Fair Dealing Policy

Today's Hours: 8am - 10pm - All service hours

Updated: October 13, 2023

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.

  1. The “dealing” must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act: research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody. Educational use of a copyright-protected work passes the first test. 
  2. The dealing must be “fair.” In landmark decisions in 2004 and in 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance as to what this test means in educational institutions. 

This Fair Dealing Policy, developed by Universities Canada, applies fair dealing in non-profit universities and provides reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court decisions. 


  1. Teachers, instructors, professors and staff members in non-profit universities 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 or parody. 
  2. Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright-protected work for the purpose of news reporting, criticism or review must mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work. 
  3. A copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected 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 the university 
    • as part of a course pack 
  4. A short excerpt means: 
    • up to 10% 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 
    • provided that in each case, no more of the work is copied than is required in order to achieve the allowable purpose. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Considerations for copying or communicating works that exceed the limits in this Fair Dealing Policy may be referred to the Copyright Officer for evaluation. An assessment of whether the proposed copying or communication is permitted under fair dealing will be made based on all relevant circumstances. 
  7. Any fee charged by the university for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work must be intended to cover only the costs of the university, including overhead costs. 
  8. Copying or communicating from licensed electronic resources is governed by the terms of the University’s licenses with the vendors and publishers of those resources. If there is a conflict between the terms of such a license and the terms of the Fair Dealing policy, the terms of the license will prevail.  

The Copyright Act’s fair dealing exception may also cover some types of copying that are not described in this Fair Dealing Policy. See Evaluating whether your use of a work is fair dealing for more information or check with the University’s Copyright Officer at fairdealing@uoguelph.ca

Other sources of permission (including permission from a copyright holder) may be required for copying that falls outside of the fair dealing exception. See also this related U of G policy: Acceptable Use of Online Resources.

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: lib.a11y@uoguelph.ca