Fair dealing is an exception under the Copyright Act (Section 29) that allows an individual to, within limits, reproduce works without permission or payment. To qualify for fair dealing two tests must be passed.
Test #1: Is the dealing for one of these broad purposes as set out in the Copyright Act?
Test #2: The Copyright Act and the Supreme Court of Canada (CCH vs Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC13) has provided a six-factor test for determining whether a particular use or dealing is fair. These 6 factors are:
It can often be tricky to determine whether something you want to do falls within fair dealing. This quick guide sets out the steps you should take and the factors you should consider. Ultimately, it will depend on your particular circumstances and you have to make a judgment call as to whether your use can be classified as “fair”.
If you have any doubt, you should ask for permission. If the work is a library-licenced electronic resource, the permissibility of your use is determined by the terms of the licence.
Are you using the work for the purpose of:
Yes - Continue to step 2
No - Check whether use is covered under:
|Nature of the Dealing||Less fair||More fair|
|Character of the dealing||Widely distributed/repetitive||Limited distribution/one-off|
|Importance/amount of work copied||Entire Work/Significant excerpt||Limited/trivial amount|
|Effect of dealing on the original work||Competing with original work||No detriment to original|
|Nature of the work||
Non-copyright works available
Unpublished/in public interest
No alternative works
|Available alternatives||Not necessary for purpose||Necessary to achieve purpose|
Fair dealing flowchart by the University of Waterloo Copyright Advisory Committee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Chart adapted from the Fair dealing flowchart by the University of Waterloo Copyright Advisory Committee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.