Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2015-467

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Additional reference: 2015-467-1

Reference: 2015-86

Ottawa, 20 October 2015

Call for comments on the Commission’s policies relating to Certified Independent Production Funds

As part of the Let’s Talk TV proceeding, the Commission stated its intention to review its policies on Certified Independent Production Funds (CIPFs) to provide greater flexibility in the funding of Canadian programs.

In this notice, the Commission seeks comments on its policies relating to CIPFs, with the primary objective of ensuring that these funds contribute to the development of a robust Canadian production sector that is better able to offer compelling, high-quality content to Canadians and global markets.

More specifically, the Commission calls for comments on issues relating to the following:

Although the Commission has set out questions relating to the issues above, it is open to comments on other issues and concerns regarding CIPFs.

The Commission will accept comments that it receives on or before 18 December 2015. Parties may file replies on or before 8 January 2016.


  1. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86, which was issued as part of the Let’s Talk TV proceeding, the Commission set out its findings on ways to build a Canadian television system that encourages the creation of compelling and diverse programming made by Canadians. Recognizing the essential role played by the production sector in the success of the Canadian television system, it stated that a robust production sector will be better able to offer compelling high-quality content to Canadians and global audiences. For it to be successful, the production sector must be supported by an appropriate funding infrastructure, comprised of both significant private investment by producers and others as well as government supports.
  2. The current Canadian funding infrastructure is a complex model of direct and indirect financial supports. These include licence fees from Canadian broadcasters, tax credits from the federal and provincial governments, and funding from the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and other funds, all of which play key roles in cultivating a strong Canadian production sector. Moreover, Canada has a stable infrastructure of government support and private investment that generates significant funding opportunities for Canadian programming. However, there are barriers in this infrastructure that may hinder the creation of certain types of productions.
  3. Improvements in the funding system would foster a more robust Canadian production sector that is better able to create and promote high-quality Canadian content on a national and international basis. A more robust production sector is necessary to exploit the longer-term revenue opportunities of content (including international sales), which would entail partnerships between well-capitalized independent production companies and broadcasters that own equity in the content and intellectual property. Further, it would contribute to meeting the objectives set out in sections 3(1)(d)(ii) and 3(1)(f) of the Broadcasting Act.Footnote 1

Certified Independent Production Funds

  1. As part of the current funding system, the Commission mandates certain indirect financial contributions to the creative sector through production funds. The largest of these funds is the CMF, which receives funding from both the mandated contributions of broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) and the federal government.
  2. In addition to the CMF, the Commission has certified a number of independent production funds to receive funding from BDUs and other sources. These are known as Certified Independent Production Funds (CIPFs). In order to be certified to receive and administer contributions by BDUs, a fund must meet specific CIPF criteria established by the Commission, which are set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-833.Footnote 2 They may also receive funding from tangible benefits packages stemming from the Commission’s approval of changes in the ownership and effective control of television programming services.
  3. To foster a more robust Canadian production sector, the Commission, in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86, stated its willingness to work in collaboration with other government stakeholders, and to take a leadership role by reviewing its own policies regarding CIPFs to provide greater flexibility in the funding of Canadian programs.


  1. To initiate this review, the Commission has set out, in the sections below, questions relating to the following issues:
    • contributions by CIPFs to a flexible, forward-looking television system;
    • the criteria for certifying independent production funds;
    • the governance of CIPFs;
    • reporting requirements for CIPFs;
    • accessibility of programming created through CIPF funding; and
    • the use of CIPF funding for productions linked to official language minority communities (OLMCs).

Contributions by CIPFs to a flexible, forward-looking television system

  1. CIPFs constitute an essential component of a successful future television system. Collectively, these funds provide more than $60 million in funding annually, providing key financing for a diverse array of productions across the country. The current funding system could be further improved, however, to foster a more robust, well-capitalized and self-sufficient Canadian production sector that is better able to exploit longer-term revenue opportunities and partner with broadcasters.
  2. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86, the Commission set out recommendations for achieving this outcome. These included the development of strategies and processes that would incent and improve engagement in, among other things, international co-productionsFootnote 3 and co-venturesFootnote 4, promotion, international distribution, audience success and online productions.
  3. The Commission further recommended the implementation of new mechanisms that would enable the development of larger, better capitalized Canadian production companies with the financial capacity to engage in script and concept development, and in the production and marketing of multiple high-quality Canadian programs.
  4. Finally, it recommended the removal of the requirement for a producer to have a broadcast licence agreement with a traditional Canadian broadcaster in order to obtain funding for Canadian productions.
  5. In light of the above, the Commission invites parties to respond to the following questions:

Criteria for certifying independent production funds

  1. The criteria that independent production funds must meet to be certified to receive and administer contributions from BDUs, set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-833, are the following:
    1. The fund is a permanent fund.
    2. Recoupments of equity payments or loans are reinvested in the fund.
    3. No more than 5% of the contributions from BDUs is spent on fund administration.
    4. BDU contributions do not serve to fund programs in program categories 1 News, 3 Reporting and Actualities or 6 Sports.Footnote 5
    5. Productions receiving funding achieve eight points out of ten for Canadian content certification as set out in Public Notice 1996-51.Footnote 6
    6. Productions or new media projects receiving funding have obtained either a licence or a development agreement from a licensed broadcasting undertaking.
    7. New media projects receiving funding are related to a production that would itself be eligible for funding under these criteria or, in the case of unrelated projects, receive no more than 10% of such funding.
  2. In that regulatory policy, the Commission elaborated on some of the above criteria. For the first criterion, the absence of an expiry date is insufficient for a fund to qualify as a “permanent fund.” Permanence includes making provision for the distribution of the fund upon its dissolution so that the monies are directed to other qualifying funds.
  3. For the second criterion, the recoupments of equity payments or loans must be reinvested in the fund and not flow through to BDUs.
  4. For the fifth criterion, the Commission announced in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86 that it would certify, as Canadian, programs that meet alternative criteria on a pilot project basis. Accordingly, it is interested in identifying ways in which CIPFs would be able to participate in these pilot projects.
  5. Finally, for the last criterion, the Commission expects funds dedicated to digital media projectsFootnote 7 to be used for innovative projects such as story-driven video games, webisodes, mobisodes and interactive web content. Broadcaster website development and information technology enhancements (for example, software for streaming video or the simultaneous streaming of a production) are therefore deemed ineligible to receive funding from CIPFs.
  6. The Commission invites parties to respond to the following questions regarding the seven criteria set out above:

The governance of CIPFs

  1. In Public Notice 1997-98, the Commission determined that 20% of a BDU’s contribution to Canadian production may be directed to independently administered funds. This was to address the specific request of some BDUs or potential BDUs to contribute to funds associated with their activities and to expand the categories of programs that receive assistance.
  2. In Public Notice 1999-29, the Commission expressed the view that any production fund that receives and administers contributions from BDUs must be constituted and must operate at arm’s length from its contributors. The current requirements relating to the composition of a CIPF’s Board and funding decisions made by this Board are set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-833, and are as follows:
    1. Composition of the Board
      • All members of the Board must be Canadian, as defined in Direction to the CRTC (Ineligibility of non-Canadians), P.C. 1997-46, 8 April 1997, as amended by P.C. 1998-1268, 15 July 1998.
      • No more than one third of the members of the Board may be members representing BDUs.
      • Representatives of BDUs shall have the right to cast no more than one third of the votes in a meeting.
      • All decisions must be made by majority vote.
    2. Funding Decisions
      • The Board shall ensure that all monies are directed to fund the types of productions contemplated in Public Notice 1997-98, as clarified by Public Notice 1999-29, and amended by Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-833.
      • The Board shall have sole and exclusive responsibility for its funding decisions.
      • The Board shall establish an effective and efficient process to ensure that applications for funding of productions are appraised objectively.
      • The Board shall supervise the implementation of its funding decisions.
  3. CIPFs have a significant impact on programming production since they make key contributions to the production of a diversity of programming that meets the equally diverse needs and interests of Canadians. To ensure that the funding of Canadian programming benefits the broadcasting system as a whole, CIPFs must be independent from their contributors.
  4. The fact that CIPFs may receive funding from tangible benefits arising from ownership transactions reinforces the importance of this independence. Pursuant to the Commission’s new tangible benefits policy set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2014-459, a considerable portion of all tangible benefits relating to changes in the ownership and effective control of licensed television undertakings may be allocated to CIPFs.Footnote 8 As a consequence, the amount of money flowing to CIPFs may increase substantially.Footnote 9 Maintaining the independence of CIPFs is therefore essential for ensuring that contributions paid as part of a benefits package are not self-serving but benefit the broadcasting system as a whole.
  5. Prior to certifying an independent production fund, the Commission must approve the composition of its Board. However, there is currently no mechanism in place to ensure that the composition of that Board remains appropriate following certification. Further, Board members who are not representatives of the BDUs are not required to be, and to remain, independent from the BDUs and their affiliates. Moreover, there are no criteria regarding the representation of Board members that are not representative of the BDUs. Finally, there is no established mechanism in place to ensure that a CIPF’s financing continues to serve the broadcasting system as a whole.
  6. In light of the above, the Commission invites parties to respond to the following questions regarding the governance of CIPFs:

Reporting requirements for CIPFs

  1. Although most CIPFs publish annual reports on their websites, they are currently not required to submit these or any other reports to the Commission as they relate to their activities and funding initiatives. Further, the information contained in CIPFs’ self-published reports varies greatly from one fund to the next. As a consequence, it is difficult to determine whether a CIPF continues to operate in a manner consistent with Commission policies, and how the funds administered by the CIPF are being allocated.
  2. In light of the above, the Commission invites parties to respond to the following questions:

Accessibility of programming created through CIPF funding

  1. In the context of the Let’s Talk TV proceeding, the Commission acknowledged the transition of content to a multi-platform environment and created a regulatory framework ‎that will ensure that the Canadian television industry is well positioned to take full advantage of any future opportunities brought about by the evolving viewing habits of Canadian audiences and the resulting changes to the delivery of programming to those audiences. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-104, which was issued as part of that proceeding, the Commission‎ reiterated the importance of ensuring that Canadians with disabilities have more access to accessibility features and a seamless experience when accessing their content of choice.
  2. The Commission is therefore of the preliminary view that all programming resulting from CIPFs, regardless of the platform through which it is distributed, must be both closed captioned, meeting the closed captioning quality standards set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policies 2011-741, 2011-741-1 and 2012-362 and any subsequent amendments to those quality standards, and provided with described video, and that the CIPF criteria should be amended to reflect these requirements.
  3. In light of the above, the Commission invites parties to respond to the following question:

Use of CIPF funding for productions linked to official language minority communities

  1. As a Canadian institution, the Commission is required under section 41 of the Official Languages Act to ensure that positive measures are taken to enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada, to support and assist their development, and to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. A key aspect of this responsibility, as reflected in the objectives of the Broadcasting Act, is ensuring that the Canadian broadcasting system reflects the linguistic duality of Canada and that the needs of both French and English linguistic minority communities are met.
  2. The Commission has specific objectives pertaining to official languages under the Broadcasting Act. In this regard, section 3(1) of the Broadcasting Act stipulates the following:

    3(1) It is hereby declared as the broadcasting policy for Canada that

    • (b) the Canadian broadcasting system, operating primarily in the English and French languages [...]provides, through its programming, a public service essential to the maintenance and enhancement of national identity and cultural sovereignty;
    • (c) English and French language broadcasting, while sharing common aspects, operate under different conditions and may have different requirements;
    • (d) the Canadian broadcasting system should
      • (iii) through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations, of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of aboriginal peoples within that society.
  3. The current criteria governing CIPFs do not address OLMCs or OLMC-related productions. As a result, CIPFs are not required or expected to allocate funds to help finance productions that are made by, are representative of, or include members of OLMCs.
  4. In light of the above, the Commission invites parties to respond to the following question:

Call for comments

  1. The Commission calls for comments on the issues and questions set out above. Although these have been specifically identified as issues for consideration, the Commission is open to considering comments regarding other issues and concerns relating to CIPFs. The Commission will accept interventions that it receives on or before 18 December 2015. Only parties that file interventions may file a reply to matters raised during the intervention phase. The deadline for the filing of replies is 8 January 2016.


The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules of Procedure) apply to the present proceeding. The Rules of Procedure set out, among other things, the rules for content, format, filing and service of interventions, replies, answers of respondents and requests for information; the procedure for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure; and the conduct of public hearings. Accordingly, the procedure set out below must be read in conjunction with the Rules of Procedure and its accompanying documents, which can be found on the Commission’s website under “Statutes and Regulations.” The Guidelines on the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure, set out in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-959, provide information to help interested persons and parties understand the Rules of Procedure so that they can more effectively participate in Commission proceedings.

The Commission encourages interested persons and parties to monitor the record of the proceeding, available on the Commission’s website, for additional information that they may find useful when preparing their submissions.

Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary. Each paragraph of all submissions should be numbered, and the line ***End of document*** should follow the last paragraph. This will help the Commission verify that the document has not been damaged during electronic transmission.

Pursuant to Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2015-242, the Commission expects incorporated entities and associations, and encourages all Canadians, to file submissions for Commission proceedings in accessible formats (for example, text-based file formats that allow text to be enlarged or modified, or read by screen readers). To provide assistance in this regard, the Commission has posted on its website guidelines for preparing documents in accessible formats.

Submissions must be filed by sending them to the Secretary General of the Commission using only one of the following means:

by completing the
[Intervention/comment/answer form]


by mail to
CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2


by fax at

Parties who send documents electronically must ensure that they will be able to prove, upon Commission request, that service/filing of a particular document was completed. Accordingly, parties must keep proof of the sending and receipt of each document for 180 days after the date on which the document is filed. The Commission advises parties who file and serve documents by electronic means to exercise caution when using email for the service of documents, as it may be difficult to establish that service has occurred.

In accordance with the Rules of Procedure, a document must be received by the Commission and all relevant parties by 5 p.m. Vancouver time (8 p.m. Ottawa time) on the date it is due. Parties are responsible for ensuring the timely delivery of their submissions and will not be notified if their submissions are received after the deadline. Late submissions, including those due to postal delays, will not be considered by the Commission and will not be made part of the public record.

The Commission will not formally acknowledge submissions. It will, however, fully consider all submissions, which will form part of the public record of the proceeding, provided that the procedure for filing set out above has been followed.

Important notice

All information that parties provide as part of this public process, except information designated confidential, whether sent by postal mail, facsimile, email or through the Commission’s website at, becomes part of a publicly accessible file and will be posted on the Commission’s website. This information includes personal information, such as full names, email addresses, postal/street addresses, telephone and facsimile numbers, etc.

The personal information that parties provide will be used and may be disclosed for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the Commission, or for a use consistent with that purpose.

Documents received electronically or otherwise will be put on the Commission’s website in their entirety exactly as received, including any personal information contained therein, in the official language and format in which they are received. Documents not received electronically will be available in PDF format.

The information that parties provide to the Commission as part of this public process is entered into an unsearchable database dedicated to this specific public process. This database is accessible only from the web page of this particular public process. As a result, a general search of the Commission’s website with the help of either its own search engine or a third-party search engine will not provide access to the information that was provided as part of this public process.

Availability of documents

Electronic versions of the interventions and of other documents referred to in this notice, are available on the Commission’s website at by visiting the “Participate” section, selecting “Submit Ideas and Comments,” and then selecting “our open processes.” Documents can then be accessed by clicking on the links in the “Subject” and “Related Documents” columns associated with this particular notice.

Documents are also available from Commission offices, upon request, during normal business hours.

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Secretary General

Related documents


Footnote 1

Section 3(1)(d)(ii) of the Broadcasting Act stipulates that the broadcasting system should encourage the development of Canadian expression by providing a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity by displaying Canadian talent in entertainment programming. Section 3(1)(f) stipulates that each broadcasting undertaking should make maximum use, and in no case less than predominant use, of Canadian creative and other resources in the creation and presentation of programming.

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Footnote 2

The criteria that must be met were first set out in Public Notice 1997-98, and were subsequently amended in Public Notices 1999-29 and 2001-30, and then Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-833.

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Footnote 3

A co-production is an audiovisual work produced jointly by a Canadian producer and a producer from a foreign country with which Canada has a co-production treaty administered by Telefilm Canada.

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Footnote 4

A co-venture is an international co-production that is not included under any of the treaties administered by Telefilm Canada. These include all ventures with co-producers of foreign countries that either do not have a film or television production treaty with Canada or, if there is a treaty, the co-production is not specifically covered by the treaty. Subject to certain conditions, co-ventures may qualify as Canadian under the Commission’s Canadian certification criteria, set out in the appendices to Public Notice 2000-42.

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Footnote 5

The full list of program categories is set out in Item 6 of Schedule I to the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987, the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990 and the Pay Television Regulations, 1990.

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Footnote 6

That public notice refers to the former Canadian Production Fund (CPF). In 1996, the Minister of Canadian Heritage created the Canada Television and Cable Production Fund (CTCPF), which incorporated the CPF and Telefilm’s Broadcast Fund. In 1998, the CTCPF was then re-branded as the Canadian Television Fund, which in 2009 was combined with the Canadian New Media Fund to create the CMF.

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Footnote 7

In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-833, these were called “new media projects.”

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Footnote 8

At least 80% of all tangible benefits relating to changes in the effective control of licensed television undertakings shall be allocated to various funds, with no more than 40% of that amount being allocated to CIPFs. A further 20% of all tangible benefits can be allocated to CIPFs as part of the discretionary portion of the tangible benefits.

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Footnote 9

The extent to which the amount of money can be considerable is illustrated by the Astral-BCE transaction approved in Broadcasting Decision 2013-310, in which the Commission approved tangible benefits payments totalling $23.8 million to the Harold Greenberg Fund, a CIPF.

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Footnote 10

As set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2011-601, “vertical integration” refers to the ownership or control by one entity of both programming services, such as conventional television stations, or pay and specialty services, as well as distribution services, such as cable systems or direct-to-home satellite services. It also includes ownership or control by one entity of both programming undertakings and production companies.

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