Seeing Canadian Commercials on American channels

Starting in February 2017, Canadian viewers were able to watch American ads on the American channel airing the Super Bowl.

Following a 2019 Supreme Court of Canada decision, Canadian ads will now be broadcast by Canadian channels and also shown on Super Bowl American broadcaster.

American ads might also be aired on Canadian channels that hold the broadcasting rights as US companies can buy advertising time in Canada for this highly watched sporting event.

For those interested in watching the American ads, most of them are already available to be viewed online.

Simultaneous substitution

Simultaneous substitution is when your television service provider temporarily replaces the entire signal of one TV channel with another channel that's showing the same program at the same time. Usually, an American signal is replaced with a Canadian signal. Sometimes, a Canadian signal from outside your area is replaced with a local signal.

A program that originates in the US may be showing in both Canada and the US at the same time. The Canadian broadcaster airs Canadian ads but the program is the same. So when program substitution occurs, you see the signal, including the Canadian commercials, on an American channel.

Reasons for simultaneous substitution

There are a few reasons for allowing simultaneous substitution:

Simultaneous substitution and TV picture quality

Simultaneous substitution shouldn't affect the quality of your TV picture. This means even if the original signal is replaced with a local Canadian signal, the broadcasting quality should be the same or better.

Addressing simultaneous substitution issues

For a number of years, Canadians have complained that simultaneous substitution mistakes cause them to miss certain parts of live events. For instance, it causes them to miss important plays during a football game or part of a presentation at an awards ceremony.

However, despite its irritations, simultaneous substitution is still necessary to provide over-the-air broadcasters with the financial support they need to continue offering high quality programming to Canadians.

To address this issue, the CRTC introduced regulatory measures to deal with simultaneous substitution errors, to ensure it is done properly:

Examples of a substantial simultaneous substitution error include:

If you encounter problems

Problems can occur, for example, when:

If you believe you have not received the appropriate level of service because of a simultaneous substitution error, you should file a complaint with us with the following information:

File a complaint

Policies, Decisions and Orders

Simultaneous substitution errors (Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2015-329)

Measures to address issues related to simultaneous substitution (Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-25)

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