Transcript, Hearing 28 June 2023
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: 28 June 2023
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Attendees and Location
140 Promenade du Portage
- Chairperson: Adam Scott, Hearing Chairperson
Claire Anderson, Commissioner, British Columbia and Yukon
Ellen Desmond, Commissioner, Atlantic Region and Nunavut
- Legal Counsel: Moïra Létourneau
- Secretaries: Jade Roy
- Hearing Manager: Manon Auger
Table of Contents
38 Inuit TV Network
572 Nunavut Independent Television Network
28 June 2023
Opening of Hearing at 9:08 a.m.
--- Upon commencing on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at 9:08 a.m.
1 THE SECRETARY: Hello and welcome everyone.
2 I would like to introduce Mr. Adam Scott, Vice-Chairperson of Telecommunications, who will be presiding over this hearing.
3 Mr. Chairperson, we are ready to begin.
4 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5 Welcome, everyone. Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered today on the traditional unceded Algonquin Territory. I would like to thank the Anishinaabeg people and pay respect to their Elders.
6 Bienvenue à tous. Avant de commencer, j'aimerais souligner que nous sommes réunis aujourd'hui sur le territoire traditionnel non cédé du peuple algonquin. Je tiens à remercier le peuple anishinaabek et rendre hommage à leurs aînés.
7 Elder Maria Brown Brazeau is originally from Nunatsiavut, which means Our Beautiful Land. I will introduce her only briefly because her story is not mine to tell. From what I have learned so far, it is clear that she is a person of remarkable strength and achievement. Her career includes roles at Canada Post, teaching and working as the school principal in Nain. In my experience, teachers never stop teaching and I am looking forward to learning from her today as she helps us open our proceeding with a prayer. Welcome to Elder Maria Brown Brazeau.
8 ELDER MARIA BROWN BRAZEAU: I was the school principal. I went to Memorial University, got my BA, along with my cousin. My cousin and I were the first Inuit to get BAs there. There were some English-speaking ones from Nain who also got their BAs. I am very honoured to be here and I am wearing my traditional kamiiks, my boots, handmade for me and my aqqaluk, which my mom made, and it is traditional to wear something like this at official events. I met my husband -- he is French-Canadian -- and I love him and our kids very much, grandkids, too, great grandkids, too.
9 I forget what I was going to say. Any questions?
10 I want to recognize other Inuit here.
11 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: You're supposed to give an opening prayer.
12 ELDER MARIA BROWN BRAZEAU: Okay. I'm supposed to give the opening prayer. I forget. It's my white hair making me forget.
13 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you so much, Elder Brown Brazeau. We are truly honoured to have you here with us this morning.
14 Some joining the hearing virtually may be situated on different Indigenous lands. I encourage everyone to reflect on the traditional territory they are on and to pay respect to the Indigenous peoples and their Elders.
15 I would also like to recognize that June is National Indigenous History Month. I want to recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
16 The CRTC supports the Government of Canada's efforts towards reconciliation and we understand the importance of reaching communities throughout Canada by offering broadcasting services in Indigenous languages.
17 During this public hearing, the Panel will consider applications to add two channels, Uvagut TV and Inuit TV, to the basic TV package across Canada.
18 En avril dernier, la Loi sur la diffusion continue en ligne, également connue sous le nom de projet de Loi C-11, a reçu la sanction royale. Bien que la procédure d'aujourd'hui ait commencé avant cette date, elle se déroulera désormais en vertu et en conformité avec la Loi sur la radiodiffusion nouvellement modifiée. Par exemple, le Comité posera des questions relatives aux nouveaux articles de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion et, en particulier, aux nouveaux objectifs définis par la Politique canadienne de radiodiffusion, qui renforcent nos obligations envers les peuples autochtones.
19 This hearing will also assess the applicant's commitments as well as whether their proposals meet the criteria and requirements to be added to the basic TV package.
20 If approved, audiences may benefit from content that speaks to them and resonates with them in their own languages and dialects.
21 The Panel will also be mindful of the requests from both applicants for nationwide distribution. The Panel will consider whether audiences across the country would benefit from nationwide distribution, as well as consider the possible impacts on the Inuit production community and the opportunities for jobs and leadership positions in the broadcasting system.
22 The Commission received over 5,000 interventions, including many voices from Elders, Inuit organizations, producers, Mayors from Inuit communities and many more. We would like to recognize and thank them for their participation and for adding their voices to this process.
23 When my colleagues and I were in Whitehorse for a recent telecommunications hearing, we heard from a number of participants that our processes can be too formal and intimidating. We paid attention to those comments and have modified the layout of the room to reflect a more collaborative environment. We are not sitting on a dais, we are down at ground level. I hope that parties will feel comfortable speaking in their own voices. Please don't get too hung up on formalities. To anyone participating in their first CRTC broadcasting hearing, I would like to say that this is also my first CRTC broadcasting hearing, so you are in good company and I hope this will be a positive experience for you.
24 I would now invite our hearing secretaries to introduce our team and to explain the procedures we will be following.
25 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
26 I would like to introduce the panellists accompanying Chairperson Scott: Claire Anderson, Commissioner for British Columbia and the Yukon and Ellen Desmond, Commissioner for the Atlantic Region and Nunavut.
27 The Commission staff assisting us includes Manon Auger, Hearing Manager; Moïra Létourneau and Charlotte McKenna, Legal Counsel; and Sonya Gravelle and myself, Jade Roy, Hearing Secretaries.
28 Before we start I would like to go over a few housekeeping matters to ensure the proper conduct of the hearing.
29 Please note that simultaneous interpretation services in English, French and Inuktitut will be available throughout the duration of the hearing.
30 We would like to remind participants that during their oral presentation they should provide for reasonable delay for the interpretation while respecting their allocated presentation time.
31 Please also note that there is a verbatim transcript of this hearing being taken by the court reporter. The transcript of each day will be posted on the Commission's website the following day.
32 Les documents de l'audience seront disponibles sur Twitter, sur le compte du Conseil @CRTCaudiences en utilisant le mot-clic #CRTC.
33 Just a reminder that pursuant to section 41 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure you must not submit evidence at the hearing unless it supports statements already on the public record. If you wish to introduce new evidence as an exception to this rule, you must ask permission of the Panel of the hearing before you do so.
34 Veuillez noter que si les parties s'engagent à déposer des renseignements auprès du Conseil en réponse à des questions posées par le Comité d'audition, ces engagements seront confirmés dans la transcription de l'audience.
35 Finally, when you are in the hearing room we would ask that you take the time to familiarize yourself with the emergency exits. When you are presenting, please also make sure that you speak clearly into your microphone and to mute it when you are not speaking.
36 We will now begin Phase I of the hearing with the presentations from the applicants. We will hear item 1 on the agenda, which is an application by Inuit TV Network for the exempt national, Inuktut-language discretionary service Inuit TV, which currently serves the Territory of Nunavut, to be granted mandatory distribution as part of the digital basic service of broadcasting distribution undertakings across Canada, pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act.
37 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 20 minutes for your presentation.
38 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Hi. Mr. Chair, Commissioner Anderson, Commissioner Desmond and Commission staff, my name is Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Alethea.
39 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL (interpreted): I'm originally from Iqaluit. I grew up in Nunavut.
40 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I am here today and my role as the volunteer President and Chair of the Board of Inuit TV Network, a service that I have worked with for 17 years, along with many other dedicated Inuit, to bring it from an idea to reality.
41 Inuit TV is a primarily Inuktut-language discretionary service that has been designated as the educational broadcaster for the Territory of Nunavut.
42 I first became involved with the Inuit TV initiative because I grew up speaking Inuktitut with my grandparents. They were (Inuktitut spoken) -- excuse me -- and it is important that my children have the same opportunity with all of their grandparents.
43 I have been in this business for 20 years as both a producer and director and when not volunteering with Inuit TV I am currently the Co-President of Red Marrow Media, an Inuit-owned independent production company which I co-founded with my fellow Inuit filmmaker Stacey Aglok MacDonald in 2019.
44 Before we begin our presentation relating to our application to transform Inuit TV from a part-time television channel into a full-time service available to all Canadians from coast to coast to coast, I would like to introduce my colleagues who are here with me today.
45 To my left is Lucy Qavavauq, Inuit TV's Co-CEO. Lucy has approximately 10 years of experience working as a journalist, radio host, news reader, reporter and Television Inuktut news host, and a producer at CBC North.
46 To my right is Tom McLeod. Tom is Inuit TV's other CEO and has spent the last decade in the media industry in television, radio, as well as publishing.
47 To Tom's right is Kevin Goldstein of Goldstein Communications Law, our regulatory counsel, who has helped us put together this application.
48 Before we begin, I would also like to acknowledge that this hearing is taking place on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people and we pay tribute to their land and their Elders.
49 We will now begin our presentation.
50 We are excited to be here today to discuss our vision for the future of Inuktut-language broadcasting in Canada.
51 The remote nature of the North and our small population have always presented challenges with respect to providing broadcasting and telecommunications services. While public policy for the last 40 years has focused on connecting those living in the Territories to Canada's communications infrastructure for 40 years, this has proved to be a double-edged sword for Inuit. The rollout of DTH satellite and, later, Internet made it easier to access the limited amount of Inuktut-language programming that is available, mainly from CBC North and APTN. It also introduced hundreds of English and French channels from both the rest of Canada and outside of the country to those living in the North and this has created a significant issue for us as Inuit as these media outlets have drowned out our culture and language.
52 Inuit producers, broadcasters, educators and the Government of Nunavut realized the severity of the problem many years ago, leading to our grassroots movement to launch an Inuktut-language educational television service. Inuit TV has been a labour of love for many of us in the media and production community in the North for nearly two decades. Endorsed as the educational broadcasting authority for the Territory of Nunavut, Inuit TV went live in the spring of 2022 with five hours of programming daily, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.
53 Inuit TV's mandate is threefold:
54 - to inform, educate, entertain and engage Inuit;
55 - to promote and preserve the Inuit Languages; and
56 - to reflect Inuit identity and culture.
57 In putting together Inuit TV, we have attempted to ensure broad representation from across Nunavut. To this end, three of the seats on our Board for the federal not-for-profit corporation that operates the service are elected by members nominated by the three regional Inuit associations: the Kitikmeot Inuit Association in Cambridge Bay, the Kivalliq Inuit Association in Rankin Inlet and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association in Iqaluit. Other Board positions are appointed by at-large members in various walks of life that share the same vision and passion for growing the Inuktut language and strengthening Inuit culture. All Board positions are held by volunteers.
58 Getting the service launched was only possible as a result of a one-time grant from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., NTI, our Territorial Inuit Association. However, expanding Inuit TV's broadcast schedule to 18 hours daily, seven days a week, will require significant additional funding. In fact, without new sources of revenue, Inuit TV is not sustainable long term, even in its current form. This is because the grant from NTI is the service's only source of revenue. While Inuit TV is available on various broadcasting distribution undertakings to over 1.6 million subscribers, the BDUs do not, at present, pay to receive the channel.
59 I will hand it over to my colleague Tom.
60 MR. McLEOD: Hello. I will just go right into it.
61 The long-term viability of Inuit TV is contingent on our ability to generate a meaningful amount of subscriber revenue through widespread distribution, which, given the niche, non-commercial nature of the service, will only happen if the Commission issues an order pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act.
62 Our application envisions mandatory carriage of Inuit TV as part of the basic service by all licensed BDUs, as well as all exempt BDUs in the Territories and exempt BDUs with greater than 2,000 subscribers in the rest of Canada. We have proposed a very modest wholesale fee: seven cents in years one and two, growing to seven and a half cents in year three, and seven and three-quarter cents in years four and five. On an annual basis this amounts to 84 cents per subscriber, growing to 93.
63 We know that some interveners have suggested that the mandatory carriage order should be limited to BDU subscribers in the North, but realistically, like most public interest services of this nature, the business model for a full-time Inuktut-language television channel does not work without a monthly fee from subscribers across Canada.
64 With the revenue we project to generate from wholesale fees -- approximately $41 million over the five-year term -- Inuit TV will make significant investments in Canadian programming.
65 More specifically, the service will spend, as a minimum, an amount equal to 70 percent of the prior year's gross revenue on Canadian programming, the vast majority of which -- at least 75 percent -- will be original programming. Over the course of the licence term, this represents expenditures of nearly $32 million.
66 In years one and two of the term, a minimum of 65 percent of Canadian programming expenditures will be with Indigenous producers. This amount will grow to 75 percent beginning in year three.
67 More than 90 percent of Inuit TV's programming will be Canadian and at least 80 percent of the programming will be in Inuktut.
68 On average, the service will air 12 hours of news and current event programming and 26 hours of children and youth programming each week.
69 On average, Inuit TV will broadcast 16 and a half hours of original, first-run programming weekly.
70 And with that, I will hand it over to Lucy Qavavauq.
71 MS. QAVAVAUQ: Thank you, Tom. I also would like to thank Elder Brazeau for opening the meeting with a prayer. It's very important for us Inuit to have Elders present in places like this and thank you for going that far in doing that.
72 My name is Lucy Qavavauq. I am originally from the High Arctic, from Arctic Bay but now live in Iqaluit.
73 Inuit TV's programming will be sourced from a diverse range of categories. In addition to news, current affairs and children and youth programming, we also intend to air shows focused on Inuit ways of life, including a program airing daily called "On the Land", which will focus on hunting, trapping and travelling, as well as a dedicated show about fishing. The channel will also air instructional programming about sewing, weaving, and butchering techniques unique to Inuit culture.
74 Given its educational mandate, Inuit TV will air a significant amount of Inuktut-language instruction to viewers, based on a recognized curriculum. The decline of Inuktut speakers has been very well documented. A recent study estimated households that identify Inuktut as the language most often spoken at home is dropping by approximately 12 percent per decade. At this pace, if something is not done to reverse current trends, only 4 percent of households in Nunavut will still list Inuktut as the language most spoken at home by 2025. That is why it is very important for Inuit TV to have Inuktut language for our language to survive and strive.
75 We believe that Inuit TV can play a central role in not only stopping the decline but can grow knowledge of Inuktut as well. Our language instruction series will be split into sessions for the beginner, intermediate and advanced learner. Language can play an important role in cultural preservation and Inuit TV intends to help strengthen knowledge of both.
76 In addition, Inuit TV will commission a significant amount of programming from Inuit producers. Inuit producers have always punched above their weight class, especially in the documentary genre. We will help to support and grow the Inuit production community by acquiring new and existing documentaries that showcase the Inuit tradition of oral and visual storytelling.
77 Other programming will include storytelling by Inuit Elders, who play an integral part in ensuring our language is passed on from generation to generation.
78 The channel's proposed programming mix was directly influenced by the audience survey included with our application, in which over 93 percent of respondents stated it was important to have a television station in Nunavut dedicated to preserving our Inuit culture, our language and our traditions. We firmly believe the service we are discussing today will do just that.
80 MR. GOLDSTEIN: We understand that the order we have requested is an extraordinary remedy. In the Notice of Consultation, the Commission outlined the specific criteria that must be met by an applicant seeking mandatory distribution on the digital basic service. Inuit TV meets all such criteria and is exactly the type of service orders of this nature were designed for.
81 Earlier this year, the Online Streaming Act was passed into law, representing the first major update of the Broadcasting Act in over 30 years. One of the most important components of the legislative changes relate to the role of Indigenous people within the Canadian broadcasting system and how that system serves the Indigenous population.
82 More specifically, the Act now provides, as part of the Broadcasting Policy for Canada, that:
83 The Canadian broadcasting system should "provide opportunities to Indigenous persons to produce programming in Indigenous languages, English or French, or in any combination of them, and to carry on broadcasting undertakings"; and
84 The "programming that reflects the Indigenous cultures of Canada and programming that is in Indigenous languages should be provided -- including through broadcasting undertakings that are carried on by Indigenous persons -- within community elements, which are positioned to serve smaller and remote communities, and other elements of the Canadian broadcasting system in order to serve Indigenous peoples where they live."
85 We note that section 3 of the draft Policy Direction to the CRTC published in the Canada Gazette on June 10th is linked to these sections of the Act and approval of this Application will directly further these objectives.
86 As Tom noted earlier, Inuit TV will make an exceptional contribution to Canadian expression with commitments relating to both expenditures on and the exhibition of Canadian programming that far exceed what other discretionary services do, including many of the other 9(1)(h) services authorized by the Commission. It will invest heavily in original Canadian programming, including original first-run programs.
87 The service is also consistent with the goals the Commission has set for the digital basic service, including specifically offering varied programming at an affordable cost, providing educational programming, and reflecting and contributing to the special place of Indigenous peoples in Canadian society.
88 The evidence filed with our application demonstrates overwhelming demand for an Inuktut-language television service among Inuit, with more than 92 percent of respondents noting that they would likely watch such a channel. The support by interveners for both applications before the Commission at this proceeding simply reinforces the point.
89 As indicated, mandatory distribution as part of the basic service at a regulated rate is the only way to ensure an Inuktut-language channel is commercially viable. There are just over 70,000 Inuit in Canada and two-thirds of the population is capable of speaking and/or understanding an Inuktut-language. While the need for an Inuktut-language television service is real for this community, given the relatively limited potential audience, there is no legitimate prospect for any material amount of advertising revenue, meaning that the service must be either supported by subscription revenue or publicly funded. The NTI funding was a one-time grant. While some other public assistance from either the territorial or federal government or a programming fund may become available in the future, it is unlikely to be material.
90 The proposed cost of Inuit TV is extremely modest and will have little to no impact on BDUs or consumers. At present, the cost of basic is capped for the vast majority of BDU subscribers. Even where it is not, the proposed annual cost of the Inuit TV service is under one dollar on an annual basis, well less than a regular cup of coffee, let alone a latte at Starbucks.
92 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Traditional television is expected to remain important in the North for many years. Ubiquitous high-speed Internet access remains an issue in Inuit Nunangat, and until that changes, television will continue to play an important role in connecting communities.
93 While it has been a long journey to get to this point, the vision Inuit have had for a television channel to call our own is coming into focus. Most of the hard work has already been done and the time is now to solidify the funding that Inuit TV needs to fulfill its mandate.
94 The amount of programming currently available for Inuit in our language is highly limited. CBC North only provides one 30-minute original program daily. APTN offers more programming, approximately 12 hours per week in Inuktitut on its northern feed, mainly concentrated on one day of the week. However, APTN simply does not have the resources to offer a full-time Inuktitut language channel, given its important but extremely broad mandate, servicing many different nations.
95 There is widespread acknowledgement among Inuit that a full-time Inuktitut language television service is the best way to ensure the needs of the community are met. We respectfully submit that our proposal to expand Inuit TV is the best application given the circumstances.
96 It's also imperative that the Commission act now. With limited funding, the channel cannot operate indefinitely in its current state, and if we miss the opportunity now, I fear it may not come again.
97 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL (interpreted): Thank you for listening to our presentation, and we have positive expectations for --
98 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: This is something we truly feel very strongly about and we have high hopes that our dreams can come to reality.
99 Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. That concludes our opening remarks, and we'd welcome any questions that you have.
100 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for coming before us and thank you for your presentation this morning.
101 So we'll move through a few blocks of questions over the course of the morning, each led by a different one of the Panel members. We'll take a break somewhere in the middle for water and to collect our thoughts.
102 And I think the first block of questions will be led by Commissioner Anderson, who's going to be asking about your programming commitments.
103 Commissioner Anderson?
104 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
105 Thank you very much for your submissions. Thank you for being here. And I would also like to pay respects to the elder that opened up our hearing today in a good way. Your presence is appreciated.
106 I'm going to be asking questions about programming commitments, including questions about Canadian content, original first-run programming, children's programming, and news and current affairs.
107 But prior to that, it would be really helpful for me to just get an understanding about the different dialects that are included in Inuktitut -- is that right? -- and which dialects your programming would serve. And mostly, well, I'm interested to know how to ensure that the different regions in Nunavut would find the programming relevant and whether there are regions and dialects that are not included by your proposed programming.
108 So that's a lot of questions, but if you could just kind of provide a lay of the land, and if there are any other follow-up questions, I'll ask afterwards. Thank you.
109 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I'll invite my colleagues to jump in if I forget anything important.
110 But yes, we have a number of dialects. It varies community by community. Some of them kind of are more related to one another linguistically, but it is all the same language, essentially, a family of languages. Inuktitut is the umbrella term that covers all of them.
111 We are very interested in two things: one, ensuring that Inuit become familiar with a standardized language that the -- and writing system that the Inuit associations have agreed to; but two, celebrating the diversity in our dialects. It's extremely important to us. It's why we put so much time and energy into recruiting board members from across the territory right from the very beginning of our initiative. It's why we had a stakeholders conference a number of years ago with community members from all over the North that speak different dialects.
112 Not only do we have different dialects, we have varying levels of fluency community by community, and the impacts are different, depending which community was formed first and whether residential schools were in the area and so on. And so we have drastically varying levels of fluency.
113 Lucy comes from a community that's very fluent. Although I grew up in a family that's fluent, in Iqaluit there is less fluency. And Tom comes from the western Arctic, where there is much less fluency than the eastern Arctic.
114 And our desire is to strengthen Inuktitut in each community to meet them where they're at. And so if we're programming content from highly fluent communities, we have higher standards of Inuktitut required for that content. And if there's content coming from a lower fluency level, then you know, the language instruction programs may have a varying level of teaching and English to help teach words and so on.
115 We have a thorough language policy. We have consulted with language specialists in the formation of our policies. It's something we care about deeply.
116 In addition, I would like to mention that years ago we used to have TV Northern Canada, which was the predecessor to APTN. And it served the North, so a large part of the native language content on there was Inuktitut. And back then, we used to see a lot of Greenlandic programming as well. And when we began talking about this initiative back in 2006, some of the producers involved commented that back in the day, we used to be able to understand the Greenlandic dialect much more easily because we were hearing it often on TV Northern Canada. And so we hope to get to a point again where we're hearing the various dialects across the north and becoming more familiar with each other again.
117 Lucy will add.
118 MS. QAVAVAUQ: (Inuktitut spoken) I just would like to add to that, what Alethea was saying.
119 Right now currently as well, we're very proud to be serving different dialects all across Canada, starting from Inuvik, so Inuvialuit, all across Inuit Canadian dialects, the three different regions that Alethea had mentioned earlier: Nunavik, which is northern Quebec, Nunatsiavut, where our elder is from. And in addition to that, we also want to cover the circumpolar world. Alethea had mentioned Greenland, and we would also include Alaska. So we're covering all sorts of different dialects.
120 MR. MCLEOD: And yes, to further get to your question there, Commissioner Anderson, we've proposed programming that's -- we've proposed a lot of language instructional programming. And that programming will focus on Inuktitut will be its own program. And we will also have a program that will focus on Inuvialuktun language learning as well as Inuttitut language learning. So two members of the Inuktitut language family will, aside from Inuktitut, will have their own language instruction program.
121 And we've proposed a breakdown of Inuktitut language throughout the channel of 50 per cent Inuktitut, the language spoken throughout Nunavut; 15 per cent Inuvialuktun, the language spoken in the western Arctic, Northwest Territories, and Yukon; and Inuttitut, the language spoken in northern Labrador and -- it's mostly in Labrador, yes, yes, and Quebec, at a 15 per cent rate. So 50 per cent Inuktitut, 15 per cent Inuvialuktun, 15 per cent Inuttitut, and 20 per cent English and various other languages.
122 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
123 And are there any dialects that are not included by the programming that you've just outlined?
124 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: We have an existing production community. And I think we want to be responsive to the capacity of our production community. But we also want to -- we're hoping that the existence and the expansion of Inuit TV will encourage people and communities with high levels of fluency but not a strong production community to sprout up their own producers. And so we don't plan to exclude any dialects. We're very much hoping that dialects that have not been on TV very much will come forth and create their own production communities because now they'll have a home to show their content.
125 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much. I understand that response.
126 You had mentioned a language policy, and we may have it on the record, but just for certainty, in the event that it is not a part of the record, could I please get an undertaking to have it provided so that it can be included on the record?
127 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I believe it was filed, but if it wasn't, we'll happily provide that.
129 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much. Yeah, I just wanted to cover my bases.
130 Okay. I'm going to move into Canadian content, because I have quite a few questions to get through. But I'm sure my colleagues have just as many if not more.
131 So I was wondering if you could please describe your current partnerships with Inuit and other Indigenous production companies or with individual producers. You started to provide that response just now, but I just wanted to give you a little bit of time to flesh out that area just a bit more.
132 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: As a -- full disclosure -- active producer in the community, I'm going to leave that question because I'm very hands-off when it comes to commissioning content.
133 MR. MCLEOD: At the moment, we have broadcast licensing deals with Inuit production companies across Inuit Nunangat from the western Arctic all the way down to northern Labrador, so going up and across the entirety of the North. We have wonderful relationships with producers in Nunavut and Nunavik, northern Quebec, northern Labrador, and with producers in Northwest Territories. Yeah, and we hope that we can turn these relationships where we are licensing content from these producers into a relationship where we commission content from them as well.
134 And we're already in talks with certain producers about creating certain programs, and we're working with smaller independent producers at the moment on some early production of other programs.
135 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
136 And my next question I think might best be described as an undertaking, but I'd like to ask for a programming grid for the week of June 4th to June 10th, where you would also indicate the programming that was broadcast, if it's Canadian content, and how much of the programming constitutes reruns. Again, I'd be happy to take the programming grid as an undertaking.
137 MR. GOLDSTEIN: We will provide that as an undertaking.
139 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
140 Now could you please describe the amount of programming in your current schedule that consists of programming from independent productions and programming from Indigenous people.
141 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Just give us a moment.
142 MR. MCLEOD: Thank you, Commissioner Anderson. The vast majority of our current schedule is created by Indigenous producers, primarily Inuit producers. The largest chunk of our current schedule that is not created by Indigenous producers would be content from the National Film Board, which is still in part produced by Indigenous peoples, depending on the particular film or program, as well as our current slate of a few programs we have from a non-Inuit producer who we've licensed a handful of films from called John Houston. But the vast majority of our programming currently is Canadian Indigenous productions.
143 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay, thank you very much.
144 And I note that services with mandatory distribution are required to devote a minimum of 50 per cent of the programming broadcast during both the broadcast day and the evening broadcast period to the broadcasting of Canadian programs. And in your application, I believe you specify or propose to devote 90 per cent of your programming to Canadian content during the broadcast day, but there's no proposal about the evening broadcast period.
145 And so I just wanted to ask what you propose or how you propose to treat the evening broadcast period, whether there's going to be a minimum amount of Canadian content in the evening.
146 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So we hadn't specifically discussed that, but given that 90 per cent overall of the content is going to be Canadian through an 18-hour window, I think just doing the rudimentary math I learned in elementary school, I think it would be really impossible for us not to have the vast majority of it in the evening broadcast period also be Canadian. So you know, we hadn't proposed a specific commitment in that regard. If you'd like us to, we're happy to discuss that and come back as an undertaking, but I don't think it's going to be a problem.
147 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: I'm looking to the team right now for whether or not you'd like that amount. Yes, please.
148 MR. GOLDSTEIN: That's not a problem.
150 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay. I'm ready to move on to original first-run programming. And I note for original first-run programming you've proposed a different definition than what is included in the Discretionary Services Regulations and the Broadcast Regulatory Policy 2010-629. We've defined it as original exhibition of a program that has not been broadcast or distributed by another licensed broadcast undertaking. But it appears in Appendix 1A of your application that you propose a different definition such as that Inuit Television would be allowed to count as original first-run programming a program that has been distributed by another broadcast undertaking licensed by the Commission if Inuit TV was involved in the pre-production financing.
151 Can you please describe why you're requesting this exception to our definition of original first-run programming?
152 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think we did that to recognize the fact that we're going to have a highly limited budget, just in we're trying to do this in a very cost-efficient way. And I think it's fairly common, especially of programming -- certain of the programs that will air specifically, I think, in the documentary or drama genre, that there might be various parties involved in the pre-production element. I think Alethea right now is involved in a production that involves CBC, APTN, and Netflix in doing it.
153 So I think that -- I don't know that this is going to be a significant amount of the programming that airs on the service, but we wanted to ensure that if Inuit TV was involved in the development and commissioning and pre-production financing of the show, that when it ends up airing on its schedule, it isn't disqualified as first-run specifically, you know, or original simply because it may have aired on a different platform that was also involved.
154 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay, so considering that the mandatory distribution services or mandatory distributed services have to provide exceptional content or contribute to the broadcast system in an exceptional manner, how do you view your definition of original first-language programming would do that, would contribute to the broadcast system in an exceptional manner in light of the fact that the programming might be broadcast through another service?
155 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think our intent was to recognize that producing programming of this nature requires various partners to get it done. So I think that if Inuit TV was not part of the commissioning process on that programming, that programming might not get made. So I think the extraordinary nature is that we've managed to work with others to get the programming made and we're going to provide a window for it.
156 Again, I think it's a highly limited amount of our schedule. We could definitely look into what would be the percentage we think that would be -- would fall into this category. But it's not the majority of what we plan on airing. It would really be certain productions I think that are in, you know, very specific genres which are going to be somewhat limited. Like, for example, you know, a big chunk of the programming that we air is news and current affairs and language instructions. Can't see any of that programming being, you know, involving other broadcasters in terms of the commissioning process.
157 So you know, I think that -- I don't know if red herring is the right word, but it might -- you know, this is a very, very limited amount of the programming that's actually going to be airing on the service.
158 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: So perhaps I could ask for an undertaking to have your best estimate of what percentage of the programming would fall under your proposed definition as opposed to the definition that I set out earlier.
159 MR. GOLDSTEIN: That's no problem.
161 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
162 And if the commission were to deny your definition of original first-run programming and impose the definition that's been established in the 2010 policy, can you please comment on how this would impact your financial strategy as well as your programming strategy?
163 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think we'd have to get back to you on that just when we determine how much of it is done. We'll do that at the same time.
164 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay, so that will be included in the undertaking, to provide your best estimate of what kind of programming would fall under your definition of original programming that differs from ours.
165 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yes.
167 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
168 I'm going to move on to children's programming because I think that you've answered a lot of the questions that I had for original first-run programming earlier.
169 So you've raised that it's important for Inuit children to grow up with programming broadcast in their language. Can you explain your programming strategy, given that you've proposed a condition of service for children's programming that is not language-specific?
170 MR. MCLEOD: Yes, Commissioner Anderson. There is a very strong need for programming of educational programming for children in the Inuit demographic. Inuit are one of the youngest populations in Canada, with one third of all Inuit being 14 or under.
171 At our stakeholders meeting, we were requested to make language-specific programming for children that could be watched with children and youth together. And we do want to make sure that children have a strong grip on their local Inuktitut language or dialect to help improve their fluency, and this can't be done strictly with language-learning programs. We need other types of children's programming that they will be watching for entertainment in the language to make this realistic.
172 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
173 And I had a question about your proposed schedule because I note that you've proposed to offer youth programming between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. And I just note that that's a time when youth sometimes might be in school. So I was just wondering if you could just maybe talk a little bit about that proposed time slot.
174 MR. McLEOD: Yes. Thank you, Commissioner Anderson.
175 Yeah, Inuit TV, being a national Inuit channel, has to cover many time zones, so the youth and children programming that’s airing in this time slot would most likely be focused on more western Arctic languages and dialects, where in the Mountain and Pacific time zones, it would be more appropriate for children in that area to watch this programming in their language.
176 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you for that explanation.
177 I was wondering if you have current partnerships if Inuktitut producers regarding children and youth programming.
178 MR. McLEOD: We have current licensing agreements with multiple producers for children’s programming. About five or six of the programs that we’re proposing in this schedule actually currently air on our service at this moment and we are in talks with various producers to create more children’s programming currently.
179 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
180 You've answered some of my questions, so I apologize. I’m just quickly reading through to try to strike out the ones that have been answered because there are a number of questions that my colleagues have.
181 Could you please comment on the amount of children’s programming and youth programming that’s currently broadcast on Inuit TV?
182 MR. McLEOD: The current Inuit TV schedule begins our day with children’s programming and we go for about two to three hours a day of children’s programming at the moment. It’s our -- it’s our opening every day.
183 We also have some children’s programming interstitials as part of our general programming. It’s -- it is one of our very first priority spaces, is children’s programming, and it’s currently a large part of our broadcast.
184 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
185 I wonder if it would be possible as part of the undertaking that in which you’ve undertook to provide a programming grid to also show in that programming grid what programming what constitutes children and youth programming, please.
186 And I see a shaking of the head or a nodding.
187 MR. GOLDSTEIN: That would be fine.
188 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Perfect.
189 I'm going to move on to the last section, which is news and current affairs. And I note and thank that you’ve already discussed regional relevance to a large extent, so that is really helpful. But from a news and current affairs context, how do you -- how do you propose to ensure that the news and current affairs is relevant to the different regions where Inuit people reside?
190 MS. QAVAVAUQ (Interpreted): Thank you, Commissioner Anderson.
191 Yes, one of the very unique things that we are trying -- we will do, we are trying to do with Inuit TV is to have regional journalists, which is not done currently anywhere within our unique territory. So -- and we plan to have three journalists in different regions.
192 For example, as -- where Tom McLeod is from, we would have a regional journalist there that covers all around that area, including Alaska and just where Inuit lands fall under there.
193 Nunavik, which is northern Quebec, too, as well, there are a lot of Inuit that are covered through their -- and for Labrador and our -- usually our main hub is Iqaluit, which is currently done at the moment, so we are planning to cover all of those areas that include any stories that do pertain to Inuit, including working together with other networks because there are a lot of Inuit that reside in the south as well and there are a lot of stories that are connected to us and we work -- we try to work together with them so that it’s covered not only in Nunavut, but where Inuit reside in Canada and in the whole world.
194 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
195 And what are your plans relating to a news bureau, editorial control and fact checking?
196 Could you please discuss how you will handle complaints about a journalistic standard?
197 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Sorry. Can you repeat the -- I didn’t catch the last half of the question.
198 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: It goes towards complaints on a journalistic standard because you’ve proposed to have new journalists.
199 Have you turned your mind at all to how your services would handle any journalistic complaint in the event that there’s a complaint made about journalistic standards?
200 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I don't think we had actually turned our mind to it, but I’ve always -- I think we’ve always assumed that we would become a member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and then if anyone had any concerns relating to what we would do, they would be able to, you know, file a complaint in that nature.
201 Obviously, you know, I think as a service that is designed to represent the needs of the Inuit, I think we would always take great care to be responsive to any complaints that would come from the community relating to anything we had done, but I think we hadn’t -- I think our focus at this point has actually been to more get the news out as opposed to that it actually might offend someone.
202 So I think information is a really key thing for -- you know, an indication that that information’s available to the audience the service is going to serve I think is our key priority.
203 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
204 And then I suppose on that note, just for the record, could you -- could you please confirm whether or not you are currently broadcasting news and current -- sorry, current affairs and newscast programming?
205 MS. QAVAVAUQ: We are not currently.
206 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay. I believe that's all for news and current affairs.
207 I’m going to move on to broadcast day. I know I said that was my last section. I apologize.
208 You stated that Inuit TV broadcasts five hours on a daily basis between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 and then, in your application, you propose an 18-hour broadcast day.
209 Can you explain why, at this time, Inuit TV only broadcasts for five hours a day?
210 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think I did want to make one correction. When we were going through it, we realized it should say 4:00 to 9:00. There isn’t a gap in the five-hour schedule, but again, my rudimentary math skills are clearly not that good, so.
211 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you for that clarification.
212 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: It’s just a question of sheer resources, the cost of the number of hours. And I think we have the production community and the archives to scale up quickly if the resources are made available.
213 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
214 In a Request for Information from February 24th of this year, you confirmed that it would take approximately 12 months to transition from broadcasting five hours of programming a day to your proposed 18 hours a day.
215 What type of programming would you be broadcasting during the transition year?
216 MR. McLEOD: For the transition year, a lot of the programming that we would be broadcasting is content that is already produced by independent Inuit producers, which there is much and many of.
217 Inuit producers have been producing television content since the mid to early eighties in some places, so the archives that we would be able to draw from to begin with, like just to ramp up our service, would be vast. And in that time period, we would begin more of these productions.
218 There are some productions that are already started in pre-production and some of them nearly in production. And we have been in talks with various producers who are ready to begin production. We just need some of the additional resources to give the go-ahead.
219 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: If I could add to that, I just want to make clear that the archival content we talk about is incredibly valuable to our communities. As we did audience surveys and met with stakeholders across the territory, there’s a strong desire to see archival content, partly because we like to know our history and our families and see our communities as they once were and also the level of fluency was higher in all communities, 10, 20, 30 years ago, so that content that hasn’t been seen in a long time is very much anticipated by our communities.
220 So you know, of course ramping up new original content would take some time and grow as quickly as we could, but in the meantime, people would be very much enjoying the archival content that we can access as well.
221 MR. McLEOD: Also, if I may, Commissioner Anderson, a little anecdote.
222 There are groups of people in my home community of Inuvik who get together and put no Inuit TV during our current hours of broadcast and just listen to the various Inuktitut languages, and so -- and that’s just a community activity that people do currently, so expanded hours of even archival content where people can hear more Inuktitut is something that is greatly desired within our communities.
223 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: That's sounds like a great initiative.
224 Those are my questions in programming. I’m going to turn the mic back to Chairperson Scott.
225 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Anderson. Thank you for your answers.
226 Before we leave programming, I’ve got a couple of quick questions -- actually, I’m going to combine them into one two-part question and then Commissioner Desmond might have a couple and then she’ll start off our next questioning block.
227 So live TV in particular can be a real different beast, so I’m interested in the degree to which live TV features into your scheduling, recognizing that even news and current affairs can add a live component and a produced component. And then at the other end of the spectrum, I’m also interested in your plans for on-demand services and how kind of that type of programming can support your objectives as well.
228 Thank you.
229 MR. McLEOD: So for live programming, the only area we see Inuit TV doing live programming would be in the news.
230 We would -- the only place where scaling our broadcast day would have increased costs would be with live programming, so we would have a reserve of funds made available for live news programs during momentous events or things that need to be known immediately. Outside of that, we don’t anticipate to have any or much live programming at all.
231 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Mostly live to tape.
232 And regards to an online presence, we’ve already developed an online service called DecoTV (ph), which includes a mobile app as well as a desktop web app. It’s essentially ready to go. We just need the resources to hire staff to upload the content and maintain the site.
233 Once it’s up and running, it’ll make all of Inuit TV’s programming available on demand free of charge. And we chose a service specifically that allows for offline viewing so that people with very limited internet in most of Inuit communities can download and rewatch on their devices when they’re out at their cabins out hunting.
234 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you very much.
235 I'll pass the mic over to Commissioner Desmond for any final questions on programming and then please set your block on expenditure requirements. Thank you.
236 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Thank you. And thank you so much for your presentation this morning.
237 I was interested to hear a little bit more about the evolution of your service. In your opening comments, you make reference to the fact that this has been a 20-year evolution or 17-year evolution and you’re getting closer to making your dream a reality.
238 I would like to understand how things have evolved for you over that time period.
239 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Thank you for that question. I love talking about it.
240 I started in this industry personally in 2003, so this is my 20th year in the business, and as a young up-and-coming person, I took part in Nunavut industry-wide meetings whenever they happened because they tended to happen in my community, the capital.
241 And so although I was involved and present from the very first day, I was not leading the initiative back then. I was listening and learning to my predecessors and mentors.
242 The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation was one of the companies there. There were a number of independent producers meeting at what was supposed to be a biannual producers’ meeting, an industry-wide meeting, but it’s expensive to meet in the north, so it only happened every four or five years, I think.
243 But from that time, you know, I heard the president of IBC at the time was, I believe, Okalik Eegeesiak, say, “APTN is so important and we need it, but we also need our own channel because we’re one of the most fluent indigenous languages in the country. We have a strong production community. We can do more, we need more. Our communities are asking for more”.
244 They were always being asked why they only see a small amount of their programming on air and all the producers in the room -- Jose Kusugak was there. There were many important leaders in the room in addition to the film industry leaders.
245 And everyone just kind of looked around the table and said, “Yeah, we’ve got to do this”.
246 And so from that meeting in 2006, every time we gather to talk about the development of the industry, you know, we were meeting for a training strategy, we were meeting to start up the Nunavut Film Development Corporation, you know, developing the infrastructure of our production community up there, and every time we met, we’d talk about the need for -- we called it back then TV Nunavut.
247 And over the course of several years, you know, we’d pitch governments for funding to start a network and we presented to the CRTC multiple times. Some Commissioners came north. We came south. I’ve been in this building before. I didn’t realize until I was in it.
248 And each time we were given advice by people across the industry of how to proceed, to do a feasibility study, to have an audience survey done by an independent third party, to hold a stakeholders’ conference and pull together educators, language specialists, the Departments of Culture and Education and Economic Development in Nunavut.
249 We held a workshop -- a policy development workshop where we had representatives from multiple companies across the territory and government representatives to workshop what our policies should look like, including language and the programming policy and so on.
250 This was all developed very grass roots. Members of Inuit associations -- in Nunavut, we have the public government of Nunavut, but we also have our regional Inuit associations that are Inuit specific governance and they appointed members to take part in all of these different processes.
251 And over many years and repeated meetings with -- whenever there was a turnover in government or, you know, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, their assistants, you name it, we’ve repeatedly pitched our project and each time we’d come back with a new piece of the puzzle done.
252 There’s feasibility studies done now, the stakeholders’ conference is done now. Our business plan is done now. And so we reached a point where we kind of jumped through all the hoops necessary and it was a matter of political will.
253 And a little bit of time passed, but eventually Nunavut Nunavik Incorporated, the Inuit association responsible for the whole Territory of Nunavut, put their money where their mouth is and really allowed us to get started.
254 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: That's very interesting to hear all of the work and effort that’s gone into this project before your appearance here today, so thank you for that.
255 And I was interested as well just as a second question on programming about the stakeholder meeting. You’ve talked a lot about a stakeholder meeting where you were able to gauge the interests of different communities, and I’m just wondering if you could provide a few more details around who was at that meeting, what were the take-aways from that meeting.
256 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Yes. We had representatives from all three regional Inuit associations. They sent either producers or, if they didn’t have active producers in their territory, they sent social or language, cultural. Depending on the organization, their job title was slightly different, but they care about language and culture, basically.
257 I believe every single production company in Nunavut had a representative there. NITV was also there. They were on our founding Board.
258 At that stakeholders’ conference, we decided to formally establish the corporation, the not-for-profit corporation, and so we came out of that week with TV Nunavut, it was called back then. And we all -- we workshopped the mission statement together at that stakeholders’ conference, the bare bones of what the policies would be, the programming priorities.
259 There were elders there. There were youth there, teachers, elected representatives and lawyers and students. You know, we’re not a huge population. Some of these people filled multiple of those job titles. But it really was industry-wide buy-in at that point, and we came away with a game plan and agreed, okay, this is going to be a lot of volunteer work. I am only one of many Inuit that have taken part in this initiative. I happen to have been there from the beginning, but there are many others that have put -- poured their hearts and souls into this over the years.
260 And at that stakeholders’ conference, we all agreed, okay, so we’ve got the bones of a plan now, do you trust this group to go ahead and work until it gets done because we’re all over the place all across the territory. This is the reason we’re all here, to get buy-in and do this. So can we move ahead?
261 And the group’s slogan was just do it, like Nike. Word for word.
262 And so we came away with that plan and a small group of us continued the work from that point and took the -- we have an extensive stakeholders’ report from that conference. And I don’t know if that was submitted, but we’re happy to share it if you wanted to see it. There’s a lot of amazing detail in it.
263 And from there, we continued to meet with political leaders and we worked with government. The Department of Economic Development in Nunavut, when we asked for -- to be formally designated as a regional educational broadcaster, they hired an independent consultancy to review our business plan and assess it and they recommended that it be supported. And that’s how we got the educational broadcaster designation, which we saw as a key step in coming to you with this application today.
264 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you so much.
265 And maybe just before I start my questions on expenditures, would you be able to provide that report? I think you offered to --
266 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: The stakeholders’ conference report?
267 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Yeah.
268 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Absolutely.
269 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: So if we could have that as an undertaking, that would be appreciated.
271 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. So I can move on now.
272 I have a few questions with respect to your CPE proposal.
273 And I note that in your materials you suggest that a CPE of 70 percent would be achievable, and I’m curious if you could give a little bit more details as to how you decided on a 70 percent CPE requirement. I’m sure you’ve looked at other 9(1)(h) services, and their CPE requirements are quite a bit less than what you’ve offered. So, on what basis did you decide that 70 percent was the number that was appropriate, and how are you going to be able to meet those commitments and then still satisfy the other elements of your operation?
274 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So, I think we obviously looked at what the other 9(1)(h) services have committed to. We also are sensitive to the fact that we’re a small service but, you know, serving a very, you know, vibrant, you know, dedicated but small community, relatively speaking, and that in today’s day and age, 9(1)(h) designation should be reserved extraordinary applications.
275 And I think that when we were developing this, we kind of looked at, okay, what do we think is reasonable in terms of a fee -- you know, modest -- that, you know, that allows us to do this in a very cost-efficient way but allows us to also devote the maximum amount possible to Canadian programming? And I think that went into -- we kind of started at the point of, okay, how much revenue would we need to operate the service, and then back it out -- back it out from there.
276 And that’s how we got to the 70. I think that anything -- I think our concern about anything more than 70 would have been -- you know, that operating any discretionary service has certain fixed costs, and -- and -- that don’t change whether you have more money or -- or -- or less money. And so, given that our service is the vast majority of the programming is going to be Canadian, and more specifically, you know, from Indigenous producers, and more specifically, Inuit producers, I think we were fairly confident that, recognizing that our schedule is almost entirely Canadian, that once you back out the fixed costs and administrative elements, that this was a reasonable level.
277 I don't know, Tom, if you want to add to that?
278 MR. MCLEOD: No, I ...
279 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: So, just in terms of non-Canadian programming, do you have any intent to explore or offer any non-Canadian program?
280 MR. MCLEOD: As far as non-Canadian programming, we have a few small slots that we’ve decided to dedicate to non-Canadian programming. We have one slot for a children’s program, which there are some children’s programs that kids are going to want to watch no matter what. All the kids right now want to watch Bluey. If we get that in Inuktitut, that would be amazing.
281 There are also foreign slots dedicated to circumpolar programming. So, that would be things like Lucy was speaking about before, such as Greenlandic films and television and Alaskan films and television. So, those would be very culturally specific programs that would be in Inuktitut languages from across the circumpolar world.
282 And we’ve decided to block off one section of our schedule for the possibility of having a versioned foreign program in there, but that is entirely -- that is entirely something that would be looked at in the future. We’ve not decided that. This is a specific foreign program we want. Those are just possibilities, and with the amount of Canadian programming that we do have, we think that it wouldn’t be inappropriate for having a foreign program that we would have on that Inuit would want to see in their language.
283 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I'll just add, you know, that we wanted -- also wanted flexibility for a tiny amount of foreign content that is maybe Indigenous and relevant to our communities, but not necessarily Canadian.
284 We also -- we learned a lot from the Welsh language revitalization. They’ve had huge success in revitalizing their language. They are growing the number of speakers still, at present, and they invested heavily in their broadcasting in Welsh and, you know, they produced as much as they could original first-run programming, but to fill out the hours of the day relied also on archival and also strategically chose key programs that they know no matter what people are watching. So, if they’re going to be watching, let’s make it in our language.
285 So, that -- that’s a strategy we’d like to have flexibility to be able to do. That said, there’s a wealth of Canadian children’s programming that we can draw from that’s -- that’s produced not in Inuktitut but that we can version as well.
286 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Thank you very much.
287 Just a couple of maybe more technical questions about your CPE proposal. You’ve talked about the 70 percent CPE. Would it make sense from your perspective that that requirement gradually increase over the term of your licensed period? So, perhaps instead of starting at 70 percent, it would be a gradual increase? And if you thought that would be appropriate, what percentages do you think would work in terms of starting maybe at a lower number and working towards that 70 percent?
288 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think, to quote what Tom just said to me, I think we’re eager to jump right in, but I think we’re going to need the programming. And so, I don’t think there’s a concern about meeting that level right off the bat.
289 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, thank you.
290 And with respect to your spending for year one, I know your spending is proposed to be on your previous year’s financials, but for year one, would it make sense that it be based on your current revenues, and then, going forward, it would be based on the previous year revenues?
291 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think that would be fine.
292 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, thank you.
293 And then finally, just with respect to your proposal with respect to a CPE overspend, and I think your proposal would be that you could carry forward five percent into multiple subsequent years. Do I understand that proposal correctly?
294 MR. GOLDSTEIN: No, I think we adopted the standard language, which was you could understand by five percent in any year if you made it up the following year, but if you overspent, you could carry that forward till the end of the licence term and draw down on it, which is, I think, the standard approach applied from a CPE perspective across the industry.
295 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay.
296 If our understanding of what is standard is maybe perhaps a little bit different than yours, is that something we could have a further conversation on? My understanding is that that five percent you may be able to carry forward for one year, but then not necessarily for every subsequent year.
297 MR. GOLDSTEIN: We could have a conversation about it. I think that was actually a policy that the Commission introduced at a licence renewal -- I think it was the group renewal two renewals ago -- and then reversed and went back to the original one of unlimited overspend through to the end of the term. So, but we’re happy to have that dialogue with -- with counsel and staff in terms of our understanding, but that’s -- that’s my understanding in terms of the way in which overspend works. We can also discuss internally as to whether or not the overspend -- if we anticipate that the overspend or underspend issue is going to really be an issue. I think that it -- it -- I think it comes more into play for larger services, and especially services that operate under a group CB model. I’m not sure it’s as huge a concern for a service of this nature.
298 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, and that's actually quite helpful because if -- if it’s not something that you feel would have a significant impact, perhaps you might consider -- or provide an undertaking to give us what impact there would be if that overspend could not continue in subsequent broadcast years? So, just maybe perhaps give some contemplation or some thought to what would happen if it was just possible to carry that forward in one year as opposed to multiple subsequent years?
299 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yeah, we're happy to comment on that, and we’ll have a discussion internally. It may, for example, make sense to make it 10 percent, which I know a number -- you know, instead of five, if that’s the policy. I know a number of, you know, parties have looked for that flexibility in the past, and I think the other applicant has actually looked for that flexibility as well. So, we can have that discussion and get back to you in an undertaking.
301 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you so much.
302 My next area of questions relates to PNI, and I know there’s been some exchanges on PNI, and as I understand it, your view at this point is that there should not necessarily be a PNI requirement, especially recognizing that there’s kind of an English definition and a French definition and much of your programming would not be in English or French.
303 That said, if the Commission were to impose a PNI requirement, how would that impact your service’s ability to deliver on your mandate, or your ability to meet other maybe exhibition or expenditure requirements?
304 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think when considering the imposition of requirements, it always depends at what level.
305 That said, and I think we had this dialogue in the request -- in the RFI process, the concept of PNI is essentially a concept that was applied to English and French language broadcasters, and specifically to the large English and French language broadcast groups. The only other 9(1)(h) service of all nine of them that I have on my list here, that has a PNI requirement, is Omni, and Omni is owned by Rogers.
306 APTN, which gets five times the revenue that we would be getting if this is approved, does not have a PNI requirement. And in fact, when I was looking through this back in prepping for this hearing, I looked at the -- some of the 2018 renewals of the 9(1)(h) services, and I think it was in TV5Unis TV’s application, one of the representatives of the creative community advocated for a PNI requirement, and the Commission’s conclusion in that regard was PNI requirements aren’t usually appropriate for 9(1)(h) -- or necessary for 9(1)(h) services.
307 So, I think that we are obviously going to air some PNI programming. I don't think there’s any debate on that. I think we’ve discussed, especially in the documentary genre, the strong history that Inuit producers have in that area, and so obviously I think we’re going to be looking -- you know, there will be PNI programming on our service.
308 But I think our service is so much more than that, and I think that its focus -- and perhaps I’ll ask my colleagues on the panel to comment more on this -- is more about language instruction, language preservation, preserving Inuit culture, than it is about funding a specific genre of programming from an independent producer. I think we’re obviously making significant contributions to both Inuit producers and independent producers as part of this, but, you know, for example, if you look at certain -- you know, a news service, a news service doesn’t do 9(i)(h) programming -- because it’s a news service. You know, there are certain services where PNI programming, you know, are more appropriate given the nature of the service, and there are other services where perhaps it doesn’t make sense.
309 And I think that our concern is not that we’re not going to do PNI programming, but that a potential commitment to PNI programming at perhaps too high a level will impair our ability to actually produce the core programming that we want to produce, which is not in the PNI category.
310 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Right, and if you --
311 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: If I could --
312 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: And I --
313 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Oh, I’m sorry.
314 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Go ahead.
315 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: If I could add to that, you know, I’m a documentary filmmaker. I care very much particularly about one-off POV documentaries and protecting that genre, and I have advocated for many years for all broadcasters to do better in supporting one-off POV documentaries. And so, it’s something that’s important to us. There’s a strong tradition in this country and also in the Inuit community of documentary filmmaking in particular.
316 I don’t imagine there are going to be documentaries or dramas in our language that we’re not going to want to be a part of if they reflect our mandate. It’s a matter of capacity in our community to produce a certain volume while also doing all of the other programming that we want to effectively support the strengthening of our language.
317 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: All right, and thank you for those responses. I
318 think maybe what I’m trying to reconcile is the request for a national service, and in light of that national mandatory distribution status, what percentage of programming should be PNI, and maybe the amount needs to be adjusted accordingly to accommodate the kinds of programming that you really want to offer and that would be appropriate for your audience. But is there a minimum number, maybe, of -- or maybe a percentage number that might work for your service?
319 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So, we'll discuss that and get back to you, but the one thing I would want to comment on, just because through -- you know, I think I’ve been through the trenches on PNI, and I think in my previous life was actually part of the company that proposed the term back in 2009. You know, I think I understand where you’re coming in terms of that we’re talking about something that is a program of national interest and we’re talking about something that we want to be a national service, but I think ‘Program of National Interest’ was just a term of art used to describe underrepresented programming, which is what we used to call it, in the system.
320 And so, you know, it’s really about specific genres of programming that are underserved or underrepresented in the system. If you look at actually a lot of those programs, I think there would be people who would really challenge whether or not they are actually of national interest. I think they are serving a particular role in the system, and I think that that’s, you know, a -- you know, an important role, but, you know, yes, we are applying for a national service. All of the other 9(i)(h)’s are national services also, and they don’t have that obligation. And I think, you know, this really isn’t, you know, designed to any way diminish the importance of PNI programming or that, you know, documentaries and genres are a -- you know, key genres of programming.
321 But what I find is particularly interesting is we have a brand new Broadcasting Act, as, you know, the Chair mentioned at the beginning and we mentioned in our opening statement. And notwithstanding significant lobbying efforts from various constituencies to include those specific genres in reference in the Act, the Government decided not to do so, and in fact scaled back specific references that might have been interpreted under the policies that were created back under the old Act that resulted in that programming.
322 So, it doesn’t mean we’re not committed to it, because we are. But I think, you know, it would be -- I think it would be somewhat interesting that, you know, the larger Indigenous 9(1)(h) service that had been given significant resources and plays an absolutely critical role in the system was deemed to actually not need a PNI requirement, but our smaller, very focused service would. But we will discuss amongst ourselves and get back to you in an undertaking as to if there is a level where we feel comfortable.
324 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, perfect, thank you.
325 And I just have one last question, and that is around the non-Canadian programming that you spoke about, which, you know, there will be an element of that. And just to clarify, and although I think I understood you to say that even though it was not Canadian programming, it would still be offered in Inuktitut, and is that correct -- that that program would be offered -- even though it’s foreign programming, it would still be in your language?
326 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Absolutely, that is the intention. I can’t imagine a situation where we’re broadcasting foreign content that’s not versioned into our language.
327 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay.
328 Thank you so much for your answers this morning.
329 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. So, we're getting close to break time. Two quick things.
330 So, staff has asked me to follow up on -- we think we heard you say that you’re not currently broadcasting news today, but because it is a part of your proposal, do you have a target date on when you would start -- when you would plan to start broadcasting news content?
331 MR. MCLEOD: If approved for a 9(1)(h) Order, we would like to begin the Order as we ramp up with more archival content so we can get funds coming in to more fully produce a lot of the original programming that we’re looking to create.
332 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
333 So, just before we go to break then, I note that we’re about halfway through our questions and we’ve already established a very lengthy list of undertakings. So, maybe over the break, if you want to start thinking about how much time you would need to respond to them, and then also rest assured that our legal team will be preparing a list of undertakings that we can review at the end, just to make sure we’re all on the same page.
334 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I would expect nothing less.
335 MR. GOLDSTEIN: But in looking at them, they all seem reasonably straightforward, but well talk about when we might. One of the challenges I think we might have is just we’re all operating remotely here -- especially my colleagues who have come, many of them, from a long distance, and it may not be possible to do this super quickly over the next 24 hours, but it’s definitely -- these are all things that we can establish or get access to, because they exist, in reasonably, you know, quick fashion.
336 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's great. I think as long as we're being reasonable in our requests and you’re being reasonable on your timeframes, we’ll be fine.
337 Okay. Maybe I’ll ask our Secretary to take us to break?
338 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you.
339 We'll take a break and be back at 11:00.
--- Upon recessing at 10:44 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 11:03 a.m.
340 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Chairman, we are ready to proceed.
341 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Welcome back.
342 So we will proceed with our third block of questions. I will be leading off. I was trying to find a nice catchy title for this section, it's largely a grab bag. I will be covering a few different things with regards to the broader ecosystem and the position of the proposal within it, and then I also have a number of questions that stem from other interveners and their proposals. That will be the gist of it and we will see where it goes.
343 So I will start with a couple of questions that relate to the fact that we have two applications before us, both of which are making the case that they would provide a service of exceptional importance, but arguably one aspect of exceptionality is distinctiveness. So given that the two proposals, while different, have significant overlap in terms of the objectives, could you speak a little bit first about how your proposal would differentiate itself from the programming, both of the other applicant and I think as well from programming currently available over APTN?
344 MR. McLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
345 I think one of the biggest differentiators between the two proposed services is Inuit TV has a mandate and a focus on educational programming. It is one of our main priority points and it is where a lot of our content creation is geared towards, is towards language instruction and educational programming.
346 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I would also say, I mean on the point of APTN, I think it's, you know, the fact that we are focused on one people and one language. APTN is a critically important service in this country, it is important to us, and they are very different services in that they serve many Nations and many languages nationwide and we are very focused on Inuit, the Arctic, our languages, and it's impossible for a service like theirs to service every Nation in this way.
347 With regards to another difference between our proposal and NITV's, I think it is -- you know, one of the key things is that it is in our organizational DNA from its inception that it has been a collaborative effort across regions and I think that is the strength of our proposal, that not only in the content that we aim to air but in the process that we have taken to build our organization we have really tried to reach out across regions and even where there isn't a production community yet but we think there should be.
348 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think if I could add just one other kind of very factual difference. I think the two services, obviously there is some overlap, and I think that they have obviously directed a significant amount of investment or proposed investment into PNI programming, which is I think probably representative of who is behind the service. That isn't a criticism, it is just factual. We, as I think Tom and Alethea indicated, have focused more on kind of informational, instructional, you know, programming of that nature, and the news element for us is a significant component, and we note that they haven't made a new -- their plans don't involve news, at least at this stage.
349 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that.
350 And a related question then: What would be the impact on your business plan going forward if the other service were also to be approved?
351 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So you would approve both?
352 THE CHAIRPERSON: In this scenario, like it is a hypothetical. Yes, under a situation where both were approved.
353 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: The more Inuktut content on air, the better, as far as we are concerned.
354 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I think I will circle back to it again later, but are there any other downsides as well that we should be considering?
355 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I mean I suppose, you know, a lot of their existing team are from one particular region or one community and I think it is less likely we would get a lot of content from their community on our channel and I think that would be a downside for us because we love the content that comes out of their community and had hoped that that would be part of our programming. So that would be a downside, in my opinion. But, you know, they have a long track record of producing prolifically out of their community, so if the resources are made available I have no doubt that the airwaves could be filled in both channels.
356 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think also just to add to that. It's kind of interesting that we are talking about making two potential channels available to a community. Now, I don't obviously come from the Inuit community, I have hundreds of channels available to me, and so the fact that we might be thinking two might be too much, even recognizing the small size of the community, I agree with my colleagues, the more the merrier.
357 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you for that. I think it is going to be a theme that comes up again as we look at various scenarios and options.
358 But I would like to turn, particularly in light of new objectives in the Broadcasting Act that Mr. Goldstein spoke to before, could you speak a little bit about opportunities for job creation, economic opportunity and the increased prominence of Inuit in the broadcasting system flowing from your proposed application?
359 MR. McLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
360 At the moment our staff is entirely Inuit and we would like to keep that theme going throughout our organization. Our Board is entirely Inuit. And if being -- if we were given the 9(1)(h) order and the funds that come along with it, we would obviously increase our in-house staff, we would be producing programming and we would be working with Inuit producers mainly throughout the North to create our programming. So there would be a lot of job creation. We would be working with producers who are experienced in getting funding from other sources as well, along with licence fees, so there would be a lot of job creation if this order was given through Inuit TV.
361 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you.
362 I have a number of questions regarding your designation as the educational broadcaster. I think you gave us some very helpful background in your opening remarks and in other answers, but I would just like to establish that the funding that you received as part of that designation was one-time funding which has now been exhausted or does it carry forward for a period of time still?
363 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: They are actually separate. The designation came from the Government of Nunavut, the funding came from the Regional Inuit Association.
364 So the designation came as a result of all our work to lay the foundation, with the studies and the conferences and cross-territorial buy-in and all of that. That also encouraged our Regional Inuit Association -- our Territorial Inuit Association, NTI, with their very first ever revenue from I believe it was a mining operation. Their first time being able to spend money out of revenue from something like that, they chose to spend on our project. It is a three-year commitment and we are coming up -- when does that end? I think March 2025; is that right? Yes. So we have enough to keep operating until that time. They don't have endless funds, but they wanted to put a vote of confidence into our project.
365 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you.
366 So beyond that and the proposed wholesale rate, no other source of funds currently in the pipeline; is that fair?
367 MR. GOLDSTEIN: We haven't assumed that. I think in the later years we have assumed there may be some CMF funding as supplementary. Obviously, and it's not really -- it's not on the record of this proceeding, but obviously, the Commission is having a whole other proceeding going on in terms of how funds may be injected into the system for various things, including supporting Indigenous programming and Indigenous broadcasting.
368 So I think, one, when we filed the application, Bill C-11 hadn't passed. But also, I think it's difficult for us at this early stage to assess what that might look like or our eligibility, but obviously I think the hope is, you know, at some point in the future that there will be additional resources to supplement the wholesale fee, recognizing -- and I know the applicants have differing perspectives on the rate of decline, but recognizing that the BDU ecosystem is eroding and, you know, we believe it is eroding at a slower pace than I think NITV does, but I think both parties agree that it is eroding and I think you would have to be living under a rock in this industry for the past five years to not realize that it was eroding. But they -- you know, I think that at some point, given that you have, you know, a mandated fee that comes off regulated BDU revenue, if that is eroding, you have two options: find revenue from other sources or ask for a fee increase, and I think that our hope would be that there would be some revenue from other sources.
369 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you. Oh, go ahead.
370 MR. McLEOD: Yes. To add to that, we also have project-based funding that we do get. Like we have a project going on at the moment that is a production-based funding from Canadian Heritage and we would expect similar project-based funding of that like to continue on in the future.
371 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I would also like to add that, you know, we have been in communication with the Government of Nunavut for many years about this project and are discussing what potential involvement that they could have financially perhaps in some small amount of core funding. But I think it is important to point out that Nunavut is a territory, not a province, so it doesn't have the same taxing powers as other, you know, TVO and Knowledge can be funded out of a base of provincial tax and we are not in the same position to be able to do that. So our government in Nunavut cannot single-handedly fund this channel in the way provinces may be able to.
372 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
373 So in a scenario where your application was successful, would your intent be to maintain your educational broadcast status and is there any strangeness with essentially an overlapping -- so you would have carriage requirements under the educational designation but with no funding attached, no wholesale rate attached, then under the 9(1)(h) you would have kind of -- there would be some duplicative carriage and a source of funding. Is that what you are getting?
374 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think our intent is for obviously the designation to continue. I'm not really sure that it's duplicative. I have seen this situation actually a couple of times before. For example, with OMNI, they obviously got carriage as an over-the-air station and then we introduced a discretionary service licence, you know, that was 9(1)(h) mandated with a fee, to get them a fee. So they had -- you know, there was a similar duplication there.
375 And I remember way back it used to be -- was it called Access TV out of Alberta that was owned by CHUM and then ultimately CTV, that was a privately owned educational service designated by the Province of Alberta, but generated private revenues. It had carriage status in that way, but it was also able to earn revenue other ways. So I think the fact that there might be duplication is not something that hasn't happened before.
376 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. My next question block is further clarification on the extent of the request for mandatory distribution. It's worth clarifying because there are a few different categories. So I think I heard you loud and clear on the importance of licensed -- carriage on licensed BDUs. I think the reasoning for that is obvious. On exempt BDUs there is a distinction between those under 2,000 subscribers and those over. And then I think there is also a distinction between BDUs serving the North and serving the rest of Canada. So that is kind of the grid that I am picturing in my mind.
377 My first request is if you can make the case for mandatory carriage for the sub-2,000 subscribers, BDUs, both in the North and in the south, please?
378 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So, I think our intent -- and if we were unclear about that, I'm sorry -- is that you would only be -- the sub-2,000 would only be subject in the North, not in the South. Because I think the North -- and this is one of the reasons why, as we noted in our opening statement, that some interveners have suggested, well, the 9(1)(h) order works in the North only. I think you would have to have a wholesale rate of $35 a month for it to actually work in the North. The North is very sparsely populated and so I don't think there is any BDU system in there that would fall -- be above 2,000 subs. So I think it is more about, you know, getting a fee from those. I think we could calculate as to what that actually works out to. I think we would try.
379 One of the things that is kind of hard is that there isn't data on how many BDU subs there are in the North that would fall into this category. It's all kind of lumped together and it would be hard to determine.
380 The other thing, too, is that the service would only be mandatory under the educational designation in Nunavut and not in the other territories, so it's important that it gets that mandatory distribution there and reaches the people it needs to reach. But we haven't asked for it in the South. It would only apply to those exempt BDUs above 2,000, which I think is the general standard for 9(1)(h).
381 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you. And I think I heard the answers to a couple of my subsequent questions --
382 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Sure.
383 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- but I just want to make sure.
384 So the proposal would be for the same fee to apply for those sub-2,000 in the North. So no adjustment to the rate?
385 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think it would be the same fee.
386 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And then under a scenario where the Commission did not grant mandatory coverage for the sub-2,000 in the North, it would or would not have material impact on your revenues and your ongoing business plan?
387 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Give us one second because we may be able to answer that now.
388 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think it is really important that the service is available on those systems. I think what we would like to do is just -- I think we want to run some numbers to determine whether or not there is an impact and perhaps get back to you as an undertaking just as to whether or not the fee for them is essential. I think the carriage is clearly essential.
389 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you hadn't proposed that, that is exactly what I was going to ask for, so that is much appreciated.
391 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Trying to keep ahead of the game here.
392 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well done.
393 All right, so I am going to jump now to questions that flow from some of the proposals we have heard from interveners in the proceeding. Yes, so I will start with Bell, who made the case -- made a case for limiting mandatory distribution strictly to the North. I don't think your answer will surprise me, but I would like to give you the case -- or the opportunity to respond to that proposal and speak not just for the financial implications but also cultural and broader intent. So what can you achieve by making this available nationally beyond just the sustainability of the model itself?
394 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So why don't I start and then perhaps Alethea or others may want to add just on the second element of your question.
395 I think Bell and others, you know, made that suggestion and I think it is the situation of, you know, we want to support your application, but in reality we are not really supporting your application. Because I think anyone -- you know, if you just need to do some rudimentary math to understand that that is not realistic and that their whole reason why we are advocating for this order is because the only way it works is if it is broad distribution across Canada. The North has I think -- I'm trying to remember how many people are in the North, but it's not significant, and how many households. I think we were estimating something like 15,000 to 20,000 BDU households total out of 10 million and so, obviously, the fewer households that it applies to, the more -- you know, the higher the fee needs to be to be realistic.
396 But I also think that there are some real measurable benefits to the community in the South for getting access to this programming, specifically the Inuit who live in the South.
397 I don't know, Alethea, if you want to comment on that.
398 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Yes. You know, it would be really convenient if the provincial and territorial borders were redrawn to be where we actually live, but I suspect that is a tall order for this conversation. You know, we don't just live in one territory or even the two northern, three northern territories. There are Inuit living in Quebec. There are Inuit living in Montreal as well, not just northern Quebec. There are thousands of Inuit that live in Ottawa and Toronto, and we want to reach all Inuit that live in this country.
399 So it just -- it would cut off a huge percentage of our population if we were restricted to the -- if it was the actual North and not just like where the borders are drawn, that would be one conversation. But you know, that's the story of our existence as Indigenous people: all these borders are drawn in ways that don't necessarily make sense for our community. So in our opinion, national carriage is necessary.
400 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
401 So Rogers, in their submission, urged the Commission to encourage partnership or program supply arrangements with established services like APTN or the CBC as opposed to approving the individual applications. Similarly to my last questions, could you speak to which objectives could be advanced through such partnerships and which could not.
402 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So, I think it's a slightly different answer between CBC and APTN. Maybe I'll give the CBC answer, and my colleagues can talk about the APTN one.
403 In the most recent CBC licence renewal -- I think that was what Rogers was citing -- you know, obviously, CBC now and SRC have new requirements in terms of commissioning programming from and reflecting Indigenous peoples on their channels. That programming isn't necessarily in Indigenous languages. And that's really the thrust of our service, which is helping to not just preserve but grow knowledge of Inuktitut amongst the Inuit. And I don't think it's reasonable to assume that CBC is going to put programming on their services in languages other than English and French, their English and French services.
404 With respect to APTN, APTN has a lot of competing priorities and, as Alethea highlighted earlier, serves all Indigenous peoples and nations and also offers a lot of English and French programming as well and has multiple feeds. And I think that the concern is that looking to have some kind of program supply arrangement with APTN would further impinge on APTN's resources and take further, you know, parts of their schedule to deliver this. And to the detriment, you know, some -- and if they do that, someone else is going to lose out in it.
405 And unfortunately -- and I think we need to put -- you've probably got some other questions from some of the other BDUs, because they tended to raise a bunch of issues. I think we need to put the BDU interventions within context. I've never been to a situation involving a 9(1)(h) service where every single BDU didn't find a way to oppose it for various reasons, including probably me when I worked there.
406 So but I think that this situation is really unique and is a service that we haven't seen yet come before the Commission. And so I think it's -- you know, I understand there are limited resources in the system, and everything has to come from somewhere, which is why the Commission has set the bar so high for 9(1)(h) services and why we have looked at that bar and even tried to raise it higher.
407 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Yeah. I'll just add one thought, that we're not looking to cannibalize APTN for our purposes, and we wouldn't want to take away from the very necessary things they do for all the nations across Canada.
408 And even if they were willing to give us like a whole day out of their schedule to the detriment of other nations, it still wouldn't be enough for us. We are -- I believe it's Cree and Inuktitut that are the most fluently spoken in this country. The majority of Inuit still speak our language. It's just not enough air time at APTN.
409 And what they do is important and should remain -- they should keep doing what they're doing. We don't want to take away from that.
410 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think also -- sorry, if I could just wrap this up as it relates to APTN -- if one looks at the kind of basis for a lot of these arguments is we want this to be done with existing resources. It's going to take it away from somewhere else. And if then the answer is, No, we're going to give APTN more resources to do this, well, it has the actual same impact from a financial situation of actually going to have a full-time service that I think can better serve the community.
411 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks.
412 I'm going to jump ahead to one question, and then I'll come back, but it's again about APTN. Would you view a scenario where you would provide a second window for APTN content?
413 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Absolutely. We have good relationships with both CBC and APTN, and APTN has been incredibly helpful to us in our launch. They even helped us write job descriptions for our staff, and we very much look forward to co-licensing content with them in the way that I see APTN and CBC working together more often now in first and second window and sometimes shared windowing. We definitely see an opportunity to do that.
414 You know, we serve three time zones within Nunavut alone. And sometimes having a program air at another time is really valuable in our community. So even if people have seen something on APTN or it's been on APTN, not everyone in all of our communities have been able to see it because of the scheduling.
415 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks.
416 So just jumping back to Rogers quickly. So they propose that you be encouraged to work with APTN or CBC. But have Rogers or any of the other BDUs reached out to you with constructive proposals for partnerships? Do you get the sense that they are actively engaging and supporting your objectives?
417 MR. MCLEOD: The BDUs have not reached out to us in this matter.
418 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
419 Next on my list is a series of questions that Quebecor opened the door to, and it's specifically about production capacity. I think we heard earlier this morning that you're confident that there's enough producers and enough production capacity to meet your needs of what you proposed.
420 So I'll skip to the second part of my question which is: is there enough capacity to support both your application and the other application?
421 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I'll have to admit I'm not as familiar with their application as I am ours, so I find it difficult to answer that question. I think especially on the point of PNI, I struggle to understand how it's possible to fill the requirement that they've laid out or that -- their commitment while also doing all the other things that we want to do. So I guess that's my way of saying I don't really know. I know we're confident in what we can deliver, and that's what we've put on the page after a lot of years of careful planning and thought. I can't be certain about whether both can.
422 MR. MCLEOD: I would just like to jump in and say that the way that we have built out our schedule, our proposed schedule, is that we are building it for efficiencies and cost-effectiveness. There are specific scenarios within our schedule where throughout the course of the production of one program it would actually be possible to create an entire different program just within the production of one.
423 Like we have all of these on-the-land programs which we've proposed. We also have how-to programs which we've proposed. And there may be sections of an on-the-land program where one section of what is happening in the program can be covered in a lot of detail but it wouldn't fit into that one particular program. So just going into detail into that one specific part of, say, butchering a caribou, which is something that the knowledge of is lost in some areas but is very well known in others. Like that program can cover these two things and create two programs just out of this one proposed shoot.
424 So there are many cost efficiencies that we have built into our schedule to make this all possible.
425 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great, thank you.
426 Just to build up the record a bit on the production capacity issue, would you be able to undertake to submit a list of production companies and individual producers with whom you have existing relationships?
427 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yes.
429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
430 A line of questioning that the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation opened the door to, so in their submission, they had encouraged maybe there's an opportunity for the two applicants to work together, and that one strong applicant might -- to paraphrase them -- one strong applicant might be better than two fragmented services moving forward. Can you speak to the feasibility of that, the likelihood of that, and maybe to some extent why it hasn't happened yet, so kind of current status and probability of a future path in that direction.
431 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Okay, where to start? It would have been our preference to submit one application together. I think it's still possible to -- you know, we have in the past discussed merging and we're still open to that. We're still very open to that possibility. Although we had planned for years and were laying the groundwork to be here today and submit this application, we had hoped to be on the same page with one application before we did so.
432 And ITV submitted an application which we were unaware of until quite late in their process. Once that was submitted and an offer was made to discuss merging, they're pretty far along, and we were very busy in setting up our new network. And also those conversations were happening at a time where we -- all three of us had some extremely intense personal -- I had a loss in my family; Lucy's parents were in an accident; Tom had COVID. So we just couldn't get those negotiations completed in time. And the deadline for all of this process was coming up and we just couldn't -- we couldn't close those negotiations in time.
433 You know, I think there was an offer to discuss merging, but it was a non-binding agreement in exchange for supporting their application. And we just couldn't put ourselves -- we had a responsibility to our organization and stakeholders that we've been working with for many years. So we couldn't -- we had to decide between either not applying and losing the opportunity to ever apply or stepping into the awkward situation of having a competing application.
434 That said, we're still very much open to continuing those conversations if there was a desire to merge channels.
435 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I think you can probably appreciate, as Alethea indicated, that you know, without a binding commitment to merge, foreclosing on the possibility of filing this application in exchange for, you know, essentially a supporting intervention would have put Inuit TV Network in a very difficult spot. That's why we filed the intervention that we did last fall and, you know, suggested perhaps a short window of time for the parties to actually have that discussion maybe with, you know, essentially the intervention deadline looming. Unfortunately, NITV at that point, you know, did not want to pursue that, and we are where we are.
436 That said, Alethea indicated, I think, you know, we're open to anything that works to the best interest of the community.
437 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, that's a perfect segue for my last question for this block. And it's kind of the big one and it touches on all these things, and I'll try to wrap it up and put a bow on it.
438 So looking at the full range of scenarios, like there's a scenario in which the two competing applications compete and one is successful and one is not. That's a possible scenario. I think there's a scenario where a collaborative solution is found, and you've spoken about an openness to that. And then maybe there's another scenario which involves some form of co-existence, you know, so as apart from a collaborative approach, a co-existence approach. And maybe there's some more scenarios, and I'm sure there's infinite variations on all of those.
439 Looking at that possible scenario set, and looking at the needs of the Inuit, if you were in our seats, what would be the course that you would set towards and specifically what would be in the best interest of the Inuit?
440 MR. MCLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Commissioner. Inuit TV, in our creation of our proposed schedule and throughout the creation of our organization, from our bylaws to our board to our schedule and all of our staff hirings, we've done at the behest of Inuit. Our schedule is created from what Inuit said they wanted to see. And we're creating this in the best interest of Inuit. So we believe that we are doing our best to fulfill that mandate.
441 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I think I'll add I don't envy your position at the moment. But if I can be frank, obviously, I'm biased, being part of Inuit TV. But my preference would be that our application is supported.
442 And, you know, there was a time years ago where their team was part of our team. And I would love for that to be the case again. I think with our educational broadcaster designation, our existing relationships with all the governments, Indigenous and Canadian, that it makes sense for if there was going to be one application approved, that it would be ours and that we, you know, reopen discussions to merge. That would be my preference. But obviously, I think they feel differently, so you have a tough decision to make.
443 Yes, Lucy, what is it?
444 MS. QAVAVAUQ: (Inuktitut spoken) One of the things that I really want to add too as well is, as Tom said, this came from Inuit. And one of the important things that we're coming from, not only did we stress our language, our culture, our elders, our -- everything that comes along with it, but it's us telling our own stories from our own people and we're the narrative. And that's what Inuit are looking for, and that's why Inuit TV is so important.
445 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
446 I'll ask my fellow commissioners if they have any follow-up questions on this topic before we jump to our final block of questions before lunch that Commissioner Desmond will be leading.
447 Commissioner Anderson?
448 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: I wish that I was the commissioner that got to propose approving both applications, but unfortunately, I do need to ask the question. You know, you said in your submissions just now the more the merrier. But in reality, there's a cost that has to be borne by the BDUs, the broadcast distribution undertakings, to support the services. And there are a lot of Indigenous languages across the country, including my own, Tlingit, which have a diminishing language capacity or fewer and fewer speakers.
449 So given that I understand the position that you're taking that in order for your service to have longevity, we need to have a national provision of your service all across Canada to all Canadians. But I suppose the same thing could be true for a Tlingit channel and the same thing could be true for Dene or Cree or Kwak'wala or Ts'msyen or Haida or Nisga'a -- like the list goes on and on.
450 So on the one hand, you say the more the merrier. But on the other hand, we are kind of the gatekeepers. And so I just -- I was wondering if you had any comments on that, because ideally, I understand the importance of language preservation. But realistically, there is a cost. And so I just, yeah, I wonder if maybe you'd be able to speak to that just a little bit.
451 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Thank you for that question. It's an important one, not just for our community. And it's why my answers have maybe seemed to conflict a bit, because I say the more the merrier, and truly, we've -- you know, I think when you asked earlier about whether there's the capacity to deliver the content of both channels, I'm sometimes an optimist, sometimes a realist.
452 I think if the resources that we needed to make it possible, you know, were made available, it is possible to deliver both the channels. I guess I'm just, you know, not optimistic that we're going to get enough for both to really run both well. So it's not a matter of necessarily capacity in our community; it's the time to develop the producers and ramp up and -- but just as I was saying that we don't want to cannibalize APTN, we don't want our project to be at the detriment of other nations and their languages. And we feel strongly they should all be supported.
453 We are in a unique position as one of the most fluently spoken Indigenous languages in the country. We're also in the unique position of having a very strong production community, decades long. And the NITV group are one of the examples, but there are multiple Inuit producers that have been in this business for decades. And so not all Indigenous communities have that depth of experience, not just in producing content, but administrating the industry with a film commission and training programs and so on. So I think we're uniquely placed to actually execute this plan.
454 And the last point is we're also uniquely placed in that we have our own territory. We have the only jurisdiction in this country that is majority of one Indigenous nation. You know, all the other Indigenous nations, unfortunately, are split up across borders and are not the majority in any of the other territories and provinces, whereas Inuit have the territory of Nunavut where we are the majority of the people and the language spoken.
455 So you know, while I wish there was endless resource to have a channel like this for every nation, I agree, it's not possible. But I do think there should be some. And I think Inuit have earned the place of being the first to have our own channel completely because we have the production community and the fluency and the borders. Unfortunately, that's a convenient thing, unfortunately, for others, but fortunate for us, that's a convenient thing for us that the existing structure of even the practice of having a designated regional educational broadcaster works in our favour.
456 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
457 And then I also have another question. Commissioner Scott or Chairperson Scott just now laid out a couple different scenarios that he envisions and, of course, the scenario that I don’t think I heard was that we don’t grant a 9(1)(h) Order to either of the services.
458 One of the intervenors, was it IBC, had commented that they wouldn’t be prepared to support either one of the licensees unless there’s cooperation.
459 If combined application or if there were efforts made to have one service and it be a collaborative service, that might make the application for mandatory distribution more attractive and there might be a stronger case. I’m not taking a position either way.
460 What would you say if we decided to grant a 9(1)(h) Order conditional on the fact that you cooperate with Uvagut and conditional on the fact that there just be one licensee? Is that something that you -- that could be possible?
461 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I do. I do see that as a possibility.
462 I think the wording is important. You know, we’ve made a commitment to our stakeholders and our government and our regional Inuit association with our funding that we operate with the policies we have, the financial plan, the -- you know, the business plan, so I could not say -- I mean, I could say on condition that we merge in a way that is satisfactory to our stakeholders and funders.
463 I think we’ve always been open to working with all the entities and it’s how we began and it’s where we thought we were until relatively recently. And we’re absolutely open to doing that again.
464 And so my fear is that out of this process, you all say, “Fine, come back in five years when you’ve merged” and by then how many language speakers have we lost. There’s an urgency here that every year makes a difference and we know you understand that.
465 So my preference would be that we are approved, that Inuit TV’s application is approved with a commitment to merging channels in a way that is satisfactory to both parties.
466 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: I just want to thank you for your responses to my questions.
467 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
468 So we’ll give the final word this morning to Commissioner Desmond if you have any follow-up questions on anything discussed so far, then I know you’ve got a block of distinct questions as well.
469 Over to you.
470 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Mr. Chair, I'm just wondering about the time. I know I’ve got two or three areas to cover. I’m not sure if we are able to go into --
471 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think we’ll let the record show that Commissioner Desmond is cutting into our lunch time, but that the Chair is okay with that.
472 Proceed with your questioning and we’ll break when we reach that point.
473 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you for that.
474 So I’m going to start by asking a little bit about your corporate structure as a not-for-profit entity and how you would be able to serve the community and provide opportunities for community members to participate in your undertaking.
475 How would you offer that opportunity and how would it serve the public interest?
476 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So as a not-for-profit corporation, Inuit TV Network has members. And as we indicated in our opening statement, the members are drawn, I think from the by-laws, there’s three of the members are essentially nominated by the three regional Inuit associations. I think there’s up to seven other -- it can be up to seven other members who come from the community at large and can be people from, you know, any walk of life that is -- you know, are advocating and helping to further the mandate of the service.
477 And that’s fairly standard practice for not-for-profit corporations in terms of how they’re structured.
478 There were initial members who set it up and then essentially new members can be admitted. It’s kind of circular, but essentially, new members get admitted by the Board who are nominated by the other members. But that’s essentially how pretty much every not-for-profit operates.
479 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you.
480 And from the various interventions that we've received in this proceeding, there has been an issue of community representation that’s been raised, so for example, IBC suggested that each service and, in particular, its governance structure, should represent all of the regions of Nunavut.
481 So given this situation, how would you respond to that?
482 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So I'll start and maybe Alethea will add.
483 But I’m thinking that that concern was more directed at NITV’s representation than ours because I think we have taken great care to ensure representation amongst our membership and on our Board from all the regions of the Territory.
484 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Yeah, I agree. I don't think that comment was pointed at us because from the very start, right from our stakeholders’ conference, there was attendance from across the Territory. And currently our Board has members from each of the three regions of Nunavut and our staff. Tom is in the Northwest Territories in Inuvik and Lucy’s on the east side with me. And Linda doesn’t -- one of our staff people, Linda O’Shaughnessy, who worked for AVCAN for many years and actually was a station manager at TV Northern Canada even before APTN, extremely -- one of the most experienced Indigenous broadcast people in the country -- is originally from Baker Lake, which is from the central Arctic.
485 So it’s baked into who we are. It’s something we care deeply about and in our staffing plan is well reflected.
486 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Maybe I can just ask about your plan and maybe your staffing plan because I’ve heard you talk about how you’ve evolved to the point that you’ve included people from different regions.
487 But going forward, how will you ensure that you continue to do that, continue to have people involved on your Board and community members engaged that represent people from all regions?
488 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Well, it's in our by-laws that we -- our Board is structured with appointees from the three regional Inuit organizations and, you know, with staff across as well. As far as formal engagement, you know, it’s expensive to travel the north, but we all communicate and we’re more likely to get feedback in the grocery store than we are through an online forum.
489 So I can’t -- I haven’t put too much thought into how feedback would work with audiences, but we already receive lots of communication from viewers on our Facebook page. Inuit have the highest rate of take-up in this country on Facebook. We’re very active on there.
490 But yeah, I think it’s -- I think it’s built into our Board structure, which is written, and in our staffing.
491 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: So in terms of ensuring that the community remains engaged going forward, would you be open to requiring that kind of commitment in your governance structure or your -- maybe as a condition of service? Is that something you’d be open to?
492 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Absolutely. I believe it already is reflected in our governance structure. We have a governance policy and we’d be happy to.
493 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. And if there was a condition of service that was particular to requiring a community committee, would you have any objection to that?
494 MR. McLEOD: Yes, Commissioner Desmond, we actually already have policies in place for programming committees to be appointed through the Board members who are appointed by the regional Inuit associations, so it is already baked into our policies and procedures that we have committees on programming, at least, who are members of the community.
495 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: If I could add, my only hesitation on that point -- you know, we absolutely can commit to doing our best there, but my only hesitation there as someone who’s done a lot of volunteer work over the years is that it can be really difficult to ask people to put in time in communities that are already under-resourced and under-fed and already struggling to scrape by.
496 Finding Board members is hard work. Finding committee members is hard work. So that would be the only barrier, but that is absolutely something we care deeply about, is community engagement. Just with that caveat that sometimes we’re asking things of communities that they may not be in a position to provide on a consistent or constant basis.
497 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yeah, I think -- if I would just add, I think this is -- and this has been somewhat of an eye-opening process for me as well working with Alethea and Lucy and Tom and just learning about, you know, the Inuit and the situation in the north. I think it’s a little different establishing kind of a community advisory committee where you have roads that might actually not be serviceable at certain times of the year for months at a time versus perhaps a multi-cultural broadcaster in Toronto establishing a committee amongst, you know, constituencies who all live within a 10-kilometre radius in a well-service urban environment.
498 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: That said, Tom was just pointing out to me that we have budgeted for accommodating committees of this kind, so we -- you know, that is in the plan.
499 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you.
500 I just have a couple of questions now as it relates to your technical proposal. And we would want to ensure that if you were granted the 9(1)(h) status that you could reliably upload and deliver content to all BDUs.
501 So could you speak to how your current technical solution has performed statistically with existing BDUs?
502 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So as we indicated in our reply to interventions and in our Application, Inuit TV Network has an existing relationship with Nextologies, which is a third-party uplink and content distribution platform based in Toronto. They’re affiliated with Ethnic Channels Group and are pretty widely recognized as experts in this field. That’s who delivered the signal now.
503 And we’ve budgeted and arranged -- you know, budgeted appropriately and arranged with them that they’ll -- you know, will also distribute the expanded service.
504 There hasn’t been any issue to date in terms of uploading and distributing the programming, and you know, the distribution of a linear discretionary service, I think, is -- I don’t want to use the term “old media”, not new media.
505 It’s -- I think it’s a fairly straightforward exercise. I think the only challenges that may have existed, you know, if they had existed at all, would have been just due to the remote nature of the service, but that hasn’t been a problem to date.
506 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. And just in terms of going forward, how would you ensure that your signal to all BDUs that would potentially be required to carry the service -- how would you ensure that there’s no issues? And would that be covered off in your agreements, your prospective contracts regarding service, availability, quality of service?
507 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Yeah, I think Nextology has the ability to pump out signals to pretty much every BDU in the country, and does so already for various providers and offers third-party master control and the like.
508 It’s very common for small independent services to actually use a third party provider, whether that’s -- Corus offers the service, I think, to certain third parties and Nextologies does it, and others do it. You know, operating a master control is -- can be -- is quite expensive and not overly cost effective if you’re a single service, but it hasn’t been any issue to date.
509 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. And I just have one last little area of questioning, and it relates primarily to your projections in your business plan.
510 And one thing I just wanted to kind of have a conversation around is, in accordance with the CRTC policies, normally when services are seeking mandatory carriage, they have to demonstrate that they wouldn’t be able to fulfil its mandate if they did not have that designation. So I’m wondering if you could speak to whether you’ve looked at other options for funding or distribution of your service and what has been the outcome of that.
511 MR. McLEOD: Thank you, Commissioner Desmond. We have looked at other funding options.
512 We have the one-time grant from Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, which is what our service is currently running on. We’ve received small grants from the Indigenous Screen Office.
513 We are working on a project-by-project basis with Canadian Heritage. We were in talks, as Alethea was saying previously, with the Government of Nunavut as the educational broadcaster. And with all of these other funding bodies, there is funding available, but it is not to the same level that would make a -- make it materially possible for us to fulfil our mandate the way that a 9(1)(h) Order would.
514 We would -- with these other funding services, we would be a part-time channel that wouldn’t be able to broadcast a full broadcast day.
515 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: If I'm correct, I believe that in your financial projections you indicated that you would not be intending to pursue commercial advertising given what you think is sort of limited interest in --
516 MR. GOLDSTEIN: I don't think it's really a lack of desire to pursuit it. I think it’s more a lack of practicality in terms of it materializing, so I don’t think that we expect there to be advertising material on the service.
517 But would you guys want to -- you know, is there a chance you may include some advertising if someone was interested?
518 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: We definitely analyzed that in the creation of our business plan and decided against it because it’s such a small population of Inuktitut speakers, so advertising just wouldn’t bring the amount of revenue. It’s also advertising to the poorest people in the country, and so it just -- it wouldn’t generate the revenue necessary to run a network like this.
519 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: I'm sorry if I had not phrased that properly. I didn’t mean to suggest that you weren’t interested in pursuing it.
520 But do you still see there’d be merit in looking at that if there is any potential option there or do you -- is your intent not to move forward with that as part of the proposal?
521 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Something we have been discussing with the Government of Nunavut is running PSAs for them and that that may generate us a small amount of revenue, but I wouldn’t consider that advertising, I guess.
522 You know, they currently spend some money putting out their PSAs on APTN and they would likely do so on our service as well, but again, that’s not at a level that would sustain the service in a way that would regenerate our language.
523 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. And then I just had a question as well with respect to the proposal that your carriage rate increase over the term of your licence, so starting at seven cents and then gradually increasing to .0775. And in the past, normally the Commission has set a fixed rate, so this is a little bit of a unique proposal.
524 So I just wondered if you could explain why you’ve structured it in this fashion and if it was to be a fixed carriage rate, which would -- what would be that number that would work over the five-year term?
525 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So I think the intent was to recognize the declining BDU subscriber base and to try to keep the revenue largely constant throughout the term. And obviously, as I think I discussed with the Chair a little bit earlier, you know, potentially there may be other revenue that comes in later in terms of any other policies the Commission may put in place relating to supporting Indigenous programming as part of a whole other proceeding.
526 If the Commission’s preference is to do it on a fixed basis, I think we would have to get back to you on an undertaking as to it’s probably, to be honest, just the blend in rate over it, but we wanted to -- you know, the other advantage, you know, in doing it the way that we did it is that it actually provides a little bit of a buffer for BDUs to actually absorb it, and especially recognizing that 85 percent of the BDU subscriber base does subscribe to packages above the basic service.
527 And you know, they do increase the price of those packages from time to time, and so that as it goes on, there’s an opportunity perhaps for some of the revenue to be recouped in that manner.
529 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: If you don't mind complying or offering that undertaking, that would be helpful.
530 MR. GOLDSTEIN: That's no problem.
531 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Thank you.
532 I just had one other question with respect to your financial proposal, and it really related to costs in terms of some of your administrations or sale and promotion costs.
533 And I’m just wondering if you see those costs increasing over time or decreasing over time and if you could just comment on how you’ve structured that.
534 MR. McLEOD: So I don’t see those costs as growing as a part of our organizational costs. They may come up as program costs later on, but that would be on a program-by-program basis. The -- that cost should probably be fairly steady throughout the course of the licence.
535 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: And with the rate that you've proposed, you see being able to sustain the business going forward without any loss over the five-year term. Is that correct?
536 MR. McLEOD: Yes, Commissioner Desmond. While no one can predict the future, we feel our underlying numbers overall are fairly sound and, if anything, err on the side of being conservative.
537 With the approval of the Application, Inuit TV would be able to function in a greatly expanded manner given increased revenue and available -- would -- given the increased revenue, make the service better. As a non-profit, we are not trying to generate excess revenue through the service. Any excess revenue that may materialize throughout the licence term will be reinvested into making the organization more robust and creating more and better programming.
538 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. I think those are all of my questions, Mr. Chair. Thank you very much.
539 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. I think Commissioner Anderson had one more question, and then I’ll ask staff to take us into lunch and sort out the technicalities.
540 But first to you, Commissioner Anderson.
541 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Yeah, thank you. Thanks.
542 So I’m going to point out one more potential scenario that Commissioner Scott didn’t necessarily go through. And again, it’s potentially less than idea.
543 But in the event that we were to grant Inuit TV a 9(1)(h) Order and not Uvagut, I note that Uvagut has said in their submission or in their application that there’s no sustainable business model for Uvagut other than the revenue associated with a 9(1)(h) Order that would allow NITV to continue to operate Uvagut.
544 If we provide the 9(1)(h) Order to Inuit TV and NITV cannot continue to operate Uvagut, does that -- would that have an impact on Inuit TV? Because I note that Uvagut’s argument largely centres around the fact that you’re potentially newer to the scene or you haven’t acquired as many programs as Uvagut, but in the event that they’re unable to continue operating, does that leave you in a position where you’re able to, I guess, make new relationships with the existing production sector in Nunavut?
545 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Can you repeat the question, please?
546 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Of course. So, one of the scenarios that we didn't really flesh out is if we gave Inuit TV a 9(1)(h) Order and not Uvagut, would that leave Inuit TV in a position where you could create relationships with Inuit producers? Would that leave you in a good position -- a strong position -- because you would be the one Inuit network provider?
547 MS. ARNAQUQ-BARIL: I mean, it would certainly make things cleaner and easier for us, but recognizing that would make things more difficult for them. I do want to say, you know, they -- their members and existing producers are largely out of Igloolik, and Igloolik has an incredibly strong production community that we had always hoped would play a large role on screen -- on Inuit TV. And so, you know, it’s been hard to see them split off. We would absolutely welcome their content on our channel.
548 I do think content creation is separate from broadcasting and, you know, although their channel may not survive without 9(1)(h) -- or if we are approved and they are not, I really hope they would still be open to working together in terms of producing content. You know, I think there would be a large role for their community still on our airwaves -- and on our Board and in the management of our channel. They’ve got a lot of experience.
549 I will say the comment about us being newer to the game -- I think I disagree with that. Although they’ve been broadcasting in Igloolik as a community channel for many, many years, their efforts to broadcast nationwide are very new. That started after our channel was announced and after we acquired our funding. So, you know, I think there are different ways to slice that statement. We have a wealth of experience at our broadcaster and, you know, this initiative has been, as I said, going on for 17 years and we’ve been laying the foundation there. So, I don’t consider our initiative new to the game.
550 They may have reached the airwaves before we did, but that was because we were hoping to come to an agreement to merge -- to work together -- before we applied. So, you know, I think there’s a lot of experience at both organizations and we’re very open to merging in multiple ways. Whether that’s in the creation of content, in staffing at the Board level, they’ve got a very long track record of broadcasting on their community channel that was only available in Igloolik for many, many years, and we don’t deny that experience whatsoever. That’s a wealth of experience that we were hoping would benefit our organization as well, and we’re still very open to that conversation.
551 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you for making that clarification. I think it will become -- it will be helpful when we speak with Uvagut this afternoon. So, thank you very much.
552 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
553 Before we break, I'll ask legal services if they could give us a recap of the undertakings?
554 Then, if the Secretary could give us our instructions for lunch and coming back from lunch?
555 MS. LÉTOURNEAU: So, yeah, there was quite a few, so I thought I would put it out there so it’s going to be on the transcript and easier for you.
556 So, the first undertaking -- the Inuit language policy referred before. If you could provide a copy of it?
557 Second undertaking -- a programming grid for the date of June 4th to June 10 where there would be indicated the programming that was broadcast; what was Canadian content; and how much constituted reruns. The grid should also, please, indicate what constituted children or youth programming.
558 Third undertaking -- regarding the evening broadcast schedule, could you please provide a percentage of Canadian content that will be provided in the evening?
559 Please provide by undertaking the percentage of the service programming that will fall under the Commission’s definition of original first run programming; the percentage of the service programming that will fall under their proposed definition; and if the Commission were to impose another definition, what impact would it have on your proposal?
560 Could you provide the stakeholder’s conference report referenced before?
561 And in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2012-596 -- and I’m clarifying because it wasn’t clear on the record -- that part -- the Commission removed the five percent limitation on the carryover of expenditure and the obligation to use them in subsequent broadcast year. Please confirm that this is in line with your proposal.
562 If the Commission were to approve Inuit TV’s request for a mandatory distribution order while excluding exempt BDUs serving fewer than 2,000 subscribers in the North to carry your service, consistent with the BDU exemption order, how would this impact your proposal? Would you need to refile projections? If so, please submit as an undertaking.
563 And the eighth undertaking -- can you please provide a list of production companies with whom you have relationships?
564 And the last one -- should the Commission license ITN with a fixed carriage rate for the entire licence term, what rate would be appropriate for carriage of ITN? Would you be willing to submit revised projections as an undertaking?
565 That’s it. Thank you.
566 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
567 Thank you, and we will be back for lunch at 1:15 with the next applicant.
568 Thank you. Have a nice lunch.
569 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 12:20 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 1:21 p.m.
570 THE SECRETARY: We are ready to begin. We will now hear item 2 on the agenda, which is an application by Nunavut Independent Television Network for the Exempt National -- just one minute, perfect -- for the Exempt National Inuktut Language Discretionary Service, Uvagut TV, for the granted mandatory distribution as part of the digital basic service of broadcasting distribution undertakings across Canada pursuant to paragraph 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act.
571 Please introduce yourselves and your colleagues appearing via Zoom, after which you will have 20 minutes for your presentation.
572 MS. TULUGARJUK (interpreted): Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Lucy Tulugarjuk. I will be speaking in Inuktitut, so please use your earphones.
573 THE SECRETARY: Just for a minute, it’s not working. We just want to make sure we heard it.
574 MS. TULUGARJUK (interpreted): Thank you to the Panelists.
575 My name is Lucy Tulugarjuk. I am the Executive Director for NITV.
576 First of all, the Canadian Broadcast -- the CRTC -- I thank the CRTC Panelists for welcoming us here, for the funding request we have submitted for the 9(1)(h). Thank you for this opportunity.
577 Today I am accompanied by -- to my right is Qajaq Robinson. She is the NITV Board Member. To her right is Jonathan Frantz. He is our Producer. And to his right is Tes Layton, our legal counsel for NITV.
578 And on Zoom from Igloolik at our headquarters, I would like to acknowledge Board Members who are watching: Mr. Zacharias Kunuk, Madaline Ivalu, Susan Avingaq, our President, Carol Kunnuk; Mark Junior Malliki, and Lazarie Uttak.
579 It is the enduring vision, fortitude, to bring us here today to broadcast Inuktitut content films, and I would like to acknowledge the founders, Mr. Paulusie Qulittalik, Paul Apak, and Norman Cohn. I thank them for their vision and their dream to broadcast Inuktitut content filming.
580 I would also like to acknowledge those who contributed to the submission of the proposal: staff members, contractors, and special advisors that have worked many hours preparing for today, and through contract and special advisors who worked on behalf of NITV because we all have one vision -- that there should be Inuktitut content broadcasting for our traditions, our language because we need to showcase the importance of our culture and language through film.
581 I would also like to thank those who have worked very hard, and I will name them by name: Mr. John Hodgins, Lola Zhang, Peter Lyman, Michelle van Beusekom, Peter Grant, Grant Buchanan, Nick Ketchum, Cecilia Grayson, Marcela Gomez, and Jennifer Qupanuaq May. They are all watching this hearing from our office or from home.
582 I also extend my gratitude to those who wrote the proposals, those who are in Inuit Nunangat, as well as on Reserve lands of Indigenous Peoples because they believe in the work that we are mandated to produce, and those who were in competition. I also extend my gratitude to them, for they were able to contribute to our desire to want to achieve our goals.
583 And before we continue, I would like to show a small film of Zacharias Kunuk’s introduction to the Panelists. So, I will pass on the microphone back to Qajaq Robinson. So, have a good film show.
584 We can show the film now.
585 MR. KUNUK (interpreted): I am a Board Member of the -- and this is Susan Avingaq; she is an Elder and also a Board Member. And also, here is Mark Malliki; he is also a Board Member even though he is young.
586 Ever since we started in the 1980s, filming and showing the Inuit ways and language, because they are always evolving. It becomes winter and summer and different seasons. We try and show the dangers -- something lively and pleasant. We have reached up to today, and have been doing this for 40 years. We had a difficult time trying to get access to show our videos because our language was so different. Now that we have Uvagut TV, we have access to show our videos. We are here asking for your financial support. Thank you.
587 MS. TULUGARJUK (interpreted): Thank you.
588 I will now pass on the microphone to Qajaq Robinson.
589 MS. ROBINSON (interpreted): Good afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Chair and your fellow Panelists.
590 My name is Qajaq Robinson. I am a Board Member for NITV. Although I am not Inuk, my parents moved to Igloolik before I was born in the 1970s. Although I am not an Inuk, because we are so welcomed, my brother and I, today I can speak fluently in Inuktitut, and the community members of Igloolik have really strongly supported the Inuit content filming and broadcasting, and because of that, I am able to speak fluently. I am very grateful to the people of Iglulingmuit and for having welcomed me my entire life, for being part of the community, and since then and to now, Igloolik is my home.
591 Today, I am going to be presenting my presentation in English. Now I will be moving on to English.
592 MS. ROBINSON: We stand before you today seeking a licence to operate a discretionary program in accordance with the Broadcast Order CRTC 2015-88. We are also seeking a mandatory distribution order under section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcast Act.
593 In legal terms, this is the ask. This is what we are asking for in accordance or in terms of the language under that Act, but what NITV is actually asking for is a chance to use the powerful and influential forces of TV and broadcast to strengthen, protect, and preserve Inuit language and culture now and for the generations to come, and to do so in a way that is grounded the values of Inuit and rooted in Inuit self-determination. We are here to demonstrate to you today that NITV has the experience, skill, and passion to provide a service that Inuit across the country desperately need, but also a service we believe all Canadians need.
594 In January of 2021, Uvagut -- which means “our”) -- TV was launched. It is Canada’s first national television channel in an Indigenous language. NITV broadcasts 24 hours a day, providing 168 hours of Inuit-made programming every week, over 80 percent which is in Inuktitut, and approximately 60 percent of which has English subtitles. Uvagut TV is registered with the CRTC and regulated as an Exempt Discretionary Service under the Broadcast Order CRTC 2015-88.
595 Launching Uvagut was a significant milestone in Canadian broadcast history, bringing vital and necessary services to Inuit who until that point were excluded from the national broadcast scene. Uvagut TV is owned by Nunavut Independent Television Network, which I’ve been referring to as ‘NITV’. It is Inuit controlled and is a non-for-profit society founded in 1991.
596 The NITV founders and the current Board of Directors include media professionals who have collectively contributed to the creation and distribution of over 60 Inuktitut feature films, documentaries, television series, and hundreds of hours of live programming -- titles that include Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner, which was voted by TIFF as the greatest Canadian film of all time.
597 Established as a media arts centre dedicated to the production and dissemination of Inuit-made video, NITV expanded into live local broadcast in the mid-1990s. Building on three decades of experience and technological innovation, NITV launched Uvagut TV with minimal external funding, no-fee licence agreements, with program suppliers to support its historic 24/7 launch of Inuit programming.
598 Uvagut TV is available across Inuit Nunangat. That is the Inuit homeland. Nunavut is one of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat. Inuit Nunangat also includes the Inuvialuit region in the northern Northwest Territories; Nunatsiavut in northern Labrador; as well as Nunavik, also known as Northern Québec.
599 Uvagut TV is also available to Inuit across the country. As we know, there is a growing number of Inuit living in urban centres and across the country.
600 Uvagut TV broadcasts Inuit-made children's shows, movies, documentaries, informational, cultural, public access and current affairs programming. Uvagut TV is the first and only national service offered in an Indigenous language as the second national Indigenous television broadcast service in Canada. Since its launch, Uvagut TV has gained tremendous importance in the lives of Inuit living across the country and it continues to grow as a vital tool for language and cultural preservation, as well as bringing Inuit together and Inuit together with all Canadians.
601 It is our submission that Uvagut TV meets all of the criteria for mandatory distribution as a basic service and in fact at present makes an exceptional contribution to fulfilling important broadcasting policy objectives, in particular, the statutory mandate to reflect the special place of Aboriginal people in the Canadian society as set out in the Act.
602 In addition to meeting the objectives and the criteria set out in the legislation, the service and the space that Uvagut TV creates advance the objectives of reconciliation and the protection and promotion of Inuit rights in Canada, rights that are affirmed under the Constitution and in various human rights and Indigenous rights instruments internationally and domestically.
603 Uvagut TV with mandatory distribution squarely addresses many of the issues identified in your own CRTC Commission reports, as well as the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Calls to Justice of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry.
604 Uvagut TV reflects and affirms Inuit lives, values, world view and culture. Uvagut TV connects and empowers Inuit to share their stories with one another and the rest of the country. It ensures children are growing up with television programming in their own language and reflective of their identity. It is a source of cultural education and pride, and it upholds Inuit constitutional rights to be informed about issues affecting their lands, lives and culture.
605 It is our submission that now is the time in Canada for there to be an Inuktut-language channel on the basic package and we believe that the rest of Canada is behind us in this.
606 The content we see on TV continues to define us as individuals and as a Nation. This was known to many Inuit and was a huge concern 30-plus years ago when Inuit in the community where I grew up, as well as Lucy, fought against TV being introduced into the communities. I believe we were little girls and I remember us listening to people have that conversation, that heated debate, wanting to keep TV out.
607 The inherent risk and the danger that was understood by Inuit was most eloquently described to the CRTC back in 1982 when Rosemary Kuptana described the arrival of southern mainstream media into Inuit homes as "the bomb that kills the people but leaves the buildings standing. Neutron bomb television," said Kuptana, "is the kind of television that destroys the soul of a people but leaves the shell of a people walking around. This is television in which the traditions, the skills, the culture, the language, count for nothing. The pressure, especially on our children, to join the invading culture and language and leave behind the language and culture that count for nothing is explosively powerful."
608 There have been efforts over the years to neutralize and diffuse what Ms. Kuptana described as the Neutron Bomb. I think this is evidenced by what you have before you today, two applicants from the Inuit community who are desperately wanting to build this resource and services not for themselves but for the community.
609 The resistance from the 70s and 80s continued and Inuit continued to try to turn the tides of these devastating impacts and to harness the medium for their own cultural, linguistic and societal objectives.
610 The reality, however, is the bomb keeps getting bigger and stronger, and its influence becomes bigger and stronger and more devastating, and the needs of Inuit and the efforts of Inuit to ensure that their rights and cultural needs are supported and protected and promoted continue to find space exclusively in the margins in the industry.
611 Investments and efforts to redress the impacts at a systemic level, I would argue, are menial. The current pocket of resources falls short and while Uvagut TV has tremendous cultural value and makes exceptional contributions under the Act, we would argue that the service doesn't have the demographic heft or profile to make it viable as a commercial venture. As is the argument put forward by our fellow applicants, really, the only sustainable business model for these ventures to keep going is for designation under 9(1)(h).
612 A mandatory distribution order would bring Inuit priorities out of the margins and would ensure Inuit have the resources to do the work that must be done and to do it in a manner that is rooted in Inuit culture and values and guided through Inuit self-determination.
613 In addition to access to the service, the designation is necessary to maintain the broadcast platform. It is also necessary to have the revenue to create new content.
614 We have had some developments since our previous submissions to you and we continue to work on the service we provide. We shared with you in answers to questions, as well as in our applications, the outcomes of our performance envelopes. I can share with you today that since the launch in January of 2021, Uvagut TV has made $2.5 million in licence fee contributions, has allocated $3.3 million of its CMF, Canadian Media Fund, performance allocation and has triggered $19 million of Inuit language productions.
615 We have a growing relationship with the Knowledge Network, that has agreed to provide Uvagut TV with mentoring during the first few years of our expanded operation, subject to CRTC approval.
616 We have solidified a relationship with The Weather Network to provide local and regional weather throughout Inuit Nunangat, in partnership and to be broadcast through Uvagut.
617 We are working with groups of consultants to prepare for the staff recruitment, hiring and training that is anticipated to expand the operation. Further, we have received a $1 million grant from the Canada Council for the Arts Grow Program to help in scaling up and enhancing our live TV activities and to increase the number of production communities.
618 This service is needed. Inuit need this service. They need a TV channel that is Inuktitut, but you have here before you two organizations that want to provide that service. That is really something I think to celebrate at its core, but we must consider the realities and, Commissioner Anderson, you have alluded to this, do we have a market that can sustain both. The reality is that might not be the case, so I am here with the awkward and unenviable task of trying to highlight to you today why NITV must be the partner to deliver this channel.
619 NITV has a proven track record and is already delivering much of what it has promised. We are operating a 24/7 Inuktut-language channel, we are actively supporting content creation by licensing new content, allocating CMF performance envelopes which have been used to leverage $19 million of language production. We are building relationships and ensuring Inuit right now have 24/7 access to current content that promotes their social, cultural and political needs. We are providing live local and regional news and current affairs from three of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat and we are committed to continuing to increase that. We are ensuring that Inuit can meaningfully engage and participate in public governance through the broadcast of key regulatory proceedings.
620 NITV broadcast for all its viewers the Nunavut Planning Commission hearings recently in relation to the land use plan for the Nunavut Settlement Area. NITV and Uvagut also broadcast the Nunavut Impact Review Board Public Hearings in relation to the Mary River Project Expansion known as Phase 2. The broadcast of those significant regulatory proceedings is instrumental in ensuring that Inuit are participating in decision-making and able to have their rights to consultation and engagement respected.
621 Uvagut TV has delivered news and national events directly into the homes of Inuit through an Inuit voice. This was essential during the Pope's visit in 2022 and as well during the inauguration of Governor General Mary Simon in 2021.
622 NITV supports content creation and the delivery of its service through Inuit-owned creators and businesses, ranging from independent filmmakers to NITV's long-time partner Isuma Distribution International, to stimulate the Inuit economy, foster innovation and to drive Inuit production and content creation. This has always been and will continue to be in our ethos, to keep as much as we can within the community.
623 Uvagut TV has already been producing approximately $3 million worth of CPE content from 2022 to 2023, based on the limiting funding Uvagut has secured as a discretionary service. With a 9(1)(h) order, Uvagut TV will make a $41-million CPE content investment, including original, acquisition and in-house programming. Uvagut TV will commit 71 percent of our first year CPE expenditures as a percentage of the gross revenues based on the current broadcast year and 80 percent CPE expenditures for the remaining four years of the licence term. Of the total CPE expenditures, 91 percent will be original programming, which is roughly $32 million.
624 We are committed to ensuring that our services are accessible by providing closed captioning, audio description, subtitles in English, and we are committed to working with hearing and visually impaired communities to develop accessibility practices specifically for Inuit and Inuktut speakers.
625 We are asking for two cents more than the other applicant because that is what we believe needs to be the revenue to deliver the service that Inuit need and deserve. With those two cents we will deliver more content, more jobs, more training and 24/7 access to culture and language.
626 The 29 months since we launched have worked thanks to incredible partnerships with people who have a shared vision to provide Uvagut TV to its viewers, but we are bridging the gap really until we have sustainable funding, sustainable funding that we believe can only be provided under the current system in Canada under a 9(1)(h) order.
627 The bottom line is this. We have utilized all the options in our toolbox. In an industry where there is minimal interest in funding, distributing and broadcasting of Inuit content, NITV, through Uvagut, has built relationships, invested in community and created solutions to overcome those systemic barriers to bring you Uvagut TV, a channel that is an exceptional contribution to the cultural, political, social and economic fabric of Canada by promoting and protecting Inuit society, culture and language, and by advancing reconciliation.
628 Inuit are resilient, innovative and deeply committed to preserving their language and culture, but now we need the support of the CRTC and the rest of Canada to demonstrate that Canada as a whole needs the voice of Inuit.
629 In this moment you hold in your hands the power to make Uvagut TV sustainable. A tool established by Parliament to protect and promote our democracy and national identity, you have the Broadcasting Act, the same tool that brings the CBC, Radio-Canada, CPAC, The Weather Channel and APTN. Inuit, their language, culture, political and economic realities are part of the Canadian fabric that needs to get the same protection under the Act.
630 We really are at a turning point. Today we are asking you for your help to defuse, as Rosemary Kuptana put it, the neutron bomb and to give Inuit the space, time and resources to use broadcast as a tool to rebuild what has been lost, but also to continue to grow and thrive as Inuit in Canada and to grow and thrive with Canada.
631 Today is monumental, a day Canadian Inuit have longed for, a day that can be transformational when it comes to Canada's reconciliation journey and a day NITV is ready for.
632 I will stop now. I look forward to your questions. (Inuktitut spoken) Merci. Thank you.
633 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you very much for being with us today and for your opening remarks. I can tell you that we had some minor issues with interpretation at the very beginning, but we have heard everything and it is working flawlessly now, so please do continue to speak in the language of your choice, we will hear it all. Thank you.
634 So similar to this morning, I think we will proceed through a couple of blocks of questioning and the first block we will go with relates to programming and we will start with Commissioner Anderson.
635 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much for your submissions.
636 Before I start out on programming, I just had a question because I think you referred to yourself or to Uvagut as Inuit-controlled; is that right?
637 MS. ROBINSON: Okay.
638 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: And I was just wondering, what does that mean?
639 MS. ROBINSON: The majority -- all of the Board Members, except for me, are Inuit.
640 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay. Okay. Thank you. Thanks for that.
641 And is there a requirement in the bylaws that the majority of Board members have to be Inuit or is that unlimited? Apologies, I don't have the bylaws in front of me. Otherwise, I would check them myself.
642 MS. ROBINSON: No, it's fine. I will double-check on the bylaws in terms of the Board of Directors. So lifetime members are -- the governance structure is the membership. It is a not-for-profit society established under the Nunavut Societies Act. The membership elects the Board. Members are required to be Inuit as defined under each of the four different land claim regions. So you could be Inuk from the Inuvialuit Region, Nunavut -- Nunavik Northern Québec and Nunatsiavut Northern Labrador. So Inuk is recognized by the Inuit collective nationally.
643 Board members are selected annually by the membership and this is through an application process. There is priority given to Inuit, but there are also other varied criteria for being a Board member. Looking at the rules and responsibilities of the Board, it is ideal to have a Board that has a wide range of expertise, individuals with financial training. I was brought into the Board because of my legal training. My experience with production is picking up my iPhone and taking videos, but I bring different strengths to the Board.
644 Inuit status as Inuk is also required under the -- for the Community Advisory Committee. So although for the Board of Directors it is not explicit Inuit only, because the membership are Inuit, it will be up to the members to decide who they want to serve on the Board which will oversee the operations.
645 I hope that helped answer.
646 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: So theoretically, could the entire Board be non-Inuit?
647 MS. LAYTON: While Qajaq is finding her space, I will just jump in.
648 I think theoretically, as in legally, it is allowed for under the bylaws, but the bylaws, which is at DM4300219 if you are looking for the document number, the lifetime members, as Qajaq mentioned, elect the Board Of Directors and there are lists of considerations there in the bylaws that set out who should be members of the Board of Directors and the considerations that the members ought to have in their minds when electing the members of the Board.
649 So I will list those off for you. That is Inuit culture and language, broadcast or regulatory experience, Inuit content production, law, accounting, business management and not-for-profit governance. So the idea is to have varied and wide-ranging expertise in a variety of different areas and of course preference will be given to Inuit, and the idea is that each of those expertises or members having those expertises should be Inuit.
650 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: All right. Thank you for that answer.
651 I'm going to jump into programming. I was wondering if you could please describe your current partnerships with Inuit and other Indigenous production companies or individual producers. I note that some of your relationships with production companies are listed in your submissions, but I wanted to give you an equal opportunity to answer the same question that I asked this morning of Inuit TV.
652 MR. FRANTZ: Sure, thank you.
653 So we currently have content from 16 different Inuit-owned production companies that we have rights for. Unfortunately, they are just provided for one dollar or free, so we are not paying the content but they are on our channel. We have also, as you mentioned, licence fees that we have provided to nine different Inuit-owned production companies over the last 30 months of operations.
654 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
655 I believe you've provided a programming grid already, but I don't know that it was for the same week that I requested this morning from Inuit TV, so I'd like to ask if you'd been willing to make an undertaking to provide a programming grid from June 4th to June 10th, where you indicate when a program was broadcasted, if it's Canadian content, and how many are reruns. And I believe we also asked Inuit TV about marking or making a note of which programming was children and youth programming and original programming. So I would ask if you would provide a similar programming grid.
656 MS. ROBINSON: We will do so.
658 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay. I see nodding. Okay.
659 And I was wondering if you could please describe the programming in your current -- how much of your programming in your current schedule consists of programming that comes from independent productions and programming from Indigenous people.
660 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, we can provide the specific details. I mean the majority, the vast majority is Inuit-owned production companies in our current programming. You know, we have a rough block of programming that we can provide in terms of, you know, dedicating five hours a day to children's programming. You know, we have elder interviews, documentaries, four -- roughly three to four hours of live shows per week, and then movies, you know, movies of the week, all produced by Inuit-owned production companies.
661 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: So I would -- sorry, go ahead, please.
662 MS. LAYTON: My apologies, I was going to follow up to that to indicate that the conditions of licence do set out that Uvagut TV would devote at least 80 per cent of the broadcast year to the broadcast of Inuit productions. And we've defined that as programming produced by companies with at least 51 per cent Inuit ownership and Inuit filling two of the key creative roles, being producer, director, or writer.
663 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
664 I'd like to move on to original first-run programming, and I'd like to confirm whether you agree to or you would agree to use the same definition that I referred to from our 2010 policy about original first-run programming, which is defined as original exhibit of a program that has not been broadcast or distributed by a licensed broadcast undertaking, or if you would be using a different definition.
665 MR. FRANTZ: No, we would accept that definition.
666 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay, okay. Thank you.
667 So could you please discuss your programming strategy to develop or acquire original first-run programming for your service's first year of operation if the Commission were to approve your request for mandatory distribution of the service?
668 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, I mean it's fairly similar to what we're currently operating now. We make a commitment that 95 per cent of first-run programming will be Canadian. We have a breakdown in our CPE that we provided where we intend to license between four to five CMF-eligible projects again using our CMF performance envelope to leverage the benefits of tax credits and other financial contributions. In addition to those -- many of which would be considered PNI content that we would air during prime time to really appeal to the national audience -- we would also provide four to five other program support that are non CMF, so slightly lower production cost, documentaries, children's series, as well as in-house programming. And then we make a commitment to five hours of live community affairs and news per week, and then followed by acquisitions of existing content, but not first-run.
669 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
670 Moving on to children's programming -- apologies, I just want to make sure that I'm not asking questions that you've already answered -- but your programming must make exceptional contributions to the broadcasting system. If both services were to be approved, could you comment on the availability of children's programming in Inuktitut and whether your service would be able to distinguish itself from the other service, Inuit TV.
671 MR. FRANTZ: Yes, we are. You know, we make a commitment of five hours of children's programming per day. And we also are currently -- I don't have the numbers in front, but we are currently programming I believe between four to five hours of children's programming per day.
672 We have existing relationships, as I mentioned, with 16 different production companies. And we are currently licensing children's programming from Taqqut Productions, Kingulliit Productions. That's in production right now. So that trend and relationship would expect to be continued.
673 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
674 And did you provide a breakdown of which dialects would be covered by the children's programming?
675 MR. FRANTZ: Not specifically children's, I don't believe, but we do have a breakdown of the dialects that we are targeting.
676 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Right, no, I've got the general breakdown.
677 MR. FRANTZ: Okay.
678 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: But I was wondering specifically for children's programming and youth programming if you had any idea or any commitment towards which dialects would be served or ...
679 MR. FRANTZ: I don't believe we do have a commitment now.
680 MS. TULUGARJUK (interpreted): I will respond in Inuktitut. Currently, for programs geared for children and youth, the language used is from the Baffin Island and Inuvialuit from the communication society as well as we also showcase Arviat Film Showcase Society. The Arviat community is from the Kivalliq Region, and the Inuvialuit is from the Northwest Territories, and here we are from the Baffin region. So we have thought for our future objectives we would like to use all of the Inuit dialects. We want to welcome all of the dialects from Nunavik to Nunavut to Northwest Territories and Labrador. Thank you.
681 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. Thank you for that response. It's appreciated.
682 I wanted to ask again in relation to children's programming whether you anticipate being able to meet the condition of service starting in year one, and if you could explain.
683 MR. FRANTZ: Yes, we do anticipate meeting that condition in year one. We already have a strong relationship with several Inuit production companies and as I mentioned have currently already licensed I believe three new children's programming for this upcoming production cycle.
684 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
685 I'm going to move on to news and current affairs. And my question is: How would you choose news and current affairs in order for the programming to be relevant to Inuit across the country?
686 MS. TULUGARJUK (interpreted): At this time, we are now working on media news, and also we have done a training program in three communities.
687 And also perhaps tomorrow or the day after tomorrow they will be teaching the wind direction on Weather Network through Uvagut TV. Uvagut TV will be collaborating with Weather Network. So there will be four dialects recognized in the Weather Network during the summer, falltime, and wintertime and springtime. In wintertime, we will inform them of the blizzard warnings; and also in the summertime we will be providing information on mosquitoes; as well in the springtime and also during the fall time we will be providing information on ice conditions. Through this programming, we will be providing that program through the Weather Channel. We have completed the work on that. They're now ready to broadcast them. Perhaps we have already agreed to that, and I'm sure that will be aired tomorrow. Thank you.
688 Qajaq will be making a supplement to you.
689 MS. ROBINSON: Inuit homeland and Inuit is a collective. There's quite an interconnectedness. So in terms of being up to date and being tuned in to current events and what's going to be happening, that is a part of -- a key part of that is the relationships. And there are developing relationships as well planned ones for various hubs in the region and for staff in the regions. When I say "regions," it's not the three regions in Nunavut, it's the four regions across Inuit Nunangat, so cross country.
690 There's also, you know, I think what NITV and Uvagut has already demonstrated is being keenly attuned to what are significant issues at the community level, so broadcasting and making accessible regulatory processes that have a huge impact on people's rights and interests, particularly Inuit harvesting rights, land use planning processes that are of significant concern, engagement with national events. The visit of the Pope was broadcast through Uvagut TV in Inuktitut with Inuit commenting and providing commentary throughout.
691 I think that what Uvagut with Lucy's leadership has been able to do is to be attuned to the pulse of what are current issues. And I have no doubt that that will continue.
692 Part of also being responsive to community interests will be promoted through the community advisory committee that's being established that will have representation from the four Inuit regions proportional to population as well as southern Inuit living in southern Canada.
693 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
694 Oh, did you have something to add? Please.
695 MS. TULUGARJUK: (Inuktitut spoken)
696 MS. ROBINSON: Lucy just wanted ...
697 MS. TULUGARJUK (interpreted): I just want to supplement.
698 The other night a band group has asked us if they can perform in July 29, 30. And so they will be broadcasting live performance of Alianait band playing across Canada.
699 And also we will also be airing in the near future Arctic Winter Games. We've also negotiated with them to see if we can broadcast them on Uvagut TV because there were many parents who were asking us to showcase the Arctic Winter Games because the parents wanted to see their children play the games. So they have been writing correspondence to us, requesting that we broadcast the Arctic Winter Games.
700 And there have been many numerous questions whether we are going to be airing live shows, whether at the graduations, because some families at their homes can watch the graduation ceremony. And I have been told that the parents who live in a different community were very surprised to see their child graduate outside of their community in another province. Inuit people are very appreciative of the live shows because they can see the person instantly.
701 One thing that I'm very proud of, I have been an actor and I've been filming, and my children can now speak English as we live down here. One thing that I'm very passionate about that us Inuit need: opportunity. Because they took away our programming. But I will not give up because now and for the future, Inuktitut language is ours. I am not ashamed of our language. We should not be ashamed of our language. If you're Innu and if you speak English, you have to have an opportunity as well to show that you can hear the English speaking their mother tongue so that you can see your culture.
702 So we need to abide by the legislation because Aboriginal people welcome people who come into our community when they were requesting to have TV in our communities. And we welcomed them to have an opportunity so that we could broadcast programs in Inuktitut. I appear before you today, my parents, my mother, my father, and the rest of my relatives have worked very passionately hard to grasp it. So I'm holding onto it. Seems like I'm showing you that we're very passionate and compassionate about trying to get this through, so that once I turn the TV on, so that I should have the opportunity to see our culture, our language. I should be able to have the right to hear myself.
703 It's now year 2023, even. We need that opportunity now. We need to be recognized through being recognized. And we've been recognized through United Nations. That's why I'm here because I'm very passionate about the fact that we need to be recognized as Aboriginal people. We welcomed you when you arrived. You will need to be welcomed too. This is our land. This is Indigenous land. You are the visitors. In the future, if we want to be successful in the future, we have to cooperate with each other, help each other instead of working independently from each other. Thank you.
704 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you, and thank you for that answer.
705 I'm going to go through the rest of my questions quite quickly because my time is running out.
706 APTN has a condition of service that requires it to broadcast at least five hours and 30 minutes of news or current affairs programming on all feeds during the broadcast week. Several of the intervenors, mostly the broadcast distribution undertakings -- BDUs -- have stated that APTN is providing a service including in the North. So I just wanted to give you an opportunity in a short period -- and I'm going to ask that you provide a brief answer because my colleagues have questions that they'd like to ask as well. But can you explain for the record how your news or current affairs will be different than what is currently broadcast on APTN?
707 MS. ROBINSON: I mean I think fundamentally and most importantly the distinction is language. Right now, not to take away what APTN provides, which is essential, but it isn't focused for Inuit, Inuit Nunangat, and the Inuit community linguistically, culturally, and in terms of the current events. What Inuit get from that is a fraction of what is needed.
708 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
709 And how will you build capacity to provide news programming in the near future?
710 MS. ROBINSON: You know, we do have plans to ramp up. We're in, I said, as I mentioned, it's a bit of a bridging, gap-bridging phase. We have worked with and consulted with headhunting companies, consultants. As we all know, the market is thin when you're looking for people. So we have targeted efforts as well as public campaigns planned, working with some leading people in recruitment. Brenda LaRose, Maurice Serrette (ph) are two who we've been talking to a lot.
711 We do have internal plans on how to get to what we need in order to deliver.
712 MR. FRANTZ: And sorry, just to add one other thing, just specifically related to news, we do have an approved application with a local journalism initiative which is run through the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations, where they provide direct mentoring and support to train young journalists.
713 We have also applied to membership with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and have been in communication with them about our eligibility.
714 So we do look to develop a fairly robust standards of journalism practice and training. With our Canada Council support as well we have funding and training activities to grow the number of communities that are providing live community affairs and news on Uvagut.
715 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: I believe I am out of time, but I still have a few more questions. So just very quickly, what are your plans regarding a news bureau, editorial control, and fact checking? How will you handle complaints about journalistic standards?
716 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, I think that really -- so what I just updated with Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, so we would adopt the general practices that they follow, also working with CACTUS as well on training, and then developing our own internal guidelines and policies around journalism practices.
717 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. And how many hours a week are you broadcasting or showing current affairs? How many hours a week are you producing and/or acquiring each week?
718 MR. FRANTZ: Currently right now, it's between three and four, and then we're committing to five a week moving forward.
719 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. And then in response to an RFI from July 19th of last year, you indicated that you have local team members producing shows in Iqaluit, Igloolik, Arviat, and Cambridge Bay, and that you have plans to add Tasiujaq, Pond Inlet, and Inuvik.
720 Since your application, have you added teams to other locations?
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721 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, we have a relationship now with a group in Iqaluit called Pinnguaq that we're working with and should be starting shows with them. And again, through the Canada Council money which has just been flowed through us now, so we have money to add more communities to our network of local live production.
722 Oh yeah, and also the SIKU ice watch, so out of Sanikiluaq, we work with them to produce shows, then share their information on safe ice travel. It involves kind of wayfinding, Traditional Knowledge around ice conditions and travelling in the North. So we have a good relationship with them, and we're producing content with them.
723 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: I think I'm done with questions on programming.
724 I did just want to ask one more question, and I suppose it relates to my question earlier about Inuit representation for Uvagut. And Inuit TV seemed to place a heavy emphasis on being run by Inuit and to have mostly if not all Inuit employees. What is Uvagut's view on that?
725 MS. ROBINSON: Could you repeat the question?
726 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: This morning, Inuit TV placed a heavy emphasis on having Inuit directors and employees. Does Uvagut have any similar prioritization for Inuit directors and employees? Like what are your views on Inuit representation within the workplace?
727 MS. TULUGARJUK (Interpreted): Well, we have considered that Inuit would be given a priority for hiring and to -- for training as well and also for editing and for film-making and also for announcers. Inuit will be our priority and if we need replacement -- if we can have a replacement who is not beneficial --who an individual is a non-beneficiary that we will welcome them.
728 But Inuit will be given hiring priority.
729 MS. ROBINSON: It would also go to who we work with on the contract in terms of the priority from production to distribution. I mean, that is in the DNA of NITV, to work within the community.
730 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay. Those are all my questions. Thank you.
731 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner. And thank you for your answers.
732 Before I turn it over to Commissioner Desmond, I would just like to ask one about your current non-linear distribution, so any on-demand services that you’re offering now and your plans for them going forward.
733 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, I'll start but maybe we could have John Hodgins from our Zoom feed join in. He’s our technical director.
734 You know, currently our broadcast is mirrored through Uvagut TV’s online site, so you can watch it on the television or online, but we do have other plans in development for a video on-demand that John could comment on.
735 MR. HODGINS: Hi, can you hear me?
736 I think John’s pretty much covered what we’re doing now. Our current linear broadcast stream is mirrored online. We also -- the majority of the content that airs on Uvagut is available as VOD directly from our website.
737 I think in the future we’d be looking at building that into a multi-platform, you know, online broadcasting system to reach, you know, TV viewers online.
738 I don’t know if this is the place to go into that in detail, but you know, that’s definitely a large part of our mandate, I think, to make Inuktitut language content available to as wide an audience as possible.
739 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you for that.
740 And with that, I’ll turn the floor over to Commissioner Desmond.
741 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Good afternoon, and thank you for being here. I have a few questions on your expenditure requirements.
742 So maybe I’ll just jump right in and start asking you about your CPE proposal.
743 And if I understand properly, you have proposed a CPE requirement of 70 percent of your prior years’ revenues, and that is quite a bit higher than other 9(1)(h) services that have an expectation in the range of 48 to 55 percent.
744 So I’m wondering if you could give us a bit of context in terms of how you decided on a 70 percent CPE and how you would be intending to meet those requirements given that it’s quite a bit higher than other 9(1)(h) services.
745 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, sure. So it's a mix of two things, our experience currently and then financial projections and costs.
746 So currently, our operations, our CPE is roughly 85 percent right now when we’re broadcasting. Also, we did a fairly detailed analysis of our costs moving forward. One of the benefits with the -- our transmission program is it’s fairly cost effective. You know, we can also completely control it so we’re not -- we’re not needing to bring it outside consultants and people to work for us when we want to show, you know, live shows or do special events, so the transmission costs are quite low.
747 So after we calculated all of our operating, co-operating costs, we put as much money into our CPE as possible, again following our principle to keep as much money into content creation which supports language and culture and keeps the money within the Inuit production sector.
748 So that was, you know, a very important decision for us to make and really try to bump the CPE as high as we could realistically achieve.
749 And again, the combination that I mentioned before, you know, we have some -- some of our production is going into the higher production value PNI type of programs. Others, lower cost per minute. And the live is really where that helps.
750 You know, it’s very cost effective to do and you get a lot of really interesting, locally relevant content through our live technology.
751 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. I just want to correct something. I think I said 70 percent, but if I understand it, it’s 80 percent is your proposal. So I just want to correct that for the record.
752 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, and it's 70 percent for year 1, so we are -- and then ramping up to 80 percent after that.
753 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Correct, okay. Thank you for that clarification.
754 And do you intend to acquire or broadcast any non-Canadian programming?
755 MR. FRANTZ: Yes, a small amount I believe five percent. We can get back to you, but a small percentage of non-Canadian from relationships we have developed over the years, but it would still be in Inuktitut.
756 MS. TULUGARJUK: We have had discussions with Greenlanders. We have had discussions with Greenlanders to produce and to welcome Inuktitut content programs coming from Greenland perhaps once or twice a month.
757 And in about a month or two, we would like to broadcast and for us to also share our content to Greenlanders and so that Greenlanders will be able to watch our programs made in Nunavut and then us receiving programs from Greenland made by Greenland.
758 Thank you.
759 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Thank you.
760 And just to confirm that non-Canadian programming, would it be available in Inuktitut?
761 MS. TULUGARJUK: Yes. All the content will be in Inuktitut and in Greenlandic.
762 Thank you.
763 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you.
764 And I'm wondering, given that you would require sort of a ramp-up period, would it make sense that for the first year, your CPE requirements would be based on your current year’s revenues and then, going forward, your spending requirements would be based on your previous year’s revenues?
765 So year 1 would be current and then the other years would be on your previous years’ revenues.
766 MR. FRANTZ: Yes, that’s what we are expecting. We have had some back and forth in some of your Requests for Information about the calculation of the CPE on current year, but that would be our expectation, yes.
767 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. And when you earlier mentioned that the first year would be your 70 percent going to 80, so is it your view, then, that the first year would be a 70 percent requirement?
768 MR. FRANTZ: Yes.
769 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: And is that still something that you think is achievable?
770 MR. FRANTZ: Yes. I mean, we're now at 85 percent in our current operation, so 70 percent we feel confident with. And I believe it’s in -- it’s also in the condition of licence that we’ve provided.
771 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: And again, just to kind of confirm, do you think that that should be a little more gradual over time or, again, are you comfortable that 70 percent is achievable? And would it be -- you know, would it give you more flexibility if that number was a little lower for the first year or two, giving you a gradual ramp-up?
772 MR. FRANTZ: We're confidant. I mean, we have a good relationship with production companies who have also, you know, hopefully anticipating a positive response here and ramping up their own internal production capacity, noting that demand hopefully will come down the road.
773 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you.
774 I think over the course of when the Application was filed and then through the RFI process, there might have been a bit of a shift in terms of what was originally proposed and then what is proposed now. I think you’ve put that on the record in terms of the 70 percent for year 1 and then ramping up to 80 percent.
775 But I did have a question with respect to your financial projections that are related to CPE. And if we were going to do the math, it would result in a calculation of just 72 percent of your current broadcast year’s revenues being devoted to CPE in year 1.
776 I could walk you through that if that’s helpful just to kind of give you a sense of where that comes from.
777 MR. FRANTZ: Sure. And maybe this is where Lola joining us from Zoom could participate. She works with Nordicity and has been helping us with our projections.
778 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, sure. So just if you have your financial projections there in front of you.
779 MS. ZHANG: Yes, I’m ready.
780 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. So I'm looking at your first year revenue, and in that first year, you show a revenue of $10.9 million.
781 MS. ZHANG: That's correct.
782 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. And maybe if you could walk us through the math in terms of how you then came to the resulting figure of showing CPE of 7,789,000.
783 MS. ZHANG: Just to clarify the question, you’re asking for a detailed breakdown of the total CPE expenditure being the first year of the licence period.
784 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Correct.
785 MS. ZHANG: Okay, yeah. Okay. Happy to walk you through that.
786 In broad strokes, the first year CPE expenditures can be broken down into a few different expenses. Primarily, we have three major different type of programmings that we proposed.
787 Number one is the portion of licence fees, which is the original productions that we’ll be investing, which accounts for $4.2 million. The second type of categories we have is the licence fees that we’ll be paying for Canadian acquisition, so those are the backlog content that we’ll be acquiring from the Inuit producers, acquiring different Inuit content which they are -- you know, currently are contributing based on a goodwill of just one dollar. That amount will be $716,667. And then thirdly, we have an in-house programming category, which in the first year we have about -- we have $855,000 planned to invest in live in-house programming.
788 We also have there the two categories in addition to those three major program types that I just described. The other two includes production staff salaries, which amounts to $1.6 million, and we also have other expenditures. These include any kind of miscellaneous fees we need to pay for legal consultation, travel expenses or any kind of consultation that we will need to take in order to produce the content in accordance to the policy and regulation, et cetera.
789 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you very much. That's quite helpful in terms of understanding the breakdown.
790 And as a result of that and based on your breakdown and the number you’ve provided, then you should be successful in reaching that 70 percent CPE for the first year.
791 Okay. That’s very helpful.
792 MS. ZHANG: That's correct.
793 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. That's very helpful. Thank you very much.
794 The next kind of question I have is with respect to your proposal that your calculation of CPE would be based on your current year’s revenues as opposed to previous year’s revenues. Is that correct?
795 MS. ZHANG: That's correct. We’ve -- you know, as Jonathan mentioned earlier, we’ve done both calculations, but we felt like based on current year’s revenue percentage is -- would be more accurate as, you know, we do project a declining revenue. We do project a declining revenue as time goes by, so I think financially it would make more sense for us to plan our operation and programming accordingly if we can look at our current revenue and then make plans around that number.
796 But we’re happy to provide the percentage and number based on -- you know, after the first year based on the previous year’s revenue as well. And -- yeah. And we’re happy to provide that in the underwriting.
797 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, sorry. Because I just want to clarify what you’re proposing because, as I understand it, on the record you’re looking to use the current year’s revenues as your -- the basis for your calculation.
798 And in most other 9(1)(h) services, of course, they are based on the previous year revenue, so I’m not sure with the comment that you offered whether or not that’s something now you would be comfortable with or is it still your preference to use the current year?
799 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, our preference is the current year and, again, because of the declining subscriber numbers. So we feel like it would be hard to -- if we based it on the previous year, the number’s essentially inflated and we have less revenue, so we’re always trying to spend more than we actually have.
800 So if we were able to use current year, it’s more reflective of the cash that we would have in that year of operations. Yeah.
801 So that’s the basic justification for why we made that request.
802 And then also, it asked to have a 10 percent carryover again, so I think in our mind that would also help ease the -- ease things year to year.
803 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Right, okay. And so I’m just going to drill down on a couple of those points because I appreciate what you’re saying in terms of declining subscribers and the risk that, you know, making a commitment based on a particular number and then you have less revenue, but in the Commission’s views, that may also be problematic because if you’re using the current year’s revenues, there may be a possibility of non-compliance because you might see a situation where maybe your subscribers -- your numbers are not correct what you had forecasted or, if the revenues are greater than expected, so then you end up in a situation where you find yourself to be non-compliant which, you know, obviously would not be ideal.
804 So historically and traditionally, it would be based on the previous year’s revenues and that would reduce some of the uncertainty for yourself and for other parties around the required amount of spending.
805 So given the risk of non-compliance and to reduce some of that uncertainty, do you see it as a possibility to make a condition of service that would be based on previous years’ revenues?
806 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, we're open to discussing options here, for sure, that we could have further conversations and, you know, we definitely want to meet the compliance requirements, so we would -- we’d be happy to talk more and maybe Lola and I could work on some scenarios and come back to you with more details.
807 But yeah, we’re open to talking about that, for sure.
808 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: And I think that does tie into the CPE requirement itself. I mean, you’ve shared a concern that with declining subscribers, you know, you might find that you’re making a commitment that’s higher than you can meet.
809 Does that -- would it be easier than to have a lower CPE requirement as a result of that so that you’re sure to meet that expectation?
810 But perhaps I would leave it with you as an undertaking and if you’re willing to consider whether or not using previous years’ revenues is an option, then we could have that information on the record.
812 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah. Yeah, that's fine.
813 And then I guess maybe we could just get clarity on the specific details of what the response -- what the question is that we respond to and we can get back to you.
814 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Sorry. So would you like me to clarify the question, then, for you?
815 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, if it’s that we would be willing -- if it’s the both the CPE -- reducing the CPE and the previous years or just the previous years --
816 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Yeah. I mean, I think my question started with are you comfortable or would you be willing to comply with a condition of service that requires you to base your CPE on your previous years’ revenues. And I think you were going to have a look at that in terms of the financial impact.
817 MR. FRANTZ: Sure.
818 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: But maybe as a subset, you know, if your analysis determines that you then, as a result, need to lower your CPE requirement, you could include that in the response. Would that -- does that make sense?
819 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. Thank you for the clarity.
820 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Thank you.
821 So then I'd like to move on, if we could, to spending flexibility. And as you earlier commented on or made reference to the ask that you have more flexibility on the carryover from year to year and that you’re requesting 10 percent spending flexibility for CPE and PNI expenditure requirements in lieu of what would be traditionally a five percent requirement.
822 Traditionally, the Commission has not granted that 10 percent spending flexibility, so I’m wondering if you could provide some details as to why you think the 10 percent would be appropriate in this instance, why we would make an exception from what is the traditional amount.
823 MR. FRANTZ: I don't know if, Lola, you have -- and I’m just kind of looking through my notes to see what we had commented on or, Lola, if you have an answer now. Otherwise, we could get back to you.
824 MS. ZHANG: We'd like to provide our answers in writing.
825 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah. So maybe we could take that as an undertaking, then, just explain the logic behind the 10 percent.
827 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Sure, if that's easier. Certainly, yeah.
828 And maybe as a subset again of that question, if the Commission were to impose a five percent flexibility as opposed to the 10 that you’ve requested, could you confirm what impact that would have on your financial projections?
829 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, we can add that to the undertaking as well.
830 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. And then certainly feel free to include in your response whether or not that would impact as well on your CPE, your proposed CPE requirement again.
831 MR. FRANTZ: Okay. Thank you.
832 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: I hope that that's clear.
833 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s...
834 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: I'm wondering now if we could have just a short conversation on PNI and whether, in your view, the Commission should impose a PNI requirement on your service and how, if it was imposed, that would impact on your ability to delivery on your mandate.
835 MR. FRANTZ: Sure. So we also, you know, commented on PNI.
836 Similar to what we heard earlier, I think, you know, the focus of Uvagut TV is about language and culture where PNI maybe isn’t as important of a metric to track. That being said, we did agree to a 20 percent of CPE or 25 percent of revenues, depending on which way you’re calculating it.
837 You know, as a whole in our programming mix, we do have an interest in creating high quality content that is played in primetime hours and appeals to a national audience to bring viewers in to sharing the Inuit perspective and worldview. That is important to us, you know, so we don’t have a problem making a PNI commitment.
838 And our current catalogue does carry a fairly significant amount of content that would be considered PNI using your definition.
839 There was also some confusion -- I believe CMF’s definition of PNI is slightly different where they include children’s programming, whereas the CRTC’s does not, I believe.
840 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: So again, I'll just maybe tie this PNI question with your proposal to base your -- you know, on the current versus your previous years’ revenues. And I’m wondering if you could kind of comment on whether or not your PNI should be based on previous years’ revenues and, if that was the case, what impact would that have.
841 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah. So we can add that to the undertaking, then, in our analysis, if that’s okay.
842 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you.
843 And if I could just have one minute to look at my notes, if you don’t mind. I’ll just take a second here.
844 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. I think I’ve covered all of my questions, so thank you for that. I appreciate your time.
845 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner.
846 I think what I'd recommend, if staff is in agreement, that we take our break now and then we’ll come back for the final round of questioning for the day.
847 THE REGISTRAR: Perfect. We will take a break and be back for 3:05
--- Upon recessing at 2:49 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 3:07 p.m.
848 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Chairperson we are now ready to continue.
849 THE CHAIRPERSON: Excellent, thank you.
850 Thank you for coming back.
851 So, I’ll lead off the next block of questions. And I’ll start with a number of questions related to one of the fundamental issues we need to address, which is the question of exceptional importance. So, there is a line of thinking that to be exceptional, one must differentiate itself. So, maybe I’ll do it as a two-part question.
852 First is how would you differentiate your programming from the proposal of the other applicant, as well as from other services currently available today, notably APTN?
853 And then the second part of my question is, is it possible to have two relatively similar services both of which would be seen as providing content of exceptional importance? Or, does the presence of one mean that the second almost by definition is no longer exceptional?
854 MS. ROBINSON: In terms of the distinctions and what makes Uvagut exceptional from CBC and APTN and those that are currently in the market, I think the language and content, and the people that they serve, in essence, that Uvagut TV serves, and the language within which the content is in, makes it unique and exceptional.
855 I also think that because of its role in the preservation of language -- Inuktut -- as well as cultural knowledge and traditions, I think often, you know, when you talk about Inuit content, it’s not just the language spoken; it’s the subject matter that’s covered. The issues in the news and current events that are going to be covered are not currently covered by either APTN or CBC.
856 And they also speak to really essential cultural content, norms, values, a world view that is rooted in something that neither APTN or CBC or other current broadcasters provide. Not to take away from what APTN does; they provide something very unique and significant and it serves a tremendous purpose, but this is -- this is also unique.
857 In terms of what distinguishes Uvagut from the broadcast that Inuit TV wants to put out, I think we’ve covered that to a degree in our opening. We are currently operating; we are 24/7. We want to continue to be 24/7, providing news, children’s programming. The emphasis is educational and language preservation, but it’s much broader. It’s about having a service that reflects Inuit, that reflects Inuit views and voices and culture and politics and social realities, economic realities, and I think that is where Uvagut TV is unique and distinct.
858 I’ll ask if my colleagues want to add to that, and then I’ll jump to your next question, about can you have two? Do you want to add?
859 MS. TULUGARJUK (interpreted): We are unique as Uvagut TV can broadcast livestreaming, and we can implement this immediately. And looking at the recent meeting of the Nunavut Environmental Committee, we were able to broadcast the livestream of that conference. So, this is very efficient. And we can provide that livestreaming to Nunavummiut. And there was a hearing of the Meadowbank Mining Company, who wants to expand, and therefore the majority of Inuit were able to be informed of these hearings through Uvagut TV and livestreaming. So, this is a very positive impact for the people. If we see -- if we look at today’s reality, Inuit can be involved in livestreaming and hearings.
860 Thank you.
861 MR. FRANTZ: You know something else that has, you know, been mentioned today is the history of production in Igloolik. You know, we have a very deep back catalogue of incredible content on Uvagut TV now. I know there’s, you know, been talks of sharing and how that would work, but currently that is one distinction. I think we have a, you know, very deep and robust catalogue of existing content right now, as well.
862 MS. ROBINSON: To your second question, is it possible to have two? I wish -- I hope; right? I think that this is a really challenging situation and one that I don’t envy you being in your position to make that determination. The optimist in me says, “Yes, let’s have two.” Two are unique and distinct and will provide more to the people -- Inuit and all Canadians. But can two be each unique and distinct, and contribute, to meet the test in the Act? That’s your job. I’m sorry it’s your job. (Laughs) It’s a really hard job and I think the realist in me says that’s probably not the reality. I’ll leave it at that.
863 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I don't disagree with you that our job is challenging. I did want to make sure you had the opportunity to -- to share your views.
864 I know you spoke this morning about employment opportunities and particularly plans to prioritize hiring of Inuit staff. Could you speak about your current staffing contingent, and what percentage of it is Inuit? And then I’d also like to hear about beyond employment -- other economic opportunities that you would be creating, and the impact you might have on increasing the prominence of Indigenous People in the broadcasting sphere.
865 MR. FRANTZ: Sure. I’ll -- I'll start and just comment on our current staffing. So, NITV currently has seven FTE, full-time equivalent. Four of those are Inuit. And we have 10 contractors who participate in, you know, variant aspects of our work, and five of those are Inuit. And I know, just in some of our hiring practices, you know, we do -- in all of our employment recruiting, we do specifically prioritize Inuit hires first, you know, but, you know, the service and the job also dictates that a certain amount of skill is required, and experience. We have a very active training program. In all of our projects, we have different training components. You know, funders are keen to support us in our training activities, so that is something that is ongoing, working with students in the summer, training young Inuit in all aspects of our work.
866 But maybe -- do you want to comment more on longer-term?
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867 MS. LAYTON: And I think, you know, one other relevant thing to note is that Uvagut TV will create an economic ripple and an impact that goes well beyond just the film production industry -- or production industry more broadly. I think that there will be a diverse set of skills needed to support a channel that produces content from such a diverse range of areas, and that’s really from makeup artists to taxi drivers to accountants, and a broad spectrum of experience will be required to fill all of those roles, and there will have to be -- and there is already -- training programs within the company in order to facilitate Inuit fulfilment of those roles. And so, I think my point is, there will be employment that’s not directly tied to production and technical skill sets -- again, administrative staff, janitorial, transportation, food services, accommodation. And so, the idea is that there will really be -- this will be a driver of economic impact to the North in the region that goes well beyond the production industry.
868 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
869 Anything to add? Sorry.
--- Off microphone
870 MS. ROBINSON: No, that's good.
871 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
872 So my next few questions are again about clarifying the extent of the request for mandatory distribution. So, if my reading is correct, your request is for mandatory distribution across all licensed BDUs as well as across all exempt BDUs, both those with more than 2,000 subs and those with less than 2,000 subs. Is that correct?
873 MR. FRANTZ: Yes, that's correct.
874 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
875 Can you provide a bit of a justification for -- specifically for requesting carriage on those below 2,000 subs?
876 MS. LAYTON: I mean, I think our answer would be similar to the answer that you heard this morning, which is that it’s needed across the entire country and we don’t feel there should be a distinction with respect to the below 2,000 or above 2,000. The amount of revenue that’s needed to fund the service has to be across the board.
877 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would it be fair to say the driver for that then is less about the economics and more about the other objectives of the service in terms of meeting the needs of the audience?
878 MS. LAYTON: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely it's both. And, you know -- and from I guess a broader policy or a systemic perspective, it’s something that we feel strongly all Canadians should contribute to making a space for Inuit voices.
879 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And then, sorry, I'm going to drive the point home even further again. So, if the carriage was required for the small BDUs but there was no wholesale rate, would that have a significant impact on the economics of your application, or not?
880 MS. LAYTON: I don't believe so, but we can get back to you once we’ve crunched the numbers.
881 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, yeah, I would appreciate that, if you could take that as an undertaking -- to crunch the numbers, and --
882 MS. LAYTON: We can do that.
883 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- any assessment of how it impacts your models would be excellent to have on the record.
885 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, now I'll move into a series of questions that are prompted by submissions made by intervenors in the process.
886 And again, I’ll start with Bell. And Bell’s proposal spoke to the option of imposing mandatory carriage exclusively in the North. Can you speak to which of your objectives could be met through such an approach, and which could not?
887 MS. ROBINSON: It would be a very different channel you’d be looking at. I can’t really imagine how any -- perhaps a basic, locally-accessible, but without the content, with a lot of reruns, you know, might remain an option. But to have the production increase, to have the content creation, to have the accessibility -- and again I think we’re -- perhaps the point is being missed, is this isn’t just for Inuit. I think what perhaps the BDUs are missing, and Bell in particular, is this is essential to Canada’s story.
888 Non-Inuit Canadians also -- I believe, we submit -- need to see this content, and I -- the voice and the words of Senator Commissioner Sinclair come to mind: that education got us into this mess; education is what’s going to get us out. Television broadcast is one of the strongest tools for education, and that education is desperately needed as well by non-Inuit, non-Indigenous Canadians to really see Inuit as part of the fabric of Canada; to see Inuktut as one of the founding and essential languages; to see the culture norms, worldviews as being integral to the Canadian fabric.
889 You keep it isolated to the North; you lose that. You lose that really key element, which is, I think, one of the things that make this exceptional. We’d lose that exceptionality, I submit.
890 MS. LAYTON: And I think one thing I add to Qajaq’s answer is that we have made a commitment -- a significant commitment to English subtitling. And so, to further that education and to bring those values to the homes of all Canadians is going to serve an educational purpose that goes beyond the Inuit community with that English subtitling. And that’s the impact that again goes to your earlier question, Chairperson Scott, with respect to the uniqueness of the service.
891 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
892 So, moving on now to the submission from Rogers, who in their written submission they propose that the CRTC should encourage you to pursue partnerships or program supply arrangements with services like APTN, like the CBC. Could you comment? I think a number of the things you have said address some of the fundamental challenges with that approach, but I would like to give you the opportunity to respond specifically to Rogers' proposal.
893 MS. ROBINSON: I play sports, so I tend to go to sports analogies. When you are dealing with that kind of dynamic, it is their strike zone, right? To build those relationships and to get what we produce broadcast on those channels instead, you are -- you have to fit into their mandate, their needs, their priorities. That doesn't facilitate -- it goes back to that example of existing in the margins and only being able to find space where others will allow you to be. This is essential to ensuring that Inuit are creating their space and defining their space and defining their priorities when it comes to content production and what Inuit want to view. So that is my analogy, the way it works in my head.
894 I will let my colleagues add if they wish to, but that is -- I think that that proposal reflects what has been trying to be done up until today, is trying to have those relationships just hasn't been working and is largely marginal. And it isn't addressing the immediate needs and it isn't transformative and it isn't urgent and it isn't going to offset or turn the tides on the negative impacts in a way a standalone can and will.
895 MR. FRANTZ: And you will hear tomorrow from one of the interveners who is going to speak in the morning, a production company that we have a long relationship with. I mean, they have tried for years and years to work with mainstream broadcasters and they continually have to water down their stories to meet the needs of their requests, whereas we provide a space where Inuit can tell their stories in their way and we don't have a template that they have to fit. We are much more flexible and it is very invigorating for them as storytellers, as media makers to have that freedom. And it speaks to the audience as well in, you know, the responses that you got from our positive interventions, the online submissions as well, that there is a desire to see something different, that there is interest and authenticity in real stories and voices, and I think creating the space for Uvagut will enhance that and you can't do it with existing services.
896 And we do work practically with APTN in particular, where we share windows. You know, we provide some performance envelope, get a second window on an Inuktitut version. So there are still sensible ways that we can partner together, but I don't think -- you know, I don't think they are replaceable, they are different needs, different purposes.
897 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
898 Have any of the large BDUs, Rogers or others, reached out to you in a way that you would describe as constructive or promising? I'm seeing the head shakes already.
899 MS. ROBINSON: I don't think we have heard from any of them -- my colleagues can correct me if I'm wrong -- but we did reach out.
900 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
901 I will turn then to the submission from Quebecor. Quebecor raised significant concerns about the number of production companies and the available capacity. So I am interested, first, in your thoughts about the industry's ability to meet your needs and, again following up on an earlier theme, whether the capacity exists to support more than one service.
902 MR. FRANTZ: Yes, I can comment on the production capacity. I mentioned earlier that we already have 16 different production companies that are providing content. You know, we anticipate that they are willing to meet the increased demand. We have also been in touch with Nunavut Film Development Corporation about supporting training activities, our in-house production team, growth of live TV, you know, all very accessible tools and technology and I think a very strong growing interest in a group of media makers who already have decades of experience. So we don't foresee any issue with the ability to meet the demand for content.
903 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And I'm not sure, do we have on record that -- you mentioned 16. Could we get that list as an undertaking?
904 MR. FRANTZ: Yes. I have the list here, I can send it in an undertaking, yes. And as well, the companies that we have currently licensed I can provide as well.
906 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perfect. Thank you.
907 The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation in their submission proposed that -- I will paraphrase significantly -- essentially that having the two applicants cooperate, so having one stronger proposal, might actually serve the audience better and be a more viable solution going forward. Can you comment on the feasibility of that happening, why it hasn't happened to date and kind of a bit of an optimism check, an optimism or a pessimism check?
908 MS. ROBINSON: In terms of -- I can't speculate why IBC takes that position, but in terms of, you know, why that hasn't happened yet, you know, it would be ideal. I think we are a small population, the market is even smaller and the players in the industry are few.
909 Would it be ideal to come as one application, a unified force? Yes, probably it would be easier. Maybe we wouldn't have ended up with a public hearing, it would have happened a different way, but that is not what has happened. And I think we have to respect the two autonomous entities, although from the same community, are two autonomous entities with different histories and who have different dreams. Although both dream to serve their community and want to serve their community, their language, their culture for generations to come, they have done it in different ways and I think that has to be respected.
910 We listened this morning as there was discussion about the negotiations and, as is often the case in negotiations, memories and recollections of things aren't always identical. It was NITV Uvagut's hope to come as a partnership, to come to an understanding of what a partnership would be and what it would look like, respecting the expertise and the passion and the commitments from each. It ended up, in our recollection, in our interpretation, that it was -- the requirement would be more of a merger where NITV would have been subsumed by Inuit TV, which was something that the Board could not proceed with, being subsumed and then abandoning our application and having it taken over.
911 Granted, you know, the timeline to negotiate something was tight. The NITV application has been, I would say, public knowledge for a while, that NITV was advancing Uvagut for mandatory distribution, but when it came down to the eleventh hour, deadlines coming in relation to the applications, we weren't at a place for that.
912 Going forward, of course, there is I believe a will to work together. (Inuktitut spoken). There will be working together for a common goal. What that looks like, though, I don't know and there haven't been discussions since.
913 I expect you are going to ask other questions about what that could look like and I think that as one of the Board members, as one of seven, many of whom on the Board are elders and who have been at this for 40-plus years, that is going to take some work, but we have to, I submit, respect the autonomy of these two entities.
914 THE CHAIRPERSON: I appreciate that answer very much and I hear you loud and clear on respecting the autonomy of the two entities.
915 I do want to probe a little bit further. Is there -- you spoke about a desire for collaboration in one form or another and I recognize it is a bit premature to get into any level of detail, but is there a path to collaboration even in a scenario where one party was approved and one party was denied the applications before us? Does that scenario shut off paths to collaboration or does that maintain or even enhance options for a collaborative approach?
916 MS. ROBINSON: I don't think it closes the door. You have also heard how many different hats people are using, right, so I think the folks at NITV and those production bodies will continue to do this work, right? Adaptability and flexibility, I would say, is one of the things that has made NITV and the other industry players in Nunavut, in Inuit Nunangat so successful, is finding the spaces where you can continue to advance the primary objectives, which is to have Inuit-specific content and Inuktut-language content and getting it to people. I believe there are paths.
917 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. My final question before I turn it back over to colleagues -- and you have already hinted at the difficulty of our job and you have been very clear that our job is our job. Nonetheless, I am going to ask: In our shoes, so sitting at this table instead of that table, what is the best outcome from this proceeding for the Inuit?
918 MS. ROBINSON: Our submission is that the best outcome for the public that we serve is for NITV's application to be successful and, frankly, for it to be the only successful application. I believe that our application meets the standards under policy and law and the precedent before this body, as well as the historic moment we are in, as well as with respect to NITV Uvagut's preparedness to deliver. That is the bottom line.
919 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Thank you. Those are my questions.
920 Commissioner Anderson, did you have follow-ups?
921 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Yes. Thank you. Thank you for your submissions.
922 We have been talking a lot today about Inuit representation and authenticity and I can't help but note that there are plenty of non-Inuit people that are making representations about what is best for Inuit Canadians, or Inuit people. Can you speak to how you view that is appropriate?
923 MS. TULUGARJUK (INTERPRETED): Thank you for the question, for a very good question. At this time they are filming us -- they are filming (Inuktitut spoken), not my husband.
924 MS. TULUGARJUK: The wrong husband.
925 MS. TULUGARJUK (INTERPRETED): Oh, the wrong husband.
926 MS. TULUGARJUK: A lot of our Board members and/or staff are currently working in Igloolik. We have a NITV office and also a Kingulliit office in Igloolik.
927 MS. TULUGARJUK (INTERPRETED): Zacharias was there filming at this time, so they are busy, they cannot be here. Other Inuit could not make it here, but the people who were appointed here to come too, these people were appointed by the Board members. Although they are non-beneficiary, we believe in them. We believe in them, that the Board had agreed and approve them, that's why they are here today.
928 Qajaq will make a supplement comment.
929 MS. ROBINSON: I do appreciate your observation and the concern. I can speak for myself with respect to the capacity I am here. It is by direction of the Board and I take my direction from the Board, from my colleagues on the Board and I take that seriously. So being in this kind of a space, which I think was for many of the members of the Board procedurally quite foreign, I mean we have been talking about it and meeting about it for years, even before the application went in, talking about it at the Board level, I want to say monthly, it's not quite monthly. But this is the space they wanted me to occupy, so that is why I'm here.
930 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
931 It is Inuit television's submission that granting the 9(1)(h) order to Uvagut as requested would drive out their network or their ability to continue with their operations. Given that Inuit TV has expressed its commitment earlier today to be Inuit-controlled and mostly employ Inuit people, how is it in the spirit of reconciliation to grant your 9(1)(h) order and drive out an Inuit-owned and -operated business?
932 MS. ROBINSON: I think NITV Uvagut is Inuit-run. I will let Lucy speak more to that.
933 I tried earlier to unpack sort of what the Board's vision was with the bylaws in terms of the Board to have some flexibility, but it is Inuit members who will decide who is on the Board and it will be their priorities that decide who is on the Board. The advisors will all be Inuit. Lucy has also answered the priority is Inuit-hiring.
934 I don't think it is an inaccurate characterization to say that, you know, these are two Inuit-run organizations. That is what they are, so if there is a suggestion that they are not, I hope to provide you more information to demonstrate that more than what we already have. I will let Lucy speak to this more so.
935 MS. TULUGARJUK (INTERPRETED): The Board of Directors are all Inuit. The only non-Inuk Board Member here is Qajaq. We could have had another Board Member as an Inuk on the Board, but Qajaq was appointed because she grew up in our community, she speaks fluently, she knows the culture. These are the reasons why she was appointed as a Board member.
936 We have Inuit staff and some who are not Inuit for the purpose of -- because we need to offer employment and training opportunities for Inuit. We have had very little opportunity in so many years. So this is why we are here so that we can increase Inuit employment, so that we can increase and build capacity for producers and editors, news anchors and such. So we need those opportunities in order to grow. Therefore, we want to increase the Inuit capacity and build that capacity. This is why we are requesting or we submitted the proposal, so that we can expand our organization so that we can provide salaries.
937 At this time we don't even have one lawyer who focuses on broadcasting in the field of broadcasting. Therefore, our representative here is a non-Inuk because we don't have a lawyer that has the expertise in broadcasting. So, in order to provide that expertise in the future is the reason why we are here today.
938 It has been 22 years -- or more than 40 years there is television in the Inuit territory. But therefore, Inuit were not given the opportunity to be taught. Therefore, those who have been trained within the broadcasting sector, there is very few. We were the very first company to produce the film Atanarjuat when that film was the very first to be -- that resulted in us being recognized that we have the capabilities, that we have the skills. NITC has been in existence since 1991, starting in Igloolik. We were trained in Igloolik, using our language. We were also asked: How is it only in Igloolik that you are producing films? So therefore, we wanted to expand, knowing that our fellow Inuit want to have programs in Inuktitut to be broadcast throughout the network. And Inuit want to be taught how to become broadcasters, how to become journalists, how to become cameramen, so that we can showcase the stories of our people through the network. And this is the reason why we are sitting here today, to provide that opportunity for Inuit today and into the future. Thank you.
939 MS. LAYTON: If I could just add to Lucy's answer, it was actually the answer that came before to your question, Commissioner Anderson.
940 There is a practical element here, because this hearing was not originally scheduled for during this month. It was supposed to be not a public hearing. And I just want to highlight that the production opportunity and schedule in the North is a very, very tight window. And so the production of this film that's currently happening right now, as Qajaq mentioned, many of the people involved wear many hats. They are essential people involved in that film production. And so they're doing that right now in Igloolik and watching as they can online. So it was essential that they continue with that production schedule, as I said, in the very small window that there is.
941 MR. FRANTZ: I'll just add one more comment. You know, while we do have some non-Inuit staff working with NITV, we do make significant efforts to contract Inuit-owned companies. The transmission service that we use is provided by Isuma Distribution International, which is an Inuit-owned company, whereas to my knowledge, Nextologies is not. So there are other ways too, if you're calculating, you know, employment and financial opportunities that stay in the Inuit community, aside from just employees of contractors that are used and other service providers as well.
942 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great, thank you for that. We appreciate all the dimensions to the answers to that question.
943 I'll turn the floor over to Commissioner Desmond, who's going to have the final questions for the day.
944 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you very much, and thank you again for your time today.
945 I wanted to talk a little bit about a board of directors and the criteria and also getting the community involved and being able to participate in your undertaking. You are a not-for-profit entity. I'm wondering if you could elaborate on how you intend to provide opportunities for the community to participate in the undertaking.
946 MS. ROBINSON: The need for the governance to evolve to better represent Inuit Nunangat as a whole is something that the board's really alive to. Both Inuit TV and NITV are Nunavut-centric, I guess, for lack of a better word. NITV has thought a lot about how to grow into something that is pan-Inuit Nunangat, so inclusive of participation from the Inuvialuit region, Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut as well as urban representation.
947 In terms of membership, there's opportunities for Inuit throughout the country, really, to become members, and there is hopes to develop outreach and campaign to grow that.
948 In terms of board of directors, there is a mandate to go to the executive director to start developing those more robust outreach plans and efforts, not only to build the diversity of expertise and regional representation from the board of directors so that the members can pick from a broad pool, but also to ensure there's that representation.
949 And I know Lucy can, I think, speak to this a little bit more, because I know she's had conversations with people in the various regions about how to do that, partnering with existing societies like the Arviat group, folks in Nunavik and Nunatsiavut as well as the Inuvialuit region.
950 There's also the board wants to set up and have passed the terms of reference for an advisory committee to have representation from the four regions of Inuit Nunangat as well as urban representation that will meet minimum annually and will be put together by the ED, by the membership, but for there also to be engagement and collaboration with the four Inuit governing bodies. So Makivik Nunatsiavut government, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and the Inuvialuit Regional Council. Don't want it to become political, but there needs to be input and collaboration with the regions to help inform who should be on that committee to help guide particularly Lucy and the executive operating team on those efforts as well as to inform the board when they're doing strategic planning.
951 Do you want to talk more about the board and their relationships to increased representation?
952 MS. TULUGARJUK (interpreted): Just to supplement, I have been negotiating with entities, and I have also identified to Arviat entity board that I have a vision that besides NITV board there will be another board that would represent the other Inuit regions, and also it will be also with Inuit communication societies.
953 They have also identified -- I have also contacted them to the chairperson, and they are aware of that, that we do want to have a collaboration and work together in the future if we happen to get some funding. And we want to work together and collaborate together. And I've also discussed contact with a person from Cambridge Bay that they would provide the films to be shown on Uvagut TV. So we've been having a series of meetings with them so that we can air those programming coming from that region, from Cambridge Bay.
954 And FCNQ, they are aware in northern Quebec, we have made them aware that we'd love to establish a form of entity called governing structure. And I also mentioned that Labrador -- she was our interpreter in regards to weather information, and they are aware that we are looking for a board structure and establishment of the board.
955 We have also identified contracting for Inuit entities in Canada. Thank you.
956 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: And thank you for that response. I think what I'm hearing you say is that you're in the early stages of trying to ensure that you have representation from the different regions and that this is something that you're maybe working on to make sure that there is widespread representation. Am I hearing you correctly with respect to that?
957 MS. ROBINSON: I think, yeah, absolutely correct. It's one of those elements of cart before the horse, like trying to get things going, but if you don't know what you're going to be and where you're going. It's been -- not challenging, but you hesitate to going full speed ahead until you've got some surety of what your resources are and what the viability is of what you're doing.
958 There's also been, you know, people are very busy with what's going on in their own regions as well, so wanting to get in and at this time I think there's perhaps some hesitation in that regard.
959 But you've absolutely characterized it accurately.
960 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, and just in keeping with that, recognizing -- you know, and I understand what you're saying. You're not exactly sure how this is going to evolve, and you're trying to move forward without having any assurance as to how the undertaking will evolve in the next year or so.
961 That said, is there -- you know, do you have confidence that your organization will be able to represent all communities, that you will be able to ensure that you have the views of your community and all of the different communities? Do you have confidence that the community advisory committee will meet the needs of the different Inuit communities that you're trying to reach out to?
962 MS. ROBINSON: Yeah, the term "representation" often becomes a little bit challenging, because you can't -- we're not a democratically elected body, you know. To say you're going to touch and reach everybody and -- is a bit of a -- I don't want to overstretch that, right, but I do. And I think the existing relationships with the various societies, like the Arviat group and the different companies that particularly in the production work that's being done through Uvagut, those are -- that's a large footprint already within the community. And I think that with engagement with the regional representative bodies as well, that will assist and advance that.
963 So I think that it’s a model and an approach that we’ve seen successful and that I think could be successful.
964 I’ll see if -- do you want to add to that?
965 MS. TULUGARJUK (Interpreted): I believe in it. Yes, I believe so very much. I believe that we will be able to work together with other Inuit regions wherever they may be. We want to watch Inuktitut content programming, to be proud of our culture, our traditions, so if we can turn on the television, we want to see our people and to be proud of ourselves, to be proud of our people. And keeping in mind our future generations, we have one vision, to collaborate. And I have no doubt we will be able to work together.
966 MS. LAYTON: If I could just add one comment to my colleague’s answer, I think that representation comes in a variety of different forms and I think that our focus to date for NITV has been representing different Inuktitut dialects and different language representations, so that’s one form of representation.
967 There’s also representation from different regions in Inuit Nunangat, and so what we have right now is broadcasting from three of the four regions, so that is a significant scope of representation already. And the missing piece of the puzzle that you’ve been asking questions on is representation to advise the Board from those different regions.
968 And the structure is there. The structure is embedded in the by-laws. It’s in a community advisory policy -- committee policy. And Lucy has taken significant steps as the Executive Director appointed as part of that policy to interact with different organizations from those four regions to gather the representation so there’s language representation, there’s broadcast representation from those centres and then the last thing that NITV has recently added is the representation to advise the Board.
969 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you.
970 Would your organization be open to changing your governance model or if there was to be a condition of service that there be a particular Board representation, is that something that your organization would be open to?
971 MS. TULUGARJUK: Yes. Yes, this is our approach, this is our desire. If there is a majority of Inuit, even non-Inuit will be welcomed on board in the future. If they’re Inuit, if they’re non-Inuit, yes, we are going to be watching Inuit programs, and if an individual is not Inuk but has strong beliefs in our culture and our language, we welcome that individual, Inuit and non-Inuit alike.
972 We have been working to -- we have been collaborating and working together and helping one another over millennia. Thank you.
973 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you very much.
974 And if that was to become -- for example, if the Commission were to require that the community committee be imposed as a condition of your licence, would you have any issue with that?
975 MS. ROBINSON: Not at all.
976 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, thank you. I want to just ask a couple of questions, if I could, about your technical proposal.
977 I understand that you’ve sought to streamline your production operations and you’re going to be moving to a Cloud-based solution. We’d like to have some assurance that if you were granted the 9(1)(h) status that you could reliably upload and deliver content using this new Cloud-based solution.
978 Can you explain or give us some details as to how this new solution has performed statistically with your existing BDU clients?
979 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah, this is probably another one where we should call John in from Zoom. But just to clarify, the system we have been using for the last 30 months is the same, so it is internet-based transmission for our linear broadcast service as well as our live production.
980 And so far, we haven’t had any issues. It’s work reliably well for our needs and is very customizable, so as we grow and, you know, learn and develop and expand into new areas, add more BDUs, hopefully, the service is fully prepared to adapt to our needs, which is one of the nice points of having, you know, a service contract with a small group that’s very dedicated to our needs. It’s not serving sort of a global system. It’s very customizable.
981 But maybe John can comment on some of the specifics as well.
982 MR. HODGINS: Yeah, sure. I mean, that pretty much covers it. But just to go into a bit more detail, you know, we have been using a Cloud-based, IP-based system since we launched. It’s what allowed us to get online quickly, to get on air quickly.
983 Our -- sort of our entire media chain is built on the Cloud. That’s where our video files are, that’s where our playlists are built. That’s where we track meta data, do rights management, track statistics. It’s how our live video and live broadcasts are done, and it's built on our existing VOD library, so it’s a platform that we’re able to use to expand our online streaming and our online VOD into a multi-platform system very easily.
984 Our stream -- our linear broadcast is currently delivered to Shaw directly over the internet. We’ve had complete success with that. There’s been no problems at all. It’s very stable, very reliable.
985 As we expand to multiple BDUS, we will deliver over the internet and also through, you know, existing Interconnects, you know, in the way that’s traditionally used to ship to a wide range of BDUs. But again, that’s -- you know, we’ll deliver that signal to Interconnects via the internet from our IP-based system.
986 You know, this is -- that’s, in some ways, the smallest part of our technology platform, really, the signal delivery. It’s -- you know, that’s a very worked-out system.
987 It’s more our -- you know, our entire media chain being online that’s new, and this is the direction that, you know, a lot of broadcasters are moving. But you know, we don’t have to move there. We’re starting from there.
988 So it’s an exciting system to be part of.
989 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, thank you.
990 So I think what I’m hearing you say that is as you scale up and as you move to much more content delivery, you don’t see any issues with your infrastructure capacity in terms of delivering that content on your Cloud-based system? Is that correct?
991 MR. HODGINS: No, not at all. No capacity problems and, you know, if anything, we’re, you know, poised to be able to enlarge our system to increase our productions much more quickly. You know, the kinds of things we can do with onscreen graphics, with offering new services like our weather reports with Palmerex, our live broadcasts, our coverage of important live events like the land use hearings, you know, is something we can scale very easily and, you know, with -- yeah, with really very little additional expense.
992 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, thank you.
993 I just have a question now as it relates to your financial projections. And part of an application for mandatory distribution and an application of this nature is normally the applicant would demonstrate that the service would not be able to fulfil its mandate or would not be able to satisfy its programming commitments unless it had this national distribution.
994 So I’m wondering if you’ve looked at other options for both funding and distribution of your service. Have you explored other possibilities of obtaining funding or other ways to distribute other than through this 9(1)(h) application?
995 MR. FRANTZ: Yes, we have. I mean, we have been operating for a number of years at a certain service, you know, and we could continue at that level, but it does not at all reach the goals of the proposal that you have in front of you in terms of the national coverage, all the benefits that go along with that, the significant amounts of production expenditures over the course of the term. So there is a model to exist, but it falls far short of the benefits that we’ve proposed under a mandatory scenario.
996 And a lot of the problem, too, is just the uncertainty of the financing. It’s all short-term, project-based financing.
997 I mean, we can get very small amounts of sustainable operating funds. Everything else is project-based where you’re, you know, one or two year projects, your staffing is up and down, which makes it very hard to keep and retain quality people on a long-term basis.
998 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay, thank you.
999 And I think in your financial projections, you -- there’s really not space for commercial advertising. And I asked the same question this morning to Inuit TV.
1000 I’m just wondering if you’ve given any thought to commercial advertising as part of your financial model, whether you think that would be successful, if there’s room for that as part of your revenue stream.
1001 MR. FRANTZ: Yeah. I mean, I think the response is similar. You know, we have looked at it and we just -- we don’t see that it’s a viable opportunity. There just, you know, isn’t the interest and the market to make a significant amount of revenue.
1002 COMMISSIONER DESMOND: Okay. Thank you very much.
1003 Those are my questions. Thank you again.
1004 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner.
1005 Before I wrap it up for the day, I’ll once again ask counsel if they could read a summary of the undertakings into the record, please.
1006 MS. LÉTOURNEAU: Thank you for your presentation.
1007 Just before going through the list of undertakings, I would like to confirm on the record that the Commission believes that Friday, July 7th would be reasonable for the deadline to submit those undertakings for both Applicants.
1008 And as for the undertakings for NITV, could you please provide a programming grid from June 4th to 10th where you indicate what programming was broadcasted, if it is Canadian content and what percentage are reruns, which percentage of that programming is children or youth programming as well as original first-run programming.
1009 Would you be prepared to adhere to a condition of service whereby your spending requirements for year 1 are based on the current broadcast year’s revenue and your spending requirements for each subsequent year are based on the previous broadcasting year revenues?
1010 Additionally, Uvagut TV requested 10 percent spending flexibility for a new CPE and PNI expenditure requirements in lieu of standard five percent flexibility. The Commission has not granted 10 percent spending flexibility to any 9.1(1)(h) service as part of their obligations. On what basis does Uvagut TV meet an exception to warrant the Commission deviating from this standard?
1011 Should the Commission deny Uvagut TV’s request for 10 percent flexibility with regards to the -- to your CPE and PNI requirements in lieu of the five percent, would this affect the minimum percentage of revenues that Uvagut is prepared to devote to CPE and PNI? If so, would you be willing to submit an undertaking with the revised projection?
1012 One of the advantages of basing spending requirements on the previous broadcast year revenue is that the requirement spending target is fixed and predictable for the public and other stakeholders. Does Uvagut TV foresee any accounting or budget issues with a spending target that would be viable? Are these concerns related to Uvagut TV’s request for a 10 percent spending flexibility as opposed to five percent?
1013 Please comment on the implications for your operations if the Commission decides that your CPE and PNI requirements should be based on previous year’s revenue.
1014 How would this impact your proposal if the Commission did not require a wholesale rate for the DBUs of less than 2,000 subscribers? Please provide updated projections.
1015 And finally, please submit a list of your existing partnership with Inuit independent producers.
1016 That would be all. Thank you.
1017 THE CHAIRPERSON: But no more than that.
1018 I would just like to thank all of the representatives from both of the Applicants for appearing before us today. I think that was an extremely constructive, enlightening, useful hearing.
1019 I’d also like to thank everyone who helped the day unfold smoothly. It started off with a wonderful blessing from Elder Brown Brazeau. I thought panellists asked good and challenging questions. Staff has been remarkably supportive.
1020 I’d also like to thank the technical staff and our wonderful interpreters who enabled us to hear authentic voices and for everyone to communicate effectively in the language of their choice, which is an incredibly important part of such a proceeding.
1021 And I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again tomorrow, where hopefully it continues to be as smooth and informative as it was today.
1022 I’ll just turn to Madam Secretary to bring us to an official close.
1023 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you.
1024 So this concludes Phase 1 of this hearing. The hearing is therefore adjourned for the day and will resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.
1025 Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4:16 p.m., to resume on Thursday, June 29, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
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