Minutes of the 18th meeting of the CRTC-OLMC Discussion Group

March 26, 2018, 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

SRT Room, 7th Floor, CRTC, 1 Promenade du Portage, Gatineau

  1. Welcome

    Frédéric Janelle, National Coordinator for section 41 of the Official Languages Act (OLA) and Senior Analyst, French-Language Television, TV Policy and Applications (CRTC), welcomed all the participants and asked them to introduce themselves.

  2. Round table: participant introductions

    Each of the participants in the meeting room and those attending via teleconference introduced themselves in turn. A complete list of participants is appended.

  3. Approval of the minutes of the meeting held on October 26, 2017

    The minutes of the October 26, 2017, meeting of the OLMC-CRTC were approved.

  4. CRTC proceedings of interest (closed for comments) since the last meeting in October

    • Pierre-Louis Prégent, Senior Analyst, Broadcasting (CRTC), explained that a decision would be published by May 31, 2018, regarding the renewal of the broadcasting licences for terrestrial broadcasting distribution undertakings – CRTC 2017-160.
    • Pierre-Louis said that a notice of consultation would be published in the coming months regarding the renewal of other distribution services whose licences will be expiring soon.
    • Frédéric reminded participants that, as usual, we notify OLMCs when there are files of interest to them.
    • Michael Craig, Manager, English Television Applications, Broadcasting (CRTC), explained that the Commission is reviewing files regarding the reconsideration of decisions relating to the licence renewals for the television services of large English- and French-language private ownership groups (CRTC 2017-428 and CRTC 2017-429).Footnote 1
    • Michael said that the Commission is also reviewing a file regarding the Governor in Council’s request for a report on future programming distribution models – CRTC 2017-359. The Commission will submit its report by June 1, 2018.
    • Michael explained that for the moment, there have been no announcements regarding the proceeding surrounding the call for applications for a national, multilingual multi-ethnic television service offering news and information programming (call for applications) – CRTC 2017-154. The discussion group will be informed when there is new information.Footnote 2
    • Kirwan, Executive Director, Quebec English-Language Production Council, asked whether the Commission had received responses for data from foreign over-the-top services concerning CRTC 2017-359. Michael explained that Commission staff could not say whether any information was received by the CRTC from foreign OTTs or not.
    • Michael explained that the Commission will hold an appearing hearing on April 30, 2018, regarding applications for the renewal of services with mandatory distribution on the basic service pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting ActCRTC 2017-365. Frédéric added, for information purposes, that the Commission received over 35,000 interventions in support of the application by TV5/Unis, demonstrating Canadians’ interest in this proceeding.
    • Frédéric explained that the Commission is currently reviewing applications for the renewal of broadcasting licences for independent discretionary and conventional television services (i.e. those not belonging to a large group such as Bell, TVA or Rogers) – CRTC 2017-183. There are about fifty services whose licences are being renewed – both conventional and discretionary television services. At this point in the proceeding, there are no real issues associated with OLMCs, except maybe for conventional television station Télé Inter-Rives, which has a local antenna in New Brunswick.

    Frédéric asked if there were any questions.

    • Kirwan asked whether we know when the decision regarding the renewal of services with mandatory distribution (CRTC 2017-365) will be published.
    • Michael explained that the Commission generally issues its decisions a few months after the public hearing. Frédéric added that the hearing was an appearing hearing, so the licensees and the interveners appear before the Commission. The licensees can also submit a written reply at the end of the hearing, adding a delay and a certain level of complexity.
  5. Upcoming CRTC proceedings

    • Frédéric said that when there is news regarding the above-mentioned application, the group members will be notified.
    • Frédéric recalled that CBC/SRC has been renewed until August 31, 2019 (CRTC 2017-269), and that there will be nothing new for the next year.
    • Michael explained that the intervention deadline for the application by FairPlay (regarding the issue of Internet piracy) is the week of March 26, 2018. To date (March 26, 2018), approximately 9,000 interventions have been received. The Commission already received a request to extend the deadline, which was granted. The Commission will make a decision as soon as possible, but because the record is very complex, it cannot provide a date.
    • Frédéric explained that two services, Historia and Série+, will be purchased by Bell (CRTC 2018-95) for $200 million – $20 million in tangible benefits.
    • Carole-Ann Pilon, Director General, Alliances des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC), asked whether there was any news regarding the FCFP’s application to the CRTC for a review of the exemption order. Michael confirmed that the application had been received, and said that he would check its status. He asked Frédéric to follow up with the group members.
    • Sébastien Robillard, CRTC Senior Radio Analyst, gave an overview of OLMC radio stations whose licences were renewed in 2017. He mentioned that there were four stations whose licences were renewed, and all four had performed very well in terms of complying with the Commission’s regulatory requirements. With respect to licence renewals in 2018, there is only one OLMC radio station: Aboriginal station Kahnawake CKKI.
    • Sébastien said that the renewal application by satellite radio station Sirius XM would be published shortly.Footnote 3 He added that an application by CBC/SRC, regarding English-language radio station CBC Radio One in Québec, to increase the coverage contour of its transmitter in Chandler, has been published. The deadline for comments is May 3, 2018.
    • Michel Murray, Director, Dispute Resolution and Regulatory Implementation, Telecommunications, explained that the proceeding for the development of the Commission’s broadband funding regime, also called the Broadband Fund,Footnote 4 is now closed, and the Commission is in the process of analyzing the file. He added that a decision should be published by the end of the year.
  6. Financial information provided by CBC/SRC for their next licence term and modifications to information generally collected from licensees by the CRTC

    • Frédéric recalled that there had been informal exchanges with SRC/CBC over a year previously regarding this issue, but there were no formal discussions. However, he added that a few months ago, when he was in Winnipeg for the All Access event organized by On Screen Manitoba, he had spoken with Marco Dubé, the new Director General of Regional Services for Société Radio-Canada. Frédéric noticed a difference in SRC/CBC’s attitude.
    • Carol-Ann said that for a long time, she has been explaining to SRC/CBC interveners that it is important to have reliable data to provide a true portrait of a situation in order to properly intervene during licence renewals, and in order to provide proper support during licence renewals. She said that communication is moving along. The fact that SRC/CBC will soon be up for renewal is changing their perspective. They are beginning to realize that we do not want data for the purpose of giving slaps on the wrist, but rather to be able to recognize efforts on the independent production side.
    • Frédéric asked Kirwan whether he had any news. Kirwan answered that, as he had explained last time, he had asked SRC/CBC to submit information every year on OLMC production. They had responded that they do not have an obligation to do more than they provide to the CRTC, and will provide only the information they must provide by order of the Commission.
    • Carol-Ann added that when she was in Winnipeg, she had spoken with Dr. Caroline Simard, CRTC Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting, regarding at what point it is essential to have data on OLMCs. The information helps the communities better participate in CRTC public proceedings, rather than having to make the calculations themselves without being certain that they have the right numbers.
    • Caroline Bédard, CRTC Senior Analyst, Financial Data, explained that a committee had been established to analyze various financial data that the Commission can collect from licensees. She explained that the committee’s current priorities are to review renewals for large English- and French-language television groups. After that, the intention is to review the financial forms that licensees are required to complete. She concluded by saying that consultations with stakeholders will begin soon.
    • Kirwan asked whether it is possible to receive proposed amendments to the CRTC broadcaster forms so that comments can be submitted. Frédéric recalled that Scott Hutton, Executive Director, Broadcasting, and Official Languages Champion, had sent a letter to the group sub-committee, which focuses on data, stating that OLMCs would be consulted on the issue and would have the opportunity to provide input.
    • Kirwan also said that it would be important to find a way to include Aboriginal stakeholders in the discussions, including Aboriginal Anglophones in Quebec and Aboriginal Francophones outside Quebec. He mentioned the Indigenous Screen Office. Caroline took note of this important suggestion.
  7. Ideas for the next meeting

    • Frédéric proposed funds supporting OLMC production as the theme of the next meeting. He suggested Factor and Music Action for the radio side and the Canada Media Fund (CMF) for the television side. The CMF has a specific envelope for Anglophone and Francophone OLMCs. Frédéric said that he would also like to invite a certified independent production fund, and discuss the new Blockchain technology. He had the opportunity to attend a very interesting presentation by Télévision française de l’Ontario (TFO) regarding their pilot project. He would like to invite them to the next CRTC-CLOSM meeting to try to anticipate the impact on musicians, creators and other OLMCs.
    • Serge Quinty, Director, Communications, Fédération des communautés francophones du Canada, said that he had attended a presentation about Blockchain. He believes that it is a futuristic technology that would be very interesting to explore, but that it may take several presentations to fully understand the technology, because the subject is very complex. All the participants agreed that it was a good idea to invite TFO to the next meeting.
    • Frédéric asked if there were any other suggestions. Barry, Executive Director, National Campus and Community Radio Association, mentioned that the Community Radio Fund of Canada might be interesting, because it also supports OLMCs.
    • Carol-Ann said that the Cogeco fund was just replaced by a new fund, and that it might be interesting to invite them.
    • Frédéric said that organizing meetings takes a great deal of time, because it is difficult for the representatives of several organizations to meet at the same time, but that it is worth the effort because it makes the meetings more interesting. He recalled that he always tries to have at least one member of senior CRTC management attend the meeting.

    Frédéric adjourned the meeting and thanked all of the participants. He informed the members that the next meeting will be held in October 2018.

List of Participants

By teleconference

In person

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