ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2000-218

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

Decision CRTC 2000-218

See also: 2000-218-1

Ottawa, 6 July 2000

Trinity Television Inc.
Fraser Valley Region British Columbia –199911938
21 February 1999 Public Hearing
in Vancouver
New religious television station for the Fraser Valley
The Commission approves an application by Trinity Television Inc. for a new religious television station to serve the Fraser Valley Region of British Columbia. The station’s programming will be primarily Christian in orientation, but the licensee will also broadcast 18  hours of programming each week that will reflect other perspectives and religions.


The Commission, by majority vote, approves the application for a broadcasting licence for an English-language television programming undertaking to serve the Fraser Valley Region of British Columbia, on channel 66 with an effective radiated power of 18,000 watts.


Subject to the requirements of this decision, the Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 2006. This licence will be subject to the conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.


The licence will only be issued and effective when the undertaking is ready to begin operation. When the licensee has completed construction and is prepared to commence operation, it must advise the Commission in writing. If the undertaking is not constructed and ready to operate within 12 months of today’s date, extensions to this time frame may be granted provided that the licensee applies in writing to the Commission before the 12-month period or any extension of that period expires.
The public process


At the 21 February 2000 public hearing in Vancouver, the Commission considered five applications to serve the Vancouver/Victoria extended market, which includes the Fraser Valley Region.


The Commission initiated the process for dealing with these applications after it received an application from CFMT-TV, a division of Rogers Broadcasting Ltd., for a new television station in Vancouver. Consistent with its practice, the Commission issued Public Notice CRTC 1999-101 calling for applications from other parties wishing to obtain broadcasting licences to provide television service to the Vancouver/Victoria area.


The application by Trinity Television Inc. (Trinity), which is being approved in this decision, was received in response to the Commission’s call for applications. Trinity is a not-for-profit corporation and is registered as a charitable institution with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Trinity proposed to establish a religious television station to serve the Fraser Valley Region. The Commission is satisfied that this new station, which will rely heavily on donations and payments from program producers to support its programming, and which projects modest audience levels and advertising revenues, will not affect the financial viability of the commercial television stations operating in the market.


The Commission also received four applications to establish new commercial television stations to serve the Vancouver/Victoria market. In Decision CRTC 2000-219 issued today, the Commission approved an application by CHUM Limited for a new commercial television station located in Victoria. The other three applications to establish new commercial television stations were denied.
The new station


The applicant proposed to establish a television station that would broadcast only religious programming, as defined in the Commission’s Public Notice CRTC 1993-78 Religious broadcasting policy. A condition of licence to this effect is set out in the appendix to this decision.


At the hearing the applicant indicated, in response to interveners, that it would not change the station’s orientation so that it would compete more directly with the market’s commercial stations, stating:

We hope to do programming that will be appealing to the marketplace, absolutely, but they will be religious programs and they will meet the criteria of religious programming as set out by the CRTC. We are committed to that. Absolutely.

Balance in programming


Trinity has a strong track record in the production of Christian programming. Licensees of over-the-air stations devoted to religious programming are, however, obligated to expose their audiences to different points of view on religious matters.


This obligation flows from the Broadcasting Act (the Act). The Act specifies that the programming offered by the Canadian broadcasting system should provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern. The Commission generally takes the view that balance will be achieved where, within a reasonable period of time, a reasonably consistent viewer or listener is exposed to a spectrum of views on issues of public concern. The Commission set out guidelines for achieving balance in religious programming in Public Notices CRTC 1993-78 and 1996-152.


The licensee expressed a strong commitment to provide a balanced service. At the hearing, Mr. Albert Lo, who will serve as Trinity’s Director of Programming Balance, stated:

…my role will be to ensure that our station provides a fully balanced religious broadcasting service that will satisfy both the letter and the spirit of the religious broadcasting policy. This commitment to freedom of expression, balanced by tolerance, is one that we sincerely give to you.


In order to achieve this objective, the licensee will broadcast 18 hours of programming each week that will provide religious perspectives that will be different from the station’s primary Christian orientation as well as differing views on the issues and events discussed during its primary programming. At least 15.5 hours of such programming will be original, first-run programming and at least 12.5 hours of this programming will be broadcast during peak time, that is, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. The Commission has included, in the appendix to this decision, conditions of licence requiring the licensee to adhere to these commitments, as well as to the guidelines on ethics set out in Public Notice CRTC 1993-78.


The licensee will broadcast two types of programming that provides balance to the views presented in the station’s programming that presents a Christian viewpoint. First, Trinity will present approximately 7.5 hours per week of faith-specific programming produced by individual non-Christian groups. These programs will include presentations from the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh perspectives and be broadcast on weekdays between 9:30 and 10 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


As well, Trinity will produce a number of issue and event-oriented programs that will examine various issues from a variety of religious perspectives. The licensee stated:

Programs in this category will be produced from an impartial, objective viewpoint and will primarily be in the form of topical call-in programs or documentaries. By optimizing opportunities for interaction, viewers will be able to hear and evaluate points of view not otherwise heard through the programming day on CFVT, or anywhere else.


Further, the licensee will establish a balance committee to oversee all balance programming that it will broadcast. This committee will initially include five individuals from five different major faith groups, although it may eventually be expanded to include representatives from additional faith groups. The applicant indicated that it was not its intention to have more than one Christian on the committee, stating that representation on the committee is limited to one representative of each faith group.


The Commission is satisfied that Trinity’s initiatives will meet the requirements for balanced programming set out in the Act and in the Commission’s Religious Broadcasting Policy.
Canadian programming


At the hearing, the licensee made a commitment to provide "...a strong, vibrant new element to local Canadian content. We will reflect the local community of Fraser Valley and contribute to the development of a distinct, balanced, religious television industry that will truly contribute to the identity of Canadians."


The licensee indicated that it would devote at least 60% of the broadcast day and at least 80% of the peak period (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) to Canadian programming.


Trinity made a further commitment to spend 40% of its annual gross revenues on Canadian programming, and to spend more than $100,000 on script and concept development over the first seven years of its operations. The Commission expects the licensee to adhere to these commitments.


Canadian programming that the licensee produces locally will be supplemented by approximately 22 hours per week of programming produced at its Winnipeg production studio. Trinity has been involved in television production in Winnipeg since 1976, and various stations situated in different regions of Canada now broadcast some of its programs.
Programming for children and youth


The licensee has indicated that it will broadcast 6.5 hours of programming each week targeted to children between the ages of 2 and 11, and 8.5 hours a week of programming for those between 12 and 17. The Commission expects the licensee to fulfil these commitments.
Other matters
Employment equity


In Public Notice CRTC 1992-59 dated 1 September 1992 and entitled Implementation of an Employment Equity Policy, the Commission announced that the employment equity practices of broadcasters would be subject to examination by the Commission. In this regard, the Commission encourages the licensee to consider employment equity issues in its hiring practices and in all other aspects of its management of human resources.
Closed captioning


In line with its commitments, the Commission requires the licensee to caption at least 90% of all programming by the end of this licence term.
Industry codes


As proposed by the licensee, the Commission is imposing conditions of licence requiring that the licensee adhere to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) codes relating to gender portrayal, advertising to children and violence in television programming.


The Commission acknowledges the interventions submitted concerning this application and has considered all of them in reaching its decision.
Related CRTC documents

• Public Notice 1999-97Building on success – A policy framework for Canadian television

• Public Notice 1996-152Introductory statement to decisions CRTC 96-773 and 96-774 - Denial of applications for broadcasting licences to carry on new, religious television programming undertakings at Toronto and Hamilton/Burlington, Ontario

• Public Notice 1993-78Religious broadcasting policy

Secretary General
This decision is to be appended to the licence. It is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be examined at the following Internet site: 

Appendix to Decision 2000-218

Conditions of licence

1. All programming broadcast by the licensee shall be religious programming as defined in the Commission's Religious Broadcasting Policy as set out in Public Notice CRTC 1993-78, as may be amended from time to time.

2. The licensee shall broadcast a minimum of 18 hours per week of balance programmming. At least 12 hours of such programming shall be broadcast between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., and at least 15.5 hours of weekly balance programming shall be original first-run programming. Balance programming is programming devoted to providing differing views on issues and events presented during the station’s primary programming, which addresses matters from a Christian perspective, and includes the presentation of different religions.

3. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on ethics set out in Public Notice CRTC 1993-78, as may be amended from time to time.

4. The licensee shall broadcast no more than 12 minutes of advertising material per hour, including solicitation. For clarification purposes, this condition applies to all regular programming as well as all brokered or "paid to air" programming.

5. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on the depiction of violence in television programming set out in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.

6. The licensee shall adhere to the provisions of the CAB’s Broadcast Code for Advertizing to Children, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.

7. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on gender portrayal set out in the CAB’s Sex-Role Portrayal Code for Television and Radio Programming, as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.

Dissenting opinion of Commissioner Cindy Grauer
I would not license Trinity Television Inc. for a religious station to serve the Fraser Valley.
According to the record of the proceeding there is little evidence of demand for this service, save nine letters of intervention, a survey conducted by Trinity of 2,419 of their supporters and one intervenor who appeared at the hearing. This stands in stark contrast to the support shown on the record for the other applicants.
With respect to local programming, Trinity made very modest commitments the specifics of which are not noted or enshrined as conditions of licence. Surely local demand and local programming are important considerations when licensing a local service.
A broadcast licence is a privilege, particularly when it is awarded as a result of a competitive hearing and the licensee serves a large metropolitan area like Vancouver where broadcast spectrum and analogue cable carriage are scarce.
Trinity, licensed to serve 750,000 people in the Fraser Valley, is entitled, because of the CRTC’s access rules, to be carried on basic cable on Vancouver area cable systems and be available to two million people in B.C.’s lower mainland.
The reasons listed by the Commission for awarding this licence to Trinity are that it meets the requirements of the religious policy, has a strong record as a Christian broadcaster and that it will not affect the revenues of the existing conventional broadcasters because it is not-for-profit.
This station is NOT not-for-profit. Trinity has been awarded a license to operate a commercial television station. All revenues will go to that not-for-profit organization.
This application was considered at a hearing where five competitive applicants were heard. The criteria against which the applications were to be measured were identified in both the Public Notice and in the opening remarks at the hearing. The contributions made by this applicant in respect of the criteria identified were considerably less than all the other applicants.
Trinity has committed to spend 40% of its revenues on Canadian programming, which could be considered self-serving given that Trinity is a producer of Christian programming.
The privilege of a broadcast license should be reserved for services for which there is significant demonstrated demand unless a compelling public interest case can be made. This is not the case with respect to Trinity.
I would not have licensed this service.


Date modified: