Wholesale Code

The Wholesale Code goes into effect 22 January 2016.

What does this Mean for You?

All Licensees

As of 22 January 2016, if you are engaged in negotiations to renew an affiliation agreement that is within 120-days of the expiry date, you must refer the matter to the Commission for dispute resolution. In addition, for any lapsed or expired agreements, you must refer to the Commission for dispute resolution.

Licensed Programming Services

You should apply for the following condition of licence, requiring adherence to the Wholesale Code, as soon as possible:

Licensed Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings (BDUs)

You must start filing copies of your affiliation agreements 10 days after their execution.

How to File Affiliation Agreements?

Submit executed affiliation agreements via GCKey. Clearly identify each as an "affiliation agreement" and mark as "confidential".

How to File a Request For Dispute Resolution?

Request staff-assisted mediation, final offer arbitration, or an expedited hearing via GCKey. Clearly identify the nature of your dispute and state the rationale for the chosen dispute resolution mechanism. Requests for staff-assisted mediation can be filed directly by email.

What if Negotiations are Going Well, and We Don't Need Dispute Resolution?

You must still request dispute resolution. However, if both parties agree that negotiations are progressing well, you can write to us setting out the reasons why you believe Commission involvement is not required at the time. Address your request to "Senior Manager, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Broadcasting" via GCKey or by email, quoting file number "ADR-120."

What is the Wholesale Code?

On 24 September 2015, the Commission issued The Wholesale Code. It sets out provisions that govern the commercial arrangements between broadcasting undertakings and should be consulted during negotiations. The Commission will apply the Wholesale Code in resolving broadcasting related disputes.

Broadcasting Order 2015-439 requires each licensed BDU to:

Accordingly, all licensed programming services should apply for the condition of licence, requiring adherence to the Wholesale Code, as soon as possible.

In addition, starting 22 January 2016, parties must request dispute resolution from the Commission 120 days before the expiry of any affiliation agreement. Parties that are negotiating lapsed or expired affiliation agreements, or some other form of agreement, must also request dispute resolution from the Commission.

Further, as of 22 January 2016, all licensed BDUs must file copies of any affiliation agreements to which they are a party within 10 working days following the execution of the agreement. Exempt BDUs may choose to do so.

Q & As

Does the Wholesale Code apply to me?

If you are a licensed undertaking, the Code is legally binding on you. If you are an exempt undertaking, or a U.S. Service, the Code applies as a guideline.

Do I have to change my existing affiliation agreements? / What do I have to do now?

Existing affiliation agreements only have to be changed if they conflict with the Code (e.g., if they contain clauses that prevent pick-and-pay, or MFN clauses).

When do I have to file for mandatory (120-day) dispute resolution?

Where parties are negotiating expired or lapsed agreements, or other forms of agreement, they must file for dispute resolution on 22 January 2016, which is the date the Wholesale Code comes into effect.

After that, you must file for dispute resolution 120 days before the expiry of your agreement (e.g., for an agreement expiring 31 August 2016, you must file by 3 May 2016).

How do I file for mandatory dispute resolution?

Address 120-day filings to "Senior Manager, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Broadcasting" via GCKey, quoting file number "ADR-120".

Where can I get more information on the Commission's approaches to dispute resolution?

Refer to Information Bulletin 2013-637. Or for the different dispute resolution mechanisms, refer to the Webguide on DR.

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