Broadcasting - Commission Letter addressed to Ted Woodhead (Rogers Communications Inc.)

Ottawa, 21 October 2021

Our reference: 1011-NOC2021-0281


Ted Woodhead
Senior Vice-President, Regulatory
Rogers Communications Inc.
333 Bloor Street East 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario  M4W 1G9

 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

Ted Woodhead,

Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2021-281 (the Notice) considers 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 and the authority for Rogers to operate various licensed broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) currently owned by Shaw in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the national direct-to-home (DTH) satellite distribution undertaking Shaw Direct, the national satellite relay distribution undertaking (SRDU) Shaw Broadcast Services, and the DTH programming service known as Shaw Pay-Per-View.

Pursuant to the procedural request made by the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) on 13 September 2021, the Commission believes that certain information specified by CMAC would benefit the record of this proceeding.

In light of this, please provide the following additional and/or explanatory information related to the application for the transfer in ownership and effective control of Shaw Communications Inc. and all subsidiaries.

Please file this information by no later than 1 November 2021.

Original programming on community channels

As indicated in the Notice, the Diversity of Voices Policy aims to, among other things, further the objectives of the Broadcasting Act by ensuring that consumers have access to a diversity of programming that is of high standard, as well as to a plurality of editorial voices in local markets.

The Commission may wish to consider the applicant’s proposals and commitments regarding local and community programming at the hearing. More specifically, the Commission may wish to consider the manner in which the proposed transaction may affect the level of locally reflective and locally relevant content that would be provided to Canadians under Rogers’s current proposals. In addition, the Commission may wish to consider how this transaction could improve access to, and the representation of, underrepresented communities in the Canadian broadcasting system.

Question 1

With a view to understanding the diversity of content broadcast by both Shaw’s community programming services and Rogers’ community programming services, please submit a list of original community programming produced by both Rogers’ and Shaw’s community programming services associated with licensed BDUs serving the following markets between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021. Please also specify which programs are access programs.

For the programming aired in the markets identified above, please identify those programs that reflect and provide opportunities for equity-seeking groups (i.e., Indigenous Peoples, ethnocultural Canadians, Canadians with a disability, women and Canadians who identify as LGBTQ2+) to occupy key leadership positions or roles.

Locally reflective news and community programming

In the Notice, the Commission indicated that it may want to consider the possible impact of the proposed transaction on the funding of locally reflective news, and on the delivery of such programming to Canadians. This will enable the Commission to better understand the impact on the diversity of voices, including regional voices, reflected in the Canadian broadcasting system.

Further, the Commission indicated that BDUs that offer a community channel contribute to the plurality of editorial voices in local markets. Licensed BDUs that distribute a linear community channel must ensure that they are doing so in accordance with the applicable sections of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations relating to this type of programming and to contributions to local expression, Canadian programming and community television.

Therefore, the Commission may wish to consider Rogers’ community programming strategy and the impacts of its application to Shaw’s community channels as part of this proceeding.

Question 2

The Commission recognizes that community channels are the only programming services involved in the proposed transaction that broadcast locally reflective news and/or community programming. As such, please place Rogers’ Cable/IPTV and Shaw’s Cable/IPTV and DTH BDU services aggregate returns filed with the Commission for broadcast years 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 on the public record of this proceeding.

Moreover, please provide the amounts related to local expression contributions that are devoted each year to the production of local news on local television stations, as set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-224, sorted by:

Employment data

In accordance with section 3(1)(d)(iii) of the Broadcasting Act, the Canadian broadcasting system should, through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations, of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of aboriginal peoples within that society.

Question 3

Please provide employment data related to the operation of Shaw and Rogers community channels as relates to licensed BDUs, as well as Shaw’s licensed DTH pay-per-view services. In particular, please provide data related to positions that are key to the operation of both linear and video-on demand programming, including local and access programming, as well as any other related functions.

The numbers should be broken down by the following groups and should cover the entirety of the 2019-2020 broadcast year. For each of the following groups, please indicate the number of men, women and other (please note that one individual can be counted more than once according to the equity-seeking groups to which they identify):

If you are unable to provide the information requested, please provide a detailed explanation as to why.

Question 4

Further, please place on the public record of this proceeding the Rogers Media Inc. 2019 Diversity Report filed with the Commission for 2019-2021 and dated 31 January 2020.

Please repeat the questions in your reply letter. Your reply letter and all supporting documents should be added to your application and made available for public examination.

The Commission requires that your documents be submitted electronically using the secured service My CRTC Account (Partner Log In or GCKey) and be accompanied by the “Broadcasting and Telecom Cover page” located on this web page. Information on the submission of applications to the Commission is available on the following web page: Submitting applications and other documents to the CRTC using My CRTC Account).

Should you require further information concerning this application, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Cédrick Lelièvre at or 819-955-1960.

Yours sincerely,

Claude Doucet
Secretary General

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