Copyright and Fair Dealing Reference Materials for Principals and Teachers - 2019-20

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 provided the dealing is “fair.” 

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 Web site to assist teachers in complying with the copyright law: This Web site features a fair dealing decision tool that enables teachers to quickly determine whether they can use specific materials in their lessons. This Web site 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: 

  1. Mention the website at a staff meeting and encourage all teachers to visit the site and view the related materials
  2. Ensure the Fair Dealing Guidelines and Consumables posters are placed near photocopiers and printers
  3. Post the Notice regarding available copyright reference resources in the staff room and/or main office


Reference materials:

  2. A Cover Letter for Principals
  3. A Principal Meeting Script
  4. A Blog Template
  5. Consumables Poster
  6. Fair Dealing Poster
  7. Template Email to Teaching Staff

Reference materials provided by the Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).