The CRTC and Official Language Minority Communities
As a Canadian institution, the CRTC is required under section 41 of the Official Languages Act (OLA) to ensure that positive measures are taken to enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada, to support and assist their development and to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.
A key aspect of this is ensuring that the Canadian broadcasting system reflects the linguistic duality of Canada and that the needs of both French and English linguistic minority communities are met.
An example—CBC licence renewal requirements
As an example of how the CRTC ensures that the needs of OLMCs are met, here are the requirements that Canada’s national public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), has to meet in the coming years.
Conventional television requirements
For its conventional television stations, the CRTC requires that the CBC:
- Broadcast programs originating from and reflecting OLMCs as a component of a balanced programming schedule
- Ensure that its television networks reflect OLMCs in their national news and information programming
- Broadcast at least five hours per week of local programming for the French-speaking OLMCs located in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Moncton
- Increase its levels of local programming to 14 hours per week for the English-speaking OLMC served by the CBC’s Montreal station, with one hour of that devoted to non-news local programming
- Devote a portion of expenditures to programming from Canadian independent producers in the French-speaking OLMCs located in the Atlantic region, Ontario, Western Canada and the North, as well as broadcast programming from these regions each week
- Allocate a portion of its expenditures on Canadian independent production and on programming development to English-language production in Quebec
Specialty television requirements
For its specialty television services, the CRTC requires that the CBC:
- Receive mandatory distribution on the digital basic package for both its news services: RDI in Anglophone markets for French-speaking communities, and CBC News Network in Francophone markets for English-speaking communities.
- Reflect the concerns of each of the principal French-language regions of Canada on RDI, with at least one-third of original programs and program segments each year coming from those regions
- Devote a portion of ARTV’s programming budget to acquisitions from independent producers outside Quebec
For its radio services, the CRTC requires that the CBC:
- Ensure that its radio networks reflect OLMCs in their national news and information programming
- Broadcast 15 hours of local programming per week on the French-language radio service serving the city of Windsor, Ontario
In addition, the CRTC requires that the CBC must:
- Hold formal consultations with OLMCs at least once every two years
- Report to the Commission on measures taken to meet the needs of these communities
- Provide the CRTC with the results of surveys on the perception of OLMCs on how CBC services are reflecting their needs and realities
- Report annually to the Commission on all programs that are produced in OLMCs and/or that offer reflection of these communities
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