Minutes of the 15th meeting of the OLMC-CRTC Discussion Group

Date: October 12, 2016

1. Opening remarks by Frédéric Janelle, Senior Analyst, French Language Television

Frédéric Janelle introduced himself and welcomed the in-person and teleconference participants.Footnote 1 He explained that Renée Gauthier was absent and he would be replacing her as meeting chairperson. Frédéric stated that he was proud of the quality of the upcoming presentations, particularly the presentations about MAtv and UNIS advisory committee operations.

He added that television licence renewals for large ownership groups could not be discussed, since those are presently in front of the Commission.

2. Approval of the minutes of the March 23, 2016, meeting

The discussion group approved the minutes of the March 23, 2016, meeting.

3. Remarks by Scott Hutton, Executive Director, Broadcasting and Official Languages Champion

Scott Hutton explained that the year had been very busy on the broadcasting front: The CRTC had issued many decisions and several important proceedings were in the works. His message to the discussion group members was to be creative and present various options to the panels appearing before the Commission in order to maximize the impact of their interventions and improve the odds that one of their options will be accepted.

He gave an overview of the impact of Let’s Talk TV, in particular the basic packages and the small 10-channel packages. He indicated that the Commission recently examined several issues, including local programming and Canadian content. He added that the CRTC is going through its own planning cycle to determine what will be prioritized in the coming years.

Scott Hutton shared his thoughts on several current issues. For example, digital platforms are taking on increasing importance. How can we respond to these changes? What should we do about the new advertising modes? Should we reduce the regulatory burden? We are looking for innovative approaches to tackle these challenges.

Scott Hutton wondered how we can ensure Canadian content remains on-screen when there are no more broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs). How can we adapt to the Internet? He pointed out that the CRTC organized the Discoverability Summit precisely to seek answers to some of these questions.

In reply to a question from René Savoie about the broadcast of local programming on TV as a result of the Let’s Talk TV policy, Scott Hutton explained that the CRTC is helping create local news through the creation of a fund to support independent local television services. However, this is a “Band-Aid” solution and we need to find a better way to ensure the sustainability of local news on conventional regional television.

Scott noted that the Local Program Improvement Fund (LPIF) used to allow local programming as well as local news. He explained that the public told the CRTC, during the Let’s Talk TV proceeding, how important local news is and, as a result, the CRTC announced the establishment of the new Independent Local News Fund (ILNF) to support independent local news production.

René Savoie stated that the producers of local programming are penalized as a result. Scott Hutton explained that the ILNF focuses on regions outside the major centres to ensure maximum impact for communities.

4. Discussion Concerning the CBC

Serge Quinty pointed out that the CBC admitted to a parliamentary committee that only 4% of the $75 million recently granted by the government to the CBC was dedicated to French-language productions outside Quebec. He said that this does not translate into a lot of local programming, and that they are skeptical of the CBC’s promises.

Jean-Claude Bellefeuille said he had attended the CBC’s annual meeting and that no numbers had been given. The situation seems bleak, since they do not have a lot of commitments from the CBC. He said that Association des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC) had asked for 6% during the renewal hearings, but the CRTC did not listen to them and there were few gains for French-language OLMCs.

Serge Quinty said that the noon programs on CBC stations in the four western provinces had been dropped. The shift to digital was resulting in service cuts. The CBC said they would do something else for those communities, but did not specify what that would be. Scott Hutton asked if the CBC’s new platforms are serving OLMCs well.

Serge Quinty said they have no particulars concerning Strategy 2020. Their impression is that the CBC does not treat the regions and Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) the same way they do the major centres. Benoit Henry explained that few platforms reflect their reality. It would be important to impose quotas to ensure a proper reflection of the Canadian reality.

To close the discussion on the CBC, Scott Hutton mentioned that the CBC and SRC licences (TV and radio) expire August 31, 2018.

Frédéric Janelle introduced Jean-Pierre Lefebvre, Manager, TV Policy and Applications.

5. Presentation of the Policy framework for local and community television

Jean-Pierre Lefebvre presented the Policy framework for local and community television recently published by the CRTC.

Frédéric Janelle thanked Jean-Pierre Lefebvre and asked if there were any questions or comments.

Guy Rodgers indicated that Videotron now allocates 20% of its airtime to English-language programming in Montreal. Guy Rodgers noted that the CRTC gave BDUs a lot of flexibility in the policy on local and community television, which would, in theory, allow Videotron to change its support of Montreal’s English-language community. He asked how the CRTC would react if this should change as a result of the new policy.

Scott Hutton explained that nothing in the new policy on local and community television would prevent a BDU from transferring funds allocated to community television from one city to another in the same service area. However, the CRTC trusts the BDUs to be good corporate citizens and spend money where needed.

Kirwan Cox submitted that Montreal’s Anglophone population has fewer than one million people and that, as a result, the CRTC should consider this Anglophone OLMC market a moderately sized market, not a metropolitan market.

6. Policy framework for Certified Independent Production Funds (CIPFs)

Tina-Louise Latourelle, Senior Analyst, TV Policy and Applications, gave a presentation on the policy framework for Certified Independent Production Funds.

Summary

Jean-Claude Bellefeuille asked how the member of the board of directors who would be in charge of OLMC information would be appointed. He asked what mechanism would be put in place. He expressed some skepticism and asked how to go about ensuring that OLMCs are protected. He also asked why the CRTC had refused to impose a minimum percentage of projects aimed at OLMCs.

Scott Hutton explained that the CRTC decided to intervene and take positive measures for OLMCs, because previously, there was no protection for them in the former independent fund policy framework. He said that the CRTC was opening the doors to see how CIPF operators would ensure that they understand the realities of OLMCs, and that this was a start. He explained that for the moment, there was no specific mechanism in place for appointing board members. An individual would be appointed to each board of directors of each CIPF, and that person would be responsible for following up in the annual reports submitted to the CRTC and ensuring that OLMC representation and issues were taken into account.

Frédéric Janelle noted that it was a positive step forward, as the previous CIPF policy did not even mention OLMCs and CIPF operators had no obligation toward them.

René Savoie asked if they would be given the list of board members in charge of studying OLMC realities. Michael Craig explained that the list of members for each CIPF’s board would be available in the annual reports and that in the meantime, they could communicate directly with the CIPF operators. Similarly, Frédéric Janelle strongly urged participants to work together and suggest the names of individuals who could sit on CIPF boards and to communicate directly with the operators to help them select candidates.

N.B.: The list of CIPFs and contact information for resource persons is attached.

Kirwan Cox said that there were serious problems with the policy and that the new CIPF policy had changed the CRTC’s overall approach to OLMCs. He cited the example of OLMC quotas imposed on the CBC/SRC and others. OLMC quotas were requested at this hearing, and are not found in the new CIPF policy..

He said that while the CRTC thought of this as a step forward, in his opinion it was the opposite because there were no concrete OLMC obligations. Without clear minimum production requirements, he doesn’t think there will be a demonstrable increase in OLMC production. He expressed the hope that the CRTC and Canadian Heritage were aware of this problem.

Frédéric Janelle said that one cannot compare between the SRC/CBC decision, which was a licence renewal (TV/radio) and only applied to that licensee, and the CIPF policy, which applied to a group of industry players. Apples should be compared with apples. The new CIPF policy had no impact on the CBC/SRC’s licensing conditions.

Frédéric Janelle confirmed that yes, this was a step forward for OLMCs, as there had been nothing for them in the previous policy and that now they had something tangible. CIPF operators would have to report to the CRTC and have a person designated as responsible for OLMC issues sitting on each CIPF’s board of directors.

7. Upcoming public proceedings

Frédéric Janelle introduced Michael Craig, who presented the upcoming public proceedings that might have an impact on OLMCs in the television industry.

Michael Craig was replacing Peter Foster, Director, Television Sector, who was unable to attend.

Michael listed the upcoming television proceedings that might be of interest to OLMCs:

Frédéric Janelle then asked Lynne Asselin if there were any upcoming proceedings in the radio sector.

Lynne Asselin said there would be licence renewals for SRC and Sirius XM Canada. She notes that there is a new SRC radio transmitter in Banff.

Regarding the SRC radio transmitter in Banff, Serge Quinty said that the Francophone community had been pushing for the installation of a transmitter for ten years, because the SRC signal could not be received in Jasper National Park, as well as in several places in Alberta. The Francophone community saw the installation as a victory to be proud of.

8. Presentation by MAtv

Frédéric Janelle introduced the MAtv guests: Steve Desgagné, Isabelle Larin, Jean-Guy Proulx and Anne Julien and invited them to give their presentation.

Steve Desgagné shared MAtv’s experience with Montreal’s Anglophone community. He explained that MAtv puts an emphasis on local talent.Since September 2015, 20% of MAtv’s programming is in English and 20% of its productions are also in English . He explained the early stages of the bilingual MAtv service and the challenges it has faced.

Isabelle Larin talked about MAtv’s programming. She noted that MAtv wants to be Montreal’s accessible and representative television station. MAtv runs advertising campaigns to gain exposure and to urge Montrealers to take part in MAtv by submitting program proposals or by participating behind or in front of the camera as volunteers. MAtv receives approximately 300 projects annually, many of which are submitted to the advisorycommittee. The advisory committee is made up of nine members. A presentation on the various shows produced by MAtv and the screening of a MAtv promotional video completed Ms. Larin’s presentation.

Jean-Guy Proulx gave a presentation about the volunteer component of MAtv. He explained that volunteers are very closely supervised and undergo several weeks of training. The volunteer satisfaction rate is 95%. MAtv has 70 French-speaking and 25 English-speaking volunteers.

Steve Desgagné feels that the advisory committee is very important when it comes to choosing programming. Its members meet about six times a year. The advisory committee has also facilitated partnerships with Montreal’s various communities. Although it is not a decision-making body, MAtv follows most of its recommendations.

Carol-Ann Pilon asked how MAtv managed to fund English-language projects. Steve Desgagné explained that it had been decided that 20% of MAtv’s productions would be dedicated to English-language programming and 20% of its schedule would be devoted to English-language programming.

Frédéric Janelle asked if there were other places in Canada with bilingual community programming, to the participants’ knowledge. Serge Quinty said it existed in Moncton, on the Acadian Peninsula, and in Bathurst, Edmundston and Grand Falls, New Brunswick. He said that French-language community television was not very common outside of Quebec. Nicole Matiation said that in Manitoba, French-language community radio was far more common.

9. MAtv advisory committee

Frédéric Janelle introduced Guy Rodgers and Fortner Anderson, members of MAtv’s advisory committee.

Guy Rodgers explained how Vidéotron agreed to take part in an English-language community station project and how the English Language Arts Network (ELAN) had been integrated into MAtv’s advisory committee.

Fortner Anderson explained how, through tenacity, Montreal’s English-language OLMC had experienced phenomenal success with broadcasting 20% of MAtv’s programs in English. The Anglophone community is reflected on MAtv’s airwaves, something that did not exist before, and the community is very pleased.

Advisory committee members are chosen by Vidéotron, which also sets the rules of operation and holds final authority. That said, Fortner Anderson emphasized that Vidéotron was an exemplary corporate citizen, which deserved to be underscored. In his opinion, MAtv’s advisory committee was a success.

However, there were a number of challenges and threats to “Anglophone” MAtv’s future: funding could disappear. The money available could be used to produce local news under the new CRTC Policy framework for local and community television, released earlier this year. He felt there was a risk that the committees would become increasingly fragile over time. In conclusion, Mr. Fortner felt that MAtv had created a very strong committee that accurately represented Montreal’s community.

Marie-Claude Doucet asked how long it took from the committee’s setup until it reflected Montreal’s Anglophone community. Fortner Anderson said it had taken about a year.

Frédéric Janelle asked how many times the committee met per year and how things worked. Fortner Anderson said that the committee met six times a year and provided its opinions on station issues, programming, etc.

Isabelle Larin explained that this was helping them make great strides. They want to represent diversity as a whole, and the committee was a great help in that regard.

10. Presentation by TV5\Unis

Frédéric Janelle introduced Marie-Philippe Bouchard, CEO of TV5/Unis, and invited her to give her presentation.

Marie-Philippe Bouchard explained that this was Unis’s third year of operation and that the station was reaching its cruising speed. She explained the missions and regulatory obligations of TV5/Unis, whose purpose is to cultivate the identity of French-speaking citizens nationwide.

TV5/Unis does not produce any in-house programming and is consequently closely linked to independent producers from the French-language OLMCs. TV5/Unis is a service with one licence but two French-language television stations. The stations broadcast programming from a number of different French-speaking countries worldwide, including a portion that is produced here, by independent producers. TV5 broadcasts 15% Canadian content and Unis 85%.

Unis is a French-language channel that offers programming that connects Francophone communities nationwide. Unis’s objective is to reflect these communities throughout the country.

She explained that the advisory committee’s role was to support management in selecting television content to ensure that programming was high-quality and reflected the diversity of Canada’s French-language communities. The members came from across Canada and represented all the regions of the country, which did pose a challenge for meetings.

Jean-Claude Bellefeuille congratulated them on the excellent work done with the new Unis channel. He said they had worked closely with independent Francophone producers from outside Quebec. He asked what kind of relationship TV5/Unis had with the CBC. Marie-Philippe Bouchard explained that dialogue had already been opened with the CBC and that they wanted to act as partners rather than being in competition with them.

11. Unis advisory committee

Frédéric Janelle introduced Marie-Claude Doucet, Unis advisory committee member, and invited her to give her presentation.

Marie-Claude Doucet explained that the first two years of the advisory committee’s existence had been difficult. It had taken some time for mutual trust to be established and for the members to clearly understand their role. She explained that at the most recent meeting, the advisory committee members had received a lot of information in advance to ensure the committee meeting was as productive as possible.

Marie-Philippe Bouchard explained that the last three Unis advisory committee positions filled had been appointments made on the recommendations of regional office teams. Her goal was to convince current advisory committee members to continue sitting, given their invaluable experience on the committee.

Frédéric Janelle asked who the members were, exactly. Marie-Philippe Bouchard said she would provide a list of advisory committee members.

Marie-Philippe, if you could please provide us with the list. Thank you. Frédéric

René Savoie was happy to hear Marie-Claude Doucet’s comments, as he had heard that a number of Unis committee members felt they hadn’t found their place within the committee. The situation had clearly changed for the better, and he was pleased to hear it.

Frédéric Janelle said that one of the purposes of this CRTC-OLMC discussion group meeting was to obtain this type of information, which was important to know but difficult to obtain. He noted that the CRTC had not imposed any criteria on the creation of an advisory committee and trusted TV5/Unis management to ensure the committee operated smoothly. Frédéric Janelle was happy to hear that the Unis advisory committee was playing its role to the fullest and was made up of competent, committed representatives from the community.

12. CRTC-OLMC data sub-committee

Nicole Matiation explained the history behind the data sub-committee’s creation. The committee’s goal was to obtain access to more of the CRTC’s financial data about OLMCs. The sub-committee had had a number of discussions with Commission staff in recent months, but in the end, the committee’s requests had been denied.

Frédéric Janelle explained that the CRTC-OLMC sub-committee had also sent a procedural request to the CRTC as part of the large ownership group television licence renewal public proceedings in order to obtain more financial information about OLMCs. The Commission had denied the request because it felt that sufficient information was available in the public file.

Frédéric Janelle also explained that to provide this type of information would demand a disproportionate amount of work from the industry. This in a context where federal government organizations were generally being asked to cut out the red tape imposed on businesses.

During the conversation that followed, Frédéric Janelle suggested to the representatives of independent producers in the discussion group that they directly ask their own members to provide the financial data and share the information amongst themselves.

Jean-Claude Bellefeuille explained that they did indeed have the numbers in‑house, but that they were linked to confidentiality agreements. (Question by telephone) asked if it would be possible to make an access to information request to obtain the information requested by the data sub-committee. Frédéric Janelle explained that it would not be possible, as there were no existing reports on the data, since the CRTC did not ask the industry for the information. The Access to Information Act contained no requirement for federal organizations to create new documents, just to share those already in existence.

Frédéric Janelle thanked everyone. The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

IN PERSON

VIA TELECONFERENCE

GUESTS (in person)

CANADIAN HERITAGE

Geneviève Postolec, A/Director, Interdepartmental Relations and Accountability, Official Languages Branch

Amélie Pruneau, Manager, Interdepartmental Relations and Accountability, Official Languages Branch

LIST OF TV5/UNIS ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

CRTC

List of CIPFs and Resource Person Contact Information

Cogeco Program Development Fund

Eligible productions include dramatic television series, weekly movies and two-part mini-series for prime-time broadcast in English or French.

Resource persons

Andra Sheffer
Executive Director
Cogeco Program Development Fund
2 Carlton St, Suite 1709
Toronto, ON
M5B 1J3
Tel.: 416-977-1762
Fax: 416-977-0694
info@ipf.ca

or

Claire Dion
Assistant Director General
Cogeco Program Development Fund
4200 St. Laurent Blvd, Suite 503
Montreal, QC
H2W 2R2
Tel.: 514-845-4334
Fax: 514-845-5498
Email: fipinfo@ipf.ca

Quebecor Fund

The Quebecor Fund encourages the production of projects that involve both:

The Quebecor Fund is currently managing two programs, namely:

Resource persons
Serge Thibaudeau, Chief Executive Officer
Julie Guénette, Program Coordinator
www.fondsquebecor.ca
1030 Cherrier St, Suite 503
Montreal, QC
H2L 1H9
Tel.: 514-842-2497
Fax: 514-524-9192

Remstar Fund

The Remstar Fund supports the creation, production, distribution and promotion within Canada of new artistic and cultural works of all kinds for broadcast on television and other media and digital platforms, particularly the production of music videos and Canadian programs that showcase musical talent in all its forms.

Resource person:
Luc Doyon, President
355 St Catherine St West, Suite 100
Montreal, QC H3B 1A5
514-284-2222

Rogers Documentary Fund

Provides financial support for Canadian documentaries in both official languages.
Rogers Cable Network Fund
Provides equity financing for first-play cable network Canadian programs.
For these two funds, contact:
Robin Mirsky
Executive Director
Rogers Documentary Fund and
Rogers Cable Network Fund
Rogers Communications, Inc.
333 Bloor St East, 9th Floor
Toronto, ON
M4W 1G9
Tel.: 416-935-2555
Fax: 416-935-2527

Bell Fund

Supports the development and production of multi-platform digital and television projects. The television component is a drama series, variety show, documentary, lifestyle or children’s/youth program.
Resource persons:

Nancy Chapelle
Director General
Bell Fund
2 Carlton St, Suite 1709
Toronto, ON
M5B 1J3
Tel.: 416-977-8154
Email: info@bellfund.ca

or

Claire Dion
Assistant Director General
Bell Fund
4200 St Laurent Blvd, Suite 503
Montreal, QC
H2W 2R2 
Tel.: 514-845-4418
Email: info@bellfund.ca

Shaw Rocket Fund

(Formerly the Shaw Television Broadcast Fund)

Provides equity financing for the production of television shows intended for children, youth and families. Fiction and non-fiction programs are eligible, including series, pilots, special presentations, documentaries, variety shows, animated programs and films. Preference is given to productions in French, English and aboriginal languages.

Resource person
Agnes August
President
Shaw Rocket Fund
630 – 3rd Avenue Southwest, Suite 900
Calgary, AB
T2P 4L4
Tel.: 403-750-4517
Fax: 403-750-4635

Independent Production Fund

Supports the production of Canadian drama series, including drama series for children, and is intended for private broadcasters.

Resource persons:

Andra Sheffer
Executive Director
Independent Production Fund
2 Carlton St, Suite 1709
Toronto, ON
M5B 1J3
Tel.: 416-977-8966
Fax: 416-977-0694
Email: info@ipf.ca

or

Claire Dion
Assistant Director General
Independent Production Fund
4200 St Laurent Blvd, Suite 503
Montreal, QC
H2W 2R2
Tel.: 514-845-4334
Fax: 514-845-5498
Email: fipinfo@ipf.ca

Small Market Local Programming Fund

To help independent small market television stations identified in Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2003-37 fulfill their commitments to local programming.

Annual Reports: 2003-2004 | 2004-2005 | 2005-2006 | 2006-2007 | 2007-2008 | 2009-2010 | 2010-2011

Resource person:
Pierre-Louis Smith
Vice-President, Policy, and Chief Regulatory Officer
Policy and Regulation
Canadian Association of Broadcasters
306 - 350 Sparks St
Ottawa, ON
K1P 5S2
Tel.: (613) 233-4035
Fax: (613) 233-6961

Harold Greenberg Fund

Supports the production of films in English and French, as well as documentaries, musical programs, special events and French-language music videos.
Resource persons:

Harold Greenberg Fund
BCE Place
181 Bay St
P.O. Box 787
Toronto, ON
M5J 2T3
Tel.: 416-956-5431
Fax: 416-956-2087

or

Odile Méthot
Chief Executive Officer
Harold Greenberg Fund
2100 St Catherine St West
Suite 900
Montreal, QC
H3H 2T3
Tel.: 514-939-5094
Fax: 514-939-1515

TELUS Fund

The TELUS Fund finances the creation of content showcasing social and technological innovations in the field of health and well-being.

Contact information
4535 Canada Way, 3rd Floor
Burnaby, BC
V5G 1J9
Email: info@fondstelus.ca
Website: http://fondstelus.ca/

Nova Scotia Independent Production Fund

The Nova Scotia Independent Production Fund, via the Eastlink TV Independent Production Fund, supports the production of Canadian animated and/or live action series.

Resource persons:

Nova Scotia Independent Production Fund
c/o Nova Scotia Business Incorporated
Mike Queripel
Manager, Business Funding
1800 Argyle St, Suite 701
P.O. Box 2374
Halifax, NS
B3J 3E4

Tel: 902-424-7897
Email: filmapplication@nsbi.ca
Website: www.novascotia.com/eastlink

or

Nova Scotia Independent Production Fund
a/s Nova Scotia Business Incorporated
Linda Wood
Senior Account Manager, Film & Television
1800 Argyle St, Suite 701
P.O. Box 2374
Halifax, NS
B3J 3E4

Tel: 902-424-7181
Email: filmapplication@nsbi.ca
Website: www.novascotia.com/eastlink

Saskatchewan Film and Video Development Corporation (SaskFilm)

Provides assistance to the film, video and new media industries in Saskatchewan to optimize quality, quantity and the market value of products and resources.
Eligible projects include made-for-TV movies, mini-series, dramatic short films, animated productions, children’s programming, documentaries, educational, experimental and variety programming, non-cinematographic films and television shows.

Contact
Susanne Bell
Director, Programs and Services
Saskatchewan Film and Video Development Corporation
1831 College Avenue
Regina, SK
S4P 3V7
Tel.: 306-798-3457
Fax: 306-798-7768

Telefilm Canada

The Fund has two components: one to fund the first original works of young film-makers and ensure the innovative distribution of their projects. The other component supports the productions of established film-makers in addition to ensuring greater international promotion and distribution.

Resource person:
Jean-Claude Mahé
Director, Public and Governmental Affairs
Telefilm Canada
360 Saint Jacques St. West, Suite 600
Montreal, QC H2Y 1P5
Telephone: 514-283-0838, ext 2022
Fax: 514-283-2365
jean-claude.mahe@telefilm.ca

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