Corporate Legal

Policies and Corporate Legal

P7 – Fair Dealing (Copyright)

Approver: President and CEO
Policy Owner: Executive Director, Student Services & Global Partnerships
Last Reviewed: June 2023

See the P7 – Fair Dealing (Copyright) Procedures ›

1. Preamble

RRC Polytech takes the protection of intellectual property rights seriously. One such right of particular significance in the post-secondary context is that of copyright. The College and its instructors, staff and students shall take reasonable steps to ensure that materials protected by copyright are used in accordance with the law.

2. Purpose


This Policy sets out the College’s expectations regarding the use of copyrighted materials, including but not limited to the use of such materials as course handouts, materials posted online (including materials posted to online learning platforms) or used as part of a course pack.


This Policy elaborates on the application of the fair dealing exception contained in the Copyright Act as it applies to the College and provides guidance for instructors, staff, and students on compliance with the Act.

3. Application


This Policy applies to all instructors, staff and students of the College and should be applied whenever copyrighted works are being used.

4. Definitions


Fair Dealing is a statutory exemption in Canadian copyright law, which allows for the reproduction and use of copyright-protected works for certain purposes without requiring permission, provided that use/dealing is “fair”. An explanation of fair dealing and its application at the College is detailed in the P7 Policy and Procedures.

5. Policy


The College, its instructors, staff, and its students shall not reproduce any works where the College does not currently hold copyright without a license or other permission of the copyright owner or the representative of the copyright owner, unless such reproduction is otherwise permitted by law. 


As a rule, copyright owners may require payment and or permissions for the use of their work under copyright. The “Fair dealing” provisions within the Copyright Act provide an exception to this rule. Fair Dealing allows limited use of a copyright-protected work without requiring permission or licensing. The fair dealing exceptions are contained in sections 29, 29.1 and 29.2 of the Copyright Act.


“Fair Dealing” is not a term expressly defined in the Copyright Act. In addition, there is no clear marker or single conclusive test to easily identify when the use of a copyright-protect work amounts to fair dealing. Instead, each proposed use must pass two distinct tests to determine whether the use would amount to fair dealing or whether a license is required. 


The two tests that must be met to permit a user to copy or use works without obtaining a license or other permission are as follows:

  1. Test 1: Is the use of the work for an allowable purpose?

    The user must first ask why they are using the work. The use of a work must relate to an allowable purpose specified in the Copyright Act. Allowable purposes include the following: (1) research; (2) private study; (3) criticism; (4) review; (5) news reporting, (6) education; (7) satire; and (8) parody.

    Typically, the use of a copyright-protected work at the College will be for a research, private study or educational purpose, which includes teaching by instructors and study by students. 

    Use of a work for any other purpose must be discussed in advance with the College’s Copyright Officer.

    If the use of the work is for an allowable purpose as set out at test 1, proceed to test 2.
  2. Test 2: Is the use of the work “fair”?

    There are six factors which, taken together, will establish whether a particular use of a work meeting test 1 is “fair” or not fair:
    1. The purpose of the dealing;
    2. The character of the dealing;
    3. The amount of the dealing;
    4. Alternatives to the dealing;
    5. The nature of the work; and
    6. The effect of the dealing on the work.

      The factors, and guidance on how they are to be analyzed, are described in greater detail in the Procedures accompanying this Policy. The relevance of the individual factors to the overall analysis depends on the context and the specifics of each case. Not all factors are necessarily weighted evenly. 


Instructors and staff should consult the Procedures and the College’s Fair Dealing Tool in order to determine whether their intended use reasonably meets the two tests for fair dealing. Students should directly consult the Procedures.


Having applied these considerations and with the reasonable belief that a proposed use is fair, instructors, staff, students and other persons may copy a short excerpt of a copyright-protect work in accordance with this Policy and associated Procedures. The meaning of the term “short excerpt” is described in the Procedures.


If the two tests for fair dealing are not met, a license or other permission will be required before making use of the work. The Copyright Officer must be consulted in all such instances.


The Copyright Officer is the College’s primary resource for assisting instructors, staff, and students in determining whether the intended use requires a license or falls within the fair dealing exception. Situations of doubt should be referred for the Copyright Officer for assessment.

6. Responsibilities

6.1 Shared Responsibility

It is recognized that the College’s overall compliance with the Copyright Act and its appropriate use of copyrighted materials is a shared responsibility. Accordingly, instructors, staff and students all have obligations under this Policy.

6.2 College

The College is ultimately responsible for ensuring the institution’s compliance with the Copyright Act. To support this objective, the College will:

  1. take steps to communicate this Policy and associated Fair Dealing Procedures to members of the College Community through appropriate channels;
  2. maintain procedures for educating instructors, staff, and students on their obligations under the Copyright Act, as reflected in this Policy and the College’s Fair Dealing Procedures;
  3. hold members of the College Community accountable for violations of this Policy.

6.3 Executive Director, Student Services & Global Partnerships

The Executive Director, Student Services & Global Partnerships, or their designate has the authority to develop and revise procedures relating to the implementation of this Policy.

6.4 Copyright Officer

The Copyright Officer is the employee of the College tasked with providing support and advice on the College’s copyright compliance efforts and Fair Dealing procedures. The Copyright Officer:

  1. offers regular and up-to-date staff training, education and resources on copyright matters that affect the College community in order assist in mitigating the College’s risk of copyright infringements and legal actions against the College;
  2. offers training to instructors, staff, and students on their obligations under the Copyright Act and on the College’s Fair Dealing Policy and Procedures;
  3. is available to assist instructors, staff, and students in determining whether proposed copying falls within the scope of the Fair Dealing Policy at RRC Polytech as guided by the legislation;
  4. assists in obtaining the necessary permissions for use of copyrighted work where required. 

6.5 Instructors and College Staff

College instructors and staff are required to:

  1. follow this Policy and the associated Fair Dealing Procedures in the development of all course outlines and in the distribution of any and all copyrighted works in class or online in both academic and non-academic contexts;
  2. familiarize themselves with the College’s Fair Dealing Tool;
  3. consult with the Copyright Officer if they are unsure about whether their use of a particular work complies with this Policy and the Fair Dealing Procedures;
  4. maintain records of works distributed in the course of their instruction. The College may request this information from employees at any time in in accordance with any internal College audits or where there may be a legal requirement to produce such records. 

6.6 Department Chairs

Department Chairs shall direct instructors and staff to consult with the Copyright Officer where questions regarding fair dealing arise.

6.7 Students

Students are expected to follow this Policy and the associated Fair Dealing Procedures. In particular, students have a responsibility to not further disseminate copied works provided to them by instructors and staff for instructional or educational purposes. 

7. Enforcement


Any College instructor, or staff member who breaches this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. 


Any College student who violates this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with College policy.


Any suspected violations of this Policy must be reported to the Copyright Officer for review, and further investigation as required by the appropriate College authority.

8. Review Period


This Policy will be reviewed and updated as required within five years of its approval date.

9. Related Documents

The Copyright Act

MGEU Collective Agreement

A10 – Intellectual Property and Copyright
IT1 – Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
S1 – Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities
S2 – Student Discipline

Fair Dealing Procedures
RRC Fair Dealing Tool

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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