Canadian Content Development Contributions and Eligible Initiatives

We have issued a Revised Commercial Radio Policy in 2022. Learn more about the upcoming changes to CCD.

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). Commercial and ethnic radio stations with $1,250,000 or more in revenues must contribute $1,000 plus one half of one percent of those revenues above $1,250,000. The basic contribution must be disbursed as follows:

For example, if a licensee’s previous broadcast year’s revenues were a total of $1,255,000, the basic contribution would be as follows:

$1,000 + (0.005 x $5,000) = $1,025.00 to be distributed:

Discretionary and “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 (“over-and-above”) the requirements of the Radio Regulations. These are imposed by conditions of licence.

Stations that make over and above the basic contributions must direct a minimum of 20% of the total annual amount to FACTOR or Musicaction. 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. For example, if a station is required to make over and above contributions of $10,000 annually, of the total annual over and above amount, the station must direct a minimum of $2,000 to FACTOR or Musicaction. The Commission encourages licensees to be innovative and effective in their discretionary expenditures while respecting both the eligibility requirements and the spirit and intent of the policy. 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 most positive impact on Canadian musical and spoken word artists.

Ownership Transaction – Change in Effective Control

In the case of ownership transactions resulting in a change in effective control, purchasers must make contributions of tangible benefits equivalent to 6% of the purchase price. These must include funding for Radio Starmaker Fund (Starmaker) and Fonds RadioStar (Radiostar), FACTOR and Musicaction, and the CRFC. Stations may also choose to contribute to other eligible initiatives. Tangible benefits must be allocated as follows:

For example, if a station is purchased for $2 million, the tangible benefits must be allocated equally each year for seven consecutive years after the date of purchase, beginning in the same year of the purchase as follows:

What is an eligible CCD initiative?

In the Revised Commercial Radio Policy, the Commission sets out eligibility criteria for all CCD initiatives. See “Examples of eligible initiatives” below for the criteria.

Guiding principles for Canadian content development initiatives

  1. CCD funds must 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 2

      Donations to existing organizations, such as 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. In particular, contributions must not be directed to support costs such as those related to housing, transportation, or food.

  2. All CCD funding must entail direct, out-of-pocket expenditures.

    Contributions or proposed initiatives must be clearly linked with the CCD policy. 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 its 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 3

    Some initiatives may include contributions towards travel expenditures to facilitate artist travel for performance opportunities, or in some instances hospitality at events for performing artists.  Travel and hospitality expenses must be reasonable.  It is suggested that licensees and recipients consult the Government of Canada Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event ExpendituresFootnote 4  and the Accommodation and Car Rental Directory for guidance on what may be considered reasonable travel and hospitality expenses.Footnote 5

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

    Broadcasters’ expenditures cannot 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 Canadian artists is eligible but the salaries for station staff to work at the event are not eligible. If a licensee generates revenue from an eligible initiative, the licensee must deduct the revenues from the amount claimed as CCD contributions. 

    Beneficiaries should be independent of licensees. Common members on Board of Directors’ or familial relationships call into question the independence of beneficiaries.Footnote 6

    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 change the ownership and effective 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 of the Revised Commercial Radio Policy.

  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
    Contributions to third party music advocacy associations such as CIMA and ADISQ for general operating and administrative costs. Contributions used for general costs associated with organizing a conference/music festival by a music association.
    Contributions to a music conference organizer for eligible expenses related to showcasing emerging musicians, the majority being Canadian artists. CCD contributions may only be used to fund Canadian artists.  Contributions to pay for appearance fees or travel expenses for non-Canadian judges.
    Contributions to organize a concert event (either free or paid admission) with Canadian artists performing, where any member of the public can attend. Contributions to organize a concert event where the audience can attend only by winning tickets from the station (for example, tickets acquired via call-in or online contests, or through interactions with a station’s “street teams”).
    Contributions only for expenses related to Canadian musicians at the concert event. Contributions to expenses related to non-Canadian musicians at the concert event.
    Contributions to pay the travel costs for Canadian artists performing at a music festival outside of Canada. Any costs for station staff to attend a music festival. Travel and other related costs paid by the licensee for non-Canadian artists to perform at a music festival or concert event.
    Contributions to pay for costs such as staging, talent fees, and venue rental for a talent contest that is open to the public to attend. Payment for items such as audience prizes and give-aways (e.g. any merchandise, including items promoting Canadian artists).
  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 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 arm’s-length relationship between the licensee and the recipient indicating that the payment was for an eligible initiative.
    Eligible Not Eligible
    Payment of fees for employees of a station to attend a conference for professional development. Costs associated with attending a broadcasting sector conference
    The general administrative and operating costs required to operate a music school.
    Funding a scholarship awarded to a Canadian student enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution to pursue a diploma or degree in journalism or music. Funding a scholarship awarded to a non-Canadian student enrolled in a post-secondary institution to pursue a diploma or degree in journalism or music.
    Funding a scholarship awarded to a Canadian student enrolled in a post-secondary institution to pursue a diploma or degree in a subject other than journalism or music.
    Contribution to a post-secondary institution to develop a curriculum, or to develop courses in music, radio broadcasting or journalism courses.
    Contribution to a scholarship awarded to a student in a media studies program that features optional courses in news-gathering.
    Contribution for pre-tax cost of purchase of musical instruments for music instruction in primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions. Contribution for purchase of musical instruments for music therapy instruction.
  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
    • Emerging Music Artist Patron (contribution to an artist or musical band for career development related expenses.)
    Eligible Not Eligible
    Contributions that enable Canadian artists to travel domestically or internationally to performance opportunities. Eligible expenses may include costs related to air and/or train travel, hotel accommodations and vehicle rentals. Contributions to enable Canadian artists to purchase automobiles for touring. Funds used to pay international travel costs and appearance fees to a non-Canadian judge to travel to an event.
    Costs associated with organizing showcase events or talent contests for emerging Canadian artists. Prize money awarded to non-Canadian talent show winners.
    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 (i.e. concert t-shirts, banners)

    Local, regional and national musical initiatives

    • Production of music video and audio recordings by artists to be used to promote the artists and their works on various communication platforms. 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.
    • Costs associated with providing training and/or promotional opportunities for emerging artists
    Eligible Not Eligible
    Initiatives that do not directly benefit Canadian musicians or audiences Initiatives that would benefit businesses instead of Canadian musicians or audiences
    Contributions to fund the recording of a performance, including the artist’s performance fees.  Recipient artist must maintain all rights to recordings.  If recordings are broadcast on any other licensee station, artists’ rights are respected. Contributions to fund the recording of performance by an artist who receives a copy of the recording for their own use as the only form of compensation.  Contributions used to produce a recording that the licensee previously funded and added to the regular rotation of its broadcast content.
    Contribution used to produce a video of an interview with an artist that prominently features the station’s branding; or when the video can only be accessed through the station’s website and/or social media sites.

    Orchestras, Symphonies & Choirs

    • Support of local youth choirs, music ensembles or orchestras for vocal, instrumental training, purchase of musical instruments.
    • Contributions to orchestras towards the costs of concert performances
    Eligible Not Eligible
    Prizes or 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.
    Contributions to present orchestra, ensemble or choral festivals or concert series
    Contributions to an artist’s performance costs to produce a series of live orchestra concerts. Contributions for the transportation of students to attend a concert by other students.
    Contributions to a youth orchestra’s travel costs and/or entry fees to a competition or festival.

    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
    Musical artist fees to perform at a charity benefit that may or may not be related to music (i.e. a hospital foundation) General administrative expenses associated with operating a national or provincial Music Industry Association.
    Contributions to pay for travel costs, including accommodations as well as performance fees for artists performing at a televised awards program. Contributions for performances by Canadian artists during the broadcast portion of an awards ceremony and in return receives tickets as compensation.
    Contributions disbursed to a music industry association organizing a televised awards program and is used to promote artists who perform during the program. Contributions to the production and hosting of a website to promote televised music awards program where the licensee’s funding flows directly to the website producer rather than through the music industry association organizing the awards program. Any contribution where the licensee’s branding is featured more prominently than the artist’s name or the awards program or event. 
  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 is 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
    Licensee provides funding to a Canadian journalism student to produce a radio documentary.  Student must retain all rights to content and control of broadcast.  The licensee broadcasts content and pays broadcast fees (above original production funding). Contributions to record artist performances and/or interviews that become a regular part of the licensee’s programming content.
    Licensee makes a contribution to an independent, third party for costs associated with producing a professional recorded album for an emerging artist. Contributions to record artist performances and interviews that become a regular part of the licensee’s programming content. Contributions to pay for producing a recording of a performance in a studio owned by the licensee to allow an emerging artist to make a recording.
    Contribution to a scholarship awarded to students taking comedy or theatre courses.
    Contributions for student leadership development.
    Contributions to pay for students to attend an industry event such as a gala dinner at journalism- or music industry related awards.
    Contribution for spoken word content that becomes part of the licensee’s regular programming.
  5. Audio content initiatives advancing the specific objectives of the Canadian broadcasting system as outlined in the Broadcasting Act, such as those created by community or Indigenous radio stations and other specialized audio-broadcasting services dedicated to meeting the particular needs and interests of children, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, and racialized people.
    • 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 Indigenous radio programming, programming geared to children or racialized people and to make radio content accessible to persons with disabilities.
    Eligible Not Eligible
    Contribution to a community or an Indigenous radio station to produce programming content. Contribution to a community or an Indigenous radio station for operating expenses.
    Contribution used as an in-kind contribution to a community station to cover the cost of renting space on licensee’s antenna.
    Contributing to the costs for a community radio to produce content for under-18 listeners. Contribution to digitize archives of Canadian broadcasting recordings.

Upcoming changes to CCD following the Revised Commercial Radio Policy

In the revised policy published in 2022, the Commission indicated that it would initiate a follow-up proceeding to seek comments on:

Reference documents

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

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2022-332, Revised Commercial Radio Policy 2022

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

Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-67, Regulatory Policy. Amendments to the Radio Regulations, 1986 – Implementation of the Commercial Radio Policy 2006 and the Digital Radio Policy

Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2011-795, Filing annual returns for radio programming undertakings

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

CRTC Decisions, Notices and Orders - Indexes

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