Broadcasting Procedural Letter addressed to Ms. Nancy Chapelle (Bell Fund)

Ottawa, 11 June 2018

By Email

Ms. Nancy Chapelle
Executive Director 
Bell Fund
2 Carlton St., Suite 1709
Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1J3
nchapelle@bellfund.ca

Re: Complaint by CBC/Radio-Canada, CMPA, Groupe V Média, TVO, Groupe Média TFO, OUTtv, Télé-Québec and TV5/Unis TV against the Bell Fund/Fonds Bell (2018-0315-6)

Ms. Chapelle:

The Commission received a complaint from CBC/Radio-Canada, the Canadian Media Producer’s Association (CMPA), Groupe V Média (Groupe V Média), the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVO), the Ontario French-language Educational Communications Authority (Groupe Média TFO), OUTtv, Société de télédiffusion du Québec (Télé-Québec) and TV5 Québec Canada (TV5/Units TV) (subsequently referred to as the Applicants) against the Bell Fund/Fonds Bell . This application was published on the Commission’s website on 14 May 2018 under Part 1 of the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure (application number 2018-0315-6)
In the complaint, the Applicants allege that:

In order to complete the record and permit the Commission to make an informed decision on the complaint, please answer the following questions.

Governance

  1. Please provide the By-laws and any other governance documents of the Bell Fund related to the TV Program.
  2. In BRP 2016-343, in order to ensure an appropriate level of independence, the Commission established the criteria that at least two thirds of the Board members of a Certified Independent Production Fund (CIPF) must be independent. Upon review of the current structure of the Board members of the Bell Fund as posted on its website (https://bellfund.ca/board-of-directors/), it appears that the composition of the Board of the Bell Fund does not satisfy this requirement as 3 of the 8 members of the Board (or 37.5%) would not be considered independent since they are employees of Bell or its affiliates.
    1. Please comment and explain how the Bell Fund will meet the criteria, at all times, concerning the composition of its board as outlined in BRP 2016-343;
    2. Provide the mechanism by which the Bell Fund will ensure that it will meet, at all times, this criterion. In doing so, please refer to and identify the applicable clause/section of the By-laws and/or other governance document(s)
  3. As per paragraph 151 of BRP 2016-343, the board shall establish an effective and efficient process to ensure that applications for funding of productions are appraised objectively and absent of actual or perceived conflicts of interest.
    1. Please provide a detailed explanation as to what mechanism the Bell Fund has put into place to meet this aspect of the BRP 2016-343 policy. In doing so, please refer to and identify the applicable clause/section of the By-laws and/or other governance document(s).
    2. Demonstrate how the TV Production Program guidelinesFootnote1 are in compliance with this principle.

TV Production Guidelines

  1. In relation to the TV production Program guidelines and the aforementioned provisions of paragraph 151 of BRP 2016-343, from a funding perspective:
    1. According to section 7 of your TV Production Guidelines, privateFootnote2  and publicFootnote3  broadcasters may only submit two (2) applications for funding per deadline. Please explain the rationale as to why there is a limit on applications by private and public broadcasters.
    2. When staff compares the criteria of the application evaluations for the Selective Fund for private and public broadcasters and for the major productions funders (MPFs)Footnote4 Envelope detailed in your TV Productions Guidelines, the criteria for the MPF Envelope appears to be more flexible than the Selective Fund. Please explain the rationale for these differences. For example, explain why non-MPF broadcasters must contain materials such as 1-2 scripts and marketing plans whereas MPF’s applications are not subject to these requirements. Moreover, explain why non MPF broadcasters must have their applications evaluated by an industry jury first before recommendations are made to the Bell Fund Board for final approval whereas MPF’s broadcasters don’t appear to be subject to that additional layer of scrutiny.
  2. In the Bell Fund’s TV Production guidelines, it is indicated that while the exact amount of funding available is subject to the revenues received by the Bell Fund from its funders in each fiscal year, the allocation of such funding between the MPFs, the private and public broadcasters will be 65%, 20% and 15%, respectively.
    1. Please explain the rationale behind the funding allocation methods including to what degree the market share, total CPE spend and/or any other distinguishing criteria played in selecting this allocation method and why these criteria were chosen.
  3. Please provide a list of projects that were submitted to the Bell Fund, whether they were ultimately funded or not, since the publication of BRP 2016-343. Please ensure to list each applicant to the Bell Fund, the titles of the corresponding projects, which members of the Bell Fund sat on the selection committee (including whether these individuals are to be considered “independent” per the criteria of BRP 2016-343), whether the application was approved or denied, as well as the amounts ($) allocated to the project (if approved).  Please ensure to also include any projects that have been submitted for the funding that will be attributed on 4 June 2018.
Applicant (please also indicate if any affiliations to a VI exist) Project titles Selection committee members Independent? (Y/N) Approved or denied Funding contributed
           
           

Your answers to the questions in this document must be received by the Commission by no later than 19 June, 2018. Please repeat each of the above questions in your reply before answering them and use the secure service My CRTC Account” (Partner Log In or GCKey) to submit your responses and any supporting documents.

Please note that all information that you provide, except information for which confidentiality has been requested and is granted, becomes part of a publicly accessible file. This information will be posted on the Commission’s website and made available for public examination. In light of the information sought and in order to permit adequate public participation, the intervention deadline will be amended for intervenors to consult the additional information in accordance with the following timeframe:  

Interventions Intervention deadline
Intervenors 27 June 2018
Response from the Bell Fund (the respondent) 4 July 2018
Final reply from the Applicants 11 July 2018

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by
Manon Auger
Senior Policy Analyst
TV Policy and Applications

c.c:

Claire Dion
Associate Director
Fonds Bell

Bev Kirshenblatt
Executive Director, Corporate &
Regulatory Affairs
CBC/Radio-Canada

Brad Danks
Chief Executive Officer
OUTtv Networks Inc.

Asha Daniere
Executive Vice-President
Legal and Business Affairs
Blue Ant Media

Lisa de Wilde, C.M.
Chief Executive Officer
TVO

Erin Finlay
Chief Legal Officer
CMPA

Marie Collin
President and CEO
Télé-Québec

Glenn O’Farrell
President and CEO
Groupe Média TFO

Tony Porrello
Executive VP Procurement
Groupe V Média

Marie-Philippe Bouchard
President, Chief Executive Officer
TV5 Québec Canada

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