Content that Meets the Needs and Interests of Canadians
Broadcasting plays a critical role in helping build and support our Canadian identity. In recognition of this, Canada's Broadcasting Act sets out objectives to ensure that Canadian broadcasting content meets the needs and interests of Canadians. The CRTC then sets policies and rules to ensure that those objectives are put into practice in Canada's broadcasting system.
The Role of Canada's Broadcasting Act
Canada's Broadcasting Act declares that the Canadian broadcasting system should encourage the development of Canadian expression by:
- Providing a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values, and artistic creativity
- Displaying Canadian talent in entertainment programming
- Offering information and analysis concerning Canada and other countries from a Canadian point of view
The Act also recognizes differences within Canadian communities from region to region. To address this diversity, it declares that the Canadian broadcasting system should, through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations:
- Reflect the circumstances and aspirations and ensure the equal rights of Canadian men, women, and children
- Support the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society
- Recognize the special place of aboriginal peoples within our society
For more information, see Section 3(1) of the Act, Broadcasting Policy for Canada.
The Role of the CRTC
As part of our mandate at the CRTC, we are dedicated to achieving the policy objectives outlined in the Broadcasting Act.
We ensure that Canada's broadcasting system provides content that meets the needs and interests of Canadians by:
- Engaging in public processes that generate policies. We address a wide range of issues by engaging in public consultations that generate policies to ensure Canadian values are reflected in our broadcasting system.
- Supporting public affairs programming through CPAC. We ensure that public affairs programming is available to Canadians through the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC).
- Promoting community-based media. We promote policies for community-based radio and TV programming.
- Encouraging linguistic duality. We help ensure that the linguistic policies of the Broadcasting Act are followed.
- Supporting Aboriginal peoples. We support Aboriginal peoples through our Native Broadcasting Policy and by licensing the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).
- Supporting Canadian talent. We encourage the recognition and development of Canadian talent through the creation of content made by Canadians.
- Licensing the CBC. Through our licensing responsibilities, we ensure that the programming of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) meets the requirements of the Broadcasting Policy for Canada.
Engaging in Public Processes that generate policies
Through its public processes, the CRTC has established policies to ensure that Canadian values are reflected throughout the broadcasting system when it comes to such things as:
- TV access for people with hearing impairments: closed captioning
- TV access for people with visual impairments: described video and audio description
- Violence on TV
- Children's advertising
- Advertising for specific products, such as alcohol
Supporting Public Affairs Programming through CPAC
Access to the proceedings of the House of Commons and its various committees is important to Canadians. CRTC policies ensure that proceedings on CPAC are available in both official languages to most cable, IPTV, and satellite subscribers across the country.
Promoting Community-Based Media
In August 2010, the CRTC announced a new policy on community television that addresses such things as:
- Access to programming, including its exhibition and financing
- Funding of community channels
- Accountability and reporting requirements related to the amounts that broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) are allowed to direct to community television and to community outreach and access programming initiatives
- The use of video-on-demand and digital media as platforms for community programming
- The provision of community programming by satellite BDUs
For more, see Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-622.
Encouraging Linguistic Duality
Policy objectives for broadcasting services in both official languages are clearly set out in the Broadcasting Act. The Act recognizes that English and French-language broadcasting, while sharing common aspects, operate under different conditions and may have different requirements. (For more, see Broadcasting Policy for Canada (Sections 3.1 b and c)).
The CRTC helps strengthen linguistic duality in Canada by, among other things, supporting national distribution of the French-language television service of TVA Group, and promoting French-language broadcasting services in minority environments.
Supporting Aboriginal Peoples
To support the Broadcasting Act's declaration that the Canadian broadcasting system must, through its programming and employment opportunities, recognize the special place of aboriginal peoples within Canadian society, the CRTC's Native Broadcasting Policy identifies the specific role of aboriginal broadcasters in Canada.
Consistent with the Act, in 1999 the CRTC licensed the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) as a window on aboriginal life for all Canadians. The CRTC continues to ensure that the service is available to all Canadians.
For more, see Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-383.
Supporting Canadian Talent
To support the Broadcasting Act's policy of providing world class content made by Canadians, the CRTC helps ensure that Canadian artists can create content for both Canadian and global audiences, as well as have access to avenues of financial support and opportunities to promote their creations.
For more, see:
Licensing the CBC
The Broadcasting Act identifies the CBC as the national public broadcaster, and outlines its special role when it comes to informing, enlightening, and entertaining Canadians. In 2013, when the CRTC renewed the CBC's broadcasting licences, it imposed requirements on the CBC to ensure that it meets these objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
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