Wow... I really need to visit more often eh? O.o
The levy basically is a stupid fee tacked on to recordable CDs and audio cassettes which is collected by the CPCC and in theory distributed to recording artists (minus working expenses for the CPCC, which has on at least one occasion included a big trip to Europe to better understand THEIR levies...). I do know that money is being distributed, through my own personal contacts in the recording industry who have received payment... but it's really only useful if you're a huge mega-star artist. The system they use for dividing the money is pretty weighted on popularity.
The concept of the levy is that CD-R/RW and cassette tape media is routinely used for private copying of music, and the levy is there to re-imburse artists for the loss in revenue from this private copying.
Businesses and non profit organizations can apply to get a levy-zero rated certificate number, and distributors (such as my workplace) are able to register to sell media levy free, as long as you jump through some serious accountability/reporting hoops (our system is fairly automated, we are lucky... actually we're told our system is the best in Canada!
Another important point is that the levy was recently increased to $0.29 per CD-R, from $0.21. Making the levy now anywhere from 100% the cost of a CD-R, to 200% the cost of a CD-R.... excluding premium CD-Rs meant for archiving and such of course.
The next step for the CPCC is to put a levy on flash based recordable media. Current plans include levying SD, MS, and I believe CF also. Because (at least the first 2) can be used in MP3 players. Some effort into levying harddrives of various sorts is also being looked into.
Thank You Sheila Copps and the (previous) Liberal Government for this wonderful system you have put in place for all Canadians.
Punch Cards -> Paper Tape -> Tape Drive -> 8" Floppy Diskette -> 5 1/4" Floppy Diskette -> 3 1/2" "Flippy" Diskette -> CD-R -> DVD±R -> BD-R
The Progression of Computer Media