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880: Copyright

Fall Principals Campaign 2019/20 Cover note to principals

Dear School Principal:

Copyright rules for educators have changed significantly in recent years. While teachers have new opportunities to use copyright-protected materials in their lessons, they also have responsibilities. There are limits to what can be copied and communicated in the classroom. Teachers must know what they can and cannot do with the copyright-protected works of others. Failure to comply with copyright law can result in a teacher, school or school board being sued for copyright infringement. The fair dealing provision in Canada’s copyright law permits teachers to copy and communicate short excerpts from copyright-protected works within certain guidelines.

Ministries/Departments of Education across Canada with responsibility for elementary-secondary education (with the exception of Quebec) strive to ensure that teachers have the latest information about fair dealing. The Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada has developed a website to assist teachers in complying with the copyright law: The website features a fair dealing decision tool that enables teachers to quickly determine whether they can use specific materials in their lessons. It also provides an overview of the Fair Dealing Guidelines, along with posters to remind teachers about the guidelines as well as the restrictions on copying consumables such as workbooks and materials meant for one-time use.

Principals are asked to:

  • mention this website at a staff meeting and encourage all teachers to visit the site and view the related materials;
  • ensure both the attached Fair Dealing Guidelines and consumables posters are placed near photocopiers and printers; and
  • post the attached notice regarding available copyright reference resources in the staff room and/or main office. The following materials are attached to this message to assist you in carrying out the proposed actions:
  • suggested speaking points for the copyright presentation to staff (for personal use);
  • two copyright-related posters (mentioned above);
  • bulletin board notice (mentioned above);
  • postcard featuring; and
  • template e-mail message to be forwarded to teachers.



Curtis Clarke, PhD

Deputy Minister of Education



2020 Jan 29 Initial Approval