Canadian Content Development Contributions and Eligible Initiatives

What is Canadian Content Development (CCD) and why does the CRTC require commercial radio licensees to contribute to eligible initiatives?

CCD is a financial contribution made by broadcasters to initiatives that aid in the development and promotion of Canadian musical and spoken word content for broadcast.

The Broadcasting Act stipulates that the Canadian broadcasting system shall contribute to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming. To achieve this objective Canadian radio broadcasts Canadian music, French-language music and local content.

The support, promotion, training and development of Canadian musical and spoken-word talent contribute to increasing the supply of and demand for high-quality Canadian music in a variety of genres, as well as the supply of Canadian spoken word material for broadcast.

Basic Annual Contribution

On 1 September 2013, changes to the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations) came into effect with the publication of Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2013-476. Section 15(2) of the Regulations has been amended to relieve licensees of commercial and ethnic radio stations with total revenues of $1,250,000 or less of the requirement to make basic CCD contributions.

All commercial and ethnic radio broadcasters with more than $1,250,000 in annual revenues must, by regulation, make direct financial contributions to CCD based on the previous year’s revenues. These must include contributions to FACTOR or MUSICACTION and the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC).

At their discretion stations may also make contributions to other eligible initiatives. Most initiatives assist in the development of Canadian musical talent. However, some licensees with spoken word or ethnic stations may direct their contributions to relevant non-musical initiatives.  

The Commission encourages licensees to be innovative and effective in their discretionary expenditures. The policy is intended to be flexible so that licensees can contribute to a wide variety of initiatives and to ensure that contributions have the best possible impact on Canadian musical and spoken word artists.

Ownership Transfers

In the case of ownership transfers, purchasers must make contributions of tangible benefits equivalent to 6% of the purchase price. These must include funding for Radio Starmaker and Fonds RadioStar, FACTOR or MUSICACTION, and the CRFC. Stations may also choose to contribute to other eligible initiatives.

“Over and Above” contributions generated by applications for new radio licences

Many applicants make specific CCD commitments as part of the applications for new licences that go beyond the requirements of (“over-and-above”) the Radio Regulations. These become conditions of licence.

What is an eligible CCD initiative?

In paragraphs 106 through 112 of the Commercial Radio Policy, 2006, the Commission sets out eligibility criteria for all CCD initiatives. See “Examples of eligible initiatives” for the criteria.

Guiding principles for Canadian content development initiatives

  1. CCD funds should be used to support, develop or promote Canadian musical or spoken word talent, including journalists.
    • Concerts presenting Canadian artists are expected to maximize the exposure of the artists by being open to the general public, and not be limited to winners of station contests, “loyal listeners” and/or clients of the station. Promotional aspects must be a minor component of the main public event.Footnote 1
    • Donations to existing organizations, such music industry associations, should be used in projects that directly assist artists, not to defray the organization’s ongoing administration and operating costs.
    • Direct payments to artists for career development must focus on the enhancement of talent, not on general living expenses.
  2. All CCD funding must entail direct, out-of-pocket expenditures.

    Contributions or proposed initiatives must be clearly linked with the CCD policy by licensees and/or applicants when filing their annual financial returns or filing applications for new licences or transfers of ownership or control. Existing licensees must provide appropriate proof of payment, which may include a cancelled cheque, a receipt and/or a letter from the third-party recipient to certify how the contribution was used. Contributions must be claimed for the broadcast year in which they are made, regardless of the date the initiative occurs.

    It is incumbent upon the broadcaster to supply sufficient documentation to support the eligibility of their contribution(s). Failure to do so may result in the Commission finding a contribution ineligible and may affect a station’s compliance with regulatory obligations. Licensees must also ensure that all beneficiaries are Canadian as defined in The Regulations.Footnote 2

  3. All expenditures must be directed to projects that go well above and beyond promotional activities and regular programming costs.

    Broadcasters’ expenditures should not be “self-serving”.Therefore,expenses associated with regular, ongoing station programming and/or operations are not eligible. Furthermore, it is important to note that not all expenses related to an eligible initiative may qualify; for instance, a concert of emerging artist is eligible but the salaries for station staff to work at the event are not eligible. 

    Beneficiaries should be independent of licensees. Common members on Board of Directors’ or familial relationships call into question the independence of beneficiaries.Footnote 3

    As a result of discussions at the 2006 policy review, the Commission determined that allocations to Radio Starmaker Fund or Fonds RadioStar are only eligible in the context of applications to transfer the ownership or control of radio undertakings as stated in paragraph 106 of the Policy.

Examples of eligible initiatives

This list replaces any list published prior to this date. This is not an exhaustive list.

The following are examples of initiatives grouped by the categories used in the definition in paragraph 108 of the Commercial Radio Policy 2006.

  1. National, provincial, and territorial music industry associations (MIAs):

    Also includes specific initiatives of third-party music advocacy associations (i.e. Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), l’Association québécoise de l’industrie du disque (ADISQ) to support emerging artists in activities such as:

    1. Showcases at music festivals and conferences
    2. Professional development, seminars, training workshops on music related topics including new media
    3. Master classes with established artists
    Eligible Not Eligible

    The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS)

    Alberta Music Industry Association (AMIA)

    Canadian Society for the Recording Arts (CSRA)

    Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA)

    Gospel Music Association of Canada (GMA Canada)

    Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association (SRIA)

    Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association (MARIA)

    Music and Film in Motion (MFM)

    Music BC

    Music/Musique New Brunswick (MNB)

    Music Nova Scotia (Music NS)

    Music Newfoundland & Labrador (Music NL)

    Music Yukon

    Pacific Music Industry Association (Music BC)

    Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ)

    Contributions to third party music advocacy associations such as CIMA and ADISQ for general operating and administrative costs.

    General costs associated organizing a conference/music festival by a music association

  2. Schools and educational institutions that are (1) accredited by provincial authorities; and (2) benefit students of music and journalism by way of (a) scholarships or (b) the purchase of musical instruments:
    • Contributions in this category may include the support of specific music training/educational classes, clinics, master classes, artists in residence for development of musical and journalist skills. Recipients may be students of K-12, CEGEP or post-secondary institutions.
    • Scholarships for journalism, broadcast journalism and/or music courses are eligible to support a student enrolled in a full diploma, degree or certificate program, and not simply for taking a single course that might be part of a general arts degree, diploma or certificate.
    • Licensees are expected to direct their contribution to the institution to be allocated to the recipients. Should the payment be made directly to the recipient, a letter or agreement must be attached to the annual report that reflects the arms length relationship between the licensee and the recipient indicating and that the payment was for an eligible initiative.
    Eligible Not Eligible

    Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau (QC)

    Fanshawe College (ON)

    Lethbridge Community College (AB)

    St-Francis Xavier University (NS)

    University of Manitoba (MB)

    The general administrative and operating costs required to operate a music school

    Costs associated with attending a broadcasting sector conference

  3. Initiatives, including talent contests, for the production and promotion of Canadian local music and local musical artists, particularly emerging artists.

    The following are examples of eligible activities specific to this category. In instances where prize money or a contribution is awarded by the broadcaster directly to an artist (and not through a third-party), documentation to demonstrate the eligibility of the contribution must be submitted to the Commission.

    • Talent contests (singing, songwriting, “battle of the bands” type events);
    • Promotional material to promote artists performances at music festivals/concerts/events. Note that funding must go through a third party to manage/oversee advertising. Any promotional material must not be self-serving to the station and must directly benefit the artists/event;
    • Prize money to be awarded to winners of music competitions
    • Initiatives using new media to promote emerging talent to listeners and radio stations; online battle of the bands and online promotional/advertising material for musicians;
    • Emerging Music Artist Patron (contribution to an artist or musical band for career development related expenses.)
    Eligible Not Eligible

    Canadian Chinese Song-Writers Quest (BC & AB)

    Francouvertes (QC)

    Entertainment reports broadcast on radio stations

    Costs associated with the normal operations of a station (i.e. Program host salary, overtime, street teams)

    Station staff training, staff recruitment on behalf of a station

    Promotional items that do not directly benefit artists or events (i.e. concert t-shirts, banners)

    Local, regional and national musical initiatives

    • Production of music video and audio recordings of artists to be used to promote the artists and their works on various communication platforms. Please note that the production of the recording must be performed by a third-party and not at the broadcaster’s own studio or at the studio of an employee or affiliate.
    • Contributions to third-party organizations to produce websites, social media and promotional materials for emerging artists (i.e. for the purposes of music competitions to allow the public to vote for their favourite artist.)
    • Costs associated with providing training and/or promotional opportunities for emerging artists
    Eligible Not Eligible

    PINs or access codes for music downloads by Mega Music Canada


    Initiatives that do not directly benefit Canadian musicians or audiences

    Initiatives that would benefit businesses instead of Canadian musicians or audiences

    Orchestras & Symphonies

    • Support of local youth orchestras for vocal, instrumental training, purchase of musical instruments.
    • Contributions to orchestras towards the costs of concert performances
    Eligible Not Eligible

    Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Montréal (QC)

    Orchestre Symphoniques des Jeunes de Lévis (QC)

    Orchestra London (ON)

    Toronto Symphony Orchestra (ON)

    Vancouver Island Symphony (BC)

    Amadeus Choir (Toronto, ON)

    Festivals and concert series

    The following have demonstrated in the past that a portion of their activities qualify for CCD funding:

    Festival d'été de Québec (QC)

    Mundial Montreal (QC)

    Prizes and contributions to emerging artists that are not directly related to the development of Canadian Content (i.e. car rental costs for a year)

    Internship programs where the internship is to be hosted by a licensee

    Awards shows & conferences

    • Sponsorship of televised award shows – performance fees for Canadian artists performing at the show. Travel expenses for performing artists are also eligible.
    • Sponsorship of a musical act to attend national and international music performed at competitions particularly for emerging artists.
    Eligible Not Eligible

    L’ADISQ (le Gala)

    East Coast Music Association (East Coast Music Awards)


    Canadian Music Week (CMW)

    Canadian Country Music Awards

    North by Northeast (NXNE)

    Halifax Pop Explosion

    Other music initiatives

    Artist fees to perform at a charity benefit that may or may not be related to music (i.e. hospital foundation)

    General administrative expenses associated with operating a national or provincial MIA.
  4. Independent parties dedicated to producing new spoken word content that would otherwise not be produced for broadcast
    • This category was developed subsequent to the 2006 Policy to permit contributions for the development of spoken word programming for which exclusive rights would not be granted on the basis of CCD funding.
    • Licensees must demonstrate that their contributions to this category must be incremental to regular operational and programming costs. One example could be the sponsorship of a comedy talent showcase organized by a third-party featuring Canadian performers in a public venue with an audience where the performances are recorded by the third party with the intention of making the recording (in-whole or in-part) available for radio broadcast. The rights to air the content must not be exclusive to a single broadcaster.
    Eligible Not Eligible
    Media BemBem’s Canadian Country Spotlight for development of original series Expenses associated with regular, ongoing station programming and/or operations
  5. Audio content initiatives further advancing the fulfillment of specific objectives of the Canadian broadcasting system as outlined in the Act such as the CRFC, Native radio and other specialized audio broadcasting services dedicated to the particular needs and interests of children, Aboriginal peoples, and persons with disabilities
    • Production of a radio program by a third-party, not for the exclusive use of one broadcaster and to be made available to any interested broadcaster.
    • Initiatives to fund the creation of community and/or native radio programming, programming geared to children and to make radio content accessible to persons with disabilities.
    Eligible Not Eligible

    Community Radio Fund of Canada (amount over and above the regulatory minimum)

    Fondation Radio Enfant

    VoicePrint - National Broadcasting Reading Services / Vues et Voix

    Native radio initiatives

    Music Heals (BC)

    General programming expenses such as audience focus testing

Reference documents

For additional information about radio policy and CCD, you may wish to consult the following links:

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2013-476, Amendments to the Radio Regulations, 1986 concerning basic Canadian content development contributions and the addition of a definition of the Community Radio Fund of Canada

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2013-297, Changes to the administration of the Canadian content development policy for commercial and ethnic radio
Amendments to the Radio Regulations, 1986 – Implementation of the Commercial Radio Policy 2006 and the Digital Radio Policy - Regulatory Policy, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-67, 23 July 2008

Commercial Radio Policy, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2006-158, 15 December 2006

Contributions by radio stations to Canadian talent development – A new approach, Public Notice CRTC 1995-196, 17 November 1995


Those with questions regarding the eligibility of parties or initiatives may contact Lynn Asselin, Senior Analyst, Radio Policy and Applications (819) 997-9382.


Footnote 1

If tickets are sold to an event being sponsored by a broadcaster for CCD purposes, any profits from the event must be deducted from the total CCD contribution. As an option, the broadcaster may remit any proceeds from the event to the performers or an eligible initiative.

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Footnote 2

A canadian is (a) a Canadian citizen,(b) a permanent resident, as defined in the Immigration Act, 1976, (c) a person whose ordinary place of residence was in Canada throughout the six months immediately preceding that person’s contribution to a musical composition, performance or concert, or(d) a licensee; (Canadien)

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Footnote 3

For more information see paragraphs 20-24 of Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-629, Sirius Canada and XM Canada – Licence Renewal:

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