The fair dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits use of a copyright-protected work without permission from
the copyright owner or the payment of copyright royalties. To qualify for fair dealing, two tests must be passed.
First, the “dealing” must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act: research, private study, criticism, review,
news reporting, education, satire, and parody. Educational use of a copyright-protected work passes the first test.
The second test is that the dealing must be “fair.” In landmark decisions in 2004 and 2012, the Supreme Court
of Canada provided guidance as to what this test means in schools and postsecondary educational institutions.
These guidelines apply to fair dealing in non-profit K–12 schools and postsecondary educational institutions and
provide reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and
the Supreme Court decisions.
- Teachers, instructors, professors, and staff members
in non-profit educational institutions may
communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic
form, short excerpts from a copyright-protected work
for the purposes of research, private study, criticism,
review, news reporting, education, satire, and parody.
- Copying or communicating short excerpts from a
copyright-protected work under these Fair Dealing
Guidelines for the purpose of news reporting,
criticism, or review should mention the source and, if
given in the source, the name of the author or creator
of the work.
- A single copy of a short excerpt from a copyrightprotected
work may be provided or communicated to
each student enrolled in a class or course
- as a class handout;
as a posting to a learning or course-management
system that is password protected or otherwise
restricted to students of a school or postsecondary
- as part of a course pack.
- A short excerpt means:
- up to 10 per cent of a copyright-protected work
(including a literary work, musical score, sound
recording, and an audiovisual work);
- one chapter from a book;
- a single article from a periodical;
- an entire artistic work (including a painting, print,
photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and
plan) from a copyright-protected work containing
other artistic works;
- an entire newspaper article or page;
- an entire single poem or musical score from a
copyright-protected work containing other poems
or musical scores;
- an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated
bibliography, dictionary, or similar reference work.
- Copying or communicating multiple short excerpts
from the same copyright-protected work with the
intention of copying or communicating substantially
the entire work is prohibited.
- Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in
these Fair Dealing Guidelines may be referred to a
supervisor or other person designated by the
educational institution for evaluation. An evaluation of
whether the proposed copying or communication is
permitted under fair dealing will be made based on all
- Any fee charged by the educational institution for
communicating or copying a short excerpt from a
copyright-protected work must be intended to cover
only the costs of the institution, including overhead
Download the Fair Dealing Guidelines color poster here
Download the Fair Dealing Guidelines black and white poster here