Broadcasting - Commission Letter adressed to Colette Watson (Cable Public Affairs Channel Inc.)

Ottawa, 7 October 2021

Our reference: 1011-NOC2021-0281


Ms. Colette Watson
President and General Manager
Cable Public Affairs Channel Inc.

RE:  Application 2021-0228-4 – Application by Rogers Communications Inc. (Rogers), on behalf of Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw), for Rogers to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Shaw

Ms. Watson,

This letter is in response to an intervention filed on 13 September 2020 by the Cable Public Affairs Channel Inc. / La Chaîne d’affaires publiques par câble inc. (CPAC). In its intervention, CPAC requested that it be provided with the opportunity to appear in its own right at the public hearing – either at the intervention or application phase – to assist the Commission in answering any questions relating to its governance and operations. In addition, if intervenors address these matters, CPAC also requested the right to reply to those intervenors.

In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2021-281, the Commission announced that it will hold a hearing at which it intends to consider an application by Rogers Communications Inc. (Rogers), on behalf of Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw), for Rogers to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Shaw. As part of the proposed transaction, Rogers Communications Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Rogers, is seeking to acquire 25.17% of the shares in CPAC currently held by Shaw Cablesystems Limited, a subsidiary of Shaw.

CPAC is the licensee and operator of two national, English- and French-language discretionary services (also known as CPAC).Footnote2 As set out in Broadcasting Order CRTC 2018-330,Footnote1 CPAC benefits from mandatory distribution on the basic service, pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act (the Act).

In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2021-281, the Commission also indicated that it may wish to consider the safeguards proposed by Rogers to ensure that the governance of CPAC at the level of its board of directors, the programming offered by CPAC and its editorial voice, are not unduly affected in the event that the proposed transaction is approved. To that effect, the Commission recognizes that CPAC would be the best positioned party to answer questions related to issues of governance or its board of directors if it were granted the right to appear in its own right, as it is the licensee of the services.
Under section 7 of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and ProcedureFootnote3 (Rules of Procedure) the Commission may dispense with or vary the Rules when it is of the opinion that considerations of public interest or fairness permit. 

The Commission may also provide for any matter of practice and procedure not provided for in the Rules of Procedure by analogy to these Rules or by reference to the Federal Courts Rules and the rules of other tribunals to which the subject matter of the proceeding most closely relates.

Under paragraph 10(e) of the Rules of Procedure, the Commission may provide an opportunity for parties to make written or oral representations.
Under its current status as an intervenor, CPAC would not have the opportunity to file a written reply or to reply to intervenors at the hearing given that it is not an applicant party to the matter before the Commission. Further, it cannot be considered as a respondent given that the Rules of Procedure define a respondent as “a person that is adverse in interest to an applicant” and since CPAC did not indicate that it is opposed to the transaction.

In its procedural request, CPAC demonstrated that it has an interest in the proceeding and that it may be affected by the outcome of the proceeding, including with respect to Rogers’ proposals on the governance of CPAC at the level of its board of directors.

Moreover, the Commission considers that authorizing CPAC to participate as an interested party will not unduly delay or prejudice the determination of the rights of the applicant or intervenors to the proceeding.

Based on the above, the Commission considers that it would be in the public interest and in the interests of fairness that CPAC be authorized to participate as an interested party to the proceeding.

Therefore, the Commission grants to CPAC, as interested party to the proceeding, the following rights:

The Commission understands that CPAC will not use its status of interested party to the proceeding to either support or oppose the transaction but to assist the Commission to gather the best possible evidence with respect to the governance of CPAC.


Claude Doucet
Secretary General

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