The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) renewed until August 31, 2018, the licences of the English- and French-language television and radio services of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The CRTC has examined the CBC’s five-year plan, “Strategy 2015: Everyone, Every way,” which sets out the means by which the CBC intends to fulfill its mandate under the Broadcasting Act. The CRTC supports the emphasis placed by the CBC in this plan on national programming and regional reflection, and has taken note of the CBC’s strategy regarding its presence on digital platforms.
“All Canadians will continue to receive the quality services they expect from their national public broadcaster”, said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “In the ever-changing media landscape, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will continue to play a key role for the vitality of Canada’s French- and English-language culture, throughout the country.”
With respect to national programming, Canadians will continue to receive a wide and diverse range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains. Among other measure, the CRTC requires CBC television services to broadcast Canadian drama, comedy and documentaries, as well as award shows celebrating Canadian creative talent. Moreover, the CRTC recognizes the important role the CBC plays in the lives of young Canadians by requiring the broadcast of 15 hours of children’s programming per week in each language.
Regarding regional presence, Canadians will be reflected in local programming in each of the markets where the CBC is present. National news broadcast on the radio and on television will be required to take Canadian regions into account and promote respect and understanding between them.
As for the CBC’s digital media strategy, Canadians will continue to have access to leading-edge digital content from their national public broadcaster. The CRTC is aware of the groundbreaking technological changes that have taken place since the last renewal of the CBC’s licences in 2000, as well as those that will no doubt take place before the end of the new licence term in 2018. Those changes have an impact on how Canadians expect to receive content from the public broadcaster.
Canadians living in official language minority communities (OLMCs), both in English- and French-language communities, have noted the importance of the CBC’s programming for their development and vitality. The CRTC has instituted positive measures in the form of conditions of licence which, taken as a whole, will ensure that the CBC provides services to OLMCs that will reflect their realities and meet their specific needs. These requirements include:
- a balanced schedule;
- specific levels of programming reflecting OLMCs;
- independent productions produced in OLMCs;
- specific levels of local programming in the markets that serve OLMCs;
- the reflection of OLMCs in information programming;
- balanced news programming;
- consultations with OLMCs; and
- stricter reporting requirements.
The CBC requested permission to gradually include national advertising on its Radio 2 and Espace Musique radio networks, up to an unlimited quantity during the fourth year of its licence term. The CRTC partially granted this request by allowing advertising to be broadcast on these services for a limited three-year period. The networks may not broadcast more than four minutes of advertising per broadcast hour. In order to minimize the impact on their listeners, the advertising broadcast will have to be consolidated in a maximum of two blocks each hour.
At the end of the three-year period, if the CBC wishes to continue to broadcast advertising on Radio 2 and Espace Musique, it will have to submit a new application to the CRTC. The CBC will have to demonstrate that the advertising has not had an undue adverse effect on advertising markets, that listeners have not been unduly inconvenienced by the advertising, that the level of investment in radio broadcasting has been maintained, and that there has been no reduction in the variety and diversity of programming provided by the Radio 2 and Espace Musique services.
The CRTC is requiring that the CBC be more accountable to Canadians by codifying the presence of, and the process for nominating, CBC ombudsmen. The ombudsmen are responsible for examining complaints from citizens regarding the news, current affairs and public affairs content broadcast on the radio, television or digital media.
Today’s decision follows a proceeding that included a public hearing, which was held from November 19 to 30, 2012. The CRTC received more than 8,000 interventions during this public proceeding.