Let's Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians



Learn about your options for watching the content you want in a World of Choice.



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Decisions we’ve issued

Let’s Talk TV decisions at a glance

Create: The way forward

Promotion and discoverability

For Canadian-made programming to succeed, it must be widely available and visible. Both Canadian and global viewers need more opportunities to discover programming made by Canada on multiple platforms.

The Discoverability Summit was held by the CRTC and the National Film Board of Canada on May 10 and 11, 2016. The Summit brought together innovators and thought leaders from both here and abroad. The recordings of the event and the transcripts in both official languages are available at discoverability.ca. Keep the discussion going on social media using #discoverability!

Video-on-demand services

The CRTC is ensuring that Canadian video-on-demand services can compete on an equal footing with online video services. Canadian video-on-demand services will be able to offer exclusive content as long as they are available to all Canadians over the Internet without a cable or satellite subscription.

Rethinking funding models

To create content that can compete with the best in the world, Canada needs production companies that have the capacity to develop scripts and concepts, as well as to create and market big-budget productions that can attract global audiences. The CRTC is launching two pilot projects that provide a more flexible and forward-looking approach to the production and financing of Canadian programs.

Set-top box audience measurement

The CRTC is requiring the industry to form a working group to develop an audience measurement system based on the data from set-top boxes. This group will be tasked with proposing technical standards, privacy protections and a governance structure, as well as determining how costs will be shared.

Quotas for Canadian programming

Although television quotas have helped to create a thriving television industry in Canada, they have also created a situation where some shows are repeated on the same television channel or recycled from other channels. The CRTC is reducing the quotas for the overall amount of Canadian programs that local television stations and discretionary services must broadcast.

Investing in programming made by Canada

The CRTC is shifting its focus from the quantity of content made by Canadians broadcast to the amount of money invested in this content. The overarching goal is to ensure that our creators have the tools and resources they need to produce compelling content that can compete on the world stage.

High-quality national news services

As news services must be offered to all television subscribers, the CRTC is introducing new criteria to ensure that Canadians have access to high-quality news, information and public affairs programming from various viewpoints.

Read our policy that encourages the creation of compelling and diverse programming made by Canadians.

Connect: Maximizing choice and affordability

Affordable entry-level TV service

Since March 1, 2016, TV service providers have to offer an affordable basic package priced no higher than $25 a month (not including equipment). This ensures that all Canadians have affordable access to local and regional Canadian television stations, which are important sources of news and information.

Pick and pay/small packages

In a World of Choice, Canadians must be able to supplement their basic TV package with the additional channels they want. Since December 1, 2016, channels have to be offered BOTH individually AND in packages of up to 10 channels.

Preponderance of Canadian channels

Cable and satellite companies will need to ensure that they offer their subscribers more Canadian than non-Canadian channels.

A healthy and dynamic market

The CRTC set up a Wholesale Code to clarify the wholesale relationship between cable and satellite companies and broadcasters, and ensure the fair negotiation of terms and conditions for the distribution of channels. The code will ensure that cable and satellite companies can offer their subscribers increased choice and flexibility. The Code is in effect on January 22, 2016.

Access to a diversity of voices

To ensure that Canadians have access to a diversity of voices, the CRTC is requiring vertically integrated companies to offer one independently-owned channel for each of their own channels. This new rule will take effect on September 1, 2018, when the current service-specific access rules come to an end. The CRTC is also making changes to ensure that Canadians living in official-language minority communities have access to channels that meet their needs. Satellite companies will have to offer one French-language channel every 10 English-language channels, which is the current obligation for cable companies. In addition, Canada’s multicultural communities will have more flexibility in choosing Canadian ethnic and third-language channels as they will be available on a pick-and-pay basis or in small packages. Also, service providers will have to offer one Canadian third-language channel for each non-Canadian channel offered.

Unbundling multiplexed services

Currently, some broadcasters spread their content across multiple channels and, as a result, certain premium channels (known as multiplexed services) cannot be marketed and sold on an individual basis. The CRTC will lift the requirement to offer these types of channels in a bundle, so that pay-television services can offer their feeds on an individual basis to viewers.

Fostering greater choice of service providers

To provide Canadians with a greater choice of providers, the CRTC will allow cable companies with fewer than 20,000 subscribers to enter and compete in new markets without having to first obtain a licence.

Read our policy to maximize choice for TV viewers and to foster a healthy, dynamic TV market.

Protect: Navigating the road ahead

Television Service Provider Code of Conduct

The Television Service Provider Code is a mandatory code of conduct under which cable and satellite companies are required to provide clear information about promotional offers and an advance notice when prices to their services are changed. The Code also clarifies that a time frame for service calls and information on potential charges for installations must be provided to the consumer. The Television Service Provider Code will came into effect on September 1, 2017 and is administered by the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS).


Canadians are increasingly obtaining their various communications services from the same company through bundled offerings. For this reason, the CCTS will begin handling complaints related to television services in addition to handling complaints related to wireless, Internet and telephone services. Similarly, the CCTS will administer the CRTC’s Television Service Provider Code just as it does for the CRTC’s Wireless Code.

Improved access for Canadians with disabilities

Canadians with disabilities will have access to more content that has been adapted to their needs and which will provide them with a seamless viewing experience. The CRTC expects that when television programs with closed captioning are made available online and on mobile devices, the closed captioning will be included. In addition, the CRTC expects broadcasters to increase the amount of programs with described video they offer over the next few years. Finally, the CRTC will require television service providers to make accessible hardware, such as set-top boxes, and remote controls available to subscribers, where they can be obtained from suppliers and are compatible with their networks.

Read our policy about making informed choices about television providers and improving accessibility to television programming.

From the past to the future

Simultaneous substitution

Simultaneous substitution is the temporary replacement of the signal of one TV channel with another channel that’s showing the same program at the same time. We are prohibiting simultaneous substitution for the Super Bowl starting at the end of the 2016 NFL season (i.e., Super Bowl 2017). We are also putting in place regulatory measures to prevent substantial and avoidable simultaneous substitution errors.

Over-the-air (OTA) stations

You can access high-quality television for free by simply using an antenna. If you choose not to pay for cable or satellite subscriptions, you can still have free access to your local television stations, many of which are available in high definition with minimal one-time equipment costs. Find out more about over-the air television broadcasting and our policy on over-the-air transmission of TV signals and local programming.

No more 30-day cancellation policies

Service providers are no longer allowed to require customers to provide 30 days’ notice when cancelling services. Get more information about changing service providers and our policy prohibiting 30-day cancellation policies.

What was said during the conversation

Let's Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians was launched in October 2013. We held a public hearing in September 2014. Check out the notice of consultation and other important documents to see what was said.

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