Steven Guilbeault says he is watching how other countries are trying to get companies such as Facebook and Google to pay for the copyrighted content that appears on their online platforms.
Australia and France have moved ahead on measures to help domestic media outlets, which often say they are losing ad money to international digital giants.
With a global decline in ad dollars due to the COVID-19 pandemic, calls are growing louder for Canada to follow suit.
Guilbeault says Australia and France have regulatory or legislative options that might not be on the table in Canada.
But he told the House of Commons industry committee at night on May 11 that he is reviewing what is, or what might be needed.
Facebook and Google have both said they are strong supporters of local journalism, pointing to related funds and causes they support in the countries where they have a presence.
But Guilbeault says the government is still examining the issue closely.
“Weve said for many months that we want the web giants to do their fair share, and clearly right now theyre not,” he said in response to a question from fellow Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.
“If we can use existing tools to make that happen, we will, and if we need to create new tools, we will.”
Earlier this month, several Canadian publishers banded together and published an open letter demanding the government force digital companies to share advertising revenues with Canadian media outlets.
While the sector was already struggling ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, a dramatic decline in advertising revenue has placed significant additional pressure on the companies.
One estimate suggests 50 community newspapers have closed since the outbreak of the pandemic, with 100 media outlets making cuts to operations in six-week period.
As many as 2,000 people have also lost their jobs, indicates an analysis conducted by the local news research project at Ryerson Universitys School of Journalism, the journalism news site J-Source and the Canadian Association of Journalists.