Meeting of the CRTC-OLMC discussion Group
26 October 2021, 1:00 p.m. (EST)
- Juliana Trapolino, National Coordinator for section 41 of the Official Languages Act (OLA), welcomed all the participants and asked them to introduce themselves before speaking to facilitate the minute taking. She also reminded everyone that this meeting is bilingual and all participants are invited to express themselves in the official language of their choice.
- Véronique Lehoux, Official Languages Champion at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC or the CRTC), introduced the new co-champion Rana Dincoy. Véronique Lehoux also thanked everyone for attending this meeting and reminded the attendees of the importance to participate in the CRTC’s public processes and that this discussion group is not the place to comment as an intervener on any proceeding currently in front of the CRTC or address any proposed draft legislation. CRTC decisions are based solely on public records of proceedings.
- Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the CRTC, reiterated how important it to participate in the CRTC’s public proceedings as the CRTC’s decisions are based solely on the records of public proceedings. Ian Scott reminded the attendees that their participation is important to ensure the vitality of English-language and French-language minority communities and to help the CRTC develop policies that support their interests.
- Ian Scott also highlighted one recent update with regards to the second call for proposals under the Broadband Fund where the CRTC announced 12 projects in British Columbia, Northern Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan that will collectively receive over 80 million dollars in funding, benefiting 56 rural communities, 50,000 households and 6 official language minority communities. These projects will provide improved Broadband connectivity to these communities including schools, hospitals and libraries.
- Caroline Simard, Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting, highlighted the importance of the engagement of OLMCs in this discussion group and the positive impact their engagement has on our democracy. As a matter of fact, according to the CRTC’s self-identification system, from 1 April 2020 to 1 March 2021 313 people or organizations self-identified as an OLMC. She then proceeded to enumerate a few recent CRTC initiatives with a positive impact on OLMCs such as the publication of 15 TV license renewals with that grant credit to OLMC programming expenditures.
- After thanking Ms. Lehoux, Mr. Scott and Ms. Simard for their interventions, Juliana proceeded to the round table by inviting the participants to take turns. The complete list of participants is available in the appendix.
- Serge Quinty, Director of communications at la Fédération des Communautés Francophones et Acadiennes (FCFA), started by mentioning that his group was waiting for the CRTC’s decision on CBC’s licence renewals. Because there’s a lot of new OLMCs that are now part of this discussion group, M. Quinty suggested that this group should have objectives, an action plan and take measures like the group used to in order to support and equip the participation of OLMCs to CRTC proceedings.
- Barry Rooke from the National Campus and Community Radio Association emphasized the importance of the Broadcast Participation Fund for small and medium sized organizations and non-profits but the Fund is currently facing some struggles when it comes to funding.
- Carol Ann Pilon (Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada) took the opportunity to express her hopes that the amendments that were proposed during the C-10 process will be included in the new bill and she would like to know what are the consultation projects the CRTC plans before a new bill is passed and implemented.
- Clotilde Heibing (Agence Nationale de l’Industrie Musicale) reiterated Serge Quinty's wish to update this discussion group’s priorities and she proposed that the group could meet into smaller groups to work on more specific issues and that clarifications on the CRTC’s mandate would be beneficial for future discussions.
- Kirwan Cox, from the Quebec English-language Production Council, took his turn at the round table and started with the 25% credit for official language minority production as well as the 50% Indigenous credit. He explained that we now have three years of data on both the 25% bonus and the 50% indigenous production bonus. After looking at that information, Kirwan concludes that the indigenous bonus didn’t increase Indigenous production like it was intended. Kirwan pointed that in the case of the 25% minority language bonus, CORUS had zero official language minority production and Rogers had exceedingly little, so again, the bonus didn’t increase the production of OLMC content. Kirwan insisted on the fact that these bonuses were implemented in 2017 without any consultation with indigenous or official language minority groups and that it was an experiment that proved inconclusive. In the future, Kirwan expressed his hope that the CRTC will consult with the people who will be benefiting from these measures. He drew the groups’ attention to the fact that English language minority production has gone down over the years and that we can foresee it completely disappearing unless something is done.
- Juliana Trapolino announced that the CRTC staff has accepted Kirwan’s request to meet in order to discuss the production decline and that other OLMC communities who are concerned by this production decline are welcome to join this conversation.
- Marie Christine Morin, from la Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF), supports la FCFA in what was said earlier in the meeting and highlighted a few developments that the FCCF currently pays attention to: potential new legislation since Bill C-10, CBC/RadioCanada licence renewal and the revival of the broadcasting sector currently suffering from a workforce shortage.
- Nadia Imgharen, from la Fédération francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (FCCB), also wishes this discussion group to continue and for that we need to look at a new action plan and objectives.
- Pierre Sicard and Simon Forgues, from l’Alliance des radios communautaires (l’ARC), notice that some organizations share some common interests and that there’s therefore the possibility to regroup them together for future discussions. L’ARC also hopes that the CRTC will draw some lessons learned from the pandemic and will adapt its public proceedings in order to make the intervention process more accessible.
- Stephen Thompson, from the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), supports Kirwan in its earlier comments. Stephen also insist on not conflating English-speaking Quebec communities with the ones from English Canada. The Quebec English speaking communities represent a separate minority with its own culture. He explained that when CBC moved to Toronto during the pandemic it had a negative impact on local communities who want English local news. English speaking Quebeckers have access to English media but only very little that reflects them and their culture.
- Juliana thanked everyone for their participation in this discussion and proceeded to invite her CRTC colleagues to update the group on the publicly issued decisions and policies of the past 12 months that had an impact on OLMCs.
Publicly issued Decisions and Policies of the past 12 months
- Claude Brault, Senior Analyst in the Finance team, introduced the CRTC’s new English and French broadcasting production reports. For the first time the CRTC made public the production reports for several TV stations. These reports contain data on both official language minority communities and indigenous communities.
- Frédéric Janelle, Senior Analyst in Television, highlighted a recent CRTC decision with a positive impact on OLMCs. In the CRTC decision 2021-274, the CRTC has denied the Canadian Association of Broadcaster’s proposed relief for broadcasters relating to expenditure requirements. However, the CRTC has provided an extended period of time for Canadian broadcasters from the television and radio sectors to make up shortfalls incurred in the 2019-2020 broadcast year in subsequent broadcast years. In the CRTC's view, this measure represents an appropriate balance between providing flexibility to broadcasters and ensuring that the creative sector, which includes OLMC producers, and the system as a whole receive contributions in a timely manner.
- Carol Ann Pilon had a question for Claude with regards to the reports: how will the CRTC use the information in those reports to assess broadcasters' contributions to OLMCs?
- Claude Brault replied that to date, the data is not perfect but in general we use this information to inform ourselves and to prepare documents that go to the Commission for decisions.
- Daniel Pye, Director of Television Programming, highlighted the fact that we are currently talking about a space where we used to have virtually no data. Therefore, we will use this data to inform our recommendations to the Commission but as this data is not perfect yet, our goal is to continue to improve the surveys.
- Michel Murray, Director of Telecom Dispute Resolution & Regulatory Implementation, provided an update on the Broadband Fund. To this day, there have been project announcements in relation to two calls for proposals. The funding already announced by the Commission for broadband expansion will benefit at least six OLMCs. There are currently several more projects under evaluation. Michel also updated the group on the Northwestel Regulatory Framework Review. The first phase, a scoping exercise, was launched in 2020 and all comments have been received. Following the review of the submissions in the first phase, the Commission will, in the second phase, identify a more targeted scope of issues to be considered in the proceeding, which is expected to include a public hearing.
- Caroline Bédard, Team Leader in Communications, provided the group with an update on the Women in Production initiative. In 2018, the CRTC decided on the group and in 2019 an action plan was agreed upon. In 2021, participating broadcasters published their first-ever progress reports, next reports are due in 2022.
- Carol-Ann Pilon explained that, while l’APFC welcomes this initiative, in OLMCs there is often a shortage of skilled labor and behind the camera talent. Therefore there’s a need to think about how to help OLMCs achieve their goals on trainings, key initiatives such as Women in Production, professional development, etc. There are structural issues that impede progress such as the lack of French-language production schools outside of Quebec.
- Caroline Poirier, Manager for French-Language Radio Applications, went over some developments relevant to the group such as the Commercial Radio Policy Review for which interventions are currently under analysis and the next phase of the Co-Development of a new Indigenous Broadcasting Policy which will consist in a second public consultation. The radio sector also benefitted from new licences approved by the CRTC such as Mohawk Multi Media proposing to offer programming in both English and Mohawk, Radio Ntetemuk inc. proposing to offer programming in Innu, French and English, and the addition of a rebroadcasting transmitter in Bonnyville, Alberta for the Société Radio-Canada station CHFA-10-FM Edmonton and a new rebroadcasting transmitter for the community radio station CJRO-FM Carlsbad Springs, Ontario to serve the Sarsfield community. A total of 325 licences have been administratively renewed until 31 August 2023 and 46 of those are OLMC stations.
- Simon Forgues asked when the 2010 Campus and community radio policy would be reviewed. CRTC staff responded that this is not on the CRTC agenda at the moment.
- Serge Quinty asked about the administrative renewals of CBC/Radio-Canada to which the CRTC replied that an administrative renewal is just to keep the licences active. In this case the licences were renewed until 31 March 2022, until the CRTC can issue its renewal decision. The public proceeding is now closed.
- Carol-Ann Pilon asked if a draft bill is introduced before the CBC/Radio-Canada license renewal would have an impact on the licence renewals. Staff replied that the CRTC doesn’t have enough information on a potential new bill to speculate on possible impacts.
- Barry Rooke asked the group if anyone has used the Broadcast Participation Fund as a way to help cover costs as the fund itself has announced being short on funding and that it’s reducing the amount it is giving back to those who have submitted applications. He also asked what value the Fund has brought to the people in this group. Guy Rodgers, Interim Executive Director at the English Language Arts Network (ELAN), explained that ELAN was able to use the fund three or four times over the years.
- Kirwan Cox shared his view that the creation of the Broadcast Participation Fund was one of the most foresightful decisions the CRTC has made, it’s very helpful for a lot of people who have some difficulties gathering the resources in order to intervene. He shared his hopes that the CRTC will be able to find funds for the Broadcast Participation Fund.
- Véronique Lehoux wrapped up this meeting by first responding to Serge Quinty’s suggestion. She expressed planning on first contacting Serge to co-create a new triennial plan for this discussion group. She also mentioned some possible changes to the group’s discussions such as a full day of discussions with sessions focused on specific matters.
- In her closing remarks, Vice-Chairperson Simard addressed Carol-Anne Pilon’s comments on the CRTC’s initiatives on gender equality. Caroline Simard recognised that the CRTC’s initiatives on gender equality are inefficient without some ground work, for instance addressing the workforce shortage the industry is suffering from since the beginning of the pandemic or offering further professional development opportunities, however this is outside the CRTC’s mandate. Carol-Ann Pilon understood Vice-Chairperson Simard explanations but reiterated that it’s difficult for producers to fulfill their quotas without the structural issues being addressed.
- Vice-Chairperson Simard concluded this meeting by expressing her support to the idea of having a triennial plan, thanking Stephen Thompson’s for his comment to not conflate Quebec Anglophones and Anglophones form English Canada, as well as Kirwan Cox’s for his constructive critiques that were duly noted.
List of participants
- Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC
- Caroline Simard, Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting, CRTC
- Véronique Lehoux, Director General, Communications and External Relations, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Rana Dincoy, Director, Intelligence analysis, Compliance and enforcement, CRTC
- Juliana Trapolino, National Coordinator, Section 41 of the OLA, and analyst Strategic Policy and International Affairs, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Caroline Poirier, Manager, French-Language Radio Policy and Applications, Broadcasting, CRTC
- Soniya Mukhedkar, Director, Strategic Policy and International Affairs, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Grace Angkasa, Analyst, Strategic Policy and International Affairs, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Emily Kestle, Decisions writor-editor, Decisions, Secretary General Office, CRTC
- Michel Murray, Director, Dispute Resolution & Regulatory Implementation, Telecommunications, CRTC
- Frédéric Janelle, Senior Analyst, French-language television, Broadcasting, CRTC
- Hélène Tremblay, Team Leader, Communications and external relations, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Pierre-Louis Prégent, Senior Policy Analyst, Distribution Regulatory Policy, Broadcasting, CRTC
- Marie-Lyse Lavallée, Senior Analyst, TV Policy and Applications, Broadcasting, CRTC
- Noémie Lebel, Legal counsel, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Claude Brault, Senior analyst, Financial analysis, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Daniel Pye, Director, Television programming, Broadcasting, CRTC
- Caroline Bédard, Team Leader, Strategic Communications, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Pamela Toniolo, Manager, Planning, Consumer, Research and Communications, CRTC
- Nathalie Piché, Analyste principale, Direction générale des langues officielles, Patrimoine Canada
- Serge Quinty, Directeur des communications de la Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes (FCFA)
- Guy Rodgers, Interim Executive Director at the English Language Arts Network (ELAN)
- Barry Rooke, Executive Director, National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA)
- Carol Ann Pilon, Executive Director, Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC)
- Clotilde Heibing, Executive Director, Agence nationale de l’industrie musicale (ANIM)
- Kirwan Cox, Executive Director, Quebec English-language Production Council (QEPC)
- Marie Christine Morin, Executive Director, Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF)
- Manon Henrie-Cadieux, Special Advisor, Government Relations and Partnerships, Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF)
- Nadia Imgharen, Communications Coordinator, Fédération francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (FCCB)
- Cali Ramsey, Executive Director, On Screen Manitoba
- Pierre Sicard, Executive Director, l’Alliance des radios communautaires (l’ARC)
- Simon Forgues, Communications Director, l’Alliance des radios communautaires (l’ARC)
- Stephen Thompson, Director, Government Relations, Policy and Research, Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN)
- Date modified: