the MP for their support or to further make the case for the importance of fair dealing and a balanced Copyright Act. 

10 tips to follow when meeting your MP

  1. Be clear about the purpose of the meeting. Clarity about your objectives in visiting a Member of Parliament is critical and will help set the tone for the meeting. As soon as possible after you express appreciation for the visit, you should state why you requested the meeting. “Thank you for meeting with us to discuss the importance of balanced copyright law. We are looking for your support for fair dealing in the ongoing review of the Copyright Act.”
  2. A lobby visit is a conversation. Don’t give a lecture. A lobby visit is above all an exchange of information and views. The conversation should flow back and forth. It is important to express your views, but listen as well. Based on your research of the MP’s background, role and interest, make a connection with the MP and ask questions about their experiences and perspectives, while keeping the conversation on topic.
  3. When it comes to influencing politicians, anecdotes trump data. For politicians, a good story almost always wins out over a library of academic studies. Anecdotes can personalize an issue and resonate with a politician far more than even the most carefully reasoned argument. Tell the MP about the impact a fair and balanced Copyright Act has had on your research and teaching endeavours.
  4. Stick to the basics. Try to keep your conversation focused on a few basic points. The more complicated and convoluted your message, the greater the chance the conversation will wander into uncharted territory, which can give your politician an opportunity to avoid the issue altogether. Assume only a general understanding of the issues.
  5. Keep the conversation on track. Don’t let your conversation wander to other unrelated issues. If the politician you are lobbying tries to change the topic, gently return to your main point.
  6. Don’t lose your temper. No matter what the provocation, don’t get angry, sarcastic or discourteous. In rare cases, you may find a politician is simply unresponsive or even openly hostile to your concerns. If that’s the case, and you cannot find any common ground, you may wish to reiterate your key points and end the meeting rather than risk a heated exchange.
  7. Get a commitment. Ask your politician to do something concrete to show support for your issues. For instance, you may ask them to raise your concerns in party caucus, tweet their support for fair dealing, or attend an event you are planning.
  8. If you can’t answer a question, don’t try. If during your meeting a politician asks you something you can’t answer, don’t make up a response. Instead, tell the politician you don’t know the answer but you can find out and will follow up after the meeting.
  9. Take a picture of the meeting and share it on social media. Many MPs have twitter accounts and are happy to share their meetings with their online communities. See tips for tweeting.
  10. Remember to follow-up. Once the meeting is over, your lobbying efforts shouldn’t end. Be sure to send a letter to your Member of Parliament thanking her or him for the meeting. Reiterate the commitment you requested at the meeting – whether it was inviting your Member of Parliament to your campus to meet with your faculty association executive, or to attend any special meetings or events you have may have planned.

Tips for using Twitter

Limit your hashtags to 2 per tweet.

Include #supportthereport or #NaylorReport

Take a photo and tag @CAUT_ACPPU in the photo.  We will retweet you.

Any links go at the end of your tweet. Link to CAUT Get Science Right page. (LINK)


Tweet 1 (Before meeting, take a photo of the cover of the Advisory Panel report or one of your publications, lab.)

Looking forward to meet with @EnterMPtwitterHandle today to discuss the importance of #science to Canada’s future #supportthereport  or #NaylorReport

A thank-you tweet will allow you to promote your advocacy work online, reinforce CAUT’s strong message and help build your Twitter network. Remember to take the photo during or after your meeting. MPs are more likely to retweet you if you tag them correctly. Here are is an example of a thank-you tweet:

Tweet 2 (Thank you tweet after the meeting, space for photo)

Great meeting with @EnterMPtwitterHandle today on how science is a high yield investment for Canada. #supportthereport or #Naylor Report


A better future requires bold thinking and more knowledge. The federal government must close the gap in science funding. #supportthereport or #NaylorReport

Canada is falling behind in terms of knowledge creation. The federal government must choose science. #supportthereport or #NaylorReport