At the end of last school year, when we sat down to talk about what we wanted The Varsity to look like, we found ourselves looping back to the same idea again and again. All across our masthead, we were talking about how to shake off the proverbial ivory tower mantle that always seems to creep into The Varsity’s image, and how to make it a more involved community for everyone who contributes to it. We like this place! We want The Varsity to feel more open and be more accessible; a place where more writers, readers, and artists can see into our process and be a part of it. We want to be a visible part of the school community.

As it turns out, being visible this year has become even more necessary than expected. On June 22, Bill C-18, or the Online News Act, received royal assent. The bill requires “digital news intermediaries,” such as Google and Meta, to compensate news companies for displaying those companies’ news content. A week later, Google announced it would pull news from Google Search and its other platforms. Meta followed suit on August 1, announcing Canadians wouldn’t be able to share or view news content on their platforms. 

So that’s going to hurt.

In fact, it already has. If you look up The Varsity’s main account on Instagram, you’ll likely see a graphic that says, “People in Canada can’t see this content.” The content on our Facebook page, which was the central hub of The Varsity’s online presence back in the day, has been blocked. Within the next few months, we can expect to disappear not only from Google’s News Showcase and Discover, but also from its search engine results.

Here’s how you’ll still be able to reach us: go to us directly. We will continue to update our online homepage at, of course — bookmark it, save it, burn it into your memory, do whatever you have to do to keep the news on your radar. You’ll be able to access our site directly on any browser. 

We all know how hard it is to juggle staying informed as students, too, but we’ll do our best to make it easy. We’re always going to be accessible the old-fashioned way, on paper: you’ll be able to pick up our papers all year across all three campuses. We’re also revamping our newsletters so that you can curate the updates you want delivered directly to your inbox.

In the meantime, we’re working on a bunch of new things. We’re going to increase our campus presence, especially in the fall — if you see us at an orientation event, say “hi!” — and you’ll be seeing us more in your inbox this year. We’re doubling down on our social media accounts that are still operative, like TikTok, YouTube, and X. We’ll be building up an individual social media presence for specific sections of the paper, like our twice-a-year magazines. If you’re interested in contributing to our post-C-18 plan, we’ve put out a survey about how you use social media to access our news; check out the QR code!. It’s linked in the online version of this letter because we’re courteous and thoughtful that way.

We at The Varsity have been reading up on this bill ever since it’s been announced, and on how the bans might affect our ability to communicate our coverage. We’ve been creating backup plans on top of backup plans to make sure we can still get the news to you. But we’re still going to have to make some big asks of all of you. We’ll need your help to deal with these new content restrictions. Without us popping up in your Instagram feed or in your Google queries, if you still want to get coverage of campus affairs, you’re going to have to seek us out explicitly.

Still, as long as this continues to be an issue, we’re going to continue to work on new solutions. And even beyond that, we’re going to keep innovating. Our goal is always, and has always been, to provide a platform for all of you to read, learn, and speak about the things happening on campus that are important to you. We love The Varsity, and we care about the work we do here — but we don’t do it alone. We put in long hours and all-nighters for you and for the work you’re doing to advocate and change and discover things on campus.

And if you’re interested in being part of our Varsity community, welcome! We’re always happy to have new volunteers. We’re working hard to make this place more accessible and welcoming for all of you. Depending on when you’re seeing this, you can come to one of our tabling events in the next two weeks or our open house from September 18–21, where you’ll be able to meet our team and learn more about the inner workings of The Varsity

Throughout the year, we also plan to host major events like our biannual art galleries, where artists from the U of T community can share and sell their pieces. We’ll run regular training events and co-working hours, where you can work on your passion projects and get to know other members of our community.

None of us knew what we were doing when we first started out, and sometimes we still feel that way. So don’t be afraid to approach us! Everyone at this school has a story; we’re here to help you tell yours.

We’re looking forward to a wonderful year working together with all of you.

How to find The Varsity news coverage