ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Procedural Letter Addressed to Kirwan Cox (Quebec English-language Production Council)
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Ottawa, 23 October 2015
Quebec English-language Production Council
Re: Request for additional data - Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2015-421
The Commission is in receipt of a letter dated 28 September 2015 from the Québec English-language Production Council (QEPC) requesting that additional data be made available as a part of the Commission’s review of Local and Community Programming, outlined in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2015-421 (BNC 2015-421). In particular, the QEPC asks that, as a part of the aggregate financial data already released by the Commission with BNC 2015-421, the Commission provide additional breakdowns regarding official language minority community (OLMC) programming.
In particular, in relation to the Local Programming Data tables released by the Commission, the QEPC requests that English and French OLMC categories be created in addition to the French-language and English and multi-language small, medium and large market categories in which the data is already broken down. With respect to the Community Programming Data, the QEPC requests that data be divided not by small, medium and large market size but rather by language including English non-OLMC, English OLMC, French non-OLMC and French OLMC.
With respect to the QEPC’s requests involving local programming data, the Commission notes that there are currently no French-language originating private commercial stations in operation outside of the Province of Québec. While some of these stations in the province of Québec do provide service to other regions, they do so through rebroadcasting and distribution facilities. In providing their financial reports to the Commission, these stations report all revenues, expenses and other data in relation to the originating station. Therefore, it is impossible for the Commission to provide French-language OLMC market data. As a result, the data currently made available on the Commission’s website is the most appropriate. As it pertains to private commercial stations targeting English-language OLMCs, the Commission notes that the scope of this request would affect English-language television stations originating in Québec.
As detailed in section 31(1) of the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure, a party may designate information referred to in subsection 39(1) of the Telecommunications Act as confidential. The Commission therefore is careful to ensure that the publication of any aggregate data does not permit interested parties to obtain what would otherwise be considered confidential information. Given that there are currently three originating stations operated by three separate ownership groups in Montreal, the Commission can release only aggregate data for the English-language OLMC market in Montreal but only for the 2013-2014 broadcast year (due principally to the existence of only two English-language broadcasters in the market prior to that reporting year). The Commission cautions that this data may not be representative of broader trends affecting OLMCs outside of the province of Québec or English-language OLMCs outside of Montreal. Any further isolation of English-language stations in the data already published, in light of the current aggregation of English-language stations with multi-language stations would cause concern for the confidentiality of the OMNI stations operated by Rogers Media Inc.
In respect of the QEPC’s request related to Community Programming Data, the Commission notes that the level of granularity requested is not currently collected by the Commission. Currently, BDU licensees report to the Commission on a per-BDU basis rather than on a per-channel basis. Therefore, a BDU that operates both English-language and French-language community channels will report on these channels together to the Commission.
As a result, the Commission has released the data sought by the QEPC for the English-language Montreal market. The remaining data requests are denied.
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