Our Mandate for Canadian Content

Canada's Broadcasting Act (the Act) sets out the policy objectives for the Canadian broadcasting system. The CRTC regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting system to ensure the objectives of the Act are met.

Broadcasting Policy Objectives

Section 3(1) of the Act declares the broadcasting policy objectives for Canada. Canadian content, its development and availability to Canadians, is the underlying principle of the policy.

Regulatory Policy Objectives

Section 5 of the Act sets out the manner in which the CRTC should regulate and supervise the Canadian broadcasting system. It is supplemental to the broadcasting policy objectives.

Reflecting Our Canadian Values

Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity are shaped by our history and geography, our institutions and our linguistic and cultural diversity. They're part of our shared experience and our Canadian identity.

The Broadcasting Act (Section 3.1 (d)(ii)) recognizes this and 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; and
  • offering information and analysis concerning Canada and other countries from a Canadian point of view.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

The policy objectives set out in Canada's Broadcasting Act identify the CBC as the national public broadcaster and Sections 3.1(l) - (n) outline its special role and objectives for informing, enlightening and entertaining Canadians.

CRTC decisions that renew the CBC's network broadcasting licences address the Corporation's performance in meeting the objectives of the Act.

Decision CRTC 2000-1 
Decision CRTC 2000-2 
Decision CRTC 2000-3

Societal Issues

Through its public processes, the CRTC has established policies to ensure that Canadian values are reflected throughout the broadcasting system:

Cable Public Affairs Channel (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 and satellite subscribers across the country. Read Public Notice CRTC 2001-115 for details. 

Reflecting Canadians to Canadians

As much as they contribute to shaping our common values, our history, geography, our linguistic and cultural diversity also make Canadians different from one other. Differences exist within communities and from region to region across the country.

Canada's Broadcasting Act (Section 3.1 (d)(iii)) recognizes these differences and declares that the Canadian broadcasting system should, through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations, of:

  • Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights,
  • the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society, and
  • the special place of aboriginal people within that society.

Community Based Media

Policies for the community channel, community radio and community television have evolved over three decades. In October 2002, the CRTC announced a new policy on community-based media. The new framework replaces the existing policies for the community channel. It addresses such things as:

  • definition of local programming;
  • citizen access and training;
  • advertising and sponsorship;
  • licensing and ownership;
  • limitations on self-promotion.

The CRTC addresses local reflection by conventional television broadcasters in its Television Policy.

Linguistic Duality

Policy objectives for broadcasting services in both official languages are clearly set out in three separate clauses of Canada's Broadcasting Act:

  • the Canadian broadcasting system, operating primarily in the English and French languages and comprising public, private and community elements, makes use of radio frequencies that are public property and provides, through its programming, a public service essential to the maintenance and enhancement of national identity and cultural sovereignty (Section 3.1 (b));
  • English and French language broadcasting, while sharing common aspects, operate under different conditions and may have different requirements (Section 3.1 (c));
  • Section 3.1 (d).

CRTC policies respecting the linguistic duality of the Canadian broadcasting system are outlined in the following documents:

The Aboriginal Peoples

Canada's Broadcasting Act declares that the broadcasting system must, through its programming and employment opportunities, recognize the special place of aboriginal peoples within Canadian society. (Section 3.1 (d) (iii)).

The CRTC's Native Broadcasting Policy identifies the specific role of aboriginal broadcasters.

Consistent with the Act, the CRTC licensed the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) in 1999 as a positive window on aboriginal life for all Canadians. At the same time, the CRTC ensured that the service would be available to all Canadians.

Support for Canadian Talent

Simply put, Canadian content is about Canadian artists having access to Canadian airwaves. CRTC broadcasting policies and regulations support all Canadian talent that contributes to the Canadian broadcasting system. Policies and regulations support the artists themselves as well as the industries behind them.

For details read Radio's Support for Canadian Talent  and Television's Support for Canadian Talent.