As Canadians use of the product grows, Health Canada to strictly regulate Netflix

Health Canada says they are concerned about the rate at which Canadians consume Netflix, and will be taking steps to limit its use, according to a new report.

The federal health regulator who oversees all things Canadians consume—from harmless health products like tobacco and alcohol to dangerous products like echinacea, kale, and cannabis—say they are deeply concerned about reports showing that Canada is among the top markets for the US-based visual media streaming service.

“Streaming services like Netflix represent a serious public health concern for all of us,” says Canada’s media consumption minister Dale Jackson.

“As Canadians consume more and more Netflix, we see job productivity decline, increased accidents on the road from people not getting enough sleep because they keep watching ‘just one more episode’, and increased social anxiety as Canadians forget how to socialize with other humans when they stay in every night and binge-watch How I Met Your Mother or the newest season of Big Mouth.”

Jackson says the Canadian federal government will be seeking to introduce legislation as early as spring 2019 that will prohibit Canadians from watching more than 90 minutes of Netflix per night.

“Binge watching is a dangerous, addictive activity and we must protect our most vulnerable from this social scourge, be they the very young, the very old, or the gainfully employed.”

Canada finds itself in the top five markets for the streaming provider, along with the US, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. In 2016, 64% of responding Canadians aged between 18 and 34 years said they were subscribed to Netflix. In total, in the fourth quarter of 2015 Netflix had nearly 4 million paying streaming subscribers in Canada, or about 10% of the population.

By April 2016, that number had risen to over five million Canadians, with a projected increase to nearly 15 million by 2022, or almost half of the population of the entire country.

Among Canadians, Albertans appear to consume Netflix the most, followed by Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, all with at least 50% of their population consuming the highly addictive service.

Jackson says Health Canada hopes to drive down those rates of use to help better protect the public, as well as ensuring CBC television still has a handful of viewers.

“Canada has some of the highest rates of Netflix use around the world. And that’s a real bummer when there are such quality shows on CBC like Mr D, season 12 of Heartland, or old reruns of Arctic Air.

“Those are laugh-out-loud situational comedies or dramas for the whole family that can be enjoyed on the Chesterfield after a healthy meal of maple syrup and poutine.”

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