Broadcasting - Commission Letter addressed to Rowan Caseley
Ottawa, 24 March 2021
BY EMAIL: email@example.com
Mayor of the town of Kensington
Kensington, Prince Edward Island
Re: Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-379 – Submission filed by Mayor Caseley
This is in response to your letter sent to the Commission dated 3 December 2020 regarding the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada (CBC/SRC) licence renewal process announced in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-379 (the Notice), in which you request that your submission regarding the CBC’s local programming and temporary suspension of local news be added to the record of the CBC/SRC licence renewal proceeding.
As it was filed late in the proceeding, the Commission was not able to immediately rule on your procedural request; however, it and your concerns were taken under advisement. The Commission now provides its determination on your request to add comments to the proceeding’s record.
Commission’s analysis and decision
On 25 November 2019, the Commission launched its process relating to the renewal of CBC/SRC’s licences and set a date of 13 February 2020 for the submission of interventions related to the matters raised in the Notice. On 28 January 2020, the Commission extended the date for the filing of interventions to 20 February 2020 (NOC 2019-379 and 2019-379-1).
After the close of record, the CBC announced on 18 March 2020 that it would temporarily cease airing local TV newscasts across the country as a result of a staffing shortage, with employees sick and isolating or working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission notes that these measures were in effect for a period of one week as the local newscasts have been reinstated since the end of March.
As the temporary suspension occurred after the intervention period, the Commission recognizes that you could not have submitted your concerns during the initial consultation phase. However, the Commission notes that you submitted your request nine months after the temporary suspension, without explanation of the delay. As noted in other similar requests submitted late in the process which were previously denied, the Commission believes accepting your request would call into question the fairness of the process.
Therefore, the Commission is not convinced that it should deviate from the procedure established for this proceeding and will not consider your comments as a part of this process nor add your letter to the record of the present proceeding.
However, please note that the CBC/SRC was questioned at the oral hearing with respect to its conditions of licence, including its decision to suspend local news programming during the pandemic. Its responses are being assessed in the context of the ongoing licence renewal proceeding. Further, other intervenors have raised the issue of CBC’s local news programming obligations during the initial intervention phase as well as the oral phase of the hearing and were also able to provide written comments on any issues raised as a part of the final submission phase.
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