ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Procedural Letter Addressed to Don Gaudet (Stornoway Communications) and Kevin Goldstein (Bell TV)

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Ottawa, 2 September 2015

Our file: 2015-0819-4

By email

Don Gaudet
VP Programming
Stornoway Communications

Kevin Goldstein
Vice President – Content and Distribution, Regulatory Affairs
Bell TV

Re : Part 1 application by Stornoway Communications Limited Partnership against Bell Canada (including Bell Canada Limited Partnership) – Request for reconsideration on confidentiality


On 17 July 2015, Stornoway Communications Limited Partnership (Stornoway) filed with the Commission a notice of dispute against Bell Canada (Bell TV) pursuant to s.15.01(2) of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations (the Regulations) pertaining to a packaging change (to be made effective 1 September 2015) in the distribution of its Category A specialty service, iChannel, by Bell TV.  

In its Part 1 application of 30 July 2015, Stornoway included a copy of a recent draft affiliation agreement (the Draft Agreement) between the parties and made references in its application to certain provisions of this agreement. Stornoway did not file an abridged version of the application and noted that it was not making a request for confidentiality.

On the same day, Bell filed a letter with the Commission in which it contested the inclusion of the Draft Agreement as well as the references to the clauses in the application and argued that these contained competitively sensitive information and that the release of such information could result in material financial loss and harm to Bell. Bell requested that the Commission require Stornoway to refile its application with an abridged version for the public record.

On 11 August 2015, Commission staff issued a procedural letter to the parties in which it granted Bell’s confidentiality request and requested that Stornoway refile its Part 1 application to exclude any specific references to clauses of the Draft Agreement and include a confidential version and an abridged version for the public record.

On 13 August 2015, Stornoway refiled its Part 1 application and also filed a letter with the Commission in which it disputed the determination made by Commission staff regarding confidentiality. While Stornoway agreed to redact the Draft Agreement from the public version, in its view, references to clauses of the Draft Agreement in paragraphs 6 and 13 of the body of its Part 1 application should be maintained. It therefore requested that Commission staff reverse its decision or obtain a decision from the Commission.

This letter is the Commission’s decision regarding the above issue.

Commission determination

Affiliation agreements and matters related to commercial negotiations between broadcasting distribution undertakings and programming undertakings have consistently been granted confidential treatment by the Commission. However, in this case, paragraphs 6 and 13 of the application do not include the exact wording of the clauses and only provide a general description of the contents of certain sections in the Draft Agreement. 

The matters raised by Stornoway in the paragraphs in question appear to be factors on which interested persons should have the opportunity to provide comments.

The Commission therefore determines that Stornoway can include these two paragraphs in the public version of its application.


John Traversy
Secretary General

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