Content that Meets the Needs and Interests of Canadians
Broadcasting plays a critical role in helping build and support our Canadian identity. In recognition of this, Canada's Broadcasting Act sets out objectives to ensure that Canadian broadcasting content meets the needs and interests of Canadians. The CRTC then sets policies and rules to ensure that those objectives are put into practice in Canada's broadcasting system.
The Role of Canada's Broadcasting Act
Canada's Broadcasting Act declares that the Canadian broadcasting system should encourage the development of Canadian expression by:
- Providing a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values, and artistic creativity
- Displaying Canadian talent in entertainment programming
- Offering information and analysis concerning Canada and other countries from a Canadian point of view
The Act also recognizes differences within Canadian communities from region to region. To address this diversity, it declares that the Canadian broadcasting system should, through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations:
- Reflect the circumstances and aspirations and ensure the equal rights of Canadian men, women, and children
- Support the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society
- Recognize the special place of aboriginal peoples within our society
For more information, see Section 3(1) of the Act, Broadcasting Policy for Canada.
The Role of the CRTC
As part of our mandate at the CRTC, we are dedicated to achieving the policy objectives outlined in the Broadcasting Act.
We ensure that Canada's broadcasting system provides content that meets the needs and interests of Canadians by:
- Engaging in public processes that generate policies. We address a wide range of issues by engaging in public consultations that generate policies to ensure Canadian values are reflected in our broadcasting system.
- Supporting public affairs programming through CPAC. We ensure that public affairs programming is available to Canadians through the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC).
- Ensuring access to high-quality local news. We ensure Canadians have access to local programming that reflects their needs and interests and inform them of important current issues.
- Encouraging linguistic duality. We help ensure that the linguistic policies of the Broadcasting Act are followed.
- Supporting Indigenous Peoples. We support Aboriginal peoples through our Native Broadcasting Policy and by licensing the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).
- Supporting Canadian talent. We encourage the recognition and development of Canadian talent through the creation of content made by Canadians.
- Supporting Gender Equality. We will host an event on women in production, emphasizing the importance of having more women in leadership positions.
- Licensing the CBC. Through our licensing responsibilities, we ensure that the programming of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) meets the requirements of the Broadcasting Policy for Canada.
Engaging in Public Processes that generate policies
Through its public processes, the CRTC has established policies to ensure that Canadian values are reflected throughout the broadcasting system when it comes to such things as:
- TV access for people with hearing impairments: closed captioning
- TV access for people with visual impairments: described video and audio description
- Violence on TV
- Children's advertising
- Advertising for specific products, such as alcohol
Review of the commercial radio policy
The CRTC initiated a proceeding on January 28, 2020, to review its commercial radio policy. The goal is to put flexible rules in place to support the radio industry in an ever-increasing digital environment. The review will help commercial radio stations to meet the current and future needs of Canadians in a more effective manner.
Find out more about the consultation on commercial radio policy and how you can participate.
Supporting Public Affairs Programming through CPAC
Access to the proceedings of the House of Commons and its various committees is important to Canadians. CRTC policies ensure that proceedings on CPAC are available in both official languages to most cable, IPTV, and satellite subscribers across the country.
For more, see Public Notice CRTC 2001-115 and Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-391.
Ensuring access to high-quality local news
On June 15, 2016, we published a new policy on local and community television that addresses such things as:
- Importance of local news
- Access to local programming
- Financing local news produced by independent local stations
- New support directed to local news
- Canadians’ continued access to the broadcasting system through community programming
- Emergence of new digital technologies
For more, see Policy framework for local and community television (Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-224).
Encouraging Linguistic Duality
Policy objectives for broadcasting services in both official languages are clearly set out in the Broadcasting Act. The Act recognizes that English and French-language broadcasting, while sharing common aspects, operate under different conditions and may have different requirements. (For more, see Broadcasting Policy for Canada (Sections 3.1 b and c)).
The CRTC helps strengthen linguistic duality in Canada by, among other things, supporting national distribution of the French-language television service of TVA Group and UNIS, and promoting French-language broadcasting services in minority environments.
For more, see Decision CRTC 1998-488, and Public Notice CRTC 2001-25.
Supporting Indigenous Peoples
To support the Broadcasting Act's declaration that the Canadian broadcasting system must, through its programming and employment opportunities, recognize the special place of aboriginal peoples within Canadian society, the CRTC's Native Broadcasting Policy identifies the specific role of aboriginal broadcasters in Canada. Learn more about the Co-Development of the Indigenous Broadcasting Policy
As part of the television licence renewal of large French and English groups in 2017, we imposed new tax credits to encourage cultural representation of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian programming.
We also approved licences for Indigenous radio stations in five major urban markets in 2017.
Consistent with the Act, in 1999 the CRTC licensed the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) as the first national public television network created by and for Indigenous Peoples. The CRTC continues to ensure that the service is available to all Canadians.
For more, see Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-383.
Supporting Canadian Talent
To support the Broadcasting Act's policy of providing world class content made by Canadians, the CRTC helps ensure that Canadian artists can create content for both Canadian and global audiences, as well as have access to avenues of financial support and opportunities to promote their creations.
For more, see:
Supporting Gender Equality
To support one of the Broadcasting Act’s objectives to encourage a broadcasting system that should reflect the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations, of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, the CRTC will soon host an event on women in production. The CRTC considers that women’s access to key leadership positions is an important issue and that intervention is necessary to further the achievement of this objective of the Act.
Licensing the CBC
We have launched CBC/Radio-Canada’s licence renewal proceeding. Between November 25, 2019 and February 20, 2020, we consulted Canadians on CBC/Radio-Canada’s programming. We wanted to know if Canada’s national public broadcaster reflects the views of Canadians and is meeting their needs and interests in both official languages. Canadians were invited to share their views on the following themes: reflection, production, accessibility and discoverability as well as contributions to democratic life in Canada. A public hearing will take place starting January 11, 2021.
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