ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1988-13

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 29 January 1988

Public Notice CRTC 1988-13

Guidelines for Developing Industry-Administered Standards

For related documents: Public Notices CRTC 1986-182 dated 1 August 1986 "Regulations Respecting Broadcasting Receiving Undertakings"; CRTC 1986-248 dated 19 September 1986 "Regulations Respecting Radio Broadcasting"; CRTC 1987-8 dated 9 January 1987 "Regulations Respecting Television Broadcasting"; CRTC 1987-9 dated 9 January 1987 "Guidelines for Developing Industry Standards"; and CRTC 1987-205 dated 15 September 1987 "An Approach to Industry-Administered Standards: A Broadcast Council"

As part of its overall regulatory reform process, the Commission recently undertook a fundamental review of its broadcasting regulations with a view to eliminating all but the essential regulations necessary to achieve the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.

As a result, industry and related groups are now encouraged to assume greater responsibility in such areas as subliminal advertising, advertising in newscasts, promotions, quizzes and lotteries. In addition, the Commission expects the parties concerned to assume greater responsibility for improvements in the broadcasting system, particulary with respect to social issues of public concern. In the current context, this could relate to such matters as violence and the content of programming directed to children.

In the Commission's view these objectives can best be achieved by means of a combination of activities, including the development of industry standards to deal with these issues.

Accordingly, in Public Notice CRTC 1987-9 dated 9 January 1987, the Commission requested public comment on a proposed set of guidelines for developing industry standards. These guidelines were intended to assist in the development of a consistent approach for setting standards.

In response to the public notice, the Commission received 30 submissions from various interested parties including government representatives, industry-related groups and members of the public. Many emphasized that the setting and amending of standards should be accomplished through a fair and open public process. Some also indicated that the public and other interested parties should be afforded an opportunity to make their concerns known at each stage of the process.

Other concerns expressed in these submissions related to the need to ensure compliance and enforcement, both with regard to sanctions and corrective action. Some indicated a need for an appeal process, while others asked how licensees who did not subscribe to the standards or who did not belong to the group applying the standards would be affected.

Subsequently the Commission issued Public Notice CRTC 1987-205 dated 15 September 1987, asking for public comment on a proposed system for industry standards submitted by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters which included a proposal for a National Broadcast Standards Council. Comments that addressed only those aspects of the Council which were set out in that public notice will be dealt with by the Commission at a future date in a separate public notice.

Having considered the comments received in response to Public Notices CRTC 1987-9 and CRTC 1987-205, and following its own deliberations on the matter, the Commission has established a revised set of guidelines to assist in the development of industry standards which would apply only in the following circumstances, namely where:

1. the Commission requests a particular broadcasting sector to develop an industry standard and indicates that Commission acceptance should be received; or

2. a licensee or related industry group submits a standard and requests the Commission's acceptance.

Accordingly, having concluded its process of consultation with respect to the Guidelines for Developing Industry Standards, the Commission hereby issues the following revised guidelines:

1. in developing the proposed standard, the industry should address the concerns which the Commission would indicate had led it to request that a standard be developed, and state the purpose or purposes of the standard. Such purpose might be to sensitize or educate members of the industry and the public, to serve as a guide in any pre-clearance process, to improve programming content, to deal with social issues or respond to complaints;

2. the industry should define the type of standard to be developed, specify to whom the standard will apply, and establish the means and criteria for achieving the standard;

3. the industry should describe in some detail the extent of the public participation in establishing the standard and making significant amendments, how the standard will be administered, what sanctions will apply and what corrective action will be taken in the event of non-compliance, and any appeal process associated with it;

4. the Commission will wish to be satisfied that the industry standard and any amendments to it have been developed pursuant to a fair consultative process. Moreover, where the Commission has so indicated, it will wish to be satisfied that members of the public are involved in deciding whether the standard has been met;

5. the industry standard and any subsequent amendments to it should be submitted to the Commission for acceptance;

6. a report dealing with the progress of the licensees in applying the industry standard, including the disposition of any complaints, should be submitted to the Commission on an annual basis.

Fernand Belisle
Secretary General

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