CBC/Radio-Canada welcomes “landmark” licence renewal, gaining support for online & diverse content

Catherine Tait

Canadian pubcaster CBC/Radio-Canada has welcomed a “landmark” decision that sees its online content recognised as part of its regulatory requirements, and supports it in making more diverse content.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CTRC) yesterday renewed the pubcaster’s broadcasting licence, with a new five-year term set to begin on 1 September, 2022.

Under the new conditions of the licence, CBC/Radio-Canada will be permitted to include some program expenditures from its digital services, such as CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV, toward its regulatory requirements.

Previously, CRTC had only allowed Canadian broadcasters to include their linear TV and radio services to meet the conditions of their broadcast licences for the purposes of their Canadian content obligations, a decision many had argued did not account for audiences increasingly finding content online.

“We’re pleased that the CRTC has, for the first time ever, recognized the significant contribution of our digital streaming services, CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV, and CBC Listen and Radio-Canada OHdio, to the Canadian content ecosystem,” said CBC/Radio-Canada president and CEO Catherine Tait.

“CBC/Radio-Canada’s services as a multiplatform digital and linear media company will now be reflected in our regulatory obligations.”

The CRTC has also introduced new obligations to support producers from “equity-deserving groups”. From now on, a percentage of CBC/Radio-Canada’s spending on independent production will be dedicated to Indigenous producers and producers located in official language minority communities (OLMCs).

Additionally, an overall spending requirement has also been introduced related to independent producers and production companies from Indigenous peoples, OLMCs, racialized people, LGBTQ2+, and people with disabilities.

“We’re equally heartened that the Commission’s decision recognizes diversity and representation of contemporary Canada in our content as critical to the future of the national public broadcaster,” said Tait.

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