Transcript, Virtual Hearing January 26, 2021
Location: National Capital Region, in virtual mode
Date: January 26, 2021
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Attendees and Location
National Capital Region, in virtual mode
- Chairperson: Ian Scott
- Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting: Caroline J. Simard
- Commissioner, Québec: Alicia Barin
- Commissioner, Ontario: Monique Lafontaine
- Commissioner, British Columbia and Yukon: Claire Anderson
- Legal Advisors: Jean-Sébastien Gagnon, James Wilson
- Secretary: Jade Roy
- Hearing Manager: Céline Legault, Manon Auger
Table of Contents
PHASE II – Presentation by the interveners
11001 Public Interest Advocacy Centre and National Pensioners Federation
11200 Canadian Media Guild
11408 ACTRA National
11538 Documentary Organization of Canada
11658 The Antenna Guys
11768 Atelier Radio Enfant
11853 Fédération culturelle canadienne-française
11974 Eagle Vision
--- Upon commencing on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 at 10:02 a.m./L’audience débute le mardi 26 janvier 2021 à 10h02
11000 MS. ROY: Good morning. We will now proceed with the presentation from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and National Pensioners Federation. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
11002 MR. LAWFORD: Thank you very much. Good morning, Mr. Chair, Madam Vice Chair and Commissioners. My name is John Lawford, and I am the Executive Director and General Counsel at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. With me from PIAC is Pam Dheri, PIAC counsel. Also presenting is Ms. Trish McAuliffe, President, National Pensioners Federation.
11003 Both PIAC and NPF have mandates to represent and advocate for the interests of Canadian consumers and NPF in particular for Canadian seniors. We advocate for consumer choice, variety, value and privacy safeguards in broadcasting.
11004 Canadians, who we call “citizen-consumers” in this context, also have a profound and important interest in Canada’s National Public Broadcaster, CBC. You and your colleagues are considering the renewal of CBC’s French and English-language audio and audiovisual licences. PIAC is focusing on CBC’s English-language services, in particular audio/visual. The Commission is also considering something bigger: the best path for CBC towards achieving the best practices of public service broadcasters.
11006 MS. DHERI: Thanks, John. The CBC is losing money in its efforts to transition from linear broadcasting to digital platforms. Indeed, CBC, after some arm-twisting, revealed projections of spending over $1 billion from last fall and into 2023 on digital services of all kinds. Projected revenues from digital for this period is forecast at $228.5 million, a nearly $800 million loss.
11007 This move to digital services (exempt or not) puts pressure on CBC and leads its management to take it astray in these ways. First, CBC requests a “floor” of reduced hours of original programming of all kinds as new conditions of licence; and, importantly, the conversion of roughly the current licensed hours into “expectations”, which can be shown on either TV or digital. Second, CBC launches Tandem, a stealth advertising product using their news announcers, without consulting anyone and shocking Canadians as well as their own current and former journalists, all for additional revenue. Third, CBC asks for “flexibility” to “compete” by moving money from linear TV to digital services, but argues that this massive investment in digital should still be undertaken while enjoying exemption from its licensing, under the DMEO.
11008 In our view, CBC’s current applications show this confusion of purpose and goals with the result that PIAC-NPF, as representatives of consumers, are here to ask the Commission to resolve the problem in the public interest. Our main concern is that CBC will beggar its conventional broadcasting service to fund its risky, maybe necessary, but not clearly thought out, “Your Stories, Taken to Heart” plan.
11010 MS. MCAULIFFE: Our main concern is that the CBC will beggar its conventional broadcasting service to fund how flexibility (reducing programming hours) hurts seniors. Seniors make up 6.8 million people in Canada, or nearly 1 in 5 people. The CBC’s request to reduce original programming hours on conventional or linear TV will hurt our members, who will suffer a decreasing level of news and entertainment, see more re-runs and have less choice of programs. They care that their grandchildren will see children’s programming with more re-runs and of lower quality.
11011 Many seniors are tech-savvy and use the internet on home computers, tablets, smart TVs and other devices. But, the fact is they use them less than other age groups and may have difficulty with a “jump cut” to an all-digital service, with new logins, just to get new, innovative or interesting content CBC should be showing on all platforms, especially television, which you just turn on.
11012 In addition, many seniors have fixed incomes; and although they rely on internet, many have difficulty affording the very expensive internet packages with adequate bandwidth for “over the top” broadcasting such as that on GEM. Even if seniors do buy TV and internet bundles, the CRTC’s own Sales Practices Report states seniors often are targeted with packages that don’t meet their needs. A small but important group still simply tune in over the air. Seniors in many remote and rural areas don’t have a choice and must tune in over the air, because broadband isn’t even available yet or is not fast enough where they live to show online TV.
11013 The CBC is Canada’s national public broadcaster. It must be required to satisfy that requirement for the whole public, including seniors, whose tax dollars over many years have built the CBC.
11014 MR. LAWFORD: Many participants in the proceeding have laid out a litany of complaints about how CBC's secretive shift to digital, without adequate conditions, regulation, oversight and reporting will hurt their business, reduce democratic discourse, or impoverish their viewing and listening experience. The CBC plan is therefore in conflict with other interests in the Canadian broadcasting system, which the Commission can fix by prioritizing the public interest, not blessing the CBC's fever dream of out-Netflixing Netflix.
11015 The CRTC can fix these conflicts and confusion. Here is how:
11016 First, when CBC sounds just like a private broadcaster, remind them that subsection 46(1) and subsections 3(1)(l) and (m) say CBC must provide radio and television programming; and if the steps said to advance these goals conflict with other interests in the broadcasting system, subsection 3(1)(n) says the public interest shall determine how to resolve the conflict.
11017 Second, to permit CBC its desired flexibility to experiment with digital, consider endorsing PIAC-NPF's Fundamental PSB Principles and Mandate, which will allow CBC to achieve its statutory mandate across linear and digital, all while requiring the CBC, via conditions of licence, to build on a base of rules for its traditional licensed services, which are the only services at issue here. This issue is linked to the CanCon and DMEO debate.
11018 Third, measure CBC's performance, retrospectively and prospectively, on an ongoing basis, of its achievement of licence conditions and expectations, as well as assess incremental achievement of its mandate. Then report the result of these metrics before the next licence renewal so that the CRTC and Canadians have a transparent, common, and complete set of objective data to consider.
11019 Fourth, consideration of the digital -- of digital media should be left to coincide with Bill C‑10 implementation or DMEO reconsideration, or both. Therefore, we revise our additional, our initial recommendation, excuse me, of a five-year licence renewal and we now recommend that the Commission review the licences granted after this hearing after two years to line up with implementation of changes outlined in Bill C‑10, and any adjustment of the DMEO. Only at that time, when digital rules are clear for all, should the Commission set out digital rules or expectations for CBC, including CanCon, to align them with all other broadcasters.
11020 Fifth, to make sure that another Tandem situation never arises, the Commission should make as a condition of licence, and recommend to Parliament, that Bill C‑10 be amended to include, an ex ante public benefit test when CBC seeks to launch a digital new product or service to its mission, whether this product or service is likely to be exempt or not.
11021 We note that the ex ante public benefit test is a best practice in six of nine public service broadcasters, as noted in the benchmark Cullen Study of international public service broadcasting, and in particular, at section E thereof.
11022 In conclusion, we urge the Commission to become from now on CBC's guide as it finds its place into the digital future. The best way for -- to do this is to establish metrics and reporting frameworks to set it on a better path towards achieving best practices of public service broadcasters.
11023 Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today, and we welcome your questions.
11024 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Lawford, Ms. Dheri - is that correct pronunciation so I don't spend the morning offending you? - and Ms. McAuliffe. Thank you again.
11025 I have a few questions. I'd like to touch on a couple of areas briefly on local, some questions about online content, and some questions about measurement framework, all of which to varying -- to a certain extent you've touched on in your comments this morning, which is all very helpful. And I actually reread your submission on the weekend, so I have a lot of -- a few questions fresh in my mind.
11026 Maybe I can just begin picking up on something that you said in your opening remarks in your conclusion, Mr. Langford (sic), where you talk about the Commission becoming the CBC's guide as it finds its place in the digital future, and you mentioned earlier in the remarks a reference to the CBC's strategic plan.
11027 I guess, I wouldn't mind hearing from you what you see as the relative roles of the CRTC as the corporation's regulator; if you will, the president and executive of the CBC in terms of its role managing the corporation and fulfilling their corporate responsibilities; and the board of directors, in particular, who are also appointed by government to oversee the corporation.
11028 Can you give me a flavour of how you see those respective roles?
11029 MR. LAWFORD: Sure, and thanks for the question.
11030 It is true that the CRTC doesn't manage the corporation; that is done by their board of governors. And the CBC also has an important relationship, obviously, with the Department of Finance to get appropriations, and we are aware of that. We are not suggesting that the CRTC try to usurp the present structure unless the Act were changed, and I don't think that's going to happen in the near future.
11031 What the reference was referring to was more a matter of holding the line on licensing conditions and regulating in the scope of the present Act, and then, as you saw from the rest of our submission, trying to hold the line for the moment on the consideration of digital until such time as it's best for the broadcasting system to sort it out, both for CBC and others.
11032 On the -- on the management of CBC, we did receive CBC's undertaking with the new survey, and one of the lower scoring things was CBC management. I'll just leave it at that. But in terms of the board of governors, we did make some recommendations also in our written remarks about increased transparency for appointments to those positions. And again, there's not much more I can say beyond that.
11033 But in terms of the communication I'm sure you already have with these other entities, it's more a matter of where you can lead and where you can't. I think the others will see the renewed, how shall I put it, discipline. Thank you.
11034 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Lawford. Again, I'm departing from my prepared questions, picking up on a couple of cues that were in your opening remarks.
11035 Not to put words in your mouth or overly-simply your proposal, you're certainly making the point very clearly for us and for the record that the corporation should not be allowed to diminish, if you will, the conditions current -- that are present currently for linear services. I don't know if it's possible to answer it as a simple question, but I'll try:
11036 If the Commission were to maintain the current requirements on linear television, would that address the majority of your concerns?
11037 MR. LAWFORD: It would address some of the concerns around reduced program variety and it would hold the line on CanCon production at present levels, which would, especially for our senior members, you know, who rely on CBC linear TV and radio services, some comfort. Could the -- a reconsideration of the CBC mandate as the Commission proposed propel them to even greater heights of CanCon and so on? Yes, but I think that that is so tied up in the consideration of how the digital regulation or guidelines or whatever it's going to be is that it's difficult to discuss that separately and how to fund that.
11038 So if that's an answer, that's my answer.
11039 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is certainly an answer. We are all -- you know, there isn't a single answer, which is the reason we have such a long and detailed public hearing to hear the many answers and the many voices.
11040 Maybe a bit of a more pointed question about local programming, and I'll go on to measurement and a couple of other areas, as I mentioned.
11041 But on the local side, and I have to confess I'm struggling a little bit with your views about regulation of the digital platform. And I take your answer about we should not, if you will, get out in front of our skis from your perspective, but nevertheless, we have proposals in front of us for supervising and regulating on a cross-platform basis.
11042 With respect to local programming, and I apologize if I missed it in your submission, I don’t think I saw any sort of specific thresholds that you propose for local programming on digital versus linear. And I’m just wondering if you could amplify on that, or correct me if I’ve missed something from your submission.
11043 MR. LAWFORD: No, that’s correct. I believe in the submission, if you dig, somewhere there you’ll find a statement saying that we don’t intend to speculate about what would be an appropriate level if hours can be local on digital, if you will, if the CBC’s proposal to be able to run hours from the linear service over to digital and back and forth, because we think that’s such a fundamental shift, because all of the other private broadcasters would also like to do the same. We understand there’s been a proceeding on CP and stuff already and everyone’s talking about it.
11044 But that was the reason why we didn’t set out what I would call a minimum digital level because it just ---
11045 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
11046 MR. LAWFORD: --- it seems to be contingent upon deciding that other very large question; are you going to allow all players to start satisfying their linear licence conditions, or whatever it becomes in the future, with digital.
11047 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, understood. And I’m not trying to push the point, but having followed the hearing over the last couple of weeks have you heard anything that would allow you to take that extra step and give us an indication of what you thought the thresholds were? And I appreciate you just answered you didn’t; just giving you an opportunity to add.
11048 MR. LAWFORD: I’ll give it a stab. I’ll give it a stab.
11049 Clearly, our position is trying to cement the present hours on linear, and then I guess it is suggesting without saying so that additional things, additional productions, additional hour expenditures, whatever way you define it, exhibition if you can do that on digital, that happens on digital is all to the good, but it’s on a base of what is presently licensed hours for linear and I would hope that some of the production that goes onto linear -- sorry, excuse me; digital only does get cycled back into -- into the linear TV schedule.
11050 As Ms. McAuliffe pointed out, it’s not fair to seniors to have all the new digital cool programs only be presented on digital if they can’t get on that. And seniors enjoy innovative programming as well. So that’s where I’ll stop there.
11051 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood, thank you.
11052 That was a great segue into my next question and I want to talk a little bit about online content and PNI. You’ve partially answered it but let me go back and phrase a question differently.
11053 You do, in your intervention, indicate the cross-platform requirements will help maintain, you know, the ratio of Canadian/non-Canadian programming across the Corporation services. But as you just said, there are some challenges with respect to placing requirements on the online side, other than expectations. Do you have any thoughts for us; can you elaborate on what type of requirements you are thinking of? Is it expenditure requirements; exhibition; others? We kind of know what it would be on that traditional side, given your response to my first question, but on the online side?
11054 MR. LAWFORD: Again, stepping outside of what we’ve written so far and really thought deeply about, but happy to speculate, the trouble with all services, whether you broadcast them on linear or put them on digital; is anybody watching it? So there has to be some sort of metric to try to figure out what the uptake is, and I understand there are metrics about engagement and other sort of ad-driven ones that may or may not give you a clue for digital.
11055 I’m not sure they’re the ultimate test on whether the public is, (a) seeing it or (b) enjoying it. Perhaps some more human elements would help, such as actual surveys. I know that’s expensive but getting public feedback on whether they’re picking up these digital programs and they’re aware of Gem and they’re aware of ICI Tou.tv and all that and what they watch on it; not a bad idea.
11056 We’re not opposed to the discussion about Canadian programming expenditures, and we understand the independent producers; very great concerns about how this whole shift will affect them. So we’re not adverse to expenditure requirements but, again, unless all the other broadcasters are involved, CBC may get a deal that everybody else wants that’s only really appropriate for CBC. And without it being done altogether, I don’t think it’s fair to the producers or the other broadcasters to, in effect, use this licence hearing to set those parameters.
11057 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You’ve -- either you’ve been reading my notes or we’re on the same wavelength because you just made me jump over to my second page going, “Wait a minute, but I want ask you about how you’re going to measure online views.”
11058 I know this isn’t directly part of your submissions but obviously it’s something that we’ve been discussing throughout the course of the hearing, maybe I’ll get -- I’ll hopefully get not too mixed up, but I want to jump there since you just talked about it.
11059 You mentioned public opinion research, such as surveys or consultations, as being a possible approach. Can you elaborate on that? And you can guess what I was going to go from here -- where I was going to go from here is, okay, what about online views, either total distinct views versus overall views or -- you know, we’ll get to audience engagement in a minute, but can we start there? What do you think would be best practices with respect to looking at regulatory requirements on those platforms?
11060 MR. LAWFORD: Sure. I think this, for us, for NPF and PIAC, is very much tied to our best practices and mandate and mission of public service broadcasters.
11061 So a lot of the metrics that you're mentioning are wonderful for selling ads across from content and then of course being able to monetize that. And we understand the CBC’s need to have revenues beyond the appropriations, so we’re not adverse to them doing that. But if that’s the -- if marketing people come into the house and start spouting all of these requirements and suggestions, the only answer you’ll get out the end is what drives eyeballs but may not support the mission.
11062 So if you’re looking for distinctive, original Canadian programming that’s not a copycat of private broadcasters’ other efforts, just the CBC made it; if you want distinctive programming that’s new and truly CanCon in the way that we tried to describe it in our submission, then I think that you have to measure other things, and you have to try to measure, as difficult as it is, those particular items; the innovation, I think there was some references to it in our submission around paragraph 52 and 53 which talk about UNESCO’s public service broadcast mandate mission. If you’ll bear with me as I scroll through 400 paragraphs, I can find it for you.
11063 That sort of metric just begs a different type of measurement, again, more human-centred. And, I’m sorry, I’m taking a while to find it but that ---
11064 THE CHAIRPERSON: No problem. You were right, it was -- it began in paragraph 52.
11065 MR. LAWFORD: Yeah. So you’ll see in there that one of the important, overarching considerations that we believe that’s not being considered here is that digital can improve, as well as fill in gaps. So it can improve other broadcasters by showing them the way. You’re not just filing in what other broadcasters are doing or what you can do with linear; you’re actually improving and sort of complementing them. And then there's the four principles that are laid out there, you know, universality, diversity, independence, and distinctiveness. So you want to look for metrics that try to measure those, as difficult as that may be. And we’ve been how BBC tries to do it for Ofcom, and that’s the model that we used, pretty much.
11066 So if you think about public broadcasting principles, it drives a different set of metrics, necessarily, than one that’s purely commercial, although we acknowledge the commercial imperatives, absolutely.
11067 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Again, I’m going to complain and whine because you're making me to go to a different place in my questions, but I’ll pause actually. I want to come back to the issue of relevance, then, but -- and then I’ll go back to my prepared questions for a second.
11068 I’d like you to elaborate on another element of your submissions. In the interventions, you state that programs made available online should only count towards programming obligations if all other requirements for linear television services have been met first. So I wonder if you could just elaborate on that, help me understand exactly what you mean. And I guess the two-part question is -- no, I’ll let you answer the first part, sorry, if you could.
11069 You’re on mute, Mr. Lawford.
11070 MR. LAWFORD: Sorry, I’m -- I do apologize for that. And also, I apologize, I’ve forgotten your question. Can you just say it one more time?
11071 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you could elaborate a little bit on the statement in your interventions that programs made available online should only count towards programming obligations if all of the other requirements for linear T.V. services have been met first. I just wanted to make sure I understand what you mean by that statement.
11072 MR. LAWFORD: At the moment we have the Act as it stands, and Section 46(1) says its linear radio and T.V. broadcasting. So my smarty pants answer is, that’s what the Act says, so that’s what you have to do first, and then you build on top of that. Now, the CBC is here asking if they can satisfy that ---
11073 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you give me a further response beyond the smarty pants answer?
11074 MR. LAWFORD: Well, I’m trying. It’s my -- I have to push that nature of mine down. But the -- the longer answer and more considerate is, CBC is here saying, we can do it a different way, and they may well be able to. In other words, they can if they show that they’re delivering on public service broadcaster best practices. I think satisfy it -- speaking on behalf of PIAC -- through both digital and linear services.
11075 But we’re not there yet. They haven’t shown us that they can do that. They have a nascent online service in Gem and ICI TOU.TV, that look promising, but they have a lot of content from other parts of the world. They haven’t -- they haven’t found their feet yet, and we’re not convinced that without the Commission keeping them to their linear requirements -- partly because as Trish pointed out, Ms. McAuliffe, that I know a large portion of their audience finds them there.
11076 And for people who are not blessed with fast enough internet to use these new tools, and so on, that’s a public interest requirement, is you’ve got to first deliver on that, because the Act says so, and then if there are going to be changes under C-10 or any other structure, or rulings that come out of this proceeding about flexible licencing conditions, that has to be shown and proven.
11077 And I guess we’re doing balance suspenders here, we’re saying, please keep the bedrock to satisfy the folks we’re representing who watch every day, and then build on that without forgetting that you could get to a place where you’re able to let them satisfy both digital and linear with the same requirements. But we’re not quite there yet.
11078 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And thank you for going beyond the straight reading of the statute. I appreciate the response.
11079 You’ve mentioned, and Ms. McAuliffe mentioned this, and I’m certainly not ignoring it, that there is an important segment of the population who will watch traditional linear T.V. and therefore, your submissions about maintaining the obligations. But as you’ve said, Mr. Lawford, there is clearly a trend towards increasing usage of online platforms.
11080 I guess I would say, you know, is it appropriate for the Commission to curtail the corporation’s adaptation? You said, you know, wait two years, not yet, it’s a nascent service. I hear all of that, but I guess I’d also like to ask the question of, is it in the public interest to limit the corporation’s ability to adapt to the majority of Canadians who are shifting to digital platforms?
11081 MR. LAWFORD: And I guess the answer I would have to that is, yes, it would be appropriate, and it is appropriate, but the numbers we eventually got out of CBC show a whopping huge, almost $800 million loss over the -- over a period of three years to do this. So it’s -- if this were a private company, you’d be saying you’re leveraging your old content and your way of doing things to take a risky dive into digital. And yes, it’s the future, but -- yes, it’s the future, but don’t lose $800 million in doing so. Find another way to do so.
11082 So if they were to come back and say, we can continue to fulfil our entire mission, which since they are not a private company they can’t turn on a dime and abandon our seniors and our farther flung Canadian viewers, and everybody else who watches it in cities. You, I think, are appropriately able to tell them, yes, that’s the future, it’s the right idea. But your sums don’t add up and we’re concerned that if the sums don’t add up and there’s pressure on appropriations, for example, if there is a new election and a different government, you are going to be holding a very large deficit and what’s going to happen? Layoffs, repeats, all of the expensive stuff is news and Canadian content, digital, PNI. That’s expensive stuff to produce and that means people get fired and producers don’t get hired.
11083 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for the fulsome response.
11084 Speaking of PNI, I think I’d like to move there. You have probably -- if you’ve been following the proceeding you would have heard several discussions with a variety of parties, including the corporation, that indeed the CBC has exceeded its requirements to the exhibition of PNI over the course of its licence term. I guess I wanted to ask you, if you think the corporation then has been successful in supporting the creation and acquisition of PNI through exhibition requirements as they exist today?
11085 MR. LAWFORD: The way the T.V. schedule works, if there are requirements, licence conditions of licence and an expectation which is presently in their expectations that they exceed them, which they have been good at doing, you pointed out quite rightly, then yes. That’s the most efficient way, exhibition requirements on linear gets stuff made.
11086 The trick is when you also want to show it on digital, will it get made in the same way? How much will it cost? And now you’re getting into business planning for CBC, I guess.
11087 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is -- I guess the flip side of that, maybe it’s not the flip side, but another perspective is, if they are meeting their requirements and indeed exceeding their requirements consistently, is it appropriate from a regulatory burden perspective, to continue to maintain regulatory requirements that are being routinely exceeded?
11088 MR. LAWFORD: Right. Except I note that CBC did ask to have the expectation that they exceed their requirements removed, and then once that’s removed, and then the requested reductions in condition of licence hours are reduced, then you’ve got less production, you just do. Overall, you have less, right? You will have fewer hours. And then they’re saying they’re going to make expectations of, in some cases, one hour or more, in some cases half an hour or more per week.
11089 But then it’s an expectation without an expectation they’re going to meet their conditions of licence, which are already lower, right? Gone. So really, you’re going to have -- you’re going to have naked, if I can put it that way, expectations on top of low conditions of licence. So to be quite blunt about it, we think they won’t make new hours and they’ll make fewer, and they’ll do more reruns and fill the schedule with programs they don’t make, they buy elsewhere, and the look and feel of the linear service will be not as good.
11090 THE CHAIRPERSON: So in your view, not to put words in your mouth, we need to have -- we need to impose some type of regulatory conditions that will ensure that those expectations are met on the digital side?
11091 MR. LAWFORD: On the digital side?
11092 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I assume it’s obvious that you would expect the conditions of licence to be filled on linear, whether they be a condition or an expectation.
11093 MR. LAWFORD: The -- but we would highly recommend conditions of licence at the present level, not lower conditions of licence. But on the digital side ---
11094 THE CHAIRPERSON: understood.
11095 MR. LAWFORD: Yeah, on the digital side, we're not there yet. We're not, in our submission, saying here's how you meet expectations on digital for the reasons that we gave prior of the DMEO and getting ahead of the industry and all the CPE stuff.
11096 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you. You're also -- just continuing on PNI for a second, I mentioned before I would talk a little bit about relevance. So you know that the corporation currently fills out PNI reports and they fill out logs and so on, on both English and French language programming to prove to the Commission and the public that they are indeed, or it is indeed, I should say, meeting their conditions of licence.
11097 That doesn't really speak to relevance though. I mean, that goes to, you know, if you will, numerical arithmetic calculation. Do you have any suggestions for us, any views about how the Commission can ensure that PNI programming offered on traditional linear platforms is relevant?
11098 MR. LAWFORD: Yes, and I believe we've addressed it in our section -- I think it's somewhere in the 400s about this, but -- just so I may gather my thoughts for a moment. The ---
11099 THE CHAIRPERSON: Take your time.
11100 MR. LAWFORD: It again comes from the lens you put over the whole question. Are you looking to have a public service broadcaster that has distinctive first-run Canadian productions, whether independently produced or by CBC as news and other things? Do you want that to be your primary goal? If you do, then from that falls out relevance is the distinctiveness, independence, universality and adversity. And I know the Commission had their own exposition of this, which I think is somewhere in the 400s of our submission, perhaps 395, I think, and it will be difficult to measure relevance, as you pointed out, with what's being used now. I think there needs to be a rethinking of this whole matter from a public interest point of view, and what the impression is of viewers in looking at the content. And that begs the question of so, now, what's CanCon, and if you're going to measure that, what fits in with the public service broadcasting principles that it's built on.
11101 I guess I'm going to take a moment to try to find a better answer for you, so I'll stop there.
11102 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not at all. I think in terms of the Commission's list, you have them in your submission at I think it's paragraph 409, if I'm identifying the one that you were thinking of. And that's fine. I mean, you've answered my question.
11103 I was originally going to move from this to asking questions about if you -- if we remove exhibition requirements, you know, what do we replace it with. We touched on that a little bit already when we talked about can you do surveys, how do you -- you know, what online views -- how do you look at online views and so on. Maybe I can bring that set of questions to an end by asking you how else -- you know, the more broad question. How else might the corporation ensure that PNI is relevant to Canadians and meeting their needs? And if your answer is meeting all those, that list of factors that you just read out, or were trying to locate it, you know, so be it, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to say, all right, we don't like exhibition. We've explored a little about can they do surveying, consultations with stakeholders, with Canadians, can we count hours or distinct views, or total number of views on platforms, and I'd just try to sum it up with that more broad question. How best or how else could CBC/Radio-Canada ensure that PNI is relevant?
11104 MR. LAWFORD: Okay. I guess we're in a way drifting into the performance management kind of ---
11105 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which is my next section.
11106 MR. LAWFORD: --- framework. But let's not quite go there yet, so give me one sec.
11107 The non-financial indicators we have in our submission are at paragraph 453 and 4, output and consumption. So, again, total hours, so could be expenditures and exhibition shelf space. So, what else do I have here? I'm sorry for not having a nice clear sentence for you, but it's found in these two areas. And then in the perception ---
11108 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm.
11109 MR. LAWFORD: --- paragraph, which is I think more what we're discussing, we suggested that it is permissible for the CRTC to develop this concept of public value, and the economic value -- we have listed economic value, individual value to the individual viewer and then lastly citizen value, which is the interesting one, including -- so to society as a whole and the program's importance to democratic functioning, cultural value which is entertainment obviously, educational value which is education and largely youth, although for everybody. I watch The Nature of Things too. Social and community values while serving the communities and regions, and then global value, in other words, letting ourself see Canada and the world.
11110 So that is driven mostly from the BBC's charter ---
11111 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm.
11112 MR. LAWFORD: --- and that would be my answer.
11113 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
11114 MR. LAWFORD: And then there's financial indicators that I think you've already mentioned.
11115 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which is well set out in your submissions, so thank you for that. And if you have any further thoughts, you obviously will have an opportunity to raise them in the reply phase.
11116 So measurement, if you've been following the proceeding, we've had quite a bit of discussion about measurement. If the Commission were to adopt a regulatory approach that doesn't include exhibition or expenditure requirements, how else can we hold the public broadcaster accountable, other than the annual report to government?
11117 MR. LAWFORD: Right. So we anticipated your question a little bit and tried to write it into the remarks. And I've ---
11118 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm.
11119 MR. LAWFORD: --- reread this paragraph a million times. It's R447. And it suggests three things.
11120 So, an annual CBC self-assessment using indicators that CRTC develops, whether in another proceeding or this one, coupled with the requirement to annually report the results to you, the CRTC, and I would hope publicly, but I propose that's up to you.
11121 Secondly, a bi-annual, which I believe here means every two years, not twice a year, a bi-annual CRTC assessment of CBC's performance, using the same indicators, and the performance self-report, and additional data from the industry and your own resources. That's very much like Ofcom does with BBC.
11122 And then lastly, a third point is publication of that -- those reports, or at least some sort of version so the public can then go through it, not to undercut them by having their confidential data out there.
11123 So that's what we call our PIAC MPF, performance management framework. It's based on Ofcom's overview of BBC.
11124 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And thank you for anticipating the question.
11125 If we were to impose conditions of licence strictly on types of content that need specific safeguards, in your view, which content would that be? Do you have a sense of priority as to what content requires explicit safeguards?
11126 MR. LAWFORD: Yes, as you heard from Ms. McAuliffe, seniors in particular really rely on local news, and so that would be one area. The other area which CBC in their own story has taken to heart plan -- also suggest they will pursue, although they haven't made commitments to how to do so, is children's programming and young adult programming. Those two are critical. And in terms of original first-run drama, documentary, also that’s where you’re going to get true Can-con from. That’s where you’re going to get the distinctiveness element. So, I guess I’m not helping you by saying all of those, but all of those.
11127 THE CHAIRPERSON: The flipside of the question was is there in English and French and hopefully in Indigenous languages.
11128 MR. LAWFORD: Yes, and Indigenous languages.
11129 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I’m not trying to answer for you. I’m completing your answer. I was going to turn it around and say is there an area where you would suggest there could be a more light-handed approach or less but, based on that response and the fulsome coverage of the categories, I’m not sure -- I think you may have answered that already.
11130 MR. LAWFORD: Yes, I mean, I guess I didn’t mention films, full-length films.
11131 THE CHAIRPERSON: Feature films.
11132 MR. LAWFORD: And, we did hear the Directors Guild, and we understand they’re an important part of the cultural importance in Canada, so we would support them as well. So, yes, I’m not picking favourite children here.
11133 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You may have also heard some of the discussions we’ve had with various interveners and with the corporation on diverse programming, and the programming meeting the diverse needs of Canadians. Do you have any suggestions, ideas on, again, measures, indicators that can be used to ensure that the corporation is, you know, meeting its objectives with respect to diversity?
11134 MR. LAWFORD: Yes, I think that it’s often a one-way conversation with diversity. So, what you see is, you know, there will be commissioned programming from an Indigenous creator or perhaps there will be some ethnic programming efforts at CBC, and those are great, but I’m not sure about -- there has been enough cycling back to the communities that are supposed to be represented to see if what is being produced is representative. It’s great that it’s there, and the commitment that we see coming in C10 to Indigenous production is fantastic, but you have to circle back around.
11135 That, and I would add that it’s not just, you know, the producer or the director -- oftentimes, it’s the director, the writer, the star who are all the same person, but where it’s not, I think more representation from racialized and Indigenous Canadians in their own productions, including positions to make the productions, if there were some sort of CAVCO-like score sheet there, that would help because, you know, the more people who are involved from the community that’s being represented, I believe the better it would be. But, then, going back to that community and say, “Well, we made it with people from your community. Did it reflect you and what did you think of it?” I’m not sure that that loop has been closed yet.
11136 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that. You’re spending, I think, too much time appearing before the CRTC, Mr. Lawford, because you just answered half of my next question, but I’m going to let you finish it. So, you’re right, and I appreciate that response, and the corporation has proposed to submit reports largely pertaining to gender parity, level of Indigenous peoples in its staff and programming and overall diversity in its staff and programming. As you point out, that is not necessarily sufficient and leaves out -- well, I’ll stop there and say it may not be sufficient.
11137 Could you provide any detail or suggestions, and you just touched on it a little bit when you talked about perhaps closing the loop through meaningful consultation, but are there others that would allow the Commission to better measure or assess the corporation’s success or lack of it reflecting its engagement with Indigenous peoples or peoples -- or other Canadians of diverse backgrounds?
11138 MR. LAWFORD: One maybe slightly innovative idea would be to monitor independent media, which is starting to pop up with quite a bit of frequency in Canada now with smaller websites and with podcasts from that community. So, if you’re listening to Indigenous podcasts, like mediaINDIGENA, this sort of thing, they will often comment on CBC productions of representations of Indigenous voices, and I find their commentary to be really quite different from CBC self-assesses and what politicians say and even what members of the community may say.
11139 So, independent media that come from that environment, from those communities, might be a great source to tap into. Whether the CBC will feel comfortable reaching out to them or not, I don’t see why not, but that might be one way to get a different perspective on how they’re doing.
11140 Again, getting through to individuals. When we talk about engagement tools, does the CBC make it friendly and easy to comment if you want to on programs you’ve seen rather than just complaining when you don’t like something? I mean, are there entreaties from the corporation to people watching it directly to those communities to feed back and how can that be made easy?
11141 I guess I haven’t done enough work in the diversity area, but those would be two suggestions we would have off the top of our head.
11142 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. If you have further thoughts, you and your colleagues, I would encourage you to include them in the reply phase as all, obviously, submissions and suggestions are welcome and helpful.
11143 That is -- those are my questions. I think my colleagues may have some. Vice-Chair Simard, I believe you have a question?
11144 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I have a question. Thank you very much. Thank you for your presentation. Thank you for your answers this morning. I have a quick question for you.
11145 You stressed the importance of senior citizens and as well to stress the importance as well of people who don’t have access to broadband. Do you -- I guess I would like to give you the opportunity to add some nuances, if you feel that it is appropriate, with the extra layer of low income citizens. So, I would be interested in hearing what you have to say about that, please.
11146 MR. LAWFORD: Thank you very much for the question. We often appear also with ACORN Canada, which represents low and moderate income Canadians, and I didn’t get it together to get them on board the coalition this time, so I still believe, from having worked with them, I can answer that question.
11147 Lower income Canadians have far fewer internet connections and tend to have data caps which they cannot exceed because they need to use it for education and important other services. So, entertainment often gets shuffled out of the mix, and video programming in particular uses a lot of bandwidth. So, I’m fairly certain that if ACORN’s representative were here, he or she would say that type of answer.
11148 So, that’s sort of a hidden barrier that, again, it doesn’t also garner a lot of public sympathy. People don’t seem to understand the importance of cultural and other connection to lower income Canadians and it’s prejudicial. So, I would say that that is a problem. And, where CBC still has over the air transmitters, it’s a lifeline for a number of Canadians who are trying to get connection to the outside world.
11149 And, if it’s already hard enough to get that connection over the air, free, if the quality of the content has less news and less entertainment, that is sort of, again, a stealth way of robbing them of what they should get as citizens. I hope that answers your question.
11150 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, and maybe a sub-question. Do you have any views about l’Extra, like the paid service on Tou.tv?
11151 MR. LAWFORD: Yes, we have thought about that. And, although the written submission doesn’t take a position because, again, we would like to consider that in the context of all the digital media broadcasting undertakings, this is a debate that’s occurring as well with BBC and the Britbox should the citizens have to pay for it once to make it and then pay for it again, and they have the extra step in England of the BBC fee, but then on top of that you've got to be paying for the online service with the subscription.
11152 And I heard Mr. Péladeau and his concerns, and to some extent we do share them. Because it's bad enough already, if I may put it this way, that I want to watch a show on ICI TOU.TV and I have to have pre‑roll ads, and then after four or five minutes it throws an ad in, and then every time I click away and come back it shows me an ad. So that's bad enough, but then to ask me to pay for, you know, an extra $7 a month, I believe it is now, to go back and see, you know, early, early episodes of District 31 or something, like that's galling because it -- this is speaking personally, it seems to be too much.
11153 And here again you're starting to affect the other players in the broadcasting system, as we mentioned, and that's become, I believe a conflict. And again, if CBC weren't spending -- if CBC were spending under $100 million, maybe you could say it's not affecting the broadcasting system, but even if they're losing money, if they're spending that amount of money on an online service that's paywalled, is that affecting the broadcasting system? I would say, yes, which is why we'd like to consider that in a separate question and I think it's a very live question. So thanks for the question.
11154 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Lawford.
11155 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci, Madame Simard.
11156 Madame Barin, vous avez une question aussi? You have a question as well?
11157 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Oui, merci. Thank you.
11158 Thank you, Mr. Lawford, for your comment. I'd like to ask you about discoverability on the online platform and talk mainly about the traditional platforms. But do you have any recommendations with regards to whether it's visual space or shelf space or how to -- how to have the CBC carry over its mandate into that space. Are there any criteria or conditions that you would suggest?
11159 MR. LAWFORD: The -- one we've used so far, the discussion at least that we've had with various players in the industry, if I may be so indiscrete, is around the banner on some of the private broadcasters, and over the talks is would they be willing to have, you know, a banner with Canadian shows near the top. That's one way of getting discoverability that's pretty familiar for people to use content services like Netflix, and obviously it could be different critical, I guess I call them genres, on -- for example on Gem, you know, you could make you had the documentary list, and I think they already do, and various other ones to make sure that people are exposed to the fact that there's more just entertainment TV, there's also news and there's also other things like documentaries.
11160 Discoverability beyond that, I -- again, the more the contact is with the CBC through channels they set up to measure engagement, if they can turn that engagement back around to try to actually engage, if I may, with the watcher or the viewer and find a way to perhaps with AI or somehow get some feedback on "Hey you watch this; here's more" without harming privacy that might be a great way to do so.
11161 I understand that the corporation is on all of the social media and people are picking up shows and stuff that way, perhaps they should be saying -- perhaps if they weren't charging for their extra services on Gem and ICI TOU.TV extra then they could be directing people to all sorts of things, but at the moment they can at least send them to their own productions on there that have ads.
11162 Other than that, I guess I just don't believe discoverability is a magic bullet. And I believe we've said this in our BTLR. No, we didn't say it in the BTLR. We said in one our submissions, maybe not this one, where the problem with discoverability, I think it reaches back to the -- to a previous chairman's time, the problem with discoverability is if you're saying, "Hey, here's my stuff", but it looks just like Bell Media's stuff, or it looks just like Quebecor stuff, then it's not really discoverability, you're just giving them more. It's not a different choice.
11163 So this goes back to what are you producing? What's the definition of CanCon? What should CBC make distinctive, like how should they have something different to offer?
11164 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you very much. I appreciate your comments. I'll pass it back to the Chair.
11165 MR. LAWFORD: Thank you.
11166 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you, Madam Barin.
11167 I believe Commissioner Anderson also has a follow up question.
11168 Commissioner Anderson?
11169 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Yes.
11170 Thank you very much for your presentation. I wanted to just go back to your discussion on measuring relevance for diverse communities. And you really emphasised the importance of circling back around to the community, and I understand what you're saying. You used Indigenous communities as an example, I believe, when you were discussing going back to the community to see if programming is indeed relevant.
11171 I wonder if it would be equally important to go back to the community when it comes to other diverse groups? And if so, I'd imagine, and CBC has mentioned that there would be significant cost implications. And if you've got any suggestions on ensuring that we -- that CBC circle back to the community, if that's what appropriate, and how to do that in a way that is somewhat financially manageable? Thank you.
11172 MR. LAWFORD: Right, it is a tough question because all the good things cost money. When you're there, if you do find a way to mandate some way of circling back, whether by a survey or a town hall or other method that works best for the community, then as you say you can ask a lot of questions. You can ask -- just to put it Indigenous content, you can ask about all of the other content and the feedback there, so make it an efficient trip. It doesn't have to be monthly.
11173 And again, you know it's frustrating because the more the -- the more internet rollout gets to communities the more interactive and digital tools you can use to cut costs for this. So that's a benefit on the telecom side of getting the connection.
11174 But presuming it's not going to be there for a while, unfortunately, yeah, I guess, we'd like to hope there's some other way to leverage this, whether it's through -- it's tricky because if you start to say well you can within your community try to funnel it through one person or group, then they become powerful and they leave other people out. It would be interesting if, for example, CBC were to ask independent media producers who are again popping up all over the country to do this for them and to give them a report and to trust that report, that might be a more cost-effective way. I can't think of other ways at the moment though I'm afraid.
11175 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: That's -- that's a great answer though. Thank you very much.
11176 THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe completes our ---
11177 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Oh.
11178 THE CHAIRPERSON: No? Pardon me.
11179 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Sorry.
11180 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Lafontaine. Go ahead.
11181 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: If I may. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
11182 And thank you, Mr. Lawford, and your panel members for your presentation today. I just want to -- I just have one question for you on this topic if diversity.
11183 You've talked about the -- you know, circling back to the community, as you've just discussed with Commissioner Anderson. Earlier in the proceeding, Jesse Wente from the Indigenous Screen Office, presented, and he discussed the importance of Indigenous narrative sovereignty, and in our exchange he talked about an expenditure obligation on the CBC Radio-Canada for independent production, a contribution somewhere in the range of 6 or 7 to 9 percent I believe for Indigenous independent producers.
11184 And I was wondering if you and your panel members have a view on that?
11185 MR. LAWFORD: Yes, I did hear him say that, and he's not far off. Because you know, the Indigenous population ranges all over the country, but it's certainly between 1 and 10 percent in many places; and so therefore, it's entirely appropriate to ask for that amount and we see the direction of the government in trying to support Indigenous voices.
11186 So I don't think he's off base on that every time you dedicate part of an envelope other people get antsy, and when there’s more money it’s easier to do. But as part of reconciliation I think it’s definitely something that should be very seriously considered. So we did hear him and we would support his call.
11187 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much.
11188 Thank you, Mr. Chair, those are all of my questions.
11189 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner, Lafontaine. I apologize; I didn’t see your indication you had a question.
11190 Then I will now say I believe that completes our questioning. I want to thank you, all of you, and I’m very -- Ms. McAuliffe and Mr. Lawford, for taking the time for your extensive submission in the proceeding, very much appreciated, and I bid you a good day.
11191 Madam Secretary, I believe this is time for our morning break?
11192 MS. ROY: Yes, we will take a break and we will be back at 11:25.
11193 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
11194 MR. LAWFORD: Thank you.
11195 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bonne journée.
11196 MS. McAULIFFE: Thank you.
11197 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Good day.
--- Upon recessing at 11:09 a.m./
L’audience est suspendue à 11h09
--- Upon resuming at 11:24/
La séance est reprise à 11h24
11198 MS. ROY: Welcome back. We'll now hear the presentation of the Canadian Media Guild. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
11199 Please unmute your mic first.
11201 MS. SMYTH: Sorry. I'm off to a bad start in my business. You think I'd know better. We're a little nervous. We don't do this all the time.
11202 Good morning, Mr. Commissioner and directors and CRTC staff. Thank you very much for this opportunity to appear at the hearing. We're very grateful. We appreciate the hard work that you do to make public broadcaster the best that it could be.
11203 I'm joining you from Toronto, and we’d like to acknowledge that we are on the unceded territory of the Mississauga of the Credit River, the Huron-Wendat, the Anishinabek and the Haudenosaunee.
11204 My name is Carmel Smyth, and I'm the president of the Canadian Media Guild. That's the union that represents the majority of workers at the CBC.
11205 My colleagues Kim Trynacity is the CBC Branch president, Dominique Gauthier is the Francophone director, Jeanne d’Arc Umurungi is our communication director.
11206 We are here today to share our support for and belief in the work of the national public broadcaster. We'd like to go on the record noting that the CBC will need stable long-term funding to fulfil its mandate, although we recognise that the Commission does not determine levels of funding.
11207 We do hope, however, that you will agree that in these critical times, the public broadcaster is more necessary than ever, so it can be a leader in dealing with the significant issues facing the media and society as a whole. Some of the issues that we see include the proliferation of all types of false information and deceptive news, harmful to the public and to democratic values; the increasing news poverty in communities as media organizations struggle, while global tech giants continue to grab the lion's share of advertising money. This unfortunately -- this unfortunate reality has already dramatically hurt employment opportunities for a generation of young Canadians, forcing talented, dedicated media workers into precarious work and unemployment.
11208 The CBC has also been called upon by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and like Canadians across the country, to step up and lead improvements in the industry, that the national public broadcaster is uniquely placed to do. It should ensure meaningful diversity and inclusion in its news coverage, in its programming, and in its hiring including in its leadership ranks.
11209 As an example of where the Corporation can and must do better, a recent union survey showed that many BIPOC employees have not received the opportunity for advancement even though they were more qualified than other candidates. These changes will require rigorous obligations from the CRTC.
11210 We are asking for transparency and accurate information so we can assess what progress is being made; for better representation of equity-seeking groups from hiring and onboarding to retention and to promotion at all levels of the Corporation; to promotion of employees from equity-seeking groups into more senior roles.
11211 With that, I pass it to my colleague, Kim Trynacity.
11212 MS. TRYNACITY: Thank you, Carmel, and good morning, everyone.
11213 I’d like to speak to you today about news, especially local news.
11214 Now, it's particularly important to me, having spent three decades as a television, radio and online journalist, most recently as a Legislative reporter here in Alberta, before I became a fulltime national union leader just over a year ago.
11215 Here are just two examples to illustrate the value of local news to the public.
11216 First in 2019, late 2019, CBC North suddenly announced it was going to merge all morning radio newscasts in the North, replacing familiar morning voices in Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories with one newscast originating out of Yellowknife.
11217 Well, there was an immediate outcry from the public and staff was bewildered. Legislators sternly denounced this. But responding to mounting public pressure, CBC reversed the decision.
11218 Second, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, when all of us were struggling to grasp the severity of the situation and the scope, suddenly, all local CBC TV newscasts were pulled off the air.
11219 Now, because so much of the technical operation is now centred in Toronto and centralised in Toronto, the system became overloaded, and CBC could not handle the volume of demand, so local casts were sacrificed. Again, an immediate public outcry. Canadians from all walks of life were shocked. Local coverage gradually returned, but it took about 8 months before supper, late night and weekend television news was restored.
11220 Now, survey after survey, Canadians say they really trust and rely on CBC/Radio-Canada news in their communities. The 2019 Communication Monitoring Report showed "traditional television viewing still far exceeds viewing of Internet-based television." And yet there have been steady cuts over -- to news over the years and more repetition.
11221 Now, how many times have you seen a really good piece on the National, only to hear it word for word on radio the very next morning, perhaps again in the afternoon, maybe the evening?
11222 CBC employees still work really hard to provide high-qualify journalism, but there are fewer reporters to dig up stories, to cover city halls, the school board, or just to leave their desks to go out and do reporting in the community.
11223 Pre-pandemic, while I was still a reporter, I remember almost pleading with my desk to allow me to go to a news conference in person to ask questions, but I was discouraged because that way, if I stayed in the office, I could file more quickly for all platforms, radio and online, and if anything was left over, television late in the afternoon.
11224 Speaking of television, the programs are poorly resourced across the country. Some shows are half an hour, some are an hour.
11225 In most locations there are no reporters assigned on at night, and if they are, again, they have to slice and dice that story for a variety of platforms. And producers scour the network to fill shows, times and slots.
11226 Here's a word about long-form journalism. Very few documentaries are done in-house. In 2014, CBC Doc Unit was shut down. It brought such memorable information productions to Canadians as "The People's History of Canada," and "Syria: Behind Rebel Lines."
11227 At the time, CMG members pointed out that CBC television, to be true to its core mandate, needs more long-form journalism, not less, and this remains true today.
11228 When CBC/Radio-Canada received more additional -- or additional funding for 2016-2019 period, two-thirds of that money went to outside productions instead of reinvestments in local news or documentary. At the very minimum, the Commission should require the CBC to maintain current levels of programing on television and radio.
11229 We urge you to not give CBC/Radio-Canada a blank cheque when it comes to "flexibility". If you do, it may well mean the end to local television news shows. Instead, well, we just say more FaceBook Lives or perhaps another Top Ten Lists online.
11230 Now, speaking of news quality, I'll speak briefly about CBC Tandem. That's the service the Corporation launched to show paid content designed to look like as real -- look like real news. It is wrong.
11231 In this era of growing misinformation, it's a baffling choice for a public broadcaster. The public shouldn't be put to a test to determine when they click on CBC, is it real news, or is it Tandem.
11232 It was so disturbing to our members that they went public with their concerns, issuing a public letter indicating how concerned they were about this platform. To be clear, our union supports ads on CBC. Advertising revenue has helped keep CBC/Radio-Canada afloat over decades of underfunding and cuts. However, we believe Tandem goes too far.
11233 And I'd like to turn our presentation now to my colleague, Dominique Gauthier. Thank you.
11234 M. GAUTHIER: Bonjour membres de la Commission. Brièvement, pour les communautés linguistiques minoritaires francophones de l’ouest, les nouvelles locales sont un service vital pour la survie et le maintien de la langue et de la culture. Dans les régions telles que Calgary ou Winnipeg, Radio-Canada est le seul service local télévisuel en français disponible.
11235 Pour ce qui est de la radio, je vous citerai le rapport des communications de 2019 mentionné par Kim qui indique que sans les stations et services de diffusion de CBC/Radio-Canada, les citoyens des régions de langues officielles en situation minoritaire au Canada perdraient 68 % de leur service de radio dans leur langue maternelle. Par ailleurs, on constate une certaine dilution de la programmation locale en raison du recours aux émissions en reprise pour remplir la moyenne d’heures demandée par semaine.
11236 Un autre exemple est l’utilisation d’une seule personne présentant la météo pour les quatre provinces de l’Ouest. Ceci nuit au rapport local de Radio-Canada avec la communauté, sans compter le fait que déjà, dans certaines provinces comme la Saskatchewan, les émissions télé de nouvelles en fin de semaine sont remplacées par des bulletins de cinq minutes ou moins quelques fois dans la soirée, dans les trous de programmation principale, qui est presqu’entièrement québécoise.
11237 C’est pour ces communautés de langue française en situation minoritaire à travers le pays que la Guilde appuie au minimum le maintien des obligations actuelles de Radio-Canada pour les nouvelles locales. C’est pour ces communautés également que le syndicat soutient la distribution obligatoire des services de nouvelles de ICI RDI dans les marchés de langues minoritaires anglophone et de CBC News Network dans les marchés de langue minoritaire française.
11238 Nous appuyons également l’augmentation de tarifs mensuels demandés pour assurer ce service.
11239 Je vais passer maintenant la parole à Jeanne d’Arc Umurungi.
11241 Mme ROY: Vous êtes sur sourdine. You’re on mute.
11242 Mme UMURUNGI: Merci. Merci, Dominique.
11243 So, I’m going to quickly summarize CMG’s recommendations.
11244 Number one, that, at a minimum, the Commission maintain current obligations for CBC/Radio Canada’s Radio and Television services for local news and programming. CMG opposes cutting television and radio news programming requirements, that la Guilde appuie également le maintien de la distribution obligatoire dans les collectivités de tout le pays, des services de nouvelles ICI, RDI et CBC News Network et appuie également les augmentations demandées pour les tarifs mensuels de gros.
11245 We recommend that, at a minimum, the Commission require CBC/Radio Canada to report annually, publicly and in a clear accessible fashion on its performance in the area of equity. CMG members have asked for transparency and accurate information from the corporation so we can assess what progress is being made;
11246 better representation of equity-seeking groups from hiring and onboarding to retention and promotion at all levels of the corporation; promotion of employees from equity-seeking groups into more senior roles.
11247 We also believe that CBC/Radio Canada should drop branded content from its platform. I know that we have a number of other recommendations in our written submission, and I realize that we are out of time, so I will stop here for now.
11248 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for your presentation and your watchfulness of the clock, but we want to hear clearly what you have to say. Madame Barin, I believe you have some questions?
11249 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Yes, I do. Thank you, and hopefully I will give you some time to discuss anything you may have missed. Thank you very much for your presentation this morning. Welcome. I would like to ask you some questions in particular, because you do represent a good number of CBC employees and your perspective on some issues that we discussed with CBC management would be helpful for the Commission, and I would also like to touch on some of the proposals and recommendations that you’ve made in your submissions.
11250 So, I would like to start on picking up on a comment that you made in your oral presentation, Ms. Trynacity. And, it touches on the issue of integration; integration in relation to the production of content, and in particular the creation of cross-platform content however that is defined, whether it’s traditional, digital, TV, radio. I’m interested in your views about what Mrs. Tate and CBC management described as an integrated synergistic news spine with journalists covering traditional video, audio, text in digital.
11251 So, from your perspective, how would you describe this integrated news production capacity? And, how does it work to deliver quality programming?
11252 MS. TRYNACITY: Thank you for your question. Well, as you were describing it, I had a visual image in my head of a salad bar, you know, a mixed salad of all things together and you pick out what you like, and some things are really good and some things are a little bit wilted. So, you know, when it -- it’s difficult for reporters to file for all platforms, and -- but it’s a big achievement and they do it very well. And, when they have the time and they have the resources, the product can be achieved.
11253 You know, my experience comes from being a reporter. So, if you have, you know, a big story or something you’re working on, you have the lead up and the time to devote to creating a piece, you know, for online that has all the photographs and the links and the charts and everything you need for that, the radio piece is fully done with a number of voices, and then you produce a television piece as well, it’s a great model if you have the time and the resources, and that way everything is integrated. But, for one person to do that day after day after day, it’s unsustainable.
11254 The quality is there because our members are among the best in the business as we all know. But, as I said in my presentation, we don’t have enough people to maintain that quality, and I think the focus should be back on -- we often hear “boots on the ground”, but often those boots are under the desk, they’re not in the community, and I think it would be advantageous for CBC to get some of the people that are working in the office now out into the community, when conditions are right, where we can start to integrate in communities and safely again.
11255 But, I think to maintain or to actually achieve that full integration of all the platforms, it requires much more investment and time. And, you can’t turn around that quality on -- it doesn’t turn on a dime. You can’t do that quickly and spit it out, but you can do that when you do have enough time to devote to the item that you’re working on.
11256 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. So, then just to delve a little bit deeper on the issue of news and local news in particular, we’ve talked in the course of this proceeding about issues of quality and relevance and, I guess, quantity. I just want to be clear on your concerns because while I understand that you’re proposing a greater investment in in-house production, you’re also saying that you’re happy with the current conditions that the CBC has in relation to local news.
11257 So, I would like you to comment on what your issues are in particular with local news. And, secondly, the CBC proposal contains a flex component. So, they’re proposing that some of their local news hours be met on the digital platform. So, if you could comment on that and maybe clarify your position?
11258 MS. TRYNACITY: Well, I think that ideally we would like to see more, more hours of local television in every region across the country, but we are realistic because we know that there has been a significant investment online and many people are going online. But, as your previous presenters illustrated and asked for, don’t abandon your core values. Don’t abandon what got you there.
11259 For quality television, there has to be a reinvestment. Right now, it’s an afterthought. There are very few reporters actually dedicated to working on television, and it requires more people to get that product up to -- to have more stories on the air. I mean, if you watch your local shows, you’ll see a lot of the content comes from outside of the local region. It might come from Ottawa or Toronto, and those pieces are great, but audiences really want to see what is happening in their own community.
11260 And, you also asked about the flex component. My concern is that, as I mentioned, if you give CBC that flexibility, I think that everything is going to migrate off of the main network on television and go online, and it might be replaced by programs that they buy from outside of Canada perhaps or who knows what they’re going to put on. And, what will constitute to be a -- what will be deemed to be a television news program online could be filled with who knows what. Why I said Facebook Lives, that could be it, and they are of value and there is value in covering a Facebook Live, but I don’t think it should replace your daily television news program that has a combination of what is going on in your community, weather and other things, perhaps even sports.
11261 So, my concern is if CBC is given that entire flexibility, that we will see a further erosion of quality, and then just the number of hours of programs on local television.
11262 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you.
11263 MS. UMURUNGI: If I may ---
11264 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Yes, please. Go ahead.
11265 MS. UMURUNGI: Sorry, if I just may add that the CMG’s main concern is the request from CBC to the corporation to cut the hours that they’re doing on television, news, and cover them online. We don’t mind them being online; we just don’t want the traditional channels, the traditional platforms to be cut somehow in order to supplement. We also believe, when we talk about investments, we are aware that there have been so many cuts that that has had that impact on the quality of programming, and we would like to see reinvestments in that.
11266 So, when we say “minimum”, it’s that -- it’s not so much that we’re happy with the hours today; we just don’t want them cut. And, ideally, for us, there would be more local news in terms of investments in, as Kim was saying, reporting, news gathering capacity. (Line cuts out) of that could have been so many cuts over the years.
11267 And, also, because of the situation of the crisis that we are observing right now in local news, with a lot of services -- basically outlets shutting down, also the crisis in misinformation that’s increasing, also the crisis in the -- the need for people to see themselves and to see their communities reflected as citizens, so the crisis of citizenship and of engagement of the community. I think there is a lot of research showing that that really lack of local news takes a toll on the health of communities, and democratic values, and participation in those communities for citizens.
11268 So when we see all that happening, we’re saying -- so again, we’re talking about the ideal situation, is that given CBC Radio-Canada’s importance, the fact that the public really values it and trust our news and information that we provide, we think that maybe it’s time for CBC to look to how do we even do more?
11269 Not that we -- we know there should be a diversity of voices, we think there should be private, we think there should be community service, community news, community -- the community part of -- of the system. But we think public -- but at this moment, CBC Radio-Canada should in fact be trying to do even more and seeing where is -- where is -- in which communities are there news issues, lack of news, cuts, and see if they can invest there in some ways that they can.
11270 So the minimum for us is to maintain what’s going on today, and not try to cut the current requirements and migrate them online in a system that is not regulated, that we don’t know too much about right now. But we do support for CBC to be experimenting there and working there, and they’ve done a good job in many ways, our members always do great work on those platforms as well.
11271 But the key is there is the minimum, which we say, please maintain the current requirements until, you know, we know more, and we do more, and we understand more. But our ideal situation is more investments in local news, and even expansion of local news in areas where there is -- there is, you know, news poverty. At the same time, as Ms. Smith mentioned, of course we know that their resources are limited and that’s a question that you know, they Guild is always trying to address and to bring forward and to raise in public.
11272 MS. SMYTH: So if I can just add to that? If you don’t protect the CBC’s mandate to deliver local news, what’s local? In this day and age, you can cover the news almost everywhere out of Toronto, with technology the way it is, with everything migrating online, a story can be written by somebody in Toronto about every location. You can’t see where it is, you’re not obliged to say.
11273 If -- local news costs a lot of money, it's labour intensive, you have to have infrastructure in place and you don’t have to deliver it locally. So if it isn’t mandated, there’s so much financial pressure on the CBC to do it in the most cost effective way, and we’re note going to argue with you over what cost effective is, it means centralizing.
11274 So Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, can do the news for the entire country, and we see a lot of that happening now. Kim referenced it. In a local newscast there might be two reporters, say, so 10 minutes of local news and then they take stories from the CBC, but from the rest of the country and fill the newscast. But we’ve seen in some circumstances where there’s a five-minute hit of local news and then the rest is filled from stories from across the country.
11275 So if you’re not very clear what you mean when you say local news, that could qualify as local news, but in the end, you could have one person in a location filing online. So the way that technology is making the news business change, everything is changing, your definitions have to be very clear.
11276 If you want a presence in the north and in small communities where there’s never going to be any financial incentive to have it there, you have to be very clear that it’s part of the CBC’s job. You have to deliver languages -- sorry, programming in multiple languages in the north and in other communities. In each province you have to have a presence, and that means somebody is actually there, physically doing news in that location.
11277 MS. TRYNACITY: If I could just add to what Carmel was saying as well to, and Jeanne d’Arc talked about this, sort of touched on it. There is also a link between journalism and democracy, and local news and democracy. I mean, we saw what happened in the Untied States over the past four years, and the emergence of fake news, and misinformation all over the place.
11278 You have more content locally covering things like City Hall, like the School Boards. They may not be really exciting things to cover as a journalist all the time, but these are very important issues to the public, to know who’s going to plow their road if it snows, to know about how much their garbage pickup is going to cost, things like that.
11279 And I think that’s one area that has declined in terms of the emphasis locally, all across Canada. I mean, local newsrooms struggle to cover issues at City Hall, but there is so much more that could be done if they were properly resourced.
11280 Mme ROY: Madame Barin, vous êtes sur sourdine.
11281 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Sorry.
11282 Mme ROY: Pas de problème.
11283 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you very much. I really appreciate the fulsome answer.
11284 I’m going to pick up on one point that you appear to -- or a distinction that you appear to be making between local news and what’s defined as local news, and news on the digital platforms. And I note in your written submissions, you talk about the need to uphold the high standards and practices for online journalism.
11285 You’re asking the Commission to gather information and assess the quality of what’s on the online platforms. And you’re also talking about things like artificial intelligence and algorithms in the production of digital online news. So I want to understand what your concerns are about the production of online news, or the CBC’s production of online news for its digital platforms?
11286 MS. TRYNACITY: Well, I could jump in and start, and my colleagues can supplemental, you know, as they -- as they see fit to do.
11287 With regards to automation of the news media, this is happening all across the system. Washington Post, New York Times, and some Canadian media organizations also have used some sort of automation to cover its reporting, and you most often see this in the area that involve numbers, such as financial reporting, sports, and even in some cases, the weather. There are various pockets of academic expertise springing up around the world looking into this whole area, because of the move of to more automation and journalism.
11288 Now, I’m not suggesting that you’re going to have a robot delivering the news, which might happen, you never know, but you take more people out of the equation and you take away that connection, and my fear is that as you lose connection with your community, you lose the relevance, you lose what’s important to them in their daily lives.
11289 Online news can, and often is local news, but it’s a different platform than what you have on television. If we use all the tools available, or if the corporation gets into every tool available out there, we’re going to see even fewer people delivering the product, and you’re going to lose that -- the diversity of voices, communities, places, everything.
11290 So I guess my big fear is that automation is going to replace people who are doing the work. We have seen that as an example, entirely though it’s probably not the case, but it’s moving into every industry. I mean, we know as we use -- you send a text to someone and their -- and the text is automatically filling out what you’re thinking. I always feel as though I’ve conquered the system when I change a spelling of something that it thinks that it knows, you know, better than I do.
11291 But it’s everywhere. It’s creeping in, and it might be convenient to cut costs, to bring in more software that can spit out something quickly online instead of having a person collate it, to write it, there are templates already in place and -- to make it much more easy. So it’s that human connection that I’m really, really concerned about in this environment that we’re moving into.
11292 MS. UMURUNGI: And to supplement that, to your question, Commissioner, we ask the CRTC to, I guess, one of our recommendations is to ask, not recommend, that the Commission take a look at the -- at what’s going on online. So because CBC is asking to -- it’s already doing stuff online, and now it’s asking to migrate even some more of their obligations, I guess, in terms of news programming for this discussion. We are concerned about the -- we are concerned about that move happening without us having enough information about, not only what’s being done there, what -- so the impact of it.
11293 So if you move -- if things are being done online, what kind of information do we have about what that does to -- even before we get into automation, but to the quality of information. When I say about high quality. What is high quality? What is local? What is -- what are the standards?
11294 We hope that it's reasonable to think that CBC is actually meeting -- will work to meet again because it's a great news organization in many ways and that it's going to go for high standards on those platforms as well, but we don't know. We don't know what is possible there and what's not possible. And we think probably the Commission is already doing this kind of research and looking at it, but we just wanted to emphasize that.
11295 And beyond that, we're thinking about employment impacts. Because, you know, what kind of employment opportunities are missed or are we going to lose and what are we going to do about that when things are migrated online?
11296 So you know, we know already that CBC -- as Ms. Smyth mentioned, CBC is already using a lot of curious workers, a lot of -- you know, 1 in 4 of workers in -- at CBC are temporary workers. We don't think that's great. And does that change? Is that becoming even more common when we start doing more things online?
11297 So it's -- all those are good questions. Without telling the Commission what to do, we're saying that's really information that we need, not just from the CBC but from the Commission so that there is a -- the public has a sense, we all, even us, you know, who represent workers at CBC to know the lay of the land. What's going on there? What do we lose? What do we gain? And how do -- and -- you know, so that we know when we can regulate it, it would be possible to be able to, you know, put some requirements in and specific obligations there.
11298 I hope I answered that, I helped answer that question.
11299 MS. SMYTH: I -- before I -- one small thing. And so as we move to animation and robotics use, that's happening in every industry. We're not against it. We're not going to stop it. All we're saying is you have to understand where it's going to go in such a critical thing as communication.
11300 In the end if it's automated, well Google and Facebook can deliver it. They're the giants. They can do it in moments. Are we -- are Canadians going to get their news from those -- the internet giants instead of Canadian sources?
11301 All of these things we don't know, but if you follow the money trail that's where people are watching now to get news, even though neither of those companies creates any original news, they just aggregate it and share it, and if it's automated it's so much easier to do that. Then there's even less financial incentive for companies to create news.
11302 I mean, I think they have to have people looking at the long term what happens if you let these things go without any kind of regulation when CRTC is in a unique position to kind of think about the future and what happens if we don't do anything now.
11303 MS. TRYNACITY: And as a public broadcaster, if I might, CBC also has a responsibility to be an incubator of new talent. Quite often some of those jobs might be entry level broadcasting where you're looking at sports scores or collating numbers, something that could be replaced by a software program. That would be a shame.
11304 You know, there is a great responsibility on the public broadcaster to not only, you know, put people in positions but also to make sure that the workforce is diverse and it comes from a variety of communities and nurtures people who are new into the whole system and into journalism as well too. And they -- they're in a unique position to deliver that kind of service as well.
11305 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. So to pick up on your comment, Ms. Trynacity, on a diverse workforce, let's touch a bit on the reflection of minority and diversity groups in programming.
11306 We've heard from many intervenors about the importance of production in their communities, specifically in order for the programming to be more reflective. Now, I note your proposal is focussed on increasing in‑house production capacity.
11307 So in that context, what criteria do you think the Commission should consider to ensure that the programming that is offered for a particular diversity group is relevant to that group?
11308 MS. TRYNACITY: And you're quite right, we do want to see an increase in in‑house production, but that does not negate an opportunity to bring in production from outside the CBC Radio-Canada from diverse communities. Perhaps the Commission should look at targeted funding.
11309 And I know that you don't dole out money and issue funding, but there could be a fence put around it so that "this proportion of your budget ought to be dedicated to production from diverse communities."
11310 You know, when I met with the federal Heritage Minister last year, I asked for him to dedicate a portion of funding to CBC to convert half of the temporary workforce to full time status. And Jeanne d'Arc mentioned, 1 in 4, so we're talking approximately six‑hundred-and‑some people in CBC's workforce who are temporary employees. And those who are in the larger centres, such as Toronto and Vancouver, are representative BIPOC communities, and they are the temps who don't really know when their next paycheque is going to come along, or their next shift.
11311 So it's not out of the realm of possibility for government to dedicate funding for a certain project, or for the CRTC to suggest that this should be part of your licence. And make no mistake, we do believe that CBC licence should be renewed, but there is -- there has to be more fences put around what it does. Because as we have seen, there has not been enough investment in bringing diverse voices and production to the airwaves, whether it be radio, television, or online.
11312 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. And now to talk about employment diversity. So the CBC is required to report on its workforce makeup via the reporting on the Employment Equity Act. You -- in your submission, you're asking for more information. And I guess I'd like to understand what information the Canadian Media Guild is seeking in addition to the information the CBC is already providing in that annual Employment Equity Report in order to allow it to properly assess the CBC's performance unemployment diversity?
11313 MS. TRYNACITY: Well, I think there are areas where they could be more transparent, and we have tried to get information from them, more specific information. They have been more transparent and I think that they are making efforts to give us more information, but it's hard to figure out at times.
11314 We would like to see what the breakdown is from management, senior management outside of even the CMG bargaining unit; how many diverse people there are in those positions; and the temporary workforce that I just mentioned as well too. I don't have a complete breakdown as to how many from diverse communities, how many are BIPOC, and how many are not. So we would like more detailed information so we don't have to guess.
11315 And again, it shouldn't be difficult to comb through the data that is provided. It should be clear, concise, and give us an accurate reflection of who is doing what job in the corporation.
11316 MS. SMYTH: And I'd just like to add to that. So they do -- they have to share numbers, but numbers don't tell the whole story. Maybe they hire 20 people, just throwing a number out there, but then what efforts do they do to retain them? Is there career counselling? Is there assistance when they feel targeted? Is there assistance when they're frustrated because they hear things -- other people saying things that they think are racist?
11317 Many prominent people in the business quit and leave CBC. Why are they leaving? Is the CBC doing exit interviews to figure out, "Hey, this is a person who has put 10 years in on this job. They're really a non‑commodity. Why aren't they staying? Why isn't it their forever home? Why aren't people coming up the ladder? Why aren't there more national anchors of colour? Why aren't there more DPs of colour?"
11318 We don't know what happens to them even after they're hired about where they go and why they don't feel satisfied and don't feel comfortable staying. Is it just that they're not paid enough? It's probably not that simple.
11319 You can't just drop somebody in a place where they may be the only face of colour. And that sounds funny, but I'm from Saskatchewan, Kim's from Alberta, and lots of provinces and newsrooms are very white still because the population there in -- is probably also predominantly white.
11320 But it's hard to be the only person. It's hard to always raise your hand or have to do the difficult stories that are related to race when you don't always want to be the person delivering that but everyone expects you to.
11321 So there's lots of reasons why people find it a highly-pressured business to be in and to, you know, be expected to be the token person that's going to stand up for everything. It's a lot -- it's a big burden to bear.
11322 So maybe the CBC should be doing more research on why that is and how they could make that better. I mean, if they are they're not sharing with the union. When people leave we often have many questions but we don't have any answers, and they're not obliged to provide the answers.
11323 So we're just saying, you know, in a case like this where we all have a common goal it should be easier to work together and to get real information from senior managers about, you know, why this isn't working. Why after 20 years of saying changing the face of our news business is a priority and it hasn't happened?
11324 There is a journalism professor recently did some kind of survey and showing that 20 years ago when she started there wasn't a single black -- a female black commentator at a national level, and neither was there an Aboriginal one -- Indigenous one, sorry, and there still isn't. That's 20 years of saying it's important, but it's not happening. Why isn't it happening? That's our question.
11325 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Thank you. I note that you've also done your own research and you referenced it this morning in your oral presentation. You referenced a survey among your union members that related to opportunities for advancement for BIPOC employees.
11326 My question is whether you've shared the results of this with the CBC management? Is there kind of a two-way street in terms of the information flow? And, you know, have there been any kind of follow-ups?
11327 MS. SMYTH: Kim, do you want to start -- yes, we did do the survey. We shared it pretty widely I think with all the members in a CBC communicative. Kim, maybe you remember better than I, or Jeanne D'Arc?
11328 MS. TRYNACITY: There's good information flow back and forth. You know, it's -- we conduct a survey like that, and it's not simple in terms of, you know, how would you rate your experience, one being great, five being terrible. There's a lot of -- there are a lot of personal comments and stories from our members who have experienced what Carmel was talking about and what you referenced, Madam Commissioner. But -- and we have shared -- we haven't shared the entire thing. There are confidentiality issues with that, of course, and our members trust that we're going to keep their comments private. So, we have given them the general feedback from our survey, and we will continue to do even more. But we haven't handed over the raw data, so to speak, but certainly, we have articulated some of our findings from that survey to them.
11329 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. So I have one, I guess a couple more topics before I finish my questioning.
11330 The first one is on the availability of local programming for official language minority communities. And Monsieur Gauthier, vous avez fait référence à… j’aimerais comprendre ce que vous avez soulevé dans votre mémoire par rapport aux reprises. Est-ce que selon vous, c’est des reprises de programmation ou c’était la programmation qui n’est pas locale qui est reprise sur les stations locales qui n’est pas nécessairement une programmation destinée à des communautés CLOSM?
11331 M. GAUTHIER: Les reprises dont je parlais sont des reprises de programmation locale qui sont prises de la demi-heure locale de l’émission de nouvelles, qui est en fait repassée dans sa totalité plus tard en soirée. Alors, c’est une reprise qui se fait dans plusieurs provinces et qui compte sur les heures de programmation locale du mandat ou de la licence plutôt.
11332 Et il n’y a pas si longtemps que ça, je crois, il y a trois ou quatre ans, on faisait encore des heures de programmation de langage minoritaire et ils ont coupé ces heures à des demi-heures et ils ont passé des reprises plus tard en soirée. Alors, quand je parle de reprises, essentiellement, la totalité de la couverture locale a diminué de moitié vraiment. La Corporation réussit à compléter ses engagements envers la licence, mais la couverture de nouvelles locales a beaucoup diminué.
11333 Et c'est surtout marquant pour… comme ça s’est dit plus tôt aujourd’hui, les communautés rurales et les aînés qui n’ont pas accès à l’internet, qui sont encore des gens qui regardent beaucoup la télévision parce que c’est leur seul moyen d’avoir des nouvelles locales, ces gens-là, ils cherchent à avoir cette programmation. Et la voir coupée comme ça ou la mettre en reprise, ce n’est pas du tout la même chose que de continuer la couverture.
11334 Puis on reçoit souvent des gens de ces petites communautés qui viennent aux journalistes puis qui disent des commentaires tels que « Vous êtes les seules personnes qui viennent dans notre communauté, qui nous posent des questions, qui veulent découvrir notre municipalité, il n’y a personne d’autre ». Alors, si ce n’était pas pour ces émissions de nouvelles locales, du fait que c’est demandé par les conditions de licence, est-ce que ces communautés-là auraient même cette couverture? Est-ce que les journalistes iraient sur le terrain si c’était des journalistes web? Je pense que c’est une bonne question à se poser puis personnellement, je me demande si ça ne deviendrait pas simplement des communiqués de presse qui sont ensuite publiés sur notre site internet. Ce n’est pas du tout la même chose que faire une production télévisuelle locale.
11335 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Gauthier.
11336 Alors, pour ma dernière question, I'd like to touch on the Tandem initiative. And I note that many of your members were opposed to this initiative. You are, however, supporting the CBC's participation in advertising. So -- and maybe you did have a chance to hear their comments on the guardrails that they have described around the Tandem content. Yet you still refer to it as content that is designed to look like real news.
11337 I just want -- I want to understand why you -- you're perceiving it that way, and whether the guardrails that the CBC has described are just insufficient.
11338 MS. TRYNACITY: Thank you. I was unmuting at the time, Madam Commissioner. I -- you're talking about Tandem; right? You cut out there for a second.
11339 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Yes.
11340 MS. TRYNACITY: You know, we are still reviewing those guardrails. And as I said we, as a union, do support advertising on CBC/Radio-Canada, but we do think Tandem does go too far. Many of our members would like CBC to get rid of advertising all together.
11341 I think any time that there is any kind of confusion for the viewer or the reader, it's not something that the public broadcaster should be involved in.
11342 If the CBC wants to go down that path, why doesn't it have an entirely new platform not associated with the CBC? Call it something different. But don't leverage the brand of CBC to try to create something that, I don't know, looks kind of less than genuine.
11343 So those are our concerns, and our members are deeply concerned about that as well too. When it was first launched, there was some overlap. There was more overlap, and a lot of questions about what's going to happen if temporary employees are brought in to work for a couple of days? Are they going to be thrown into Tandem to be able to, you know, write these stories and then turn around and cross the floor at some point and write a real news story? It's too close for comfort for many of our members, and the public as well too.
11344 So, despite the guardrails, I think by trying to leverage the brand as overtly as they have done, you defeat the purpose. You know, start a brand-new platform, a different name. Airlines have done it, but go ahead and do it, but don't try to leverage the brand in that manner.
11345 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. Ms. Trynacity, just for clarification, when we questioned CBC management, it was my understanding that they maintained a structural separation between the employees that worked on Tandem and the employees that worked on the production of news content. I just want to make sure from your comments that that was the case, or there was more fluidity to kind of understand that.
11346 MS. TRYNACITY: Yeah, we would like to understand more of that as well too. If that's the case, we would encourage CBC to provide a list as to make sure that's in fact happening, but there seems -- a lot of this is quite muddy. And from our perspective, we don't have that clear demarcation.
11347 MS. SMYTH: Yeah. I'd just like to add, so this issue of branded content, sponsored content, goes by many names, it's been around for 10 years. It's been in the news business for a long time, slowly expanding and taking on various forms and guises, as the advertising industry better learns how to use the media to share their message.
11348 So it's the principle that there's such a lack of clarity. Why is the story about the red ball on today in the news? Because can the company deal with the CBC's advertising department and say, I want to have a story about a red ball, just tell me what date it’s going to be on, and we will line up some people you can talk to, then they do the story. And, is it a story or is it an ad?
11349 There are so many ways, product placement, that’s just another example, of how they can insidiously creep into what is actually being delivered as news, and it is very hard to understand when it’s totally independent the way we expect news should be, or is there some understanding with the company that they want to see five stories that say it’s a good idea to get a reverse mortgage in the news over the month and they suddenly show up. Is that okay?
11350 It just -- there are so many questions about it that aren’t answered. And, if the CBC doesn’t have to share those kinds of information -- it doesn’t matter who is writing it. I could be a retired journalist, and they can hire me to write it, and then they say I’m not a journalist. It’s not just about who is writing it; it’s about that the principal behind it opens a door to so much abuse where corporations with money can have a significant say or more to say than any of the rest of us. We should know what is happening. And, because you can regulate the public broadcaster, there is more onus on them to find a way to do it, you know, legitimately where it serves everyone interest and is transparent.
11351 Now, that doesn’t say -- the other media is doing it as well. Private media is -- you know, has lots of branded content out there, so it’s not just the CBC. I don’t want to sound like we’re just picking on the CBC, it shouldn’t be doing it, but we can’t control what the private media does. So, you know, we’re just looking at what we can, understand how it’s really working. That’s what we would like to know.
11352 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Great, thank you very much for the answers to my questions. I appreciate your fulsome answers. I will pass the floor back to the Chair. Thank you.
11353 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you, Commissioner Barin. I’m mindful of the time, but I know there are a couple of follow-up questions. Commissioner Anderson?
11354 COMMISSION ANDERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. It was very informative. I note that one of the recommendations that you have in your written submissions relates to employment equity, and the recommendation is that we require the corporation to report annually on both pay equity and employment equity. And, I also note, under the Broadcasting Act, that we do not regulate under the Employment Equity Act, but we do regulate CBC and other aspects, for instance, programming.
11355 I was wondering if you could talk about that relationship between your recommendation for employment equity information and reporting, and issues that fall more squarely within our mandate or within our purview. And, of course, we welcome any response in a written reply if you’re not -- if you want to explore any of the questions later on.
11356 MS. UMURUNGI: Yes, we can get back to you on what that relationship would be, but what we had in mind was the idea of employment opportunities that is important for the whole system to be meaningful to Canadians. So, employment opportunities in that sector, and then pushing that towards what is employment opportunities for something like CBC-Radio Canada that belongs to all Canadians and that is important to all Canadians and that is required to reflect all Canadians.
11357 So, we were thinking about equity in that sense as well and employment separate, I guess, from equity as well. So, the idea of achieving equity at the public broadcaster. But, in terms of the pay equity, we’re going to -- we will get back to you to clarify what the relationship would be for us.
11358 MS. TRYNACITY: There is a reporting that is done. We have a joint committee with CBC that looks at pay equity, but oftentimes it’s a struggle to get the information that we’re seeking. There was a question earlier about equity and the numbers that the CBC reports on, but with regards to pay equity, it’s -- we do get some information but, again, it takes a long time and it’s hard to come to a conclusion because of the -- it’s not -- I’m not going to say it’s a reluctance, but it’s a real slog.
11359 If we want to find out, you know, how many women in this pay category are getting paid a certain amount compared to the men in that same category, let’s use an arbitrary job classification such as a host or something like that, it takes a while to get down -- to drill down and get that information to get an accurate picture and a portrayal. So, again, I would ask for more clarity and more transparency when it comes to seeking information in the different categories.
11360 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: And then I was just wondering if you could discuss why it’s important to have diversity in leadership positions. I’m -- not that I disagree with that submission, but I was wondering if you could just speak to the importance of diversity in leadership positions as well as management.
11361 MS. TRYNACITY: I’ll start off, and then Carmel and everyone can jump in. I think we all have something to say about this, but it starts at the top, really, and people can identify, you know, or can’t identify with people they see in leadership roles, and decisions are made from there. It’s vitally important to have diversity in leadership positions to develop voices, stories, to make the decision when it comes to funding, project people, everything. It really is probably -- well, it’s one of the most important things that the CBC must do is to diversify at the top.
11362 I mean, we -- CBC is making concerted effort to diversify for our membership and in the bargaining unit, but we don’t see that happening in more leadership roles. So, it’s imperative to set the tone and direction as a public broadcaster as well, too, and be an example for the rest of the country and other broadcasters as well.
11363 MS. SMYTH: And, I’ll -- just to give you an example, say you go into a steering meeting for The National news, you’re going to decide -- this group, in the morning, goes in at 9:30 is going to decide what is going to be on The National tonight. So, it’s an important job. It makes a big difference every single day. You go to that meeting, you’re the only Brown face, everybody is White except for you. And, how many times are you going to raise your hand to suggest a steer, “You know, it’s about pleasing -- I think we should do this take,” and you’re talked down. So, then you don’t raise stories. You just stop because it’s very hard to be that person.
11364 And, if the people at the top are, again, just as White, the same thing happens. It affects the story decisions. What kind of stories are important? What is a priority? If there is a disagreement on the floor and you have to go to somebody higher up to resolve it, if nobody higher up is a person of colour, you’re getting the same viewpoint on whatever your disagreement was in the first place. You can’t change how the news organization operates.
11365 There are so many decisions besides who reports the story. It’s what story do you cover? What kind of take -- do you just accept what the police say verbatim no matter what and you don’t accept what anybody in the community says, because police are right and the community is wrong? There are all kinds of different ways of thinking that a newsroom will discuss.
11366 And, if everybody at the top is White, then you -- it’s really hard to make a change and how things operate. And, for people on the floor, again, if you have issues or you’re feeling threatened or you want to talk to someone higher up to rear advice or, you know, move up the ladder, if nobody ahead of you looks like you, you just give up and leave. You just -- it’s hard to always fight -- you know, fight to try to make change.
11367 If CBC says if it’s a priority on the main floor -- of the news floor, sorry we always say “the news floor”, then it should be a priority in the head office. And, if it’s not a priority in the head office, everybody can see that it’s not a priority. I mean, you could say one thing, but if you don’t show it, it doesn’t mean anything. A change takes way too long to happen.
11368 They have been saying it’s a priority for 20 years. Well, if it is already, let’s make it a priority, and that’s one concrete way to show it, “Hey, the VP is somebody of,” -- and it’s not even the VP of Diversity. How about just the VP of Finance is a person that’s diverse? That’s how you change a culture.
11369 MS. UMURUNGI: It’s also in the idea, just to answer your question, Commissioner, I think it’s in a different discussion that this has been had during the proceeding about how does CBC become relevant, you know, the importance of being relevant, the importance of, you know, when we talk about outside production, you know, or how do we know that we’re effective in the diverse communities in Canada.
11370 Well, one key part of the answer is diversity within the CBC so you can hear what is it we’re doing right so you have a different perspective on everything that we’re doing. It’s not about management. We sometimes -- when people talk about -- or CBC, they talk about it being White, it’s about real CBC representing all real Canadians, and then being able to discuss what is going on out there, and are we being effective in our programming in the things that we -- in the services that we are offering.
11371 If you have diversity in leadership, that helps you sort of sort that a little bit. Not all of it, but some of it. But, this idea of going to do service outside in the field with all those so-called diverse people while you are not having day-to-day, as Carmel and Kim have said day-to-day contact and understanding and discussions and, you know, even, you know, back and forth with colleagues that are from these communities, came up from that communities -- those communities, have these kinds of experiences, it’s not going to work. So it’s actually urgent, in our view, that CBC diversify at the top not just, you know, here -- as presented here at the hearing, but from our members. That’s one of the things that they’ve been asking, for many years, actually.
11372 Thank you.
11373 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. Thank you for your responses.
11374 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Anderson.
11375 Commissioner -- Vice-Chair Simard, I think you have a question as well.
11376 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, please. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
11377 Alors ma question c’est pour Monsieur Gauthier. Vous avez fait mention donc des coupures au niveau des nouvelles dans l’Ouest canadien pour les communautés de langue française en situation minoritaire. Je voulais juste confirmer pour le dossier public, vous faites référence exclusivement aux nouvelles, ou également à la programmation locale ?
11378 Et là, quand je parle de programmation locale, je fais référence évidemment à une programmation locale qui est pertinente, mais aussi qui offre un reflet aux communautés. Alors ça, est-ce que c’est complètement absent ou est-ce que…
11379 M. GAUTHIER : Il y a encore un niveau de programmation local qui se fait, sur des émissions qui ne sont pas liées aux nouvelles. On fait une… Il y a une émission de jeunesse qui se fait encore dans l’Ouest et il y a aussi, ils font des émissions de… pour des ateliers culturels ou des émissions spéciales pour des événements spéciaux.
11380 En termes de nouvelles, les programmations ont diminué, puis dans les émissions de nouvelles il y avait une programmation locale, dont tu parles. Alors il y a une certaine diminution qui a été faite par le biais de la coupure dans les émissions d’une heure de nouvelles.
11381 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Je comprends, parfait. Merci.
11382 And for the English market, I’m wondering; like, there’s a current condition of licence that provides that television stations broadcast -- most broadcast, sorry, at least 14 hours of local programming each week in metropolitan markets. Of these 14 hours, at least one hour a week must be devoted to non-news local programming. So I’m wondering how important it is for you to keep this one hour a week devoted to non-news local programming.
11383 MS. TRYNACITY: I think it’s vitally important because locals do -- the only thing they do now outside of Toronto is news, except for that one hour. And it’s not straight news but it givesyou -- I keep on talking about the community connection but I can’t stress enough how important this is.
11384 Those one-hour shows, they’re called, like, Hour Toronto, Hour Edmonton, Hour Calgary, and so on, it’s a different type of programming. It might be community events. It’s not a hard look at things; you’re not dealing with issues that are, you know, like the pandemic, or if they do, they might look at an artistic adaptation that people are doing in regards, you know, during these difficult times.
11385 But it’s a different part of your community that you’re not going to get on the news, and CBC should be doing way more. But we’ve got that hour, and I really stress how important it is to keep that hour. It’s -- I think in most locations it doesn’t take up a lot of resources, perhaps two people might work on it a week, in some cases maybe one. But it’s a different type of outreach that the CBC doesn’t do nearly enough of.
11386 COMMISSIONER: Thank you. And my last question for you; at the beginning of your presentation, you -- if I recall correctly, you mentioned the importance to keep investment in documentaries. So why is it so important that the public broadcaster keep those investments in documentaries?
11387 MS. TRYNACITY: There’s so many reasons. It creates in-house expertise, and you talk about ways to increase the content across different platforms, documentaries is a perfect example.
11388 You take a good documentary where people have invested time, resources, energy, and that creates content all across your platforms that you have in-house, and it’s high quality. You have the experts working right with you. You can feed off of each other in terms of resources, from the news department to documentary.
11389 It’s also a way to retain talent and to get into those diverse communities. I mean, you can’t just sweep in and sweep out in a day and hope that you make an impact. Relationships require a lot of work, especially when you’re doing documentary work. It’s different than news. News you can run in and run out very quickly. But if you really want to get to the heart of an issue and to bring people in and to develop trust it takes time, time and connection.
11390 CBC did local documentaries all across the country at one point, and it was such a source of pride for everyone. I mean, I did a few of them; I loved doing them. It’s an incentive for your workforce as well, too, and it’s another reason why people would like to come to the CBC to work there.
11391 If there were more opportunities like that, who knows; maybe more diverse and BIPOC journalists would stay in the corporation instead of seeking outside opportunities, or giving up, as Carmel talked about.
11392 So it’s important for so many platforms but when we talk about things like democracy, diversity, again, getting into the communities, getting in to where people live is vital, and that takes trust and time, and you can’t do that in half an hour.
11393 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much, all, for your participation in this hearing, and your engagement.
11394 Thank you.
11395 MS. SMYTH: Thank you.
11396 MS. TRYNACITY: Thank you.
11397 MS. UMURUNGI: Thank you so much.
11398 MS. TRYNACITY: Thank you, everybody.
11399 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
11400 Madam Secretary, we are running a little bit late today so I’m going to suggest we return at 1:15.
11401 MS. ROY: Perfect, thank you very much.
11402 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Merci beaucoup. Thank you very much for your presentation and your participation today.
11403 MS. TRYNACITY: Thank you.
11404 MS. SMYTH: Thank you.
11405 MS. UMURUNGI: Thank you.
11406 MS. TRYNACITY: Thank you very much.
--- Upon recessing at 12:31 p.m./
L’audience est suspendue à 12h31
--- Upon resuming at 1:16 p.m./
L’audience est reprise à 13h16
11407 MS. ROY: Welcome back. We will now hear the presentation from ACTRA National. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
11409 MR. GORDEY: Thank you, Mr. Chair, Ms. Vice-Chair, Commissioners and Commission staff. My name is Keith Martin Gordey. I am the National Vice-President of ACTRA, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists. I am speaking to you from Vancouver and the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish People, specifically the Musqueam Nation.
11410 Joining me today are Marie Kelly, our National Executive Director, and Dalmar Abuzeid, who you might recognize from his many performances as a working actor, including CBC television series “Shoot the Messenger”, “Crawford” and “Anne with an E”. We are thrilled to have Dalmar appear with us today, and we were even more thrilled to see his great work in “Anne with an E” recognized last year with award wins for Best Drama Series Guest Performance at the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards and Outstanding Performance Male at the 2020 ACTRA Toronto Awards.
11411 For more than 75 years, ACTRA has represented performers living and working in every corner of the country who are pivotal to bringing Canadian stories to life in film, television, video games, sound recording, radio and digital media. On behalf of ACTRA’s 27,000-plus professional performer members, Dalmar, Marie and I are pleased to have the opportunity to appear today.
11412 I will now turn it over to Marie.
11413 MS. KELLY: Thank you, Keith. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you again for allowing us to appear here today. I am speaking to you from Toronto, which is the “Dish with One Spoon Territory”. The Dish with One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and the Haudenosaunee and the land.
11414 Since the CBC filed its licence renewal application in August 2019, we recognize significant developments to the legislative and policy environment as well as the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic have altered the fundamental premise of the CBC’s application and its underlying financial information and projections. Nevertheless, the key questions ACTRA is here to raise are: how do we ensure Canadian stories are easily accessible to Canadians? And, how do we ensure the CBC can continue to fulfill its core mandate of making, acquiring and showcasing high-quality Canadian programming?
11415 Dalmar will now relay why it is so important to provide adequate funding to our public broadcaster.
11416 MR. ABUZEID: Thank you, Marie. Good afternoon, everyone. I am also speaking to you from Toronto, which is in the “Dish with One Spoon Territory”. I am pleased to be here today both as a performer and as a Canadian to discuss the importance of our public broadcaster to Canadian storytelling.
11417 The broadcasting landscape in Canada has changed dramatically since the CBC was established almost a century ago. In today’s digital era, the rise in Canadians’ consumption of online content has only enhanced the need for our public broadcaster to remain relevant.
11418 The CBC cannot be expected to do this without adequate, long-term funding. Public funding for the CBC has steadily declined over the last 30 years and has not kept pace with economic growth. This forces the CBC to chase advertising dollars, which is unhealthy for any public broadcaster, as highlighted by the Tandem initiative.
11419 The CBC is drastically underfunded with Canada ranking third-last in per capita public broadcaster spending out of the 18 OECD countries. So, how can we expect the CBC to create and showcase Canadian stories without the necessary funding to do so?
11420 Investing in the CBC doesn’t just mean investing in Canadian storytelling. It also means reflecting the rich diversity of Canadians and of Canada. We have talented creators across the country who each play an important role in sharing their unique regional perspectives with Canadians and the world. While progress has been made, there still needs to be balance in important decision-making positions and on-screen portrayal.
11421 As Canada is a multicultural country, we agree with the CRTC that the CBC programming and staffing must reflect the diversity of Canadian society, including women, Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, Canadians with disabilities and Canadians who identify as LGBTQ2+. Further investment will not only allow the CBC to create a measured approach on these issues, but it will also allow it to report on content commitments related to on-screen diversity.
11422 As a Canadian performer, and one who has had the honour of working in CBC television series, bringing Canadian stories to life on screen is not just my profession, but it’s my passion. And, if we’re going to create more Canadian stories for performers like myself to share with audiences here in Canada and around the world, the CBC must be provided with the resources it needs to succeed.
11423 Keith will now talk about the CBC’s programming obligations.
11424 MR. GORDEY: Thanks, Dalmar. Programs of national interest, or PNI, remain fundamental to nation-building. This is why we are gravely concerned with the CBC’s proposal regarding its obligation to drama and scripted comedy. These types of programs are not only the most viewed genres, but they are also the most underrepresented in the Canadian system and the most urgently needed for cultural reasons.
11425 Canadian content production continues to decline even though we are experiencing a huge growth in investment globally in the creation of high-quality English-language films and television shows. The growth we have recently seen in television production in Canada has largely been due to higher average spending on the production of television series; not an increase in the number of Canadian shows being produced. And, the increase we have seen in broadcaster in-house production can mainly be attributed to higher spending on sports programming.
11426 Additionally, the CRTC recently posted 2020 aggregate return data for CBC services, which also confirms a drop in spending on Canadian programming and PNI. Given this decline in Canadian content production, ACTRA can support the CBC’s proposal to increase its PNI to 10 hours a week, but we cannot support its proposal to reduce its prime time scheduling of PNI to seven hours per week, or to have the flexibility to choose between releasing the remaining three hours on either its traditional linear service or online.
11427 Our reasons for opposing these CBC proposals are two-fold. First, there is nothing in the CBC’s application to prevent the PNI commitment from being fulfilled simply by repurposing previously broadcast programs online. Second, ACTRA cannot accept a broadcaster be allowed to count a program against its obligation when the program’s first run is only made online.
11428 ACTRA is, however, interested in the CBC’s proposal to have flexibility in releasing a portion of its PNI obligation through traditional television or online because it would, for the first time, regulate the availability of PNI online. ACTRA does not believe placing a one-hour drama in GEM’s inventory is equal to broadcasting it nationally in prime time when most Canadians watch television. We are disappointed the CBC has not proposed a benchmark for a digital release to correct such an imbalance.
11429 Diverse Canadian programs such as Schitt’s Creek, Diggstown, Trickster, Anne with an E, and many others promote understanding, national dialogue and reflect Canada’s rich diversity. Good dramas and scripted comedy can challenge us to reflect on who we are and to think about what our society can become. This is why ACTRA believes PNI is so important.
11430 Marie will now talk about the CBC’s digital platforms.
11431 MS. KELLY: Thank you, Keith. In its three-year plan, ACTRA noted the CBC is looking for ways to increase its revenues, presumably to invest more in its programming. While ACTRA can support revenue increases resulting from foreign sales or co-production partnerships, we do not support growing reliance on advertising revenues.
11432 CBC’s new marketing division, Tandem, blurs the lines between news and advertising and will no doubt affect Canadian programming. This only strengthens the importance of ensuring the CBC receives adequate public funding to fulfill its core mandate. Adequate funding will also allow the CBC to continue to grow its digital presence.
11433 For example, CBC GEM could also serve as a valuable tool used to protect and showcase the history of Canadian storytelling. Placing archived programming on this platform would not just help preserve Canadian stories, but it would introduce Canadian content to new generations.
11434 The increase in Canadians' consumption of online content only highlights the need for us to have access to programs produced, acquired and curated for Canadians under a public service mandate, rather than for profit. While we are wary about Canadians having to pay for a subscription service offered by its public broadcaster, this is an acceptable trade-off for a new revenue source and is a more transparent avenue than CBC Tandem.
11435 In light of the introduction of new broadcasting legislation, we understand pending regulations for digital undertakings will no doubt change our broadcasting landscape. However, before ACTRA can support the CBC including its digital content as part of its PNI obligations, we need to see more detailed information about all facets of the CBC's operation and programming.
11436 Like you, Mr. Chair, we believe with greater regulatory flexibility, there's greater requirement for accountability and transparency. While we welcomed the filling of additional financial information about CBC digital activities last year, if we are to have a meaningful discussion about the CBC's digital future, more details are required.
11437 ACTRA passionately believes the CBC's primary focus for all broadcasting platforms must be to make and acquire high-quality Canadian programming that is easily accessible to Canadians. To do this, the CBC must receive adequate funding for both its traditional linear model as well as its online platforms. We must also ensure its programming obligations allow for a fair but a robust opportunity for the CBC to showcase the high-quality and diverse content our Canadian storytellers have the talent and skills to create.
11438 Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to appear before you here today. We look forward to answering your questions.
11439 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation and for taking the time to be with us.
11440 Madame Barin? No? Have I -- pardon me.
11441 Madame Lafontaine, I'm looking at the wrong piece of paper from before lunch. There, we caused a little bit of friction in the universe, but I think it's fixed.
11442 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much.
11443 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame Lafontaine.
11444 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
11445 And thank you very much, Ms. Kelley, Mr. Gordey, and Mr. Abuzeid - I hope I am pronouncing your name correctly - for your presentation. And again, my apologies for the little delay at the beginning -- at the outset of the afternoon.
11446 I do have a number of questions for you, but I must say at the outset that I have a teenage daughter in my house and the other day she was asking my husband and I when we stopped being cool. And I'm hoping at the end of the day today when I tell her about this panel that I might get a little bit of street cred in that we have Mr. Abuzeid on the panel today. And we did enjoy Anne With An E in this household, so welcome to this virtual hearing.
11447 And thank you again, yes, for your presentation. ACTRA is a leading voice for Canadian performers in media and we appreciate you being here today.
11448 And I thought we would just start our exchange, even just briefly, on why it is to your mind that it is important for the public broadcaster to showcase Canadian talent onscreen.
11449 MS. KELLY: Why don't I start that and then I'll hand it over to my friends, who both know what it's like to be in front of the camera.
11450 But the fundamental role of the CBC is to ensure culture. A broadcasting act is the watchdog of our culture, and the CBC Radio, and television, and digital is the vehicle for that delivery.
11451 Television draws people together, and the PNI helps us to discover Canadian artists. Together, television gives a rise to Canadian stars and brand. It's where Canada gets to showcase its best and its brightest.
11452 It's also an eye to the world. You know, our good Canadian stories with great Canadian actors performing and great writers writing them results in the Canadian vision and the Canadian culture being spread around the globe. And Anne With An E is a great example of what can happen when you have great content, as well as, you know, Schitt's Creek is another great Canadian program that went, you know, worldwide across the globe. So you know, it's a great opportunity to showcase the great talent we have here in Canada and to tell our stories.
11453 And I'll hand it over to my friends to tell you what it's like to be a Canadian performer.
11454 MR. GORDEY: Shall I go?
11455 My story's a little different because I live in Vancouver, and about 90 percent of the work we get as performers here comes out of the U.S., U.S. production companies coming up here. I would love it if there was more regional production from CBC that was Canadian. One gets tired of always working with an American accent and an American point of view.
11456 I think this is an issue of sovereignty, about what it means to be a Canadian. And I -- it's so important to me as a performer to be able to express myself as a Canadian and a Canadian view of the world, and our values, which are similar to the U.S., but actually quite different.
11457 MR. ABUZEID: For me personally, I believe that seeing Canadian stories on our screens means so much. I think back to the series, Shoot the Messenger, which allowed me to portray someone close to my actual cultural heritage, and I know that that would not have been possible were it an American production. I've never had that opportunity in my career to date. So it means so much to be able to be someone that, you know, fans can see onscreen and relate to. When I see other actors who say that they saw me on Anne With An E and say, "Hey, look, this adaptation featuring a black character is unheard of before." To see ourselves in a story that is so Canadian and to retell it in this way is -- it means so much.
11458 And it's an honour, and it's -- I don't want to continue the -- I don't want to support trends that would, you know, kind of mirror how I came up as far as not having many people to look to in Canadian onscreen media and in the landscape to relate to. I want to, you know, pay it forward and continue to provide examples for future generations.
11459 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much. I think that sort of sets the stage, as it were, for the -- for my questions for you -- for the rest of my questions.
11460 Now ACTRA, in its -- in the written -- in your written intervention, and I believe you've touched on this today as well, you support the CBC's foray into the digital world; however, for all of the three, the sort of the three pillars, the three cross-platform pillars that the CBC has put forward, you have not supported them as proposed and you've made some changes or you've recommended some changes for PNI, for local, and for children's programming.
11461 And so I would like to have a conversation with you about these -- the different proposals that you've put forward. And we'll start with PNI, and again, you discussed this in your presentation, but -- so your proposal is for 10 hours, and this is my understanding, 10 hours per week on average throughout the broadcast year plus one additional hour of flex. It's not 10, including 1 flex, so it would be -- really be 11. Is that correct? Is that -- have I understood that correctly?
11462 MS. KELLY: Yes, you're absolutely right.
11463 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: And why then is that the sweet spot? CBC has achieved its PNI obligations, why then are you not comfortable with the 10 and 7 or the 7 and -- the 10, 7, and then 3 potentially online? Why is that problematic and again why is your proposal the better proposal for, you know, for the attainment of CBC's mandate during the next licence term?
11464 MS. KELLY: So we're recognizing that when it comes to PNI in the new digitalized world we are really operating in a different environment. There is so much coming at Canadians, and across the globe as well, but there's so much information. You know, we're in the information era, and there's so much information coming at Canadians, you know, from so many different vehicles, the digital platform, you know, TV, radio. It is -- there's an inundation of information.
11465 And I think our proposal reflects our view on how we might address that inundation by saying we need to make sure we have more Canadian content, we need to make sure, first of all, that we're -- when it comes to its traditional platforms that we make sure that the CBC is continuing its good -- the good standards for the CBC, we're maintaining them as they are, they've lasted for, you know, almost 100 years. It has done well to preserve how we make sure good Canadian content and Canadian culture is preserved and enhanced through the vehicles that we have in place now. Then we recognise in the new digital world there is new opportunities, and with those new opportunities, we're not suggesting that the CBC shouldn't partake in those, but we're suggesting it should be in addition to its obligation that it currently has.
11466 So, you'll see in our submissions, we're open to a little bit more flexibility for this additional area, but we want to make sure that we preserve the balance that has always occurred in our current broadcasting systems for a public broadcaster, but also enhancing it a little bit, I will say, to make sure that we are having an eye towards the amount of information that's floating around.
11467 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. That's very helpful and very clear.
11468 You've talked about the PNI obligation for drama and documentaries, the importance of that in your interventions, and I'd like to hear a little bit more from you about why that is important. You know, you noted again in your interventions that Canadians watch a lot of drama. The doc organisation has stated that we're in a golden age of documentary production and consumption.
11469 If these areas of content are so popular and important, why then do they need additional regulation? The CBC has -- as you noted, has proposed to remove that component of their licence. So, I'll pass the floor over to you, but I'd like to hear more about why that is an important part of your intervention.
11470 MS. KELLY: Sure. We believe that drama and documentaries are a prime vehicle for ensuring that Canadian culture is maintained and promoted. It is the opportunity to tell the Canadian story. It is the opportunity to have writers who write in a Canadian way, and to have performers act out. As Dalmar so eloquently said, he's just not putting on a role of somebody who is involved in American or another country's story, but he actually gets to tell his story, the story of Canadians.
11471 And in doing so, we are, again, you know, broadcasting to the world and very proud of our Canadian culture, it allows us to do that, but there's also next generations. What are we doing for the next generation in making sure that they understand our culture? When they pick up their tablet, when they pick up their iPhone, when they get their information in a variety of different ways, how are they going to learn about what it is to be a Canadian, what -- and what parts of our culture are very important to us? And we think that dramas and documentaries are a fundamental piece of relaying the great culture that we have as Canadians. And if you diminish their role in what Canadians are watching, you will be diminishing the protections on enhancing, promoting, and telling Canadian stories.
11472 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: And are you concerned that the CBC will move away from dramas and documentaries somehow, even if they have the PNI obligation? Because it is sort of -- drama and docs are sort of folded in, as it were, to the obligation. There are only certain types of PNI productions that can be aired, or certain types of programs that come within the definition of PNI. So, I guess I'm just -- just to push it a little bit further about why that added regulation is needed when there's already the first level of regulation just through the PNI obligation.
11473 MS. KELLY: Right. But the more you sort of allow expansion, the less control you have. And, you know, we start from the premise that CBC is a public broadcaster, and they get money from the public purse. And we do that because we want to ensure that we have some controls, and some regulations, and some say over the kind of programs that they're promoting on their platform.
11474 And as you heard Keith talk about, we can see the trending sort of what's happening with, you know, Canadian programming and what's being put up, you know. And I'm not -- I'm a sports fan. I love the -- you know, I love hockey and we're happy with all of those kinds of programming going in there, but that is fundamentally not the -- doesn't give you the breadth; right?
11475 What dramas allow you to do is to give you the breadth of the Canadian experience. It allows you to tell the stories of more Canadians and show the diversity within our country. And we have diversity, whether it relates to, you know, as we said earlier, whether it relates to the region of the country in which you live because we're so big, whether it relates to whether or not you're racialized, or you're female, or you have an ability -- an ability issue, et cetera, it allows us to have such diverse stories told to Canadians, to give Canadians an eye into not only who they are and their experience as an individual, but it allows us to share the experience of other individuals in our country. And I think that's a big part of who we are as Canadians.
11476 We believe in the diversity of our country and of our citizenship, and we are open to the experience of the variety of, you know, newcomers to our country because we're all newcomers unless we're Indigenous people. And so we do wrap our arms around that aspect of our culture, and I think it's so important to preserve that.
11477 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. I'm just going to shift gears a little bit to children's and youth programming. The proposal that you've put forward for this type of content is unique in this proceeding. You've proposed that the CBC maintain the 15 hours per week for kids, the 5 hours per week expectation for youth. And then for the original programming, while CBC has proposed 80 hours of flex digital traditional content programming, half and half for each platform, you're recommending that the CBC maintain the 52 hours on the traditional platform, and that 12 hours be flex, so a total of 64 instead of 80. And that is significantly less than what the CBC has put forward.
11478 And so I was interested to hear from you about why, again, that -- it would be in the public interest when the public broadcaster is suggesting that they would be prepared to do 16 more hours each year. It would seem to me that you -- that ACTRA would want more hours of children's programming. So, we'd like to hear from you about why this proposal, again, is, to your mind, is the goldilocks one.
11479 MS. KELLY: Yeah, for sure. And you'll see a fundamental difference between us and the CBC is we do believe a hundred years of history in this tells us that we've been doing a pretty good job in preserving, you know, the CBC and Canadian culture, and it's a good blend between the regulation and the freedom to produce good -- a variety of different content.
11480 But what I'll say to you is we really want to protect the fundamental underpinning of our Canadian broadcasting system. That's what you're going to hear ACTRA say.
11481 We understand we're going into a digital era, for sure. Let's underpin what we have right now. You know, we don't want to see it tinkered with because we're concerned that if it's tinkered with, it may water down the protections that we do have.
11482 So, we say protect what we have now at all costs. Now let's have a conversation about the new digital world and what we want to do. And in the new digital world, we're prepared to be a little bit more flexible in talking about how we actually operationalise Canadian content. But what we will also say is, you know, with this new flexibility, we need a lot of transparency.
11483 So, as we dip our toes into the water of this new digital world, let's be cautious, let's preserve what we have now. Happy to have the CBC add additional hours into the content. You know, you're not -- this is a minimum. It's not a maximum. But let's talk about what it is we're going to do in the new digital world, separate from the protections we already have, and let's make sure that with flexibility comes great transparency, so that we understand exactly, you know, what is being watched by Canadians.
11484 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. And then the third pillar of the CBC's cross-platform is local programming. And interestingly, ACTRA has weighed in on that, and again, I believe what I've understood your proposal to be is the 14 hours per week local programming in the metro market, 7 hours per week non-metro, with an additional 1 hour of content for the digital platform, so 15 and 8. And but you also reference the importance of non-news local programming in your proposal. So, I was wondering first if you could confirm that I've well understood your proposal and why you take issue on the non-news local programming and why that's important to your intervention.
11485 MS. KELLY: Sure. We do -- again, on the lines of it's really important for us to understand our Canadian culture, which is not a one-off, and it’s -- you know, although we’re often driven by bigger markets in this -- in the world of broadcasting, I think what the CBC, you know, is best placed to do is to ensure that, in the local markets, that we have a unique voice. And, we’re concerned, you know, as we’ve watched with media, et cetera, over, you know, decade and decade, we’re seeing where we’re losing a variety of different voices in that field.
11486 And so, what we would say is it’s really important to invest in good local content to make sure that, you know, while news seems to be the genres which appear to be doing a little bit better than others, it’s important as well to have local stories that form part of the platform that the CBC is putting forth. Often, when you do local stories, not only do you -- allow you to reach out into the breadth of the geographic differences which is Canada, but also into the cultural, racial differences that is our country as well.
11487 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. One question that we have asked a number of intervenors, if you have been listening over the last couple of days, is if the Commission were to focus in on particular types of content that needed protection or regulatory requirements in the CBC licence, we’ve talked about a number of them here today, but just to recap, what types of programming to your mind would you prioritize as those that would require the Commission’s involvement in terms of decision-making and the CBC licence?
11488 MS. KELLY: Well, we talked about some of it. I think in order to be -- to give you a comprehensive answer, I might just take that back and have more of us have eyes on it so we can be more comprehensive to you. But, as you can appreciate, from the perspective of ACTRA and our members, dramas are a huge issue for us. We want to make sure that, you know, good Canadian stories are being told by Canadian actors. But, over and above that, let us get back to you on content.
11489 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Absolutely. Go ahead.
11490 MR. GORDEY: I would add -- you know, drama, we want Canadian stories written by Canadian writers, directed by Canadian directors and performed by Canadian performers, and that would include scripted comedy as well.
11491 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. Now, just -- I would like to ask you a question about the comparison or the comparable nests of digital and traditional platforms. This was something that we have also heard a fair bit about from intervenors, and you have noted it in your interventions, but I was wondering if there is anything you would like to add in terms of how the Commission might ensure that -- or help ensure that Canadian programs that would be presented on the CBC’s digital platforms would be more comparable to the PNI, for example, broadcast in prime time how -- you know, is it prominence? Is it views? You know, what kind of metrics, if any, would you recommend in that regard?
11492 MS. KELLY: Sure, and let me just start by saying, you know, I think about discoverability, because I’m old enough, to think about it in terms of a library with books. But, you know, when you walk into a library that is large and has a number of floors, and you have a Canadian book, and it’s in a shelf on the second floor somewhere at the back of the library, it’s really difficult to think that that is meeting your commitment of ensuring Canadian culture.
11493 And so, you know, what they do at libraries is they have sort of little nooks, little display areas where they put, you know, a Margaret Atwood or a prominent Canadian story so that when you walk into the library, that’s what you see, and you know that it’s there, and they have a variety of different ways to make sure that it’s “discoverable”. The problem -- and it works well when it comes to, you know, cable TV, and we can make sure, you know, that we are very, very cognizant of the fact that Canadians watch TV on mass at particular hours of the day. And so, you know, it’s the evening hours that we know we’ve got a better shot of having discoverability.
11494 So, now we’re looking at the digital world, and everybody is trying to determine how we can figure out whether or not this is really discoverable, and whether or not it’s going to have the same impact in the digital world that we’ve been able to have with the CBC and with the Broadcasting Act and the regulations to make sure Canadian content is discoverable. And, it strikes me that with a good Canadian, publicly funded broadcaster, we should be able to get data. We should be able to understand whether or not people are watching programs.
11495 We know that there is data that is received by each and every one of these streamers, by each and every one of these producers of these contents. They know via the internet, via the cable network that’s coming in there is data that will let them know if people are watching a program. The question we always face whenever we are talking about these kinds of issues is the confidentiality, you know, and the propriety interest of that kind of data.
11496 From our perspective, when it comes to a public broadcaster, we should know that data. We should build a system based on that fundamental data that is irreputable and that we will know whether or not we are achieving the goals that we intend to achieve through this new system. And, I would like to suggest that we should really have a fundamental look on what is the raw data that we need in order to ensure that we are building the new system for the digital world that will perform equally, if not better, than our old system of broadcasting.
11497 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: So, if I’m hearing you correctly, to your mind, heightened information in terms of the data about online consumption would be useful to determine the way forward in terms of discoverability and ensuring discoverability?
11498 MS. KELLY: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, when it’s a private broadcaster, they keep that information very much close to their chest, you know, and they talk about the proprietor interest of it and the -- they don’t want to disclose that. But, I would suggest that when we’re coming to a public broadcaster, we are in a very different world, and they’re not competing to the same extent that private broadcasters are because they get the public purse. And, as a result of getting that security, there should be much more transparency of information that we can all be comfortable in knowing that we’re achieving the goal.
11499 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Well, that has been one of the areas of discussion at this proceeding as well is the level of reporting by the public broadcaster. I know that you commented on that, and I note your comments now about the digital platforms.
11500 One of the areas that we’ve been canvassing and hearing from intervenors about is the Production Report, which I’m sure that you’re familiar with that the Commission put in place in 2019 in the Information Bullet 2019-304. And, is this something that you would find useful, that the CBC be required to comply with that Information Bullet for its traditional and/or digital platforms?
11501 MS. KELLY: Yes, we’re of the view that more information is better just to be frank. I think when we’re talking about a public broadcaster that we have a right to want as much information is available; not about, you know, what is being asked for. But, I think as the -- you know, we all know that the world is moving at a fast pace when it comes to technology and digitalization and the ability to gather more information increases day after day, year after year, and I think we need to be flexible enough in our views on this that we hold the CBC to a high standard.
11502 Whatever the highest standard is at the time, we should hold the CBC to that high standard, and we should be open and clear with Canadians about what it is we’re achieving with the CBC and whether or not we’re meeting the set goals that we have, and whether or not we need to come together again to talk about, you know, making changes as we move into this new world to make sure that Canadians are protected and the CBC does follow its core mandate and achieve its core mandate.
11503 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you, that’s noted. My last question for you circles back to one of the points that you made in your oral presentation, and that we have, again, been discussing a fair bit at this proceeding which is diversity and inclusion, and the reflection of Canadian society on screen.
11504 Now, it is my understanding that ACTRA has recently appointed a new National Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging with a view to supporting, as you’ve stated, ACTRA’s objectives to improve the working lives of Canadian professional performers and oversee strategies to ensure more diverse representation on all of our screens.
11505 How is ACTRA working with the CBC/Radio-Canada to advance these goals, and what are your views on the CBC’s efforts to support the creation of content that increases the representation of Canadians on screen?
11506 MS. KELLY: I’m going to start and then I’m going to let Dalmar finish this off because he’ll be more eloquent than I am on it.
11507 What I would say to you is, yes, ACTRA is looking inwardly first, which every organization should look inwardly to make sure that within our own union, we are walking the talk when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. And so we are taking a good look at our union.
11508 We are also partnering with the industry in general, and CBC included. We have put a call out to reconvene our creative industries group, which was a group that was brought together a couple of years back in response to the Me Too movement, in which we wanted to not just only talk about the issues of sexual harassment in our workplaces, but we wanted fundamental change. And it was through that group we were able to bring in some fundamental change regarding a Code of Conduct, regarding our Haven Help Line that’s available now to our members.
11509 So it was a really good vehicle, and so we’re in the process now of bringing that table back together so that we can look at how we can fundamentally work with and affect change, not just talk about the issue but affect change with our all of our partners, and the CBC is one of the entities that have been welcomed to this conversation.
11510 But I will say to you is I’ve listened to, yes, many of the presentations that have been made. I agree with many of the comments that have been made about if you don’t have diversity amongst your organization, if you don’t have diversity amongst your leadership, then you are not reflecting the -- all of the attributes of our society, and that if we don’t make space for very talented individuals to take their rightful seat in every level of their organizations, then we are never going to achieve true equity and diversity and inclusion.
11511 You know, it can’t be that we ask our best and our brightest to push against a glass ceiling or a cement ceiling for, you know, most of their career in order to try and break into new roles at higher levels and not understand the toll that it takes on individuals in doing that. It’s time for us to have a look, another look, we talk about it all the time, let’s make some real fundamental change as it relates to leadership.
11512 As it relates to ACTRA and our members on set, I can tell you there are so many things that our performers who are racialized, to pick one issue, face. For example, when you sit as a White person in a chair and you get your makeup and your hair done, you go in there unthinkingly because you know someone’s going to take care of you. We’re hearing way too many stories about our members who may be Black, who show up and there isn’t makeup that’s appropriate for them, there isn’t someone who knows how to do their hair. And that’s their brand when they get out in front of that camera.
11513 So, you know, from the lower level to the higher level, there's a conversation happening. I’m hoping that in this country at this time, with the pressures that are coming to bear on the issues by society, that we will see fundamental change. We’re happy to work with the CBC. I know they’ve said a lot of good things about wanting to affect change; I know they’re taking steps to affect change, but I also know, unlike, you know, many other organizations in this industry, there is a lot of fundamental change that needs to be made.
11514 And I will say, as the public broadcaster, we do hold them to a higher standard; we do expect them to make fundamental change, to walk the talk and to do it quicker than we might see in other areas of our industry.
11515 But, Dalmar, you can talk from a real good position of knowledge, and I think I’d like to give you the last word on this. Unless Keith, you want to -- let’s let Keith say something in between because I know this is going to be a passionate issue for all three of us.
11516 So if you don’t mind, I’d like to have Keith say something and then Dalmar can finish it up.
11517 MR. GORDEY: Well, I think what I would mention in terms of leadership, our elected members to our councils across the country, that certainly in Toronto and Vancouver, which are the two largest branches, and Montreal, we do have diversity in the elected people. We have a gender balance and we have a wide diversity in terms of race and so forth. We need to work on getting more representation in terms of people with differing abilities, but we have had that as well in the past.
11518 And that influences how we interface as an organization. We’ve also, certainly in BC where I’m from, recently subsidized a stunt-driving thing for racialized women, in particular, to learn how to be stunt drivers, so that when you’re representing someone on screen of a certain race, that you have a stunt performer who can perform the stunt and is -- also matches, in terms of that as well.
11519 But, anyway, I’ll turn it over to Dalmar.
11520 MR. ABUZEID: Thanks, Keith.
11521 Yea, I believe that matters of diversity, equity, inclusion have always, in my experience, been things that take a lot of time and there’s a lot of talking involved. And I think that in the last year, ACTRA has really stepped up to, within our own organization to introduce, you know, new equity, diversity, and inclusion positions to address this issue, you know, substantively. And I believe that CBC -- when it comes to CBC, which in my particular case has been, you know, a network that I've had the pleasure of working with often in my career, I think that transparency is key, I think that accountability, as far as race-based data, is a huge -- is something that I’m a proponent of. I believe that the meetings with the creative industries is sort of the steps that need to be taken to, you know, quantify this issue and address it thoroughly and properly, I would say.
11522 So it’s -- you know, it’s always going to be something that I’m passionate about; it’s always going to be something that I want to see, and I want to continue to work with CBC and I want there to be less stories of performers like myself getting on set and being told that, you know, nothing needs to be done to my hair because there’s a discussion around it, there are figures to support the experiences, the anecdotal experiences of performers -- of diverse performers, of differently abled performers.
11523 I think that -- exactly, there’s a lot of talk but there needs to be also a lot of data and measured approaches taken and I believe that CBC’s -- it’s well within CBC’s power to be a leader on that front.
11524 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Well, thank you very much for your fulsome responses to all of my questions, Mr. Abuzeid, Ms. Kelly, and Mr. Gordey. Those are all of my questions, many thanks again, and I pass the floor back to the Chair.
11525 THE CHAIRPERSON: I thank you as well. I haven’t seen any of the other Members indicate that they have a further question so I’ll add my thanks. That was a very comprehensive presentation, and we particularly appreciate your fulsome response to the last issue. It’s a matter of importance to us, to the industry, to society, to all Canadians.
11526 So much appreciated. Thank you.
11527 Madam Secretary, are we hearing another intervenor right away, or...?
11528 MS. ROY: Yes, we will.
11529 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Are we ready?
11530 MS. ROY: Yes, we are.
11531 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
11532 Thank you again and good afternoon.
11533 MS. KELLY: Thank you.
11534 MR. GORDEY: Thank you.
11535 MR. ABUZEID: Thank you.
11536 MS. ROY: Thank you.
11537 So now we will hear the presentation from the Documentary Organization of Canada. Please introduce yourself and your colleague, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
11539 MS. SPRING: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with the Commission today. My name is Sarah Spring; I am the Executive Director of the Documentary Organization of Canada.
11540 I am joined by Ina Fichman, DOC’s Board Chair, and a Montreal-based independent producer for more than 25 years.
11541 I have had the pleasure of being in this position of advocating on behalf of my community for only three weeks, following 15 years as an independent documentary producer, and founder of a successful documentary production company. It is a privilege to be able to represent hundreds of dedicated Canadian documentary filmmakers in front of the Commission today.
11542 The Documentary Organization of Canada, known as DOC, speaks for documentary filmmakers across the country. We are a national, non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of its members toward a healthy and productive documentary film industry. DOC works to ensure that not just Canadians but people around the world are able to enjoy high quality, original programs that reflect Canadian events, lives and values told from the perspective of professional, independent documentary storytellers.
11543 Canadian documentaries are a national treasure and have been likened to Canada’s National Art Form. A thriving documentary community connects Canadians coast to coast with shared stories and values and brings our perspective to the world.
11544 Point of view documentaries, or les films d’auteur in French, expose Canadian audiences to ideas that question, or challenge received wisdom and the status quo.
11545 As the Chair noted at the outset of this proceeding, CBC and Societé Radio Canada are required to provide:
11546 "...predominantly and distinctly Canadian programming that informs, enlightens and entertains us. Furthermore, it must reflect Canada’s various geographic, cultural and linguistic realities and identities in both official languages."
11547 Canadian documentary programs have been and continue to be a powerful and effective tool in ensuring that the corporation fulfils its mandate.
11548 With respect to the corporation’s dealings with independent producers, many DOC members report positive relationships with their CBC and SRC colleagues. Sincere efforts are made to collaborate and communicate with producers across the country.
11549 Nevertheless, DOC is concerned that the documentary genre is no longer considered strategically important by CBC or SRC. The problem is not with individual staff, but with a leadership failure to articulate the importance of documentaries and to support that with time slots, programming budgets and promotion.
11550 As we noted in our written comments, we have seen a disturbing trend over the past decade that indicates reduced support for Canadian documentary programs, and the data confirms a steady decline in the amount of money spent on documentaries and the number of original hours programmed. This is alarming, not only to independent documentary producers, but to everyone who recognizes the importance of our public broadcaster giving pride of place to original, hard-hitting and revealing Canadian factual programming.
11551 DOC recognizes that in order to manage the ongoing transition from a traditional linear broadcasting environment to an increasingly digital, non-linear world, the corporation is asking for less oversight, fewer conditional requirements, and the opportunity to share any regulatory requirements across all its platforms.
11552 DOC members understand that the landscape is changing, and they are happy to take advantage of the additional opportunities available on digital platforms. However, in the Canadian broadcasting environment, only an effective regulatory regime will ensure that the system continues to create new public interest programs that fulfills the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
11553 Regulatory requirements, however, must be based upon good data. In preparing for this hearing, DOC did not receive the information we requested regarding CBC and SRC’s most recent spending on and broadcasting of original long and short-form Canadian documentary programs. Without accurate information on the corporation’s past performance in these areas, it will be impossible for the Commission to require the Corporation to maintain or even increase its support for Canadian documentaries in the new licence term.
11554 That is why, in our written submission, DOC asked the Commission to seek specific information from the corporation with respect to documentaries for the broadcast year 2018-2019. We have not seen this information on the public file and, if the request has not been made, we respectfully ask the Commission to make this request for both the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 broadcast years.
11555 This is necessary for the Commission to be able to evaluate how many hours of original documentaries and what level of expenditures on these programs will be appropriate for the corporation to commit to in the new licence term.
11556 Regulation is not only necessary to ensure that the corporation fulfills its mandate to program documentaries and to budget appropriately for these films, but also to ensure that these documentary creators accurately represent all Canadians. The corporation is often perceived as under-investing in racialized filmmakers and, despite recent efforts to correct this, the only way to ensure a long and lasting systemic correction is to develop benchmarks and targets to increase programming by filmmakers who are black, Indigenous and people of colour, and produced by production companies who are majority owned by BIPOC producers, and we must collect the data and publish it to track the corporation’s success.
11557 In order to correct the Corporation’s historical non-representation, or misrepresentation of documentary filmmakers who are black, Indigenous and people of colour, DOC recommends that the CRTC require the corporation to file annually the information necessary to track its sustained investments aimed at rectifying the historic inequalities in representation on CBC and SRC.
11558 I pass the floor to my colleague.
11559 MS. FICHMAN: Hi.
11560 So CBC distributes Canadian documentaries on three main platforms: the main linear networks and the local stations available free over-the-air or on basic cable and satellite; the specialty services, CBC News Network and the Documentary Channel, available for a fee on cable/satellite, and on GEM, the streaming service that is available free with high-speed internet access.
11561 The platforms are there, but the CBC currently only provides two documentary strands on the main network for independent producers, The Nature of Things and DOCS POV, plus CBC Short Docs, which is available on GEM.
11562 Shifting schedules and limited promotion often prevent CBC’s documentaries from performing at full capacity and from attracting the robust audiences that they find elsewhere. On Radio-Canada, their main documentary slot, Doc Humanité, airs on Saturday nights at 10:30 p.m.
11563 A shift toward digital programming on GEM and Tou.TV can add to, but it cannot replace these key documentary slots on the main network, and they must be paired with adequate budgets and discoverability. Shifts to digital must also be paired with quotas on programming that respect the genre of documentary films that we call Point of View, or POV in English, and les film d’auteur in French.
11564 The Canadian public deserves the type of independent documentary films that expand our creative, intellectual and educational horizons and enables the CBC and SRC to fulfill its mandate as a public broadcaster.
11565 Accordingly, and as set out in our written submission, DOC is proposing three conditions of licence with respect to documentary programs. The effect of these conditions would be to ensure that the CBC and SRC, at a minimum, maintain the level of support for documentaries that it has provided in the past two years.
11566 The public broadcaster must not be permitted, as its renewal application proposes, to reduce its commitment to this very important genre of Canadian programming.
11567 In this proposal, the variable value of X should be based upon the amounts reported by the corporation for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 broadcast years.
11568 One, the licensee shall broadcast a minimum of X hours per broadcast year of original Canadian long-form documentary programs (Category 2(b)) in peak viewing periods, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. September through April. A minimum of 75 percent of these programs must be produced by Canadian independent production companies.
11569 Two, the licensee shall broadcast a minimum of X hours per broadcast year of original Canadian short-form documentary programs (Category 2(a)) in peak viewing periods, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. September through April. A minimum of 75 percent of these programs must be produced by Canadian independent production companies.
11570 And third, the licensee shall, in each broadcast year, expend on the acquisition of, or investment in, documentary programs, Categories 2(a) or 2(b), a minimum of X amount of dollars.
11571 We believe that firm quotas must be in place because, despite an upward swing in public interest in documentaries, based on its annual reporting we can see that CBC and SRC have been reducing the number of hours of independently produced programs of national interest since the broadcast year 2014-15.
11572 Not only is this proven in the data, but this is the feedback that we get from our members, who are reporting that CBC and SRC are relying on acquisitions to meet requirements for hours of documentary programs aired and they're actually decreasing the amount spent on each original documentary. So even when a total budget spend can meet requirements, we are seeing a reduction in investment in quality documentary programming produced by our independent community.
11573 This is especially a risk if documentaries shift toward GEM and Tou.TV, so we must see a firm commitment to adequate budgets for the type of high quality documentary films that Canada is known for.
11574 In its 2013 licence renewal for the CBC, the corporation agreed to a condition of licence requiring it to broadcast a minimum of nine hours a week in primetime of programs of national interest. Of these, a minimum of two hours must be long-form documentaries, Category 2(b). However, in its current renewal application, the CBC proposes to reduce its PNI commitment to seven hours a week and to remove any minimum requirement for long-form documentaries.
11575 The CBC is also proposing an expectation that it provide a total of 10 hours a week of PNI on either the network and/or its digital platforms. Again, there is no specific commitment to provide documentaries in this additional three hours a week of PNI.
11576 In its renewal application, the CBC provides a table of projected expenditures for long-form documentaries (Category 2(b)) on its three licensed services. In each case, the CBC projects declining expenditures on Category 2(b) programming between 2019 and 2023.
11577 The Commission should also mandate the corporation to increase budgets for locally or regionally produced documentaries. Such a move would be most consistent with the corporation’s strategy to prioritize local connections and “strengthen this connection with significant local and regional content that is relevant to people in their communities and bring those communities to the rest of the country.”
11578 In addition to the conditions of licence set out above, DOC asks the Commission to ensure that the corporation file annual reports that set out the relevant data on its documentary expenditures; the number of hours of original documentaries that have been programmed; and, its support for documentaries produced by creators who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. This will enable the independent film community and the CRTC to track the CBC and SRC’s progress and, we trust, also to be able to highlight its success.
11579 Finally, it is surely obvious to everyone that the documentary genre, which Canadians did so much to develop and make popular around the world, remains an ideal tool to provide Canadians with trustworthy and in-depth information. The popularity of documentaries internationally and their ease of access through streaming services also means that non-Canadians have much greater knowledge of our country, its values and its peoples. It is important that the role of the national public broadcaster is to do everything possible to ensure the continuous creation of quality Canadian documentary programs, and that this is supported and not diminished.
11580 Thank you very much, Commissioners, for listening to us today. Sarah and I are here to answer your questions. Thank you.
11581 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I’m going to turn the microphone over to Commissioner Anderson, although I was tempted to call on Commissioner Barin just so I can get the expression again when she goes, “No, no, no, not me.” Commissioner Anderson, please go ahead.
11582 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much for your submissions. They were very informative and clearly laid out. I do have some questions that I’m going to go through. And, first, I note that you have very clearly stated that both expenditure requirements and exhibition requirements ought to be in place in order to ensure that original documentary programming is fulfilling its key role in the Canadian broadcasting system.
11583 I was wondering if you can think of any other measures to ensure that the corporation is accountable to the Canadian public beyond exhibition and expenditure requirements and also beyond the annual report.
11584 MS. SPRING: Well, one thing that I would like to emphasize is promotion and discoverability. I think that it’s really important to think of these three things as elements that all need to work together in order to properly promote Canadian original documentary films.
11585 If documentaries are adequately programmed but not adequately financed, then we have a documentary industry that is really suffering. And then by -- you know, CBC and SRC are not fulfilling their mandate as a public broadcaster. If we have documentaries that are adequately programmed and budgeted but then not promoted on the digital platforms, then they don’t have discoverability, and Canadians cannot find this programming. So, they really all need to work together.
11586 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: On that note, do you have any suggestions for improving or increasing discoverability on the different platforms, whether it’s a cross-platform approach or otherwise?
11587 MS. FICHMAN: Yes, I mean, I think that, you know, a cross-platform approach would definitely work in CBC’s favour because it’s our understanding is the different audiences gravitate to different platforms. So, a documentary that might appear on Gem might appeal to a younger audience, but the main network is primarily -- their audience is slightly older, or actually quite a bit older.
11588 So, I think this cross-platform promotion can work really well. But, I think as Sarah said, you know, documentaries have to be treated as units that need to be promoted to the audiences in Canada. You know, there is a taste for documentary, especially in younger communities who are used to watching many of these films or these kinds of films on streaming platforms.
11589 And so, I think the CBC and SRC can actually, you know, work together to come up with a robust plan for promoting documentaries not just across platforms, but also in French and in English across the country.
11590 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Do you see social media as playing any kind of role in promoting this type of programming?
11591 MS. FICHMAN: Absolutely. I mean, I think that -- again, we’re both independent producers, and social media has a huge role to play in terms of positioning documentaries. So, do film festivals; you know, like Hot Docs. So, does traditional media. They all have to work together, but there has to be a strategy, and there has to be a concerted effort and budget towards the discoverability of these programs.
11592 It doesn’t just happen with a Facebook post, you know, or a tweet. It happens because there is a robust considered promotional plan that, you know, we believe the CBC should be involved with in consultation, of course, and in partnership with the independent production communities.
11593 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay, so I understand that you’re saying that a strategy is needed in order to really make the best use of any kind of promotional endeavour, and also that that can be improved with adequate consultation with producers. Is there any other element that you think would be necessary or helpful in creating such a strategy to get the content out there and discoverable?
11594 MS. SPRING: I mean, I think that we will have to get back to you with some more specific recommendations. There is definitely a lot that independent producers, distributors and impact producers are doing that’s changing all the time. It’s a constantly changing environment. And so, we would be happy to provide a list of clear suggestions for you.
11595 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Sure, that would be really helpful. Thank you. In your submissions, you have suggested having specific language or conditions in relation to setting out a minimum expenditure requirement and exhibit requirement, but there aren’t any numbers in the conditions, and I understand that you believe that the quota should be based on the past few years, and that that information was not available.
11596 Are you in a position to comment on what an appropriate quota or objective would be in terms of exhibition or expenditures at this point in time?
11597 MS. SPRING: We’re not going to recommend a specific number. For us, it really needs to -- because we’ve been seeing declining numbers. So, we’re looking at data that’s saying decline in PNI, decline in documentary spend and decline in projected documentary spend. So, once we have the numbers from the last two years, we can come up with an appropriate recommendation.
11598 MS. FICHMAN: But, I think one thing we would say is that this desire to move documentary to Gem which, in principal, we’re not opposed to, that the budget level of documentary should not decrease because it is on, you know, a digital platform. In fact, it should remain consistent with what the budgets of documentaries have been on the main network for the past number of years, and I think we’re pretty committed to that.
11599 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. So, on that note, CBC/SRC is proposing to eliminate their requirement to devote two hours to each of Category 2(b), long-form documentary, and for the drama category. Can you comment on the elimination of this condition of licence and why you feel that safeguards are needed to ensure minimum amounts of certain types of PNI?
11600 MS. SPRING: I mean, without being, you know, overly dramatic, it would be an absolute disaster for the independent documentary community to not have that. You know, as the public broadcasters reduce their support for documentaries, there are less documentaries produced. Like, the direct relationship is clear.
11601 We have done, and we would be happy to share with you, about how many documentary projects are funded through the Canada Media Fund every year on the English platform and the French platform. And, as Radio-Canada and CBC reduce documentary funding, there is a direct relationship with how many projects are, you know produced in collaboration with the other elements of the industry, the other parts of the ecosystem.
11602 So I can't stress enough how important it is that we maintain strict baselines for CBC. It would be -- the repercussions would be very dramatic.
11603 MS. FICHMAN: And yes, I think we're also seeing a diminution of documentary on the private networks. And as many of their benefits, programs have disappeared, we do not find documentary on the private networks in most of -- in many of the private networks. So the CBC has an increasingly important role to play in sustaining the documentary genre in our country.
11604 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. I have a question about -- and it's a hypothetical that you might not favour. But if the Commission were to remove exhibition requirements, in your opinion what new measurement tool could the corporation use to ensure accountability on all platforms? And we're thinking -- or maybe some examples might be public opinion research or surveys and consultations in order to assess whether the programs of national interest are meeting the needs of Canadians over the broadcast year.
11605 So are there any measurement tools that might be helpful?
11606 MS. SPRING: I mean, if the CBC and if Radio-Canada were not required to broadcast a certain number of hours of documentary, I mean would they still be required to spend a certain amount of money on documentary films? Is the SR -- is the CRTC considering one of the two? Because that also is very dangerous because it might result in just, you know, a couple of programs and not adequately supporting the entire documentary community.
11607 We have filmmakers and producers at every level, and we really can't risk sort of a bottlenecking of all of the resource within the hands of a certain number of well established production companies. So I think that there is something very -- I don't have a recommendation but I can just flag how dangerous that would be.
11608 As every single element of the film and television industry is reckoning right now with systemic racism and systemic exclusions, moves like that would only exacerbate some of their problems and would definitely not help to resolve them.
11609 MS. FICHMAN: Yes, and I would add that, you know, we also have a diversity in levels of experience in this country, emerging filmmakers across the country whose work needs to be supported. And at various times in its past CBC has had its ow strands that highlight the work of new and emerging filmmakers. And then you have the more traditional strands on the main network. And we need to maintain that diversity and points of view in creative expression and national diversity as well.
11610 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. I understand, and your concerns will be clearly marked for the record. So thank you for that response.
11611 You've discussed -- we've discussed discoverability. In terms of measuring content that's posted online, what kind of metric would be helpful to help us gauge availability and relevance? And I'm thinking specifically with respect to potentially online views and whether or not that would be an appropriate metric, and if it isn't appropriate metric are there other considerations that we should take into account?
11612 MS. FICHMAN: I mean, I think CBC has been tracking online views and, you know, documentary, as you know, is available online. And the numbers have been impressive. So that's why I think many of us are not concerned about the migration to digital platforms because there's a attitude right now of watching documentary online.
11613 But again, the expenditures need the -- the expenditure per film and for documentary does need to be maintained online. I know that that's not quite the question you were asking, but you know, obviously that -- sure, you know, there are metrics, there are ways of evaluating whether a film is being watched or not online, and these are fine metrics.
11614 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: And in terms of online views, would you suggest that a minimum viewing time would be an important consideration?
11615 MS. SPRING: Absolutely. I think that it's really important to have that. I think that, you know, people that begin a program and don't complete it, or if you're watching a program on a platform in which it automatically starts playing, we cannot count those towards views. And I think that's really important. That something pops up on Facebook or pops up as an automatic play it cannot be added to the data as a complete view.
11616 A lot of the film festivals, when you play there, have a very extensive report about how many minutes people watched. So there is no reason why CBC shouldn't be able to track data specifically for exactly who got to how long in the film and who completed it.
11617 MS. FICHMAN: And I think this information is very helpful for those of us who work in the independent sector as well. I think it's a win‑win for everybody to understand our audiences on a much more profound level.
11618 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
11619 My next question relates to reporting on PNI. And so certain intervenors recommended that the corporation be required to file a report on PNI and independently produced PNI that it provides on both traditional and digital platforms. And for example, that could include titles, expenditures, regions in which the programming is produced, and whether it was produced by independent production companies.
11620 Can you comment on whether you think such a report could serve to hold the corporation accountable to its programming obligations, both on the traditional platforms as well as on the -- a digital platform?
11621 MS. SPRING: Yeah. I mean, I think that we always have to go back to the data. I think that it's impossible to really monitor the effectiveness of our public broadcasters if we don't have accurate data. So absolutely, I applaud these moves.
11622 And you know, your colleagues were referring to 2019-304 as data collection procedures that are being put into place. I just want to highlight that we can't just talk about PNI without specifically talking about documentary. When we talk about documentary, we have to talk about what are original programs, what are acquisitions, and what are short docs.
11623 Because it's very important to distinguish between the two. CBC and Radio-Canada cannot fulfill their hours of mandated programming with acquisitions or catchup, and they also need to be programs that are produced at a certain budget so we can understand how they're contributing to the ecosystem in the industry, which is part of their mandate.
11624 And another element that I think is important to note is, you know, I'm not sure if the plans are going to be to continue to limit the data collection to gender-based data collection, but so far what I've seen in 2019-304 doesn't seem to propose data collection according to other self-identifiers, which are really, really important for CBC and Radio-Canada to look in to.
11625 So, you know, it's very important to see which programs are produced by companies that are majority owned by someone who is black, Indigenous, or a person of colour. Which programs are produced by a key creative team that are a majority from these representative groups.
11626 So data collection and very, very specific data collection, and also the establishment of benchmarks and targets that are put together with consultation with advocacy groups who are working on the issues of racial equity in the film and television industry. CBC needs to come up with these in collaboration, in consultation with these groups because they are doing important work.
11627 We can't just come up with solutions in silos. There's a lot of really incredible and important work being done right now, and the more that CBC and the CRTC collaborates with groups who are advocating on these issues the better the results will be.
11628 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: So what I hear you saying is that data collection, when it comes to producers that come from a black, Indigenous, or other racialized background, is not the final step but it's kind of a starting point. But that establishing benchmarks is really key, and including black, Indigenous, and people of colour in that dialogue in establishing benchmarks is key?
11629 MS. SPRING: Yeah, it's really important.
11630 MS. FICHMAN: Absolutely.
11631 MS. SPRING: And I'll raise one other issue. You know, what we've seen in the past is if a film has key creatives who are coming from groups who are, you know, black, Indigenous, or people of colour, trans filmmakers, you know, they are ticking a certain box for some of the institutions, but the IP for the project perhaps rests with a production company that is led by a white producer who is retaining the IP at....
11632 You know, so this is another problem that we need to address as part of the ecosystem of things that need to be worked on. So that's why specific data collection and then more data collection, understanding what the ramifications are of limiting the analysis to just projects that are led by a majority of BIPOC key creative who owns the project. Are we investing in BIPOC production companies? I think that's another element that's really important to look at.
11633 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. And then on that note I just wanted to refer to your submission today where you request that the corporation report annually on its support for documentaries produced by creators that are -- who are Black, Indigenous, and people of colour. What kind of support are you referring to? Are you referring to financial support, presumably?
11634 MS. SPRING: Yeah, there’s financial support and hours programmed. CBC for many years has been asking producers to fill out a diversity report in which we are talking about, you know, who works on our films, and this is data that’s been collected for years that has never been made publicly available. So CBC has shown that with every program that they produce, they are interested in posing these questions.
11635 So we’re just asking for this information to be publicly available, so we can participate in monitoring how many documentaries are produced, how much -- what’s the budget spend, who makes these films, towards a healthy industry overall.
11636 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: And can you just -- my last question is, still on this note about diversity, but specifically, why is it important to have people from diverse backgrounds in key creative positions when it comes to documentary filmmaking?
11637 MS. FICHMAN: Well, it’s all about the storytelling and whose stories are being told. You know, we have a very diverse country, and I think the CBC as our public broadcaster should reflect that and put the power in these creators. That’s -- that’s why it’s so essential.
11638 MS. SPRING: And I’ll just add to that. I think we’re -- you know, we’re talking about historical under representation or misrepresentation, and I think that’s something that’s become really prominent in the creative community, is you know, why we have to think about “not about us without us” and taking the lead from you know, the pathways. And protocols document that -- and the Indigenous Screen Office and all of the ground-breaking work that’s been done to lead the way on how to think about why representation matters. You know, the story to be told well, to be told better, you know?
11639 And I think it’s about the quality, as Ina said, the quality of storytelling and not misrepresenting a community that you don’t understand. So I think that it’s very -- it’s important about the richness of the stories that we have and also that we’re not contributing to misrepresentation.
11640 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay. I know I said that was the last question, but just on this note about misrepresenting the communities that a filmmaker or a producer is purporting to represent, that seems like it could have some fairly serious consequences. I was wondering if you would be able to just speak a little bit about -- about that?
11641 MS. SPRING: I mean, I’m happy to speak about it from my own experience as someone who recently produced a film about the trans community. And having trans key creatives in those roles meant that the film was able to discuss issues about the trans experience in a much more complex way, that would have been overlooked or misunderstood by someone who was cisgender, such as myself, if I was taking the decisions on what that story would be.
11642 I think that the good intentions are there, and it think in the documentary film community, you know, there’s so many good intentions about how to tell important stories, but without key and meaningful presence of the community being presented on screen, or the community being discussed in the film, it’s impossible not to have missteps. There’s many, many, many situations of this in the film community that, again, I’d be really happy to send some more detailed information on because there are countless examples of, you know, what can go wrong with good intentions when they’re not -- when the programs are not put together in a thoughtful way with these issues in mind.
11643 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Yeah. Any additional information would be very valuable.
11644 Those are all of my questions, so thank you very much for your submissions and I will pass the floor back to the Chair. Thank you.
11645 MS. SPRING: Thank you.
11646 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. On that last point about other information, I may turn to counsel in one second. I’m assuming, and correct me if this isn’t what you are thinking of, that you would include that in your reply arguments as opposed to an undertaking to provide specific data? I just want to be sure that we were on the same page here. Will you address those things in your reply argument?
11647 MS. SPRING: These issues about representation?
11648 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, you offered additional information.
11649 MS. SPRING: Yes.
11650 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just need to distinguish between, sort of the information that we might receive on a specified date, versus information that will be included in your reply submission, which I encourage you -- and we obviously encourage you to do so there. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t missing an undertaking.
11651 MS. SPRING: No, we will include that. We will include this. Yeah. Absolutely.
11652 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you very much. I don’t believe there are questions from other Members. Not seeing any shaking heads.
11653 So I’d like to thank you again for taking the time to be with us, and for presenting your views and answering our questions, and I bid you a good afternoon. Madam Secretary?
11654 MS. ROY: Thank you. We will now take a 15-minute break and we will be back at 2:55.
11655 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
11656 MS. ROY: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 2:42 p.m./
L’audience est suspendue à 14 h 42
--- Upon resuming at 2:56 p.m./
L’audience est reprise à 14h46
11657 MS. ROY: Welcome back. We will now hear the presentation of The Antenna Guys. Please introduce yourself, and you have five minutes for your presentation.
11659 MR. TEBBUTT: Thank you. Hello, bonjour, my name is Geoff Tebbutt, and I am the Owner of The Antenna Guys. I wish to intervene against the renewal of licences for CBC Television and CBC’s online offerings unless certain conditions that would benefit over-the-air antenna users in Canada are met.
11660 Like I said, I’m the Owner of The Antenna Guys. We sell and install HD TV antennas, and I have personally installed well over 1,000 in the Greater Toronto Area since 2010. For those of you who are not aware, you can receive free HD TV broadcasts in almost every corner of Canada, depending on your proximity to broadcast towers in Canada and neighbouring United States border towns. Absolutely free; no monthly cable or satellite bill and no need for expensive hi-speed internet just to watch the news or Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy.
11661 Those of us old enough to remember the ‘70s know what TV was like back then. You watched your favourite TV shows, and then every 15 minutes you watched a commercial from a sponsor who paid for the program to be aired. That’s when you made a dash for the bathroom or put on the kettle for tea. Then, cable companies and eventually satellite dish providers intercepted those over-the-air broadcasts and sent them to your TV via a co-ax cable and charged you money every month to watch your TV from other cities and countries.
11662 I was 12 years old at the time our neighbourhood in Toronto got wired for cable, and we were suddenly able to get 15 channels that were much clearer to watch. Even though cable and satellite companies kept raising the prices over the next 50 years, our only other option was to watch with a giant 10-foot long antenna with a rotor to turn it on towers in the country and in suburbs or a set of rabbit ears in an apartment, or eventually via the internet, which costs money.
11663 You may notice my testimony today coming back to the point of money many times, because I am trying to represent the lowest of the low, not the richest of the rich. I am the single parent in Northern Ontario with two kids and no money to pay for cable or satellite to keep my kids happy. We can only watch a few TV channels we get with an antenna.
11664 I am that 19-year-old kid, out on his own for the first time, with only a mattress and an old TV set, trying to get by in school or at their first job but not with a lot of money; no way to afford cable or satellite.
11665 I am the senior citizen who, after many years contributing to Canada, is now receiving only enough money in their old-age to barely survive. There isn’t enough money left at the end of the month to watch Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy.
11666 I am one of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, who, through no fault of our own, find ourselves trapped at home, out of work, out of money and needing desperately to be entertained while we are locked down, but not with cable or satellite or online. Remember, we’re all out of work now. No work equals no money equals no cable.
11667 When I was young, growing up in Northern Alberta, we had one TV channel, CBC. Still today, 50 years later, in many remote areas of Canada, there are only a handful of TV channels available over the air with CBC in the mix. Did you know you still cannot receive a Broadcast of CBC in London, Ontario, the 10th largest city in Canada, you cannot receive CBC with an antenna? But, that’s another story for another day.
11668 This is where implementing a very simple concept could forever change the amount of free programming available to Canadians and, at the same time, allow the CBC to spread its wings further than ever before, but you’ll have to follow along my logic path for a couple of minutes to get there.
11669 Most of the transmissions we receive from the U.S. over the air have are referred to as “sub-channels”, that’s extra “streams” of additional programming not available elsewhere. Out of the 30 or so channels I receive in Toronto, I have movie channels, sports channels, old TV shows, Westerns and war movies, shopping channels, court TV, murder mystery movies, Discovery-type channels, Afrocentric programming, Sci-Fi channels and kids channels, many of them, but most of the American broadcasters have two or three sub-channels, along with their main Network Channel with all of their current hit shows, news and live sports.
11670 What if, and this is the crux of my whole appearance here, what if the CBC were to start broadcasting on sub-channels over the air everything that it currently charges Canadians to watch through cable, satellite or internet fees. You have things like CBC Newsworld, CBC Docs, CBC Kids, CBC Sports, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One.
11671 I can foresee many Canadians living in remote areas receiving high quality television programming to make life possible without a monthly cable or satellite bill, saving from $500 to $1,000 per year. Maybe big satellite and cable conglomerates who control most of the networks and programming in Canada would be forced to offer more sub-channels or lose market share and revenue to the CBC.
11672 They do not want to give anything for free. They actually tried to shut down digital transmitters in 2014. But, if in 2021 they found they were losing market share in a big way, to CBC, they might be forced to make some of the programming they own available over the air.
11673 I came to Ottawa to testify on behalf of antenna users in Canada before the CRTC in 2014 when Rogers and Bell and friends wanted to shut down OTA TV, and we won. I knew we had really won when Jean Pierre Blais, the President, himself called me to ask to borrow a few antennas for the backdrop of his announcement on the outcome of the hearings.
11674 I took that to mean that the CRTC put a lot of value in what I had to say. I hope the Commissionaires all remember me and still value my words, even with this crazy COVID haircut, and realize this is a well thought out plan prepared by an expert on the subject. Please give it careful consideration. Thank you for your time and your attention. I would be happy to take any questions.
11675 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Tebbutt. Am I pronouncing your name properly?
11676 MR. TEBBUTT: Yes, that is.
11677 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you. Well, I’m glad that you’ve had a positive experience with the Commission in the past, and you have, indeed, factual evidence that we do, indeed, listen to intervenors, all the intervenors, and we try and take all of the information that we obtain, place it on the public record, and at the end of the day, come out with a balanced decision that’s in the public interest, and you can rest assured that your submissions will be taken just as seriously as they were in another proceeding.
11678 MR. TEBBUTT: I was so impressed that I actually applied to become a commissioner.
11679 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, there you go.
11680 MR. TEBBUTT: (Indiscernible) with your organization there.
11681 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not my call. That is in the hands of a much greater power, but ---
11682 MR. TEBBUTT: I tried.
11683 THE CHAIRPERSON: But so be it. I do have a couple of questions.
11684 MR. TEBBUTT: Sure.
11685 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, a few. I’d just like to -- I guess I’m trying to figure out where to start. Your comments are well taken. I appreciate that there is an audience for over-the-air television, and it’s particularly true in a city like Toronto where you are very close to the U.S. border, and there are a lot of over-the-air broadcasters.
11686 I live about 15 kilometres north of Ottawa. Because the tower points southwards, not northwards, there is no over-the-air coverage, or virtually none, and I have a feeling that if you went much further than 15 kilometres away from a lot of centres, and in particular, as you move away from the U.S. border, that we really are talking about a very small amount of television.
11687 MR. TEBBUTT: Not really. Actually, if you were to check on a website like TVFool.com and then put your postal code, you’ll find that there’s probably five or six to seven channels available to you over the air that you can receive. I know there’s many, many small ones in Quebec, in the Gatineau area up in the hills there. That’s where they like to put the transmitters, is somewhere high. You’ve just got to give it a try.
11688 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you mentioned in your written submissions that you recognize that there would be some cost to the CBC, but you thought it would be outweighed by savings on the side of consumers not paying for cable.
11689 MR. TEBBUTT: Well ---
11690 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have a sense of what those costs would be to the CBC?
11691 MR. TEBBUTT: I’m not sure how much the cost to add additional screens on is because you see it happening on the all the channels in the States and it's -- they do it overnight and it suddenly has -- they have another stream of programming.
11692 I'm sure there is a cost. I'm just not sure what it is.
11693 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
11694 MR. TEBBUTT: Now, to offset it, you could maybe bend the rules a bit and allow these sub-channels to offer advertising. The main channel's still not advertising, but sub-channels may be.
11695 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. We're not good at bending rules. We're regulators, so we like to make them as opposed to bend them.
11696 MR. TEBBUTT: Okay.
11697 THE CHAIRPERSON: We'll leave that to others.
11698 MR. TEBBUTT: Or amend the rules to something that ---
11699 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, we like -- "amending" is a much better word.
11700 MR. TEBBUTT: Okay.
11701 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm teasing, of course.
11702 So for -- in your direct experience installing antennas, I assume from what you're saying in the Toronto area, do the majority of your customers view multiplex stations ---
11703 MR. TEBBUTT: Oh, yeah.
11704 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- coming from the U.S.?
11705 MR. TEBBUTT: We get most -- most areas of the GTA, I get anywhere from 30 to 40 channels, and at least half of them are from the United States.
11706 Yeah. Once you get past 25 channels, you start into repeats of programs as you get different cities.
11707 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, in my mind, and you can correct me if I have an improper, false impression, there's a trade-off here, or a couple of trade-offs.
11708 I mean, one is if you rely on over-the-air, you're not going to have as large, as diverse a set of programming as you might if you are a subscriber to a broadcast distributor or cable or satellite distributor, but there's also the issue of the quality of the signal.
11709 You referenced when cable was first rolled out in your youth -- that was my youth, too. In Montreal we had four or five poor quality channels coming from the U.S., and along came cable. And as you described it, suddenly we had 14 or 15 high-quality, nice clean signals.
11710 My understanding is when you engage in multicasting that you are dividing up a single HD channels, so each of those sub-channels would be -- or contribute to a lesser signal quality. You'd be down to standard definition and eventually a very poor quality signal.
11711 So where's the trade-off on signal quality?
11712 MR. TEBBUTT: Well, actually, no. The main channel, for instance, NBC, Channel 2.1, is full HD, 1080 P, and no compression.
11713 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
11714 MR. TEBBUTT: When you go down cable or satellite, your signal's compressed to get it down that wire to get it. The picture's about 30 percent with an antenna now.
11715 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood.
11716 MR. TEBBUTT: In the old days -- in the old days, the cable signal was better than our imperfect analog signal, but now with digital, digital is better than cable and, you know ---
11717 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But each of the sub-channels aren't ---
11718 MR. TEBBUTT: Sub-channels are in standard def.
11719 THE CHAIRPERSON: And how many standard def signals can you have ---
11720 MR. TEBBUTT: I've seen Ion in -- halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, they have seven sub-channels.
11721 I know of a station down in Leamington, it's a private broadcaster, they have like so many community channels available in standard def.
11722 And if you think about it, if you're just broadcasting old shows, who cares if it's in HD. The show is shot in SD. That's all you're ever going to see it in.
11723 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
11724 MR. TEBBUTT: And then there was one other part to the question you asked first, though. What was that?
11725 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I think you answered it. I was talking about the different program diversity, just the amount of programming that you get ---
11726 MR. TEBBUTT: I get way more diversity programming than with cable or satellite.
11727 With satellite, you have 14 repeats of CBC, 20 repeats of CTV, 10 repeats of Global. With the HD antenna, you've got all the major networks plus all these different varied sub-channels.
11728 Out of the 30 channels I receive, maybe two or three are the same.
11729 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
11730 Do you -- obviously, in terms of the roll-out of service in the United States, there's a new standard or they're moving towards ATSC 3.0.
11731 And do you think there's a comparison to be made between multiplexing in Canada on ATSC 1.0 and the new standard that's coming out in the States?
11732 MR. TEBBUTT: I'm not sure I've read much on the new standard but, for instance, my antenna like here, this will work in 4K, so if that's the 3.1 standard, then no problem.
11733 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks.
11734 MR. TEBBUTT: Things didn't change when the thing switched over here in 2010, and there was advertising on TV and they put a picture on the screen of your old rabbit ears with a big X through it saying these won't work any more. They were lying. The old rabbit ears still work.
11735 Antennas have not changed. The signal's changed. The antennas haven't.
11736 That just looks like four of the old circle antennas you used to have on top of your TV with your rabbit ears. That's all it is.
11737 The antennas haven't changed. The signal has.
11738 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
11739 I guess the last question I have is a very general one, and that is, there is increasing pressure on the use of the over-the-air spectrum. There is very high demand for it for mobile services. Mobile services seem to have an insatiable need for spectrum and the government -- governments around the world had been moving in the direction of freeing up that spectrum that has traditionally been used for broadcasting.
11740 Do you have a comment on that or a concern?
11741 MR. TEBBUTT: Well, we recently lost 10 channels out of the TV spectrum to emergency vehicles, to 5G and all that. Our channels used to go up to channel 79. Remember City-TV when we were young. But now we only go up to 59 with antenna.
11742 So they've rearranged everybody in the -- in the bands to make them closer together, which is possible now that they're digital. Before, with analog, if you put two channels too close together, they did interfere with each other.
11743 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
11744 MR. TEBBUTT: Now digital, as long as they're one channel apart, they're usually okay.
11745 But that -- it annoys me that they want so much more. This is the same companies, Bell and Rogers, who tried to shut down our digital transmitters because they wanted to make even more money by forcing us to buy TV on satellite or cable. These are the people -- same people who are selling more and more cell phones and convincing people that the only way they can watch the programming is online.
11746 If people were -- people still don't know about antennas, that you can watch TV for free.
11747 If people were aware of this, there would not be such an outcry for all this -- I mean, I use digital. I use a lot of it myself.
11748 But you know, there's -- they're making billions and billions of dollars. Find a way for them to pay for it if they want all of our bandwidth.
11749 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
11750 I think the government does ask them to pay for it through spectrum options, but I take your point.
11751 MR. TEBBUTT: More, though.
11752 THE CHAIRPERSON: I take your point, and I'm confident that your presentation today has certainly made a large number of Canadians more aware of the availability of over-the-air signal.
11753 So I thank you for taking the time to make your submissions and for appearing before us today, and I'll bid you ---
11754 MR. TEBBUTT: Thank you for having me.
11755 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- a good afternoon.
11756 MS. ROY: Thank you.
11757 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam secretary.
11758 MS. ROY: Thank you.
11759 Nous entendrons maintenant la présentation de Atelier Radio Enfant.
11760 Monsieur Delorme, vous pouvez débuter votre présentation.
11761 M. DELORME: Bonjour, Madame.
11762 M. DELORME: Merci d’abord d’avoir acc…
11763 Je peux là? Est-ce que vous m’entendez?
11764 Mme ROY: Oui, on vous entend.
11765 M. DELORME: Vous m’entendez?
11766 Mme ROY: Oui. Vous pouvez débuter votre présentation.
11767 M. DELORME: D'accord. Et puis… d'accord.
11769 M. DELORME: Merci beaucoup, d’abord, d’avoir accepté d’entendre mon propos sur la question de la radio et les enfants, et je vais débuter tout de suite.
11770 Vous connaissez, d’abord, tout mon historique, vous savez que je suis un pionnier de la radio communautaire au Canada, que j’ai démarré beaucoup de radios communautaires au Québec puis aussi dans les milieux communautaires francophones de l’Acadie et de l’Ouest canadien, de l’Ontario et depuis les années 2000, je travaille uniquement avec les enfants à la radio et j’ai constaté le vide qu’il y avait dans les services de radio dédiés aux enfants.
11771 Donc ma présentation je l’ai faite d’une forme qu’on utilise beaucoup à l’assemblée mondiale, on leur fait beaucoup des déclarations aux termes des conférences qu’on faisait et j’ai choisi cette façon-là pour ramasser et regrouper mes propos. Donc sous forme d’une déclaration : Une radio au service des enfants.
11772 Premier point, c’est attendu. Les attendus, c’est des choses sur lesquelles on s’entend. De base et puis après ça, il y a consensus là-dessus on peut aller plus loin. Le premier point, c’est qu'il y a des droits qui sont reconnus pour les enfants. Dans la Charte des droits des enfants, il y a un élément au point 13 - Droit à la liberté d’expression - qui comprend recevoir et répandre des informations et des idées par les médias, pour les enfants. Il y a aussi dans la Loi canadienne de la radiodiffusion qui stipule que la programmation doit répondre aux besoins, aux intérêts et refléter la condition et les aspirations des hommes, des femmes et des enfants.
11773 Et on constate aussi, on sait que la radio offre un gros potentiel, un fort potentiel pour… d’expression et de communication accessible aux enfants. On l’a fait la preuve, depuis 2000, on a fait le tour de près de 1000 écoles à travers le Canada où les enfants ont fait des programmations continues pendant cette période-là. Donc on… Puis aussi des adultes, qui ont développé une expertise et démontré une disponibilité pour accompagner les enfants dans l’utilisation de la radio.
11774 Considérant ces points, on constate que la radio au Canada s’adresse uniquement aux adultes et que les enfants sont complètement écartés de l’espace radiophonique. Nulle part on peut entendre des enfants. On peut chercher partout, il n’y a pas d’émissions, il n’y a pas de programmation, il n’y a pas de services pour… radio, pour les enfants. Que depuis 2000 il fut réalisé plus de 1000 diffusions radio enfants en milieu scolaire et communautaire avec les enfants de partout au Canada.
11775 Donc considérant tous ces éléments-là, il est recommandé qu’un système de radiodiffusion public, éducatif, ludique, au service des enfants, soit créé au Canada. Ça c’est la principale recommandation, que le ministère du Patrimoine, qui est chargé et responsable de l’application de la loi de la radiodiffusion, soit tenu de corriger la situation en appuyant un projet pilote de radio au service des enfants. Que le Fonds des médias du Canada soit tenu d’accorder un soutien financier aux productions radiophoniques des enfants.
11776 Et enfin que la Société Radio-canadienne, Radio-Canada, soutienne le développement des médias des enfants, techniquement d’abord, en partageant des infrastructures de transmission, les antennes et tout. Par la formation puis aussi par la diffusion de production d’enfant. Et enfin, que le CRTC désigne des espaces sur la bande FM au profit des enfants dans les agglomérations de plus de 50 000 habitants.
11777 En somme ce qu’on voudrait, c’est que vous disiez oui aux enfants à la radio. Donc si les enfants, on l’a constaté, aiment faire de la radio, ils sont bons à la radio, les gens apprécient de les écouter et c’est un moyen d’expression utile pour eux, pour leur croissance. C’est bien de les écouter, c’est important qu’ils s’expriment par ce média. Et ce serait si simple aujourd’hui, avec les nouvelles technologies, de créer un service de radiodiffusion dédié aux enfants, qu’il soit bien adapté à leurs besoins d’écoute et d’expression.
11778 Donc en quelques mots, c’est ce que j’avais à dire sur les enfants, qui sont complètement écartés de la radio. C’est comme une discrimination systémique. Ils sont écartés, on ne voit pas nulle part les enfants à la radio au Canada, comment se fait-il ? Puis on peut, on doit les écouter par ce biais-là. Voilà, ma présentation. Est-ce que…
11779 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup.
11780 M. DELORME : …c’est clair ? C’est clair ?
11781 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, c’est clair. Merci beaucoup.
11782 M. DELORME : Est-ce que vous avez des questions ?
11783 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui. Madame Simard, avez-vous des questions ?
11784 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Oui, Monsieur le président, j’ai des questions pour Monsieur Delorme. Donc merci Monsieur le président. Merci, Monsieur Delorme pour votre présentation, votre participation à cette audience. Puis j’ajouterais pour votre engagement dans votre communauté à un niveau qui est vraiment très important, c'est-à-dire nos enfants. Alors merci pour ça.
11785 Mes questions pour vous, je vais les diriger, évidemment dans le sens de l’audience actuelle, c'est-à-dire Radio-Canada, puis essayer de mieux comprendre quand vous dites : « Oui aux enfants à la radio. » J’aimerais mieux comprendre comment vous imaginez la contribution de Radio-Canada à ce chapitre. Alors est-ce que, ce que j’entends… D’abord au niveau de l’offre de Radio-Canada, il y a évidemment bon, les stations de radio, il y a l’application audio maintenant, il y a également, c’est évidemment plus dans l’audiovisuel, mais le… Ils ont créé MAJ. Donc, pour l’actualité pour les jeunes.
11786 Alors, avec l’offre actuelle, est-ce que vous êtes d’avis que c’est suffisant ou que c’est insuffisant, pour rejoindre les enfants ?
11787 M. DELORME : Complètement. C’est complètement insuffisant. D’abord, les enfants sont producteurs de beaucoup de matériel. Juste l’exemple des chansons. Moi j’ai une base de données ici, d’à peu près, de plus de 1000 chansons, des belles chansons qui sont faites dans les écoles, qui ont… Mais c’est impossible de les faire entendre. J’ai fait un exercice auprès de Radio-Canada, j’ai demandé si on pouvait leur proposer ça, puis tout de suite ç’a été la barrière : « Non il n’en est pas question parce que nous, c’est toutes les règles des… C’est des droits d’auteurs, puis on va… C’est toutes des productions chansons qui vont, par le côté commercial. » Donc il était complètement exclu d’entendre les enfants.
11788 Puis d’ailleurs, on ne les entend pas chanter à la radio. Aucune. Vous pourriez entendre des chansons, merveilleuses chansons, des beautés, des perles, mais qu’on n’entend pas du tout. Ni le théâtre ni les histoires. Tout ce que les enfants font ne passe pas à la radio. On ne les entend pas sur les ondes. C’est complètement un silence.
11789 Récemment, la présidente de la Commission des droits faisait une remarque à son… avec son rapport. On disait, c’est important - c’était sa première remarque – d’écouter les enfants. Mais on peut les écouter que si on peut les entendre. Et puis à la radio, on ne les entend pas nulle part. Donc c’est évident qu’il faut pas… Moi je ne viens pas ici en disant… demandant à Radio-Canada de prendre toute la place. C’est pas ça qu’il faudrait faire, parce que c’est pas une radio d’état qu’il faut faire, c’est une radio de style publique. C’est évident que c’est non-commercial, c’est éducatif et ludique et ça cherche à développer les activités d’expression des enfants puis faire des réseaux d’expression.
11790 Donc c’est une production locale, qui serait, avec les nouvelles technologies, tout à fait facile à créer. Et puis… Donc Radio-Canada ce qu’ils pourraient faire c’est aider, par exemple, au niveau de la transmission. De dire : « Oui, il est possible sur notre antenne de greffer un duplexeur et puis on va utiliser… » On l’a fait sur la tour au Camp fortune et puis on a diffusé dans la région d’Ottawa. Le premier exercice qu’on a fait en l’an 2000, de l’école de Chelsea, l’école du Grand Boisé. Et puis ça, ça a fait un coup de foudre parce que l’année suivante plein d’écoles ont voulu répéter la même expérience. Et c’est ça qu’on a fait depuis, quinze ans après, grâce à un financement que nous accordait au départ le patrimoine.
11791 Mais après ça, ç’a été Astral, par deux occasions, qui nous ont donné à peu près la valeur de 100 000 $ par année, qu’on a pu faire pendant quinze ans de temps. Puis là, il n’y a plus de financement. Bell a dit c’est terminé : « Bon voilà on termine ça. » Alors il faut continuer, tenant compte de cette expérience-là, de créer un service continu et puis local. Et c’est une grille horaire qui est faite et que les gens peuvent placer leurs émissions là-dedans puis qu’il y aurait un financement du Fonds des médias Canada qui, lui aussi, c’est zéro.
11792 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Oui.
11793 M. DELORME : J’ai fait une recherche auprès du Fonds. J’ai été… J’ai demandé, quand j’ai posé la question, enfants. Rien, il n’y a pas aucun programme, zéro, zéro cenne pour les enfants. Et puis là j’ai écrit une lettre à la présidente, ou à la direction, et puis aucune réponse. Et il n’y a rien qui se fait pour les enfants.
11794 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait.
11795 M. DELORME : Donc il faut briser, briser ce… cette… Situation-là, qui discrimine complètement les enfants et, alors que la radio, ça pourrait être un beau moyen de s’exprimer.
11796 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Je vous entends, je vous entends bien, Monsieur Delorme. Je vais essayer avec vous de vous diriger, c'est-à-dire dans mes questions, en lien avec ce qu’on peut faire nous aussi. Quand vous me parlez du Fonds des médias, ou de la gestion, ce sont des responsabilités qui sont à l’extérieur du Conseil. Alors pour ce qui est de l’audience actuelle, Radio-Canada, donc là je comprends, c'est-à-dire vos propos, vous dites donc c’est de l’aide donc localement tout ça.
11797 Pourquoi pour vous c’est le radiodiffuseur public qui devrait s’investir de la sorte, et non pas comme, en fait, vous avez beaucoup d’expérience dans la radio communautaire, alors pourquoi un et pas l’autre ?
11798 M. DELORME : Ben..
11799 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Pourquoi ça devrait passer…
11800 M. DELORME : …parce que Radio-Cana…
11801 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Ouais ?
11802 M. DELORME : Parce que Radio-Canada a quand même une responsabilité, mais je ne veux pas mettre tout le fardeau sur les épaules de Radio-Canada, mais je dis qu’il devrait faire ce qu’il a déjà fait, par exemple, au Camp Fortune la première expérience, ils nous aidé pour installer l’antenne dans leur tour. Ça, c’était un appui technique qu’ils ont fait.
11803 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Oui.
11804 M. DELORME : Ils ont une… Ils ont dégagé leur personnel puis les enfants ont fait un théâtre, super beau théâtre, avec des experts de Radio-Canada qui sont venus les appuyer pendant deux, trois semaines puis ils ont fait une belle production radiophonique théâtre. Puis ils ont fait entendre un petit peu, après, les… ce que les enfants faisaient. C’est ça qu’il faut faire, puis développer ça. Mais donc le CRTC, moi j’ai demandé au CRTC en 2008, de faire une audience, une réflexion, sur la radio au service des enfants. Puis ç’a été refusé. Donc, mais qu’est-ce que c’est les possibilités d’amener chez vous cette question-là de services aux enfants de la radio ? C’était la seule occasion que j’ai, donc il faut susciter, donc la façon (inaudible), c’est de dire au Patrimoine canadien, je ne sais pas comment… Parce que tous les ministres du Patrimoine ont été interpellés, de Mme Copps à M. Steven Gaudreault(sic). Ils ont tous été interpellés pour qu’ils puissent appuyer une initiative de développement de la radio au service des enfants. Ça toujours été des réponses de, ils nous envoient promener ailleurs. C’était la même chose pour M. Gaudreault(sic), ils nous envoient promener ailleurs. Donc, où s’adresser ? Ça, c’est une question que j’ai à vous poser. Comment on fait pour s’adresser, pour débloquer cette situation-là, cette discrimination-là, qu’on fait à l’égard des enfants pour la radio.
11805 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Là ce qu’on peut faire ensemble…
11806 M. DELORME : Le Fonds des médias… Oui, le Fonds des médias, donc vous ce que j’aimerais que vous faisiez c’est dire au Patrimoine respons… C’est votre responsabilité, occupez-vous-en. Fonds des médias, consacrez un budget pour la production locale des enfants.
11807 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Alors si on poursuit dans ce qu’on peut faire aujourd’hui ensemble, M. Delorme, ma prochaine question pour vous c’est au niveau de l’offre donc, de Radio-Canada. On en parlait, j’avais une sous-question et ça a été abordé, je ne sais pas si vous avez eu l’occasion de l’écouter… d’écouter, de suivre un petit peu l’audience, mais en… durant la première semaine lorsqu’on était en échange avec les représentants de Radio-Canada, donc il y a une représentante de Radio-Canada qui nous a dit qu’il y avait effectivement une émission pour enfants. En fait, enfant-ado là. Qui s’appelait, si je me rappelle bien Ados-Radio, qui est disparue des ondes parce qu’ils se sont…
11808 M. DELORME : Complètement.
11809 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : …rendu compte que le public cible, donc les enfants, n’écoutaient pas l’émission. C’était plutôt leurs parents qui écoutaient l’émission. Alors…
11810 M. DELORME : Ça, c’est, c’est…
11811 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Au niveau de la programmation…
11812 M. DELORME : Ça, ça…
11813 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : …de Radio-Canada, avez quelque chose d’autre à ajouter ?
11814 M. DELORME : Bien, c’est ça, c’est pas vrai qu’ils ont… Ils ont coupé ça, puis sans en parler beaucoup. Il n’y a pas eu de consultations puis il n’y a pas… Parce que moi j’étais dans les écoles, j’allais avec les jeunes, puis tout le temps la référence c’est 275‑allô et puis Ados-Radio pour les ados puis tout ça. C’est évident que tout le monde n’était pas branché, mais ils écoutaient puis ils avaient le goût de participer à cette… À produire la radio. C’est évident.
11815 Mais ils ont pas fait de consultations puis là, après ça, ça a été la tactique de dire : « On les tasse, on va les mettre sur le web. On va les mettre sur le web. » Mais pourquoi que les adultes ils gardent les fréquences FM et puis que les enfants ont pas le droit d’en avoir de fréquences. Et puis t’sais, donc… C’est évident que pour les enfants, on ne peut pas tout le temps mesurer de la même façon que pour les adultes, l’écoute. Mais l’important c’est d’avoir une présence.
11816 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Est-ce que pour vous…
11817 M. DELORME : Pour les enfants.
11818 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : … ce que j’entends… Est-ce que j’entends qu’un exclut l’autre ? Autrement dit, je comprends bien vos propos, c'est-à-dire que vous souhaitez une plus grande présence sur les ondes, donc sur le réseau traditionnel. Mais est-ce que ceci il faut… Est-ce qu’il faut retenir de vos propos que ceci exclut le « en ligne » ? Ou au contraire, vous dites non, en plus, ils devraient avoir une plus grande présence sur ce qui se développe en ligne pour les enfants ?
11819 M. DELORME : Tout, tout. Il faut prendre tous les supports techniques. Il faut aussi prendre le FM traditionnel, qu’on puisse le recevoir dans l’automobile, qu’on puisse écouter dans la radio traditionnelle quand on se promène ou dans la cuisine il y a une petite station de radio, un poste de radio, qu’on puisse écouter ça là. Mais aussi, le web puis toutes les technologies sont là. Tous les supports technologiques il faut qu’ils soient combinés pour que les enfants puissent s’exprimer, puis prendre plaisir à faire des productions.
11820 Qu’ils apprennent, qu’ils se communiquent entre eux autres, qu’ils se parlent. Bien oui. C’est l’ensemble de ces moyens-là qu’il faut regrouper, mais ça exclut pas… On peut pas tasser ça puis leur dire aux enfants : « Allez-vous-en dans votre garde-robe, dans votre chambre en haut, on veut pas vous entendre. » Ça, c’est ça qu’on veut dire quand on va aller sur le web. Mais les enfants, ils ne se promènent pas avec une tablette puis… Donc c’est ça. Il faut que tous les supports techniques soient mis en communs.
11821 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait. Puis pour clarifier, quand vous parlez des enfants…
11822 M. DELORME : Est-ce que c’est clair, est-ce que vous m’entendez toujours ?
11823 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Oui, je vous entends bien. Quand vous parlez des enfants, pour vous c’est les enfants… Les enfants plus jeunes ? Est-ce que ça comprend également les adolescents ? Alors juste pour préciser.
11824 M. DELORME : Oui, oui, oui. C’est surtout, c’est les enfants au sens de l’UNICEF, de zéro à dix-huit ans. Puis c’est évident que la programmation, assez rapidement si on développait un service, il faudrait qu’il y en ait deux grilles horaires. Une pour les tout-petits de zéro à neufs ans, puis l’autre de dix ans à dix-huit ans. Et puis là deux programmations qui pourraient se jumeler à certaines occasions, mais qui pourrait, parce que c’est pas les mêmes besoins, c’est pas les mêmes goûts, et puis… Oui. Assez rapidement.
11825 Mais au début, on commencerait avec une programmation généraliste, mais assez rapidement, comme on le fait souvent, on… Parce que j’ai travaillé beaucoup dans le milieu secondaire et là aussi c’est riche. Riche comme contenu, c’est riche comme apprentissage et comme besoin de communication. Ils font des bonnes entrevues, ils font des bonnes émissions, ils font du beau théâtre, des jeux radiophoniques, des chansons, tout ça qu’on n’entend pas, qui passent pas chez nous. Ça, c’est une grande tristesse.
11826 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Et ce que je retiens également de vos propos - puis je cherche à clarifier là pour m’assurer que la bonne information se retrouve consignée au dossier public - donc c’est que, ce n’est pas seulement, vous n’êtes pas à la recherche d’émissions ou d’une émission qui s’adresse aux enfants, ou aux adolescents, mais vous êtes plutôt à la recherche d’une solution pour assurer une plus grande participation, donc une radio par et pour les enfants, n’est-ce pas ? Donc qu’ils contribuent eux-mêmes, n’est-ce pas ? À la création.
11827 M. DELORME : Exactement. Oui, un service… Un service autonome, un service de radio au profit des enfants.
11828 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait.
11829 M. DELORME : Et qui leur laisse l’opportunité de faire des… Puis que les enfants ils sachent que sur les ondes, dans leur grande ville, il y a une fréquence où ils peuvent tout le temps entendre des enfants qui chantent. De la musique qui sont pour eux autres. Les tout-petits, les plus grands, des histoires, des jeux radiophoniques et tout ça… Des chansons, des jeux avec chansons et tout ça. Toutes sortes de choses qu’on n’entend pas, mais qui seraient d’une richesse…
11830 Puis imaginez une radio comme ça dans la période qu’on vit actuellement. Ça serait…
11831 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Mais…
11832 M. DELORME : …de toute beauté que les enfants puissent faire ça, parce que c’est pas des gros studios. Ils pourraient faire ça de chez eux puis faire des émissions, la renvoyer sur l’internet et puis se parler avec les Acadiens, puis se parler avec les gens de, à l’autre bout du pays. Et puis, de se lancer des défis puis se poser des… toutes sortes de choses. Les blagues et tout. Une radio d’enfant continu. Donc les gens ils savent que c’est là puis s’ils peuvent y aller puis ils sont appuyés financièrement par le Fonds. Ça, c’est la clé. C’est le Fonds des médias du Canada, qui doit mettre un financement pour les enfants.
11833 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait. Puis ma dernière question c’est que si c’est un projet comme celui… C'est-à-dire, j’essaie de voir les différentes options donc, sinon on parlait tout à l’heure donc, de ce qui a déjà existé qui n’existe plus, c'est-à-dire à tout le moins, une petite place là, sur les ondes de la radio de Radio-Canada. Est-ce que pour vous, c’est quelque chose qui devrait se faire ou non, ou est-ce que ça serait trop… En fait trop peu pour vos ambitions, disons ?
11834 M. DELORME : Bien c'est pas pour les ambitions c’est, je le constate, c’est le besoin… Je constate le potentiel. Puis je sais qu’une petite émission, ça fait pas l’affaire. C’est pas une petite case dans une grille des programmes qui va faire la différence. C’est un signal qui est continu puis c’est leur place. « Ah! Il y a de l’espace pour les enfants. Ah! OK. » Puis que ça reste, puis là les enfants puissent y référer à ça. Puis non seulement ça, ils peuvent participer. Tu veux participer ? Fais ton émission, voici les règles puis on va te donner des sous pour t’aider à faire ça. Oui, un petit montant qu’on donne, évidemment pas à l’enfant, mais on le donne aux gens qui l’entoure pour l’aider à produire des choses puis qu’il y a un résultat fabuleux autour de ça, après ça là.
11835 C’est ça que ça prend chez nous. Puis au Canada, on est capable de le faire.
11836 C’est exactement ce que vous disiez dans votre bio là, de doter les Canadiens d’un système de communications qui soit à la hauteur de leur imagination.
11837 Bien moi, je dis dotez les enfants canadiens d’un système de radio qui soit à la hauteur de leur imagination.
11838 C’est ça qui est le défi pour l’avenir. C’est ça qui… puis on est capable de le faire. Pourquoi pas le faire?
11839 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Je vous remercie beaucoup, Monsieur Delorme. Puis encore une fois…
11840 M. DELORME: Il y a une discrimination systémique.
11841 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Oui, c’est bien compris.
11842 Alors, encore une fois, merci…
11843 M. DELORME: Oui. Merci.
11844 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Merci pour votre participation à l’audience et encore une fois merci pour votre engagement auprès de nos enfants.
11845 Alors Monsieur le président, la parole est à vous.
11846 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup et merci encore, Monsieur Delorme.
11847 M. DELORME: Merci.
11848 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire.
11849 Mme ROY: Merci, Monsieur le président.
11850 Merci, Monsieur Delorme.
11851 Maintenant, nous entendrons la présentation de la Fédération culturelle canadienne-française.
11852 S’il vous plait vous présenter et présenter votre collègue. Et vous avez 10 minutes pour votre présentation.
11854 M. THÉBERGE: Monsieur le président, madame la vice-présidente et mesdames les conseillères, il me fait grand plaisir de vous saluer aujourd’hui. Je vous souhaite à toutes et à tous une bonne année 2021.
11855 Merci de votre invitation à comparaître aujourd’hui dans le cadre du renouvellement des licences de Radio-Canada. Mon nom est Martin Théberge. Je suis président de la Fédération culturelle canadienne-française, la FCCF. Et je suis accompagné par Marie-Christine Morin, notre directrice générale.
11856 Nous représentons l’écosystème des arts et de la culture des communautés francophones en situation minoritaire au Canada. Nous sommes ici aujourd’hui pour vous faire part des attentes qu’ont les CLOSM francophones à l’égard de Radio-Canada et comment, selon nous, le Conseil peut encadrer les activités de Radio- Canada pour que nos attentes soient comblées.
11857 Nous sommes rassurés et heureux de l’engagement et des volontés qui s’expriment depuis le début des audiences et tout particulièrement de l’insistance du Conseil concernant l’importance de mesurer l’impact de Radio-Canada en fonction des objectifs fondamentaux qu’elle vise en tant que diffuseur national. Cela rejoint en tout point notre pensée et l’importance que l’on veut accorder vers l’avant, au fait de devoir mesurer le rendement des actions qui sont déployées au service et en soutien des communautés francophones en situation minoritaire.
11858 Votre travail est d’autant plus important et critique que la culture fait face à de profonds changements qui s’opèrent sur le plan des communications au pays et dans le monde. J’espère que vous serez d’accord avec nous pour affirmer que cela est d’autant plus fondamental lorsqu’il est question de la présence et de l’accès à des contenus culturels canadiens de langue française.
11859 Mme MORIN: D’emblée, permettez-moi aussi d’être aussi claire que catégoriques; nous appuyons toutes les demandes de renouvellement de licences de Radio-Canada de même que la demande d’augmentation de tarif de RDI.
11860 Comme tous les intervenants avant nous, nous sommes aussi d’avis que la proposition de Radio-Canada peut être améliorée.
11861 Notre organisme, la Fédération culturelle, a plus de 40 ans. Ce qui donnera peut-être l’impression que nous nous répétons. Ce n’est pas une impression. C’est un fait. Notre discours demeure le même. Nous voulons que le train de la culture en français parcoure tout le pays pour que nos gens y aient accès. Et Radio-Canada est la locomotive de ce train.
11862 Notre discours devient plus pertinent avec le temps et aussi de plus en plus urgent qu’il soit entendu pour ce qu’il est; une urgence à garantir l’accès à la culture canadienne française représentative de tout le pays et accessible partout au pays.
11863 Pour y arriver, nous recommandons la mise en œuvre de changements dans la cueillette de données, la reddition de comptes, l’établissement de mesures de rendement et l’analyse de l’impact des actions et changements apportés.
11864 M. THÉBERGE: En tant que diffuseur public national de langue française, l’importance de Radio-Canada en soutien à la vitalité, voire à la pérennité des communautés francophones en situation minoritaire, ne fait aucun doute.
11865 Il faut en premier lieu que Radio-Canada fasse la place qui leur revient à nos francophonies, dans sa vision de développement, sa planification stratégique et ses pratiques institutionnelles. Bref, il faut qu’elle la considère prioritaire au même titre que la francophonie majoritaire. On ne peut pas simplement nous reléguer à l’entête des « régions ».
11866 Fondamentalement, ce n’est pas notre situation géographique qui nous lie, au contraire elle nous sépare. Ce qui nous unit, c’est notre langue et le fait d’être minoritaires au Canada et en Amérique. Les communautés francophones en situation minoritaire doivent continuer d’être traitées comme un auditoire distinct.
11867 Rappelons que tant le Conseil que Radio-Canada sont assujettis, en tant qu’institutions fédérales, à la lettre et l’esprit de la Loi sur les langues officielles.
11868 En vertu de l’article 41 de la LLO, le gouvernement du Canada s’engage à favoriser l'épanouissement des communautés francophones en situation minoritaire au Canada; à appuyer leur développement; et à promouvoir la pleine reconnaissance et l'usage du français dans la société canadienne.
11869 Cet engagement vise toutes les institutions fédérales, qui doivent veiller à ce que soient prises des mesures positives pour le mettre en œuvre.
11870 Le CRTC doit donc s’assurer que Radio-Canada puisse remplir cette obligation statutaire sur l’ensemble de son cycle d'activités.
11871 En plus de demeurer à l’écoute de nos communautés francophones en situation minoritaire, Radio-Canada doit pouvoir mesurer et démontrer son impact.
11872 Mme MORIN: Dans son mémoire, la Fédération culturelle canadienne-française demande à Radio-Canada de se donner un plan d’action précis à l’endroit des communautés francophones en situation minoritaire pour placer notre auditoire au cœur de ses décisions et de ses actions.
11873 Ce plan doit être codéveloppé avec nos organismes pour miser pleinement sur les expertises en place. On pourra ainsi procéder d’un terrain commun, s’entendre sur les cibles à atteindre et la manière de mesurer le rendement.
11874 Nous demandons aussi de recueillir, d’analyser et de fournir des données fiables et précises concernant les communautés francophones en situation minoritaire de manière continue, sur la base desquelles opérer la planification et la prise de décisions.
11875 Également, nous demandons à Radio-Canada de se doter d’un outil d’analyse différenciée francophone, l’ADF, mieux connu sous le vocable de « lentille francophone ».
11876 Cela lui permettrait d’évaluer l’incidence de ses programmes, de ses politiques et de ses décisions sur la vitalité de notre francophonie en milieu minoritaire.
11877 En ce qui concerne ses conditions de licences, la Fédération demande au Conseil de préserver l’esprit et la contraignabilité des mesures prévues dans les conditions de licence actuelles de Radio-Canada, en plus de les étendre aux volets numériques qui sont en croissance et appelés à prendre de plus en plus d’ampleur dans l’offre de sa programmation.
11878 M. THÉBERGE: À titre de porte-parole des arts et de la culture, nous tenons à exprimer notre solidarité à l’égard des groupes de notre francophonie qui se sont présentés devant vous jusqu’ici. Nous appuyons la Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada et la Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française, qui ont formulé des recommandations structurantes, dont celles visant un meilleur reflet de nos expressions culturelles à l’antenne nationale et l’urgence de développer des stratégies adaptées aux enjeux de sécurité linguistique chez nos jeunes.
11879 Je souhaite aussi témoigner notre appui aux propos de nos membres qui sont comparus, soit l’Association acadiennes des artistes professionnels du Nouveau-Brunswick et l’Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada. Il est incompréhensible que la nation acadienne n’ait pas la noble place qui lui revient quant au reflet des expressions culturelles francophones au Canada. Celles des autres provinces, territoires et régions du Canada aussi.
11880 En production maintenant, nous appuyons entre autres la demande centrale de l’APFC à l’effet de consacrer au moins 9 pour cent des dépenses totales d’émissions indépendantes du réseau et des plateformes, à des émissions indépendantes réalisées par des producteurs basés hors Québec ou au Québec hors Montréal.
11881 La FCCF a fait le choix ici de préciser que la cible de 9 pour cent devrait s’appliquer de manière précise aux producteurs basés hors Québec.
11882 Comme ses membres qui ont comparu avant elle, la FCCF demande le maintien des conditions de licences d’ICI ARTV et celui du droit d’accès à sa distribution dans tous les marchés. ARTV est la seule vitrine qui a la vocation de mettre en valeur les arts et la culture de nos communautés.
11883 Ensemble, nous devons consolider, promouvoir et protéger la langue et la culture française au Canada dans toute la diversité de ses expressions culturelles.
11884 La précarité de la situation de la langue française au Canada est un enjeu de société qui nécessite le déploiement d’efforts nouveaux et adaptés. En tant qu’institution canadienne et diffuseur national, Radio-Canada doit assumer pleinement ses responsabilités dans la mission de soutien d’une langue minoritaire. Avec son expertise et les moyens dont elle dispose elle peut contribuer davantage qu’elle ne le fait présentement, au rapprochement entre francophones du Québec et des autres provinces et territoires du pays.
11885 Radio-Canada doit renouveler son engagement à l’endroit des auditoires francophones et raffiner son plan d’action.
11886 Puisque nous n’avions pas parlé de pandémie jusqu’ici, nous terminerons en mentionnant la crise qui sévit encore durement sur notre secteur, comme sur notre société entière. Je vous invite à penser, comme nous, de manière positive que la COVID-19 nous procure l’occasion nette de repenser nos façons de faire et d’innover, tant sur le plan des politiques publiques que sur celui d’une vision canadienne renouvelée du développement culturel durable francophone.
11887 Il est minuit moins une pour la langue et la culture Il est minuit moins une pour la langue et la culture française au Canada. Les décisions que vous prendrez au terme de ce processus, en vertu des pouvoirs qui vous sont exclusivement conférés, joueront un rôle prépondérant pour défendre la souveraineté culturelle au pays.
11888 Merci de votre écoute. Nous sommes prêts à répondre à vos questions.
11889 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup. Merci pour votre présentation.
11890 Madame Lafontaine, avez-vous des questions?
11891 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Oui, merci, Monsieur le président. J’ai quelques questions.
11892 Merci, Madame Morin et Monsieur Théberge, pour votre présentation aujourd’hui et pour votre intervention écrite très détaillée, très complète.
11893 Donc, bien, tout d’abord, comme vous l’avez noté dans votre présentation, nous avons entendu les préoccupations de plusieurs groupes francophones hors-Québec pendant cette audience et les préoccupations sont bien notées.
11894 J’ai des questions concernant vos recommandations réglementaires, mais avant d’y arriver, j’aimerais prendre un moment pour prendre un peu de recul. Étant donné que vous êtes une organisation qui représente les arts et la culture, j’aimerais vous demander de prendre quelques minutes pour nous parler de l’importance de la réflexion des arts et de la culture à des communautés hors-Québec aux antennes de Radio-Canada.
11895 Mme MORIN: Je peux peut-être commencer, Martin. Si t’as des choses à ajouter, tu pourras poursuivre.
11896 Alors, évidemment Radio-Canada joue un rôle crucial, je dirais, dans le développement et la vitalité de nos communautés en situation minoritaire, mais également dans tous l’écosystème des arts et de la culture en francophonie canadienne. Alors Radio-Canada joue un rôle crucial dans l’accès à cette culture-là et l’accès à la culture, pour nous à la Fédération, est directement lié à la protection de la langue française.
11897 Donc, évidemment pour que cette langue-là puisse rayonner, puisse vivre, puisse continuer à vivre de façon… avec toute la richesse que cela implique, on doit absolument s’assurer que Radio-Canada joue pleinement son rôle et son mandat en ce sens-là.
11898 Et Radio-Canada représente absolument un levier pour le milieu artistique et culturel en francophonie canadienne, donc tant dans la création de contenu que dans l’accès à ces contenus-là dans tous les coins de pays.
11899 M. THÉBERGE: Je conclurais ou j’ajouterais plutôt avec une citation qui vient du juge en chef Dickson dans l’arrêt Forbes c. Québec et c’est donc une jurisprudence qui décrit bien le lien entre la langue et la culture, puis je pense que c’est très important de se le rappeler et puis de rappeler à quel point Radio-Canada joue un rôle primordial à ce niveau-là. Et donc la citation va comme suit :
11900 « Une langue est plus qu’un simple
11901 moyen de communication. Elle fait partie intégrante de l’identité et de la culture du peuple qui la parle. C’est le moyen par lequel les individus se comprennent eux-mêmes et comprennent le milieu dans lequel ils vivent. Le langage n’est pas seulement un moyen ou un mode d’expression; il colore le contenu et le sens de l’expression comme le dit le préambule de la Charte de la langue française elle-même. C’est aussi pour un peuple un moyen d’exprimer son identité culturelle. »
11902 Fin de la citation.
11903 Ce que je veux qu’on reconnaisse ici c’est que dans plusieurs communautés, Radio-Canada est le seul moyen francophone et dans la majorité, c’est le seul contenu télévisuel en français et donc c’est d’une importance capitale qu’on se voit, qu’on se reconnaisse et, d’une certaine manière, qu’on vive notre culture à travers Radio-Canada.
11904 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Merci. Merci pour vos commentaires. Juste un instant, pardon. Merci pour vos commentaires et pour vos réponses à cette question.
11905 Pour assurer le reflet des communautés francophones hors-Québec, Radio-Canada propose de maintenir les obligations pour les heures de diffusion, cinq heures en moyenne par semaine pendant l’année de radiodiffusion et le 6% pour les dépenses sur la production hors-Montréal.
11906 Je note dans votre présentation aujourd’hui que vous appuyez la recommandation de la… je crois que c’est la FPC… pardon…
11907 Mme MORIN: L’APFC.
11908 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: L’APFC, oui, oui, oui, leur recommandation de 9%, ce qu’ils ont noté, je crois que c’était hier, que ça, ça reflète l’historique selon leurs calculs.
11909 Ils avaient aussi recommandé que 60% du 9% soit alloué pour les productions hors-Québec. Est-ce que vous êtes d’accord aussi avec cette partie de leur recommandation? Parce que Radio-Canada avait proposé essentiellement le 50% du 60%... pardon, 50% du 6. Et donc, est-ce que vous, vous recommandez 60% du 9?
11910 Mme MORIN: Oui. Alors la réponse c’est oui. J’ajouterais quelques précisions par rapport à la recommandation de l’Alliance des producteurs francophones. Alors, la Fédération, nous, on ajoute une nuance. Donc, dans notre recommandation, donc non seulement on prévoit ou on demande une condition de licence du réseau à l’effet qu’on devrait consacrer au moins 9% de ces dépenses, mais dans des émissions indépendantes aux émissions produites hors-Québec. Donc on n’a pas ajouté de hors-Montréal de cette condition de licence là. Donc c’est une distinction.
11911 Puis l’autre distinction c’est que l’Alliance des producteurs parle d’une attente par rapport au fait de consacrer au moins 9% des dépenses totales d’émissions. Nous, on demande que ce soit une condition de licence et non pas une attente.
11912 Et pour ce qui est du 60%, on appuie… c’est le 60% du 9%. Donc on est assez aligné avec la proposition de l’Alliance en ce sens-là.
11913 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Très bien. Je vous remercie pour ces précisions.
11914 J’aurais une question à vous poser concernant votre présentation aujourd’hui au paragraphe… je crois que c’était le paragraphe 17. Vous dites :
11915 « En ce qui concerne ces conditions de licence, la Fédération demande au Conseil de préserver l’esprit et la contraignabilité de mesures prévues dans les conditions… »
11916 O.k. Ça, ça va.
11917 « …en plus de les étendre aux volets numériques qui sont en croissance et appelés à prendre de plus en plus d’ampleur dans l’offre de sa programmation. »
11918 Est-ce que vous pouvez expliquer cette recommandation, ce que vous voulez dire au juste par cette partie-là de ce que vous nous proposez?
11919 Mme MORIN: Oui, bien sûr.
11920 Alors, en fait, ce qu’on demande c’est que ce qui est appliqué aux plateformes traditionnelles s’applique également aux plateformes numériques, donc les mêmes critères de reflet, les apports des CLOSMS soient maintenus aussi dans les activités de diffusion sur les plateformes numériques, sans pour autant être relâchées du côté des plateformes traditionnelles.
11921 Les principes qui guident Radio-Canada dans les responsabilités légales et morales envers les communautés linguistiques en situation minoritaire, il faut qu’elles soient intégrées à l’intérieur de ce nouveau plan de service, d’accès que représente le numérique et, évidemment, que toutes les obligations, tant légales que commerciales, aussi envers les producteurs de contenu francophone canadien soient aussi applicables du contenu du côté des plateformes.
11922 On reconnait que les plateformes numériques, évidemment, ont la cotte. On voit qu’il y a plusieurs auditoires, notamment les jeunes, qui consomment ces contenus-là et la concurrence est évidemment extrêmement forte dans les plateformes numériques. Les choix sont nombreux et on peut avoir accès à toutes sortes de contenus, surtout en anglais, alors que la Société Radio-Canada veuille poursuivre dans son virage numérique, on considère que c’est tout à fait légitime et souhaitable, mais il faut baliser. Il faut baliser cela.
11923 Alors c’est complètement illogique pour nous, par exemple, d’entendre dans une même phrase qu’on veut augmenter les contenus numériques disponibles, et à ce chapitre on a besoin de flexibilité et que cette flexibilité-là recherchée fasse complètement abstraction des besoins, des CLOSMS. Pour nous, c’est complètement contradictoire.
11924 Donc ce qui est appliqué aux plateformes traditionnelles devrait s’appliquer également aux plateformes numériques. C’est ce qu’on veut dire quand on parle d’esprit de la contraignabilité des conditions de licence 15 et 16.
11925 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Et donc à cet effet-là, est-ce que vous voulez… est-ce que vous proposez que 9 % du budget de productions indépendantes sur la plateforme numérique de ICI TOU.TV, par exemple, soit alloué à la production en régions pour les CLOSM? Est-ce que vous… est-ce que vous… est-ce que c'est juste… c'est une philosophie que vous proposez ou est-ce que c’est aussi des mesures précises que vous voulez voir miroiter sur la plateforme numérique en ce qui concerne les CLOSM?
11926 Mme MORIN: Je pense que votre… oui, pardon?
11927 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Non, c’est juste pour bien comprendre ce que vous nous proposez pour que le dossier public soit complet que je vous pose la question.
11928 Mme MORIN: Oui. Alors, j’aime beaucoup votre analogie avec le miroir parce que c’est un peu ce qu’on propose, c'est-à-dire que ce qui est… les contraintes ou les paramètres qui existent, les critères qui existent sur les plateformes traditionnelles devraient être reproduits du côté des plateformes numériques, surtout sachant que ces contenus-là en mode, je dirais, traditionnel sont versés vers les contenus… vers les contenus des plateformes numériques, donc il semble logique là qu’on appuie ou en tout cas qu’on identifie des critères qui soient semblables.
11929 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Très bien. Merci. J’aimerais passer à la question des consultations de la part de Radio-Canada avec les communautés francophones en situation minoritaire.
11930 Est-ce que votre organisation a participé à ces consultations et est-ce que vous avez des suggestions sur le comment que ces consultations pourraient s’améliorer pour adresser le problème qui semble persister en ce qui concerne le reflet des communautés francophones en situation minoritaire, en particulier à l’échelle nationale à Radio-Canada? Alors, est-ce que vous avez des suggestions ou des commentaires par rapport aux consultations et si elles pourraient être améliorées?
11931 Mme MORIN: Donc, j’imagine que vous faites allusion à différents moyens que Radio-Canada a de fournir de l’information sur les CLOSM, l’assemblée publique étant une des façons, et aussi je comprends que Radio-Canada fait rapport à deux niveaux, c'est-à-dire le rapport de consultation des CLOSM là qui fait état de toutes ces rencontres-là qui ont lieu sur le terrain et le sondage, et puis j’aimerais m’exprimer sur les deux volets.
11932 Donc, pour ce qui est de la consultation CLOSM, généralement l’approche est régionale, donc la Fédération culturelle, qui est un organisme national, n’est pas invitée directement à cet exercice-là; nos membres sur le terrain y participent, par contre. Et alors, sans rentrer dans les détails, le rapport de consultation fait état de ces discussions-là. Je pense qu’il y a lieu de regarder ce rapport-là et de voir de quelle façon on peut l’amener à un autre niveau, c'est-à-dire que présentement, de la façon que l’information est présentée, on a ce qui est entendu, on a ce que Radio-Canada a fait; ce qui manque c’est peut-être l’arrimage entre les deux, c'est-à-dire l’alignement entre les actions de Radio-Canada qui sont en lien avec les besoins qui sont exprimés lors de ces assemblées.
11933 Alors ça, nous, c'est un peu… c’est un peu ce qu’on… c’est un peu ce qu’on souhaite améliorer avec une des recommandations notamment qui touche le plan d’action qui est dirigé vers nous ou en tout cas qui a un regard particulier pour les CLOSM, c'est justement de permettre cet arrimage-là entre les deux conversations.
11934 Sur le plan du sondage, écoutez, je ne suis pas une spécialiste là de la méthode statistique, mais je pense qu’il y a lieu de s’interroger ou en tout cas sur certains éléments, notamment la taille de l’échantillonnage du sondage – on a très peu de participants – et les aires qui sont ciblées pour sonder – on parle là d’aires où il y a moins de 30 % de la population qui parle surtout la langue officielle en situation minoritaire à la maison. Donc, je ne sais pas si ces conclusions-là du sondage… en tout cas, doivent être prises probablement avec un regard critique, un regard critique parce que, ben, vous avez eu plusieurs organisations qui ont défilé devant vous au cours des derniers jours qui ont déclaré leur insatisfaction par rapport justement à ce reflet-là là, si on n’a qu’à penser à la Société nationale de l’Acadie, la Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse, l’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario, la FJCF, la PNB, donc je crois qu’il y a lieu de regarder ces mécanismes-là et de les améliorer tant dans leur forme que dans la façon dont on collecte, et on compile, et on analyse l’information.
11935 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Merci. En ce qui concerne les rapports que soumet Radio-Canada au CRTC, vous, vous avez fait beaucoup de commentaires, vous avez donné beaucoup de détails sur ce que vous proposez que Radio-Canada devrait être obligée de faire, et tous ces commentaires sont bien notés au dossier public, mais j’aimerais vous demander si, en ayant sans doute écouté les commentaires à l’audience, s’il y a des ajouts, s’il y a des éléments du reportage que devrait faire Radio-Canada que vous aimeriez ajouter aux détails que vous nous avez déjà donnés ou si vous êtes satisfaits, si vous avez touché tous les… et votre intervention est bien détaillée, mais, par exemple, est-ce que l’obligation de soumettre le rapport de production vous serait… ça serait intéressant pour votre organisation ou juste des détails « générals » pour ajouter à ce qui manque pour bien pouvoir analyser les efforts de Radio-Canada pendant la prochaine période de licence?
11936 Mme MORIN: Je pense que… je pense qu’il y a lieu évidemment d’améliorer la collecte, la transparence de ces données-là. Nous, on était très rassurés, soulagés d’entendre le président du Conseil, la conseillère Barin parler de moderniser le cadre de mesures de Radio-Canada puis on pense qu’il y a certainement du travail à faire.
11937 J’écoutais ma collègue de l’Association des… de l’Organisation du documentaire qui disait que, essentiellement, c'est un travail aussi pour identifier des données qui sont… qui sont cohérentes, et puis qui sont utiles et qui sont valables, et avec lesquelles on va pouvoir suivre le progrès de Radio-Canada. Ce serait bien qu’on fasse un travail de collaboration à ce niveau-là avec des gens qui sont sur le terrain.
11938 Donc, évidemment qu’on n’est pas des experts, on sait que Radio-Canada collecte beaucoup de données à toutes sortes de niveaux, on est plutôt pour la transparence des données à la Fédération, je vous dirais, donc le plus de données qu’on a sur les auditoires, sur la façon dont la programmation est déclinée, sur les engagements financiers, le mieux, et le mieux on peut agir sur cette question-là.
11939 Donc, on a, nous, détaillé plusieurs éléments qui devraient se retrouver dans ces rapports-là, en tout cas du moins pour avoir un portrait plus clair des communautés linguistiques en situation minoritaire, et ce qui est fait chez nous et ce qui est programmé, ce qui est vu à l’écran. Donc, pour qu’on soit capable de répondre correctement à la question puis qu’on soit capable d’identifier des cibles très claires à atteindre, on doit avoir accès à ces informations-là et c'est pour ça qu’on a été si précis dans les demandes.
11940 Je… oui, je pense que je m’arrêterais là.
11941 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Très bien.
11942 Mme MORIN: Je sais pas, Martin, si t’as quelque chose à ajouter?
11943 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Merci. On commence à manquer de temps, mais je veux juste vous poser une dernière question très rapide.
11944 Vous, dans votre intervention écrite, vous avez inclus des informations concernant une analyse qui a été faite… je crois que vous l’avez fait avec la FCFA, une analyse de la grille horaire de Radio-Canada au mois de janvier, et vous avez aussi fait une étude de Tout le monde en parle pendant une période de, je crois, presque sept ans, sept-huit ans, et je serais intéressée de savoir si ce genre d’étude… et les résultats de ces études, comme vous avez annoncé dans votre intervention, c’est qu’il n’y avait pas beaucoup de reflet des communautés hors Québec francophones.
11945 Est-ce que vous seriez en faveur d’une obligation de la part de Radio-Canada d’être obligée d’effectuer ce genre d’analyse et d’étude pour les communautés… le reflet des communautés francophones hors Québec pendant la prochaine période de licence?
11946 Mme MORIN: Bien, oui, je crois qu’on est absolument ouverts à ce genre d’analyse détaillée du reflet des communautés linguistiques en situation minoritaire à travers toute la programmation de Radio-Canada et ça inclut la programmation à heure de grande écoute, parce que c’est l’une, je dirais, dans la… Sur la question du reflet, nous, on pense qu’on doit agir justement sur évidemment plus de contenu développé en région qui percole au national et aussi, un meilleur réflexe du côté national de développer des contenus originaux qui mettent en valeur les talents de la francophonie canadienne et de ses artisans. Donc clairement, il y a lieu de collecter des données à cet effet-là.
11947 Et en fait, nous, un autre élément qu’on met sur la table en terme d’outil d’analyse, c’est l’analyse différenciée, qui ressemble un peu à ce qu’on connaît dans l’appareil gouvernementale avec l’analyse comparative des sexes plus, où on fait une analyse très détaillée de l’impact des décisions – puis ça, ça se décline non seulement dans la conception des programmes ou des services jusqu’à l’évaluation de ces services-là pour déterminer s’ils sont effectivement… qu’on rencontre les cibles, qu’on fait les choix qu’on devrait faire, qu’on est conscients des choix qu’on fait, l’impact que ça a sur le terrain. Donc, c’est un outil, un mécanisme qui existe et qui a été implanté d’ailleurs – quelque chose de similaire – à Emploi Développement social tout récemment, donc quelque chose qui se décline dans une organisation comme Radio-Canada.
11948 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Très bien.
11949 M. THÉBERGE: J’ajouterais peut-être rapidement, juste une couple d’informations. Marie-Christine l’a sous-entendu, mais il est clair que plus il y aura d’information, plus on aura de données, plus on pourra faire d’analyses puis plus les choses pourront s’améliorer dans le futur. Mais il ne faut pas non plus… il faut faire attention, d’une certaine manière, sur quelles sont les analyses qu’on fait parce qu’il ne faut pas tout mettre les œufs dans le même panier, il faut faire plusieurs types d’analyse ; l’ADF en est une.
11950 Je pense qu’il faut aussi voir dans ces analyses-là, oui, en ondes, à la télé, combien d’heures ou combien… quel est le contenu, mais il faut le faire aussi à travers toutes les plateformes de façon différenciée pour qu’on puisse comparer, pour qu’on puisse tisser des liens d’une plateforme à l’autre pour qu’on puisse comparer et faire une analyse complète.
11951 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Très bien. Madame Morin, Monsieur Théberge, merci beaucoup d’avoir répondu à mes questions. Monsieur le président, ce sont toutes mes questions. Merci.
11952 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup! Madame Simard, je pense que vous avez une question aussi?
11953 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Oui, une question de suivi, merci Monsieur le président.
11954 Alors, ma question de suivi concerne en fait le chapitre de la découvrabilité que vous venez d’aborder avec ma collègue, la conseillère Lafontaine. Vous avez également parlé de l’importance des heures de grande écoute.
11955 Alors ma question pour vous, c’est très pratique, c’est-à-dire qu’on a parlé depuis le début de l’audience… on a abordé la découvrabilité en discutant de TOU.TV. Mais pour vous, est-ce que… que peut représenter la partie Extra dans le portail TOU.TV en termes de découvrabilité? Autrement dit, est-ce que ça représente ou non une place de choix, vous pensez, pour la découvrabilité? Puis là évidemment, je parle de par exemple de productions qui sont faites hors-Québec, par exemple?
11956 Mme MORIN: Juste pour que je comprenne bien votre question, vous parlez de la plateforme payante TOU.TV Extra?
11957 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Oui.
11958 Mme MORIN: Ici? Alors, c’est clair que… bien d’abord, je pense qu’il faut saluer le leadership de Radio-Canada en matière de création de cette vitrine-là parce qu’effectivement, ça en est une vitrine et c'est une vitrine qui fait contrepoids à tous [Rires]… à tous ces contenus anglophones qui nous sont présentés dans lesquels on se noie parfois. Alors, c’est clair.
11959 Maintenant, les contenus qui sont produits en tout et en partie par Radio-Canada sont disponibles pour cette plateforme-là servent, j’imagine, à remplir le mandat de Radio-Canada. Et si c’est le cas, bien ces contenus-là doivent être disponibles en vertu de la Loi sur les langues officielles à tous les francophones qui se situent à l’extérieur du Québec. Et je comprends la fenêtre de visibilité qui vient avec cette plateforme-là, mais je m’interroge sur le fait que ces contenus-là devraient être accessibles certainement… non seulement à heure de grande écoute, comme vous leur faisiez mention, mais également, c’est-à-dire dans un temps réel – c’est-à-dire qu’il n’y a pas un délai avant d’avoir accès à ces contenus-là.
11960 Je comprends la complexité que ça veut dire parce qu’il y a dans ça des diffuseurs qui ne sont pas Radio-Canada et qui ne sont pas assujettis à la Loi sur les langues officielles, mais pour la partie qui concerne Radio-Canada, j’aurais tendance à me loger du côté de nos collègues de la SCFA qui jugent que cette portion-là devrait être accessible et gratuite pour les gens qui viennent d’une communauté linguistique en situation minoritaire.
11961 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait.
11962 Mme MORIN: Il y a certainement des moyens technologiques pour pouvoir faire cela.
11963 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Puis juste une précision, quand je parlais… j’essaie, le temps file, alors j’essaie de ramasser tout ça, mais quand je parlais des heures de grande écoute, c’est évidemment… en ligne, on n’a pas ces heures, on n’a pas cette formule-là d’heures de grande écoute, alors j’essaie de trouver peut-être un équivalent qui n’existe probablement pas, mais je me disais peut-être que cette vitrine-là, donc, rajoutait…
11964 Mme MORIN: Je pense que les heures de grande écoute… quand on parle des contenus qui sont disponibles en vitrine sur le numérique, il ne faut pas oublier le traditionnel non plus. Nous, on a plusieurs… l’une des caractéristiques des communautés, c’est qu’il y a encore beaucoup de gens qui utilisent ou qui consomment ces contenus-là sur les plateformes traditionnelles; l’internet haute vitesse n’est pas disponible partout et c’est un frein. On n’a pas besoin d’aller très très loin des grands centres pour se rendre compte que ce n’est pas tout le temps disponible, donc je ne pense pas qu’on doit choisir l’un ou l’autre; je pense qu’il doit y avoir une combinaison. Il y a très peu de leviers pour du contenu francophone accessible en français partout au Canada qui soutiennent notre culture et ARTV en est un de ceux-là qui est un peu à risque présentement puis qui ne devrait pas l’être. Il faut absolument qu’on ne limite pas ces leviers-là et qu’on les encourage.
11965 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait, je vous remercie beaucoup, Madame Morin, Monsieur Théberge, merci. Monsieur le président?
11966 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup, Madame Simard.
11967 Madame la secrétaire, I think you need a few minutes before our last intervenor of the day joins us?
11968 MS. ROY: Exactly. We will hear Eagle Vision after the break. We will take a 10-minute break, if that is okay?
11969 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
11970 MS. ROY: Four twenty-five (4:25) we will be back.
11971 Thank you.
11972 LE PRÉSIDENT: Thank you, Madam Secretary, et bon après-midi. Merci beaucoup!
--- Upon recessing at 4:13 p.m./
L’audience est suspendue à 16 h 13.
--- Upon resuming at 4:24 p.m./
L'audience est reprise à 16h24
11973 MS. ROY: Welcome back. We'll now hear the last presenters for today. We will hear the presentation from Eagle Vision. Please introduce yourself and your colleague, and you have -- you may begin.
11974 PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
11975 MS. MEECHES: My name is Lisa Meeches. I am the founder of Eagle Vision Productions in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and with me is my colleague, Mr. Kyle Irving.
11976 Aniin, Tansi. Good Morning Chairperson Scott, Vice-Chairperson Dr. Simard, Commissioners Barin, Lafontaine and Anderson, and especially the Commission Staff. Thank you for having me attend, along with my business partner, Kyle Irving. I am here representing majority-Indigenous-owned-and-controlled Eagle Vision, which is based on Long Plain First Nation.
11977 I am hearing -- I am appearing today from Treaty 1 Territory at Eagle Vision's head office on Long Plain First Nation urban reserve in Winnipeg. I am a proud Ojibway member of this Ojibway and Dakota community in the central plain's region of Manitoba.
11978 I am also here as someone who has two different perspectives regarding the licence renewal and the -- CBC's place in Canadian culture. My perspectives come as both an intergenerational survivor of the Canadian residential school system and as an Indigenous woman who is a 30‑year veteran of the media production industry.
11980 The company I founded, Eagle Vision, just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020. We also reached 11th place on the 2020 Playback Indie List rankings for Canadian production companies by volume, making us the biggest Indigenous-controlled production company in Canada.
11981 We've been at this for a long time and have produced more than 240 hours of content. Of that 240 hours, about 50 hours of that content has been presented on CBC's network.
11983 MS. ROY: You are on mute.
11984 MR. IRVING: However, none of those 50 hours of content have been a result of an original first window commission by CBC of Eagle Vision-led developed content. Let me clarify: We're thrilled to have been part of many important co‑productions for CBC that were led by non‑Indigenous partners we have relationships with. It takes a village, and we're always happy to help elevate projects that are a good fit for our corporate belief in creating content that creates change.
11985 In all of these co‑productions, we have been instrumental in ensuring that the Indigenous point of view was properly represented and ensuring that Indigenous creatives were given opportunity to participate, expand their talents, and grow towards building more capacity for Indigenous people industrywide. But we have yet to receive a first window order from the CBC for any content that we have been part of developing as the lead producer.
11986 While we're grateful to the CBC and our producing partners from all of these shows for partnering with us, it doesn't change the fact that Eagle Vision, the biggest Indigenous production company in Canada, has never received a first window order from CBC for any show it is the lead producer on.
11987 MS. MEECHES: While I would like to recognize that CBC has been improving the way it treats Indigenous content and creators over the last few years, it still has a lot of growing to do regarding how it does business with Indigenous creators. CBC's role in the future of the Canadian broadcasting system and our nation has never been more important, and is particularly critical at this important time in history for Indigenous storytellers.
11988 I am confident that by working with Indigenous creators, the Indigenous Screen Office, and companies like Eagle Vision, the CBC will come much closer to achieving its mandate to be distinctively Canadian, reflective of Canada and its regions, actively contributing to the flow and exchange of cultural expression, and being reflective of the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada.
11989 Some of Canada's best stories and storytellers are now emerging and we need the CBC to help fulfil its commitment to Canadians with even more unprecedented, innovative, and revolutionary original content created and owned by Indigenous Canadians.
11990 MR. IRVING: Eagle Vision agrees that the CBC licence renewal should ensure its programming reflects and meets the needs and interests of Canadians, is of high quality and supports Canadian producers and content creators, and is accessible and discoverable across Canada and abroad. However, there continues to be an ongoing deficit of Indigenous voices in the Canadian broadcast system.
11991 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action included Number 84, which states:
11992 "We call upon the federal government to ensure an increased funding to the CBC/Radio-Canada to enable Canada's national public broadcaster to support reconciliation, and be properly reflective of the diverse cultures, languages, and perspectives of Aboriginal peoples, including, but not limited to:
11993 One, Increasing Aboriginal programming, including Aboriginal- language speakers;
11994 Two, Increasing equitable access for Aboriginal peoples to jobs, leadership positions, and professional developments within the organization;
11995 Three, Continuing to provide dedicated news coverage and online public information resources on issues of concern to Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians." (As read)
11996 MS. MEECHES: While we know the CRTC cannot control the amount of funding that the GOC provides to the CBC, Eagle Vision nonetheless believes that the CRT (sic) should put in place a condition of licence that will ensure the fulfillment of these calls to action and require an equitable portion of CBC's expenditures and programming be dedicated to the stories of Canada's First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, owned, controlled and told by Canada's First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
11997 Further to this, Eagle Vision supports the CBC's condition of licence proposal to hold formal consultation once every two years with Indigenous communities and parallel meetings with Indigenous producers in each of Atlantic Canada, Québec, Ontario, Western Canada, and the North.
11998 That being said, while community-based engagement is important, the CBC should also ensure that there is Indigenous leadership and staffing within all levels of the organization, especially in decision-making positions relating to the commissioning, production, and distribution of Indigenous created content.
11999 The CBC should not be a place of assimilation, but a place where Indigenous individuals have a meaningful say in what content from their communities is developed, created, and presented by the CBC on all its platforms.
12000 I would note the example of the CMPA, which recently, in a period of less than two months, restructured its board of directors to have six new diverse members as part of its commitment to elevate voices of individuals from underrepresented communities within its organization. This is what is possible when an organization commits to breaking down the barriers that remain within our industry. If other industry players can take action for change this quickly surely the CBC can too.
12001 MR. IRVING: Eagle Vision agrees with many of the interveners that the CRTC can and should put in place a condition of licence that consider both conventional and online platforms and services. We believe that the Commission should regulate CBC on all its platforms and services, and ensure that the support of Indigenous content is a priority and a condition of licence for CBC regardless of the platform or distribution service.
12002 Indigenous content should be supported by the CBC, as it does non-Indigenous content, to help ensure that Indigenous experiences and points of view are reflected on all CBC services.
12003 Eagle Vision applauds CBC's pledge to increase its commitment to independent Canadian production. We would also expect that this increased commitment to independent Canadian production will prioritize Indigenous content and that there ought to be transparency regarding CBC's accounting for Indigenous content spending.
12004 The CBC should have a CRTC mandate requirement to spend not less than 8 percent of its development and programming budgets on Indigenous content. The CBC must commit to doing business with Indigenous creators the right way, by ensuring that any primary Indigenous-focussed content being developed and produced is controlled by Indigenous producers and meets the 2 out of 3 standard for Indigenous key creatives.
12005 The CBC must also ensure that any content being developed and produced that features Indigenous storylines or characters have equitable Indigenous representation in the key creative positions. The CBC must ensure that all productions that include any Indigenous content have properly followed any relevant traditional protocols and have received appropriate permissions for the sharing of said content. The CBC should also ensure that a land designation credit is presented on all of these productions.
12006 Furthermore, the CBC must also provide equal access to the main network primetime schedule for Indigenous content and access to the same level of budgets that come with these shows. The CBC must not use other platforms to reduce Indigenous content budgets or access to audience. There are plenty of primetime shows currently presented -- presenting non‑Canadian content that would be better filled with content that reflects Canadians and their values.
12007 Eagle Vision supports maintaining CBC's current condition of licence to broadcast a minimum of one Canadian feature film drawn from Category 7(d), theatrical feature films aired on TV. We agree with the CMPA that an annual report on Canadian feature films broadcast on both linear and digital platforms is required to measure this condition of licence. We also believe that the programming of feature films broadcast by the CBC should be representative of Indigenous storytelling, as much as it is of non- Indigenous storytelling.
12008 MS. MEECHES: The CBC should endeavour to work more frequently with APTN, the Indigenous National Broadcaster, while not seeking to marginalize it or absorb it. The CBC should dedicate a portion of its programming budgets to shared first window productions in which APTN has final creative control. These efforts should also include the CBC being a meaningful second window broadcaster on more Indigenous-led productions licenced by APTN to help various genres of programming to be produced and distributed.
12009 MR. IRVING: In order to ensure that the entire independent production community can effectively work with CBC to achieve its mandate to provide Canadians with high quality original independent programming that is discoverable in Canada and abroad, we request that the Commission maintain the condition of licence which requires CBC to enter into a Terms of Trade agreement with the CMPA. It is not unreasonable to require fair and equitable Terms of Trade between CBC and independent producers.
12010 MS. MEECHES: In order to move forward there must first be reconciliation of the past. The CBC has never acknowledged its role in promoting and propagating misinformation about Canada’s residential school system. The CBC’s past misrepresentation of the schools as utopian environment that was saving children from misery was commonplace.
12011 Some examples of this propagation of misinformation are CBC’s news piece “A New Future” from March 13, 1955 in which a CBC television crew visits the James Bay residential school to “salute Education Week” at a school where the education is all about “how to integrate orphans, convalescents and those who live too deep into the bush for mainstream Canadian society.”
12012 Another example is its piece “The Eyes of the Children” from Christmas Day 1962, showing Canadian audiences what can only be described as a staged and carefully directed and edited story about “Christmastime at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC”. These painful reminders of CBC’s contribution to the propagation of misinformation to Canadians about Canada’s residential school system can still be found in the CBC archive. If you -- if you watch these pieces, as long as you’re willing to watch three times 30 second ads first, as the CBC sells ads before you watch and access this type of content in their archives.
12013 And while this content plays with ads up front, it also plays without warnings and about the content or an apology for it. The CBC has not yet apologized for the role they played in the production and distribution of these pieces. Reconciliation requires recognition of the past mistakes. It’s long overdue that CBC apologizes for its role in this genocide.
12014 The same recognition and reconciliation must occur for the role the CBC News that played -- that shares unfair reporting, misrepresentation, and misinformation about the genocide against the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. This reconciliation should include implementation of the National Inquiries into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Call for Justice number 6.1, calling for Media and Social Influencers to:
12015 Number one, ensure authentic and appropriate representation of Indigenous women and girls and two spirit people. Supporting Indigenous people sharing their stories, from their perspectives, free of bias, discrimination, and false assumption, and in an informed-trauma and culturally sensitive way.
12016 Number three, increase the number of Indigenous people in the industry. Taking proactive steps to breaking down stereotypes.
12018 MR. IRVING: There is no denying that CBC has done much good for Canadians and plays an essential role in defining our national identity, by representing our diverse points of view. But it is time to finally reconcile the mistakes of the past and move on to a brighter, more inclusive and representative future. Doing that will require listening, understanding, and healthy partnerships.
12019 We need to work together to build the bridges that allow us to encourage the telling of more of our diverse stories so that they can be shared and celebrated with all Canadians. We need to collectively create content that creates change. Eagle Vision is ready to help.
12020 MS. MEECHES: I first appeared at a CRTC hearing when I was in my early twenties. Thirty (30) years later I am still talking about so many of the same issues faced by my community and Indigenous storytellers. We urge the CRTC and CBC to consider our recommendations and make the appropriate decision for all Canadians including Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis people.
12021 Thank you for the opportunity to provide my perspectives. We are happy to answer any questions you may have for us. Meegwetch.
12022 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much Ms. Meeches, Mr. Irving. It was a very fulsome presentation. And I think I said to someone earlier today, whose been sending out my, sort of, thoughts on questions to the intervenors, because you’ve answered a lot of the things that I wanted to talk about, based on your written submissions.
12023 I’m going to start with a more general question about what the CBC SRC has expressed to date, in terms of a commitment to reflecting Indigenous communities across Canada. You probably were following the hearing, you’ve certainly seen what they’ve submitted on the record, and they have put forward a number of proposals, some of which you described in your oral remarks relating to its workforce, to its programming across all platforms and genres.
12024 You did already pass a certain amount of comment, but I just wonder if you wanted to add anything? You know, in effect, what do you think of the CTV -- CBC’s approach, most broadly?
12025 MR. IRVING: Well, I think that this is tied very much to this idea of consultation happening coast to coast, and we think that that should happen as soon as possible, and invite all Indigenous stakeholders to participate. They should also follow local protocols in all those cases and ask permission to undertake the consultation and ensure land recognition, and when appropriate assure that Elders are present and part of the process.
12026 And I think to answer your question, out of this consultation, the CBC should be able to develop and articulate a detailed Indigenous strategic plan for the organization. That’s not only something that can help guide them, but it can also be something that they’re held accountable for.
12027 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. My next question was going to be about the consultation, and I was going to ask you to comment on their proposal, which you just did, and what would make it successful. I guess I would also like to know how they are to close the circle, so to speak? So you’ve said it should result in a comprehensive plan, is that the end of the consultation?
12028 And I guess I’d like to go a little further on the frequency, nature of the consultation, but we’ve often discussed. So the first stage in that consultation is to listen, but then one needs to go back and complete the consultation, so I called it closing the circle. What does that look like from your perspective?
12029 MS. MEECHES: Well, for starts, the CBC should ensure that there is Indigenous leadership and staffing within all levels of the organization, especially in the decision-making positions related to the commissioning, production, and distribution of Indigenous created content.
12030 If Indigenous creators are working with Indigenous production executives, they will likely feel a greater level of comfort in telling their stories, knowing that they are sharing a common experience and a familiar level of understandings with the network. It would also go a long way to help Indigenous creators if the business affairs department included members of Indigenous communities who were familiar with the community.
12031 MR. IRVING: Can I just ---
12032 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Oh ---
12033 MR. IRVING: Just to add to that, a little perspective from the last year and the things I’ve experienced on some of the boards that I’ve been on. And I’ve reached out to members of the Indigenous community inviting them to put their names forward to join some of the important boards we have in our industry, and what I’ve heard so many times is, they want to do that. They want to be part of it, but they don’t want to be the only Indigenous person there. They don’t want to be the only diverse voice on a board.
12034 And I think, you know, that speaks very much to what has to happen fundamentally at the CBC when it comes to staffing, what Lisa just talked about.
12035 MS. MEECHES: Yeah.
12036 MR. IRVING: It’s going to be so much easier for the corporation to engage with Indigenous content creators if they are engaging with their peers at a network level.
12037 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
12038 You mentioned that you’ve had a fairly significant amount of your company’s productions broadcast by the CBC. I was trying to do a quick math in my head; it’s somewhere around 20 percent, I think, based on the hours that you describe. I’m not sure how much other programming has been offered, but what’s your assessment? Are you satisfied with the programming offered by and for Indigenous groups by the CRC/SRC and we’ll get a little -- we’ll get into this a little bit more but I want to talk a little, also, about the relevance of that programming to Indigenous people.
12039 So let’s start with a basic grade; how, in your view, how well have they done up to this point with their programming?
12040 MS. MEECHES: I’ll take that, Kyle.
12041 Most of our work with the CBC has been done through acquisition, not a first-window licence.
12042 THE CHAIRPERSON: M’hm.
12043 MS. MEECHES: And so as an acquisition, you know, I find that to be literally a slap in the face, that they would expect us to do all the heavy lifting before even looking our way. And with one of our productions, we had to sneak in the Indigenous content through the backdoor with approval of the rest of my production team.
12044 So I would say that everybody’s failing. If the whole industry did a report card, they would be failing today.
12045 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are they -- oh, sorry, go ahead.
12046 MR. IRVING: I do think, though, as we said in the presentation, that we’ve seen a change over the last most recent couple, few years, and an increased willingness to engage with us in the kind of content that we’re developing. And we just are hopeful that with some of the suggestions we’ve made in this presentation that we can continue moving in that direction and get to where we ultimately need to be, sooner.
12047 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
12048 Have you found or can you comment on any difference in your experience with CBC versus SRC? I don’t know if you’re in a position to comment on that but if you are, I’d appreciate hearing your response.
12049 MR. IRVING: We produce in English and Indigenous languages, we do not produce any content, certainly on a regular basis, in French.
12050 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So no views on that particular aspect.
12051 Another of the questions I was going to ask, that you’ve largely answered, was what measures the Corporation can put in place to ensure that -- not just that there is a sufficient amount of Indigenous programming but that it is indeed relevant and reflective of Indigenous culture and stories. So if you could, could you indicate what improvements or -- well, I’ll stop there. What improvements could be made in order -- in relation to the relevance of their Indigenous programming?
12052 MS. MEECHES: I think if they took a page out of the Eagle Vision playbook on how to raise Indigenous storytellers and how to create Indigenous content; with respect, we would be willing to offer that type of advice. But we’re not doing this for Eagle Vision; we’re doing this for Indigenous filmmakers. Like, we’re presenting on behalf to the entire Indigenous filmmaking industry here.
12053 We don’t believe that Eagle Vision should leave anybody behind. And, you know, this again goes back to the community consultation process and having Indigenous leadership and staffing within all of the levels of the organization, especially in decision-making positions related to commissioning production and distribution of Indigenous creative content.
12054 So I don’t know if that fully answers your question. Maybe Kyle can add to that.
12055 MR. IRVING: Well, yeah, and what Lisa was talking about, I think, is the culture at Eagle Vision where we nurture emerging Indigenous talent by supporting Indigenous content creation at the highest levels.
12056 Nothing develops talent better or faster than actually giving meaningful opportunities to emerging talent on big shows that also provide a safe learning environment. And full credit to CBC on our series Burden of Truth, which we coproduced with ICF films and E1, for giving producer mentorship opportunities on that show. The mentors we had over a couple of seasons went on to do great things, including one of whom became a writer on the show and directed a couple of episodes this last season.
12057 So success in raising up emerging talent also requires ongoing support and opportunity, and, you know, that’s an example of when, you know, it’s an internship that becomes more opportunity, that becomes, all of a sudden, a person is writing and directing on the show.
12058 We’ve seen many remarkable Indigenous people come up in the shows we’ve produced by giving them a chance to do what they love, and the support to succeed without fear of failing. This means that experienced Indigenous writers, producers, and directors, and non-Indigenous allied writers, producers, and directors need to take chances and give selflessly to lift up the next generation of Indigenous talent.
12059 Their point of view in spirit is remarkable. If everyone commits to giving them real opportunity and real support, the outcome will be amazing and good for all of us.
12060 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that.
12061 A lot of what you are expanding on clearly are measures that can be taken internally at the CBC/SRC that would enable them, from your perspective, I guess generally, to do better. But are there regulatory measures, given that we’re the regulator and we’re talking about specifically, you know, conditions of licence or expectations, what measures do you propose that would help ensure that Indigenous groups have access to programming that is relevant to them?
12062 MR. IRVING: Can we come back to you with a detailed response to that question?
12063 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure. I mean, you can, in your reply phase, we’d be happy -- obviously you have an opportunity to develop an answer. I know these are very broad questions. They’re very broad, systemic issues, as you have outlined in your comments today.
12064 Well, let me be a little more specific, not on that question; I’m happy to have you ponder a little more. How would you characterize your relationships with the CBC, just at a business level, at a cultural level? Can you give them a grade?
12065 MS. MEECHES: Yeah, I can certainly do that, and I’m sure Kyle can as well. But, you know, there was a time when I was much younger and I first pitched the CBC, and literally I’d never felt like an invisible Indian before. And now advance that to, you know, last week, two weeks ago when we’re having dialogue with CBC’s decision-makers, it’s changed for sure. An Indigenous filmmaker can do business with the CBC and still be above water, as long as you know what to expect.
12066 And so clarity and respect and all those virtues are so important when understanding how to develop and produce in this industry. It’s really difficult to slug it out with these big guys, especially because I’m a woman and I’m Indigenous. And so I had to rely on other allies in the filmmaking community to take my projects to the CBC on my behalf. Like, how is that a normal business practice?
12067 And so it ebbs and it flows, as far as the relationship.
12068 Now, we easily pitch four or five projects a year to the CBC, not all of them are successful but not once has Eagle Vision been given a first-window broadcaster licence, never. It's always been done through acquisition. And we're not even a risk.
12069 We're not -- Eagle Vision's not a company that would be claimed a risk, so yeah, the playing field is uneven.
12070 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
12071 MR. IRVING: And as Lisa indicated, you know, it's -- know what she's talking about from more than 10 years ago. I was with her when we went and made that presentation.
12072 It is truly night and day from that moment to today. I think our fear is that we need to keep moving in the right direction. It's getting so much better.
12073 There is a culture change at the CBC. We can see it happening. And we want to be part of helping that along, and most sincerely, because, you know, Lisa's done 20 years of remarkable work that has helped elevate countless Indigenous creators.
12074 And there's a wealth of knowledge there that can be shared and exploited in the right ways to move the industry and Indigenous storytellers forward.
12075 It's -- things are getting better. We just -- we have to keep it up.
12076 And to be clear, CBC has ordered shows and put them in primetime that we are a part of as co-producers, and we've been very successful with that. And we're grateful to those partners that helped, you know, bring us into the mix.
12077 We're just excited about the day we can finally, you know, do it on our own, so to speak, on the merits of really good Indigenous-developed content.
12078 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. Thank you for that.
12079 That kind of leads me to my -- maybe my last question, and I'm -- the Commission is, I'm sure, happy to hear that progress is being made.
12080 Your point is that there's miles and miles to go, so to speak, and we need to keep a careful eye on that progress. And that leads me to my last question, which is, h ow do we measure success. What are the indicators upon which we can rely to understand whether or not relevant programming is indeed being provided to meet the needs of Indigenous people?
12081 MR. IRVING: Well, I think it comes down to what we first talked about, this idea of without an articulated strategic plan for Indigenous content within the organization, there's nothing really to hold them accountable to.
12082 I mean, I guess the other measure would be whether or not, you know, Lisa continues to sound like a broken record every time we come around to this hearing.
12083 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough.
12084 MS. MEECHES: I have maybe 50 years left of storytelling. I'm not going anywhere.
12085 And -- but also, with saying that, you know, Mr. Commissioner, the time is now. It really is. The time is now. There's no excuses.
12086 Not only does the CBC have the financial support, but so do the other, you know, conventional broadcasters. Where's their report card, you know? How are we going to make them accountable?
12087 It's going to be us as a collective, as a Canadian industry that makes everybody accountable, including Indigenous filmmakers. If we want First Window licences from conventional broadcasters, then we've got to ante up.
12088 So it's a two-way street here. I will help my people move up the ladder if we're given these kind of opportunities, but ---
12089 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
12090 MS. MEECHES: --- know this, Mr. Commissioner ---
12091 THE CHAIRPERSON: Pardon me.
12092 MS. MEECHES: Know this. This is not the last time that you'll see me appearing in front of this Commission during renewals.
12093 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I'm glad to hear that, and I'm glad to hear you have at least 50 more years of storytelling, although I have to say when you started by saying this was your -- 2020 was your 20th anniversary, I was sad that it happened to fall on that year with all of the things that have -- all of the struggles that have faced the industry and, indeed, the country.
12094 MS. MEECHES: Mr. Commissioner, I was just given the Order of Canada, so it was a good year for me. And I had two granddaughters born this year ---
12095 THE CHAIRPERSON: There you go.
12096 MS. MEECHES: --- so 2020 has been the best year.
12097 THE CHAIRPERSON: Wonderful. I'm glad to hear that.
12098 I'm going to turn it -- I believe some of my colleagues have a follow-up question.
12099 Madam Lafontaine.
12100 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
12101 And thank you very much, Ms. Meeches and Mr. Irving, for your very interesting and important presentation today.
12102 I had a question for you about the issue you've raised about never having had the opportunity of having a First Window production commissioned by the public broadcaster. And I appreciate that you will be coming back to us in -- probably at the end of February with a written submission in response to the Chairman's question about what regulatory measures you propose, but just with regard to that, I did note in your presentation today you did state that you would recommend eight percent of the development and programming budgets reserved for independent -- Indigenous independent producers.
12103 We've heard from Mr. Wente, Mr. Jessie Wente, from the Indigenous Screen Office, who'd recommended seven to nine percent of the independent production budget -- of the CBC's independent production budget to be reserved for.
12104 What I'm wondering about is -- and perhaps this could come in your future response, but I'm wondering if an obligation in relation to original first run would need to be part of the mix to get to that First Window opportunity for Indigenous producers. And I'm wondering whether you have a comment about that now or whether you'd like to wait for later, but that's sort of what was going through my mind, was what level of regulation is needed to get to that point.
12105 MR. IRVING: Well, first a point of clarification, and I think we were very clear when we said this in the presentation.
12106 We have been party to First Window orders on the network as co-producers. Our point was, Eagle Vision has never had an Eagle Vision developed and a lead role production ordered by the network in First Window.
12107 So making First Window orders part of the condition, is that essentially the question?
12108 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Or is an obligation for original first run?
12109 So we'll just -- let's just take Mr. Wente's proposal of seven to nine percent of the independent -- of the budget for independent productions should be directed to independent producers. Now, that's not necessarily an obligation in relation to original first run. That could also ostensibly mean just more acquisitions.
12110 So is there a second layer to a spending obligation that would require an original first run requirement to get to this point where Indigenous producers are given the opportunity to have a first wish window production commissioned on their own by the public broadcaster?
12111 MR. IRVING: I think that there's already a willingness to move in the direction of having proper representation of Indigenous content in First Windows and in primetime on the network. You can see it starting to happen already.
12112 The eight percent commitment is the right level to start at. I mean, the Indigenous population makes up five percent of Canadians and is the fastest-growing community in the country.
12113 That community has also historically been greatly under-served, so this is a reasonable place to start reconciling the past and to move forward.
12114 The First Window obligations are as important as important as are the obligations to not move this content onto a platform like Gem, whereas we said in our presentation, there's currently -- and things are going to change. Things are evolving with the digital. That's the future.
12115 I mean, ultimately we will likely all consume content through those platforms, but Gem's not there yet. Gem does not have the audience or the budgets that the main network has, and access to those audiences and those budgets are as important as anything else to Indigenous content creators.
12116 So I think it's a balance, certainly. Ensuring that the right level of spending is happening, but also ensuring that those stories are reaching a greater Canadian audience.
12117 And I don't know that eight percent has anything to do with the kind of audience those -- that content should reach. That content should reach a Canadian audience who has not heard or understand, perhaps, these stories from this community. And hearing stories from this community from this community's point of view rather than the point of view that they've always heard it from, which was, you know, the textbooks, the history classes, the skewed, untrue point of view about our country’s history and the people who live in it.
12118 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much for responding to my question.
12119 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
12120 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Lafontaine.
12121 Madam Barin?
12122 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
12123 Thank you, Ms. Meeches and Mr. Irving for your presentation.
12124 My question is in the same vein as Commissioner Lafontaine’s and I think there's kind of a maybe some mixing up of the definitions on what is original and what is first window. And what I got from the gist of what you were saying is that there’s kind of a difference in first window. There's acquisition, and then there's programming that’s committed to before you actually finish, you know, the production.
12125 And so I heard you say that what you haven’t gotten from the CBC is any kind of pre-buy commitment before your production is finished. In other words, you managed to get a licensee once the program is finished in first window.
12126 I just wanted to clarify that because I think, you know, we’re using original and first window interchangeably and you seem to be making a distinction between two kinds of first window programs.
12127 So, you know, if it’s easier to clarify in your subsequent reply, that’s fine. And if not, if you want to maybe clarify it on the record right now.
12128 MS. MEECHES: Kyle, can you elaborate on that?
12129 MR. IRVING: Yeah, I think what she was referring to second-window acquisitions.
12130 MS. MEECHES: Yeah.
12131 MR. IRVING: And so an example of that would be our true-crime doc series, Taken, which was originally commissioned by APTN, and it was actually through a relationship with APTN that we were able to, at the eleventh hour, add CBC to the broadcast package as a second-window broadcaster.
12132 Now, they only took a fraction of the episodes. They took, I think, took eight out of 13 each season, and that deal was actually negotiated by APTN with CBC and we were kind of presented with it to say, “Hey, you know, is this interesting?” And of course, having that content on the CBC on the main network in primetime was essential to the work we were trying to do in getting the stories of the MMIWG out.
12133 But that series was never going to be picked up by the CBC if it hadn’t been for APTN first-window licencing it and then, you know, pushing to the CBC as something that they should do together.
12134 I think that’s a fine example of our past experiences in these kinds of things.
12135 The other shows we’ve made with the network have been bigger shows with multiple partners and you know, that’s a different animal altogether. But, you know, we’re finally in a place now where we’re developing original scripted content with the CBC, and we’re very excited about that opportunity. And we really look forward to ending the drought and having one of those shows ordered because, frankly, we’re very, very good at what we do; our track record speaks for itself. And I think the time is long overdue for Lisa Meeches’s company to be the lead on a scripted series that will be on the CBC.
12136 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you very much for the clarification.
12138 THE CHAIRPERSON: And thank you for your presentation today. It’s been very helpful. It adds considerably to our discussions in this area, and much appreciated.
12139 With that, I’ll turn it back to the Hearing Secretary.
12140 Madam Roy?
12141 Mme ROY: Merci, M. le président.
12142 MR. IRVING: Thank you.
12143 MS. ROY: Thank you.
12144 MS. MEECHES: Thank you.
12145 MS. ROY: This concludes the hearing for today. We will be back tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
12146 Thank you.
12147 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
12148 MS. ROY: Have a good evening.
--- Upon adjourning at 5:08 p.m./
L’audience est ajournée à 17h08
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