|Canadian Football Act|
|Parliament of Canada|
|Introduced by||Marc Lalonde|
|Status: Not passed|
The Canadian Football Act (1974), also known in its long title as An Act respecting Canadian Professional Football, was a proposed Act by the Parliament of Canada in April 1974 designed to give a government-protected monopoly over professional football in Canada to the Canadian Football League (CFL). Although it was never signed into law, the move by the government eventually compelled the World Football League's Toronto Northmen to move to the United States as the Memphis Southmen. The spectre of the Act was again raised when John F. Bassett, the owner of the Northmen/Southmen franchise, proposed a United States Football League franchise for Hamilton, Ontario, in 1983.
In 2007, there was speculation that a similar act would develop if the National Football League attempted to expand to Toronto and thus threaten the Canadian league's existence. Such an act would likely still allow for an NFL team to play in Canada in an NFL preseason game and the CFL's off-season; thus allowing for a Canadian city to host the Super Bowl if the NFL decided to host their premier event in a stadium far from an NFL city.
It is also unlikely that any future Act will be passed to affect American college football, such as the NCAA and NAIA, who have or have had teams based in Canada (Simon Fraser University being the lone NCAA member in Canada) and bowl games hosted in Canadian cities, with no opposition, in part because the CFL draws some of its players from American college teams (and, in the case of bowl games, because their December and January scheduling is well after Canadian university football ends its season).
- Designated C-22.
- Introduced by the Minister of Health, Marc Lalonde.
- Claimed it would protect the Canadian Football League, would allow the CFL to grow and develop its own distinct character
- Of the mayors of the nine CFL cities at the time, only three were against the Canadian Football Act. They were the mayors of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, also the biggest cities of Canada then and now, with two of them hosting teams from leagues that played a different code of football. Montreal played host to one of the World League of American Football teams, the Montréal Machine, in the early 1990s after their CFL team folded in the late 1980s. Toronto were hosts to an Arena Football League team for two seasons, the Toronto Phantoms.
- After the bill passed second reading in the House of Commons of Canada, it was given to the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, where it effectively died after the Northmen moved to Memphis.
- Clause 6 in the Act stated that no person that owns, operates, or manages a team in a league foreign from the CFL shall play in Canada. Subsection 2 stated that no player or member of the said team shall play in Canada, therefore if the bill passed and became law, it would effectively kill teams like the Northmen.
These facts were gathered from the actual debates held in the House of Commons from April 10 to April 28, 1974.
- List of football teams in Canada
- Canadian cultural protectionism
- National Football League in Toronto