ARCHIVED - Circular No. 444

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Ottawa, 7 May 2001


To all licensees of radio programming undertakings


Practices regarding radio non-compliance


Each year, the Commission processes numerous licence renewal applications, including those relating to radio stations. This circular clarifies how the Commission deals with the licence renewals of radio stations that have been found in apparent non-compliance with the provisions of the Broadcasting Act, the Radio Regulations, 1986 or the conditions of their licence.


The Commission assesses the compliance of radio licensees with requirements set out in the Broadcasting Act (the Act), the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the regulations) and in conditions of licence through the complaints process or on its own initiative pursuant to its compliance monitoring plan. The compliance record of each station during a licence period is usually reviewed at the time that the Commission considers the renewal of the station's licence. When a station is found to be operating in compliance, the Commission normally renews the licence for a term of seven years, subject to its regional licence renewal plan and considerations related to its workload.


Non-compliance most often occurs with respect to requirements regarding logger tapes, the level of Canadian music broadcast and, for French-language stations, the level of French-language vocal music selections. Requirements related to logger tapes are set out in sections 8(5) and 8(6) of the regulations, while those related to levels of Canadian and French-language vocal selections are found within section 2. Stations can, however, be in non-compliance with other requirements.


When analyses of stations are performed, the Commission affords each the opportunity to comment in writing on the preliminary results. When apparent non-compliance is observed for the first time in relation to a station, the Commission notes that observation in the Public Notice that calls for public comment on the renewal of the licence. Since the licensee has been given an opportunity to comment on the findings of apparent non-compliance through correspondence and to specify the measures that will be put into place to ensure future compliance, the licensee is usually not asked to appear at a public hearing. The station normally is granted a short-term licence renewal, generally for four years, to permit a further review of its compliance within a reasonable period of time.


The procedure is different where a licensee is already operating under a short-term renewal due to non-compliance during the previous licence term and is found to be in apparent non-compliance during the current licence term, or where a licensee is found in apparent non-compliance twice during a full licence term. In these situations, the Notice of Public Hearing calling for public comment on the renewal of the licence mentions the nature of the non-compliance and generally specifies that the licensee is expected to show cause why a mandatory order should not be issued pursuant to section 12(2) of the Act. As well, the licensee is generally called to appear at a public hearing to discuss the problem.


Based on the evidence filed or heard, the Commission may issue a mandatory order requiring the fulfilment of any requirement after it has considered an instance of apparent non-compliance with that requirement. A mandatory order may become an order of the Federal Court or any superior court of a province when the Commission files the order with the court. The mandatory order then becomes enforceable in the same manner as orders of the Court. According to the Federal Court Rules, anyone who disobeys an order of the Court may be found guilty of contempt of court, and may be subject to a financial penalty.


If the Commission is fully satisfied with the measures that the licensee has taken and is satisfied that non-compliance is not likely to recur, it generally does not impose a mandatory order but renews the licence for a term not exceeding two years. Where the Commission is not satisfied that the licensee has taken all necessary measures to ensure that non-compliance will not recur, and where it considers that a short-term renewal may not in itself correct the non-compliance situation, it may also issue a mandatory order.

Secretary General

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