Review of the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act 2016-2017

Prepared by: Frédéric Janelle, National Coordinator, Section 41 of the Official Languages Act

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Minister responsible:

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Deputy Head:

Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC

Official Languages Champion (or other senior official(s) responsible for official languages):

Scott Hutton, Executive Director, Broadcasting

Name of the person responsible for official languages (Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act (OLA)):

Jacques Pilote, Director, Human Resources

Name of the national coordinator or contact person responsible for the implementation of section 41 (Part VII) of the OLA:

Frédéric Janelle, Senior Broadcasting Analyst

Name(s) of the regional contact person(s) for section 41 of the OLA (if applicable):

N/A

General Information

Context

In accordance with section 44 of the Official Languages Act (OLA), the Minister of Canadian Heritage must submit an annual report to Parliament on matters relating to official languages under her mandate.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage must report on the implementation of Part VII of the OLA by federal institutions.

The information provided by your institution through this questionnaire will be used to evaluate your performance and to produce the 2016-2017 annual report on official languages of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Instructions

Please return this completed document to us in both official languages no later than May 31, 2017, to: pch.portail41-gateway41.pch@canada.ca

For more information, please contact the Interdepartmental Relations and Accountability Directorate at Canadian Heritage (819-994-3577).

A copy of this document must be sent to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and to both Parliamentary Standing Committees on Official Languages. You will find their addresses below:

Ms. Ghislaine Saikaley
Acting Commissioner of Official Languages
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0T8
comm@clo-ocol.gc.ca

Ms. Christine Holke
Committee Clerk
House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages
House of Commons of Canada
131 Queen Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
lang@parl.gc.ca

Mr. Kevin Pittman
Clerk
Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A4
ollo@sen.parl.gc.ca

Please note

Federal institutions are responsible for communicating the results of their Review regarding the implementation of Part VII of the OLA to the various community stakeholders (e.g., the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada and the Quebec Community Groups Network).

Development of official-language minority communities and promotion of English and French in Canadian society (Part VII of the OLA)

Particular Context of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

As an administrative tribunal, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the CRTC or the Commission) is subject to various legal requirements, including certain requirements imposed by administrative law with respect to the conduct of its hearings. In line with these obligations, and as is the case with all Commission proceedingsFootnote 1 affecting the rights, interests and/or privileges of individuals or corporations, the Commission provides interested individuals or corporations, including official language minority communities (OLMCs), with an opportunity to make submissions on issues relevant to them. Following this, the Commission reaches its decisions on the basis of the Law, Regulations, and the record properly before it.

Tangible Results

If your institution had to highlight three key initiatives or more in relation to the development of official-language minority communities, which ones would those be?

  1. Describe these initiatives.
  2. What are the tangible impacts of these initiatives on/in the official-language minority communities?
  3. What do you think is the determining factor for the success of these initiatives?

1.A) Renewal of television licences held by large English-language ownership groups.Footnote 2

The Commission relies on stable funding for Canadian production in all program categories, with special emphasis on dramas, documentaries, and music and variety shows. Thus, broadcasters have the tools to remain competitive in an on-demand environment, and the consumer has access to a wide range of programs.

The CRTC is taking action on the underrepresentation of certain groups by implementing credits to encourage the creation of programming from Aboriginal producers and producers from official language minority communities (OLMCs).

In addition, as part of these renewals, the CRTC is implementing the local television policy to ensure that Canadians have access to local news and programming that reflect them and inform them about their communities.

1.B) Tangible impacts of these initiatives on English-language OLMCs

Canadian television is a powerful vehicle for social cohesion that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen Canada’s cultural, political, social and economic fabric. Canadian television is all the more important for OLMCs as it helps to foster the development of Canadian expression by offering a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity.

In order to fulfill the Commission’s mandate to, among other things, enhance the vitality of Canada’s English and French linguistic minorities and support their development, as well as to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society, the Commission ensures that it takes into account the impact of its decisions on OLMCs. To do so, as previously mentioned, it incorporates an OLMC "lens" into its processes, as exemplified by the following initiatives:

1.C) Determining factor for success

The determining success factor in the renewal of large English-language ownership group licences is the maintenance of regulatory obligations to reflect OLMCs for licensees who already have this expectation and the extension of this expectation to licensees who did not yetFootnote 6 have it. The Commission also decided to add a condition of licence granting a 25% credit for Canadian programming expenditures (CPE) when the services of OLMC producers are used. The maximum amount varies from licensee to licensee.Footnote 7 This credit gives OLMC producers an advantage, as groups now have an additional incentive to use their productions. With this credit, groups can more quickly meet their regulatory obligations imposed by the Commission.

The imposition of measures to enhance the vitality of OLMCs was made possible by their active participation in the Commission’s public processes. The Commission must rely on the public record before it in making its decisions. Since each hearing is independent, OLMCs must participate in each hearing in order to be heard. For this reason, the Commission developed a discussion group with key representatives of OLMCs in order to inform them in a timely manner of the Commission’s public processes that impact their communities. This discussion group is very dynamic and has been promoting the involvement of OLMCs in the Commission’s public processes for over a decade now.

2.A) Renewal of television licences held by large French-language ownership groups (GGP).Footnote 8

Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2016-225. The CRTC relies on stable funding for Canadian production in all program categories, with special emphasis on dramas, documentaries, and music and variety shows. Thus, broadcasters have the tools to remain competitive in an on-demand environment, and consumers have access to a wide range of programming.

The CRTC is taking action on the underrepresentation of certain groups by implementing credits that will encourage the creation of programming from Aboriginal producers and producers from official language minority communities (OLMCs).

In addition, as part of these renewals, the CRTC is implementing the local television policy to ensure that Canadians have access to local news and programming that reflect them and inform them about their communities.

2.B) Tangible impacts of these initiatives on French-language OLMCs

Canadian television is a powerful vehicle for social cohesion that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen Canada’s cultural, political, social and economic fabric. Canadian television is all the more important for OLMCs as it helps to foster the development of Canadian expression by offering a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values ​​and artistic creativity.

In order to fulfill its mandate to, among other things, enhance the vitality of Canada’s English and French linguistic minorities and support their development, as well as to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society, the Commission ensures that the impact of its decisions is taken into account with regard to OLMCs. To do so, as previously mentioned, it incorporates an OLMC "lens" into its processes, as exemplified by the following initiatives:

2.C) Determining factor for success

The determining success factor in the renewal of large French-language ownership group licences is the maintenance of regulatory obligations to reflect OLMCs for licensees who already have this obligation and the extension of this obligation to licensees who did not yet have it. The Commission also decided to add a condition of licence granting a 25% credit for Canadian programming expenditures (CPE) when the services of OLMC producers are used. The maximum amount varies from licensee to licensee.Footnote 12 This credit gives OLMC producers an advantage, as groups now have an additional incentive to use their productions. With this credit, groups can more quickly meet their regulatory obligations imposed by the Commission.

The imposition of these regulatory obligations to enhance the vitality of OLMCs was made possible by their active participation in the Commission’s public processes. The Commission must rely on the public record before it in making its decisions. Since each hearing is independent, OLMCs must participate in each hearing in order to be heard. For this reason, as noted above, the Commission developed a discussion group with key representatives of OLMCs in order to inform them in a timely manner of the Commission’s public processes that impact their communities. This discussion group is very dynamic and has been promoting the involvement of OLMCs in the Commission’s public processes for over a decade now.

3.A) Local and community television

a) Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-224, Policy Framework for Local and Community Television. In this important policy review, several OLMC representatives participated in the Commission’s public process. In particular, the English-Language Arts Network (ELAN) pointed to the success of the citizen advisory committee recently established by the community channel MAtv following Broadcasting Decision 2015-31. ELAN said that it was satisfied with the positive changes made by MAtv since the Commission ordered Videotron to take concrete measures to restore the channel’s compliance, especially with regard to the reflection of OLMCs and the creation of an advisory committee. ELAN came out in favour of the creation of such committees for other community channels.

The Commission intends to implement this policy through regulations for most broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) which will come into effect on September 1, 2017. Following the success of MAtv’s for use of an advisory committee, the Commission will require all BDUs operating in metropolitan markets, to form such committees. It may also require the creation of such committees for community channels in other markets if it has evidence, at the time of licence renewal, that the local reflection objective is not being met.

3.B) Tangible impacts of this new Commission policy for OLMCs

This new policy is aimed at ensuring that other BDUs across Canada will devote part of their schedule and resources to serving OLMCs. As mentioned in answers 1 and 2, Canadian television is a powerful vehicle for social cohesion, which serves in particular to safeguard, enrich and strengthen Canada’s cultural, political, social and economic fabric. Canadian television is all the more important for OLMCs as it helps to foster the development of Canadian expression by offering a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity. In addition, community television is by its very nature local. BDUs have a platform to provide an additional voice to OLMCs through their community channels. The OLMC experience in achieving greater representation on MAtv in Montréal through an advisory committee is a good sign for other OLMCs in both official languages across the country. It should be noted that the majority of licences for terrestrial BDUs will soon be up for licence renewal and will thus provide the Commission with the opportunity to assess their reflection of OLMCs.

3.C) Determining factor for success

The determining success factor is the adoption of a policy requiring the establishment of an advisory committee to be composed of members representing the diversity of the population served by a community television channel, including OLMCs. The experience with MAtv demonstrates that BDUs are receptive to feedback from an advisory group for a variety of reasons. This is because an advisory group is a guarantor of community involvement in community television, which strengthens the community television brand and brings it closer to the community it serves. Finally, the advisory committee contemplated in the policy is obliged to have at least one member responsible for representing OLMC issues.

1. If your institution had to highlight three key initiatives or more in relation to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society (Please do not confuse with obligations related to Parts IV and V), which ones would those be?

  1. Describe these initiatives.
  2. What are the tangible impacts of these initiatives on Canadian society?
  3. What do you think is the determining factor for the success of these initiatives?

1.A) New policy on Certified Independent Production Funds

In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-343, Policy Framework for Certified Independent Production Funds (CIPF), the Commission took further steps to make sure that at least one member of the CIPF selection committee ensures that OLMC representation and issues are taken into consideration.

With the update to this policy, the Commission ensured that CIPF operators take the needs of OLMCs into account at the project selection stage. Indeed, CIPFs have several objectives, one of which is specific to OLMCs. The objectives of CIPFs are now as follows:

CIPFs contribute to the creation of a flexible and forward-looking television system:

In the previous policy, CIPFs were not required to support productions that represent OLMCs, that are created by members of OLMCs or that include members of OLMCs. There was also no expectation in this regard.

In order to ensure the representation of OLMCs and the consideration of issues affecting them, the Commission will require that CIPFs assign the responsibility to examine the reality of OLMCs to at least one member of their project selection committees. This new measure will facilitate the funding of OLMC productions without limiting the operational flexibility of CIPFs.

1.B) Tangible impacts of this new Commission policy for OLMCs

CIPFs that are already certified must provide in their annual report a list of the members of their project selection committees and the name of the person responsible for ensuring that OLMCs are adequately represented at the decision-making stage.

Funds applying for CIPF certification will be required to submit a list of the members of their project selection committees, which must include the name of the person responsible for ensuring that OLMCs are adequately represented during decision-making. The annual reports of CIPFs will also have to detail OLMC-related activities and specify the actions taken to ensure their fair representation with CIPFs.

1.C) Determining factor for success

One of the members of the project selection committee must be responsible for reviewing the reality of OLMCs. In this way, the Commission ensures that operators take into consideration submissions from OLMC producers. The new reporting requirements for CIPFs presented annually to the Commission are as follows:

2.A) Improved provision of telecommunications services in Northern Canada

In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2011-771, the Commission directed Northwestel to prepare and file a comprehensive plan for the modernization of its network infrastructure. The plan was to establish how Northwestel intended to rapidly improve its infrastructure so that customers in Canada’s North could receive telecommunications services comparable to those offered in the rest of Canada in terms of variety, quality and reliability.

In fiscal year 2016-2017, Northwestel continued to upgrade its telecommunications network as part of its five-year modernization plan, which began in 2013 and will expire in December 2017. Several communities in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, including OLMC communities such as Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Hay River and Iqaluit, benefited from an improvement in telecommunications services such as high-speed Internet and advanced wireless services (4G).

2.B) Tangible impacts of this initiative on Canadian society

Improving telecommunications services in Northern Canada addresses the needs of citizens living there, regardless of the official language of their choice. For Canadians living in a language minority situation in this region, these improvements provide them with better access to Internet and other telecommunications services, which will, among other things, enable them to more efficiently access a vast array of information and services in their official language.

2.C) Determining factor for success

The determining success factor is the introduction of a public policy that, in just a few years, has allowed Canadian citizens living in Northern Canada, including those living in OLMCs, to access advanced telecommunications services comparable to those available in Southern Canada.

3.A) New policy on modern telecommunications services

In the Telecom Regulatory Policy, CRTC 2016-496, Modern telecommunications services – The path forward for Canada’s digital economy,Footnote 13 the Commission set out the following universal service objective: Canadians in urban areas, as well as in rural and remote areas, have access to voice services and broadband Internet access services, on both fixed and mobile wireless networks.

To measure the achievement of this objective, the Commission has established the following criteria:

In addition, the Commission has determined that it will establish a new funding mechanism to help ensure that Canadians have access to the basic telecommunications services that are part of the objective and to eliminate connectivity gaps.

Almost all parties that participated in the Commission’s public proceeding, be it individuals, telecommunications service providers, governments or non-governmental organizations (e.g., accessibility and consumer associations) argued that Canadians need broadband Internet access services to participate in Canada’s digital economy. Several indicated that they anticipate that their needs will evolve rapidly and that reliable broadband Internet access services will significantly reduce barriers to accessing health services, employment and education. Many Canadians also noted the importance of mobile wireless broadband Internet access services to ensure public safety and manage emergencies on the road.

The Commission considered OLMC issues in this important policy review. The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada (FCFA), which participated in the CRTC’s public proceeding, argued that Francophones in OLMCs need broadband Internet access services to address the shortage of French-language content in their community, including books, mobile applications for youth and schools, and television and radio content, and that this is particularly the case for French-language OLMCs in Northern Canada and other rural and remote areas of the country. It also argued that the lack of Internet access and cellular coverage in certain parts of the country has a significant impact on the vitality of French-language OLMCs and limits their ability to participate in the broader French-speaking society.

3.B) Tangible impacts of this new initiative on Canadian society

Telecommunications services play an important role in the lives of all Canadians. Modern telecommunications allow Canadians to participate in today’s digital economy and provide access to services such as healthcare, education, public safety, and government and banking services.

Fixed and mobile wireless broadband Internet access services are key elements of this new universal telecommunications service objective that Canada has now established as a result of the CRTC’s decision. This means that Canadians in rural and remote areas must have access to, among other things, broadband Internet access service levels similar to those available in urban areas.

In addition to filing its submissions as a stakeholder, the FCFA testified at the CRTC’s public hearing to review basic telecommunications services. The FCFA argued that, in addition to the importance of adequate telecommunications infrastructure and services, Francophones living in minority communities, like the rest of Canadians, rely on an adequate Internet connection and on cellular coverage to meet a variety of everyday needs, including banking and access to health and government services. The Internet also allows them to mitigate the scarcity of French-language content in their communities. The FCFA also indicated that Francophones rely on telecommunications services to facilitate communications over large and extensive territories, noting that these services break down the isolation and dispersion that characterize certain communities, particularly in rural areas.

3.C) Determining factor for success

Improving telecommunications services meets the needs of Canadian citizens, particularly those living in rural and remote areas, regardless of the official language of their choice. For Canadians living in a minority language situation in these regions, these improvements provide them with better access to Internet and other telecommunications services, which will, among other things, enable them to more efficiently access a vast array of information and services in their official language. In a press releaseFootnote 14 dated December 22, 2016, the FCFA applauded the CRTC’s decision and stated that it could have a positive impact on Francophone communities, particularly those in rural and remote areas.

1. What “key achievement” having a regional impact (success stories or results in official-language minority communities or on the promotion of English and French in Canadian society) would your institution like to highlight?

In Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2017-3, the CRTC approved an application by the Société Radio Communautaire du Grand Edmonton Society for a broadcasting licence to operate a French-language community FM radio station in Edmonton, Alberta. This radio station will target the French-language OLMC in Edmonton, including Francophones of all age groups and cultures, newcomers and Francophiles.

This community radio station will provide a new local service to Francophones in Edmonton, including broadcasting opportunities, local reflection and a range of spoken word and music programming that is not currently available from existing services, and is a positive measure to enhance the vitality of a French linguistic minority community in Canada and support its development as set out in section 41(1) of the Official Languages Act.

150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017

The 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation is a unique opportunity for federal institutions to contribute to the development of official-language minority communities and to promote both official languages.

Will your institution contribute to the 150th anniversary of Confederation?

The CRTC named rooms in their honour based on the following criteria:

  1. As part of its commemoration project to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, the CRTC recognized the contribution of 24 exceptional men and women to the Canadian communications system by giving their names to the Commission’s meeting rooms. Biographical plaques for these eminent figures are currently on display in the meeting rooms. It also named the Agora at its National Headquarters in honour of Pierre Juneau, the CRTC’s first Chairman.

Appendix

1.Discussion group

The CRTC-OLMC discussion group (the Group) was established by the CRTC in 2007 to assist it in the implementation of section 41 of the OLA.

Almost 30 organizations representing English- and French-language OLMCs from all provinces of Canada are included. Added to this list are the Department of Canadian Heritage as well as Scott Hutton, the Commission’s official languages champion, Frédéric Janelle, Acting National Coordinator for the implementation of section 41 (Part VII) of the OLA, and several sectoral coordinators.

This group is a forum for exchanges, communication and collaboration to maximize the participation of OLMCs in the Commission’s public proceedings. The discussion group met twice at the Commission’s headquarters during the last fiscal year, in November 2015 and March 2016.

The CRTC makes all information arising from the Group’s activities available to the public on its website, including minutes, all meeting agendas and any other relevant documents. These documents are available at the following link: /eng/5000/lo_ol/ol-lo.htm.

2. Generic question asked to all holders of television licences to be renewed upon the renewal of large ownership groups.

Regional reflection and reflection of official-language minority communities (OLMCs)

At the time of the last licence renewal for French-language television services, the Commission noted that the programming schedule for French-language conventional television services was predominantly directed at and produced for Montrealers. Therefore, in view of the need to improve the reflection of non-Montrealers, including official language minority communities (OLMCs) within the broadcasting system, the Commission expressed the expectation that the groups ensure that programs broadcast by their services adequately reflect all regions of Quebec, including those outside Montréal, as well as all regions of Canada. The Commission also expressed the expectation that the groups would provide producers in those regions with the opportunity to produce programs for their services:

3.Decisions on licence renewals for large ownership groups (French and English) published following hearings in Laval and Gatineau in November 2016:

2017-143 Various licensees
All of Canada
Renewal of licences for the television services of large French-language ownership groups – Introductory decision

2017-144 Bell Media Inc.
All of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for the television services that will form Bell’s French-language Group for the next licence term
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licence for RDS, which will not be part of the group

2017-145 Corus Entertainment Inc.
All of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for the television services that will form Corus’ French-language Group for the next licence term
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licence for The Disney Channel, which will not be part of the group

2017-146 Groupe V Média inc.
All of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for the various French-language television services that will constitute the group of services of Groupe V Média inc.

2017-147 Quebecor Media Inc., on behalf of TVA Group Inc. and Videotron G.P.
All of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for the television stations and services that will comprise TVA Group for the next licence term
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for television services that will not be part of TVA Group for the next licence term

2017-148 Renewal of licences for the television services of large English-language ownership groups – Introductory decision

2017-149 Bell Media Inc.
Various locations and all of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for the various English-language television services and stations that will compose the Bell Media Group during the next licence term
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for the various television services that will not be part of the Bell Media Group during the next licence term
APPROVED — Issuance of new broadcasting licences for various on-demand services

2017-150 Corus Entertainment Inc., on behalf of various licensees
All of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for the discretionary television services and stations that currently hold a licence and that will in part compose the Corus English-language services group during the next licence term
APPROVED — Application for broadcasting licences to operate, as discretionary services, the currently exempted Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD services, and to include these services in Corus’ English-language services group
APPROVED — Application to revoke the broadcasting licence for CKWS-TV-2 Prescott and to add this transmitter to the broadcasting licence for CKWS-DT Kingston as a rebroadcasting transmitter

2017-151 Rogers Media Inc. on behalf of itself and of 8064750 Canada Inc., 8834776 Canada Inc. and 9742638 Canada Inc.
All of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licences for the television stations and the services set out in the appendices to the decision

Rogers Communications Canada Inc.
All of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the licence for the Rogers on Demand service

2017-152 Rogers Media Inc.
All of Canada
APPROVED IN PART — Application to operate a national, multilingual multi-ethnic discretionary service to be known as OMNI Regional
APPROVED — Request to grant OMNI Regional mandatory distribution on the digital basic service for the duration of the licence term

2017-155 Shaw Cablesystems (VCI) Limited
All of Canada

APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licence for the national Shaw On Demand service
2017-156 Telelatino Network Inc.

All of Canada
APPROVED — Application to renew the broadcasting licence for the discretionary Telelatino service

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