The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC; French: Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes) is a public organization in Canada with mandate as a regulatory agency for broadcasting and telecommunications. It was created in 1976 when it took over responsibility for regulating telecommunication carriers. Prior to 1976, it was known as the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, which was established in 1968 by the Parliament of Canada to replace the Board of Broadcast Governors. Its headquarters is located in the Central Building (Édifice central) of Les Terrasses de la Chaudière in Gatineau, Quebec.
|Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission|
|Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommuications canadiennes|
Terrasses de la Chaudière is the headquarters of the CRTC
|Jurisdiction||Government of Canada|
|Headquarters||Gatineau, Quebec, Canada|
|Parent department||Canadian Heritage|
The CRTC was originally known as the Canadian Radio-Television Commission. In 1976, jurisdiction over telecommunications services, most of which were then delivered by monopoly common carriers (for example, telephone companies), was transferred to it from the Canadian Transport Commission although the abbreviation CRTC remained the same.
On the telecom side, the CRTC originally regulated only privately held common carriers:
Other telephone companies, many of which were publicly owned and entirely within a province's borders, were regulated by provincial authorities until court rulings during the 1990s affirmed federal jurisdiction over the sector, which also included some fifty small independent incumbents, most of them in Ontario and Quebec. Notable in this group were:
The CRTC regulates all Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications activities and enforces rules it creates to carry out the policies assigned to it; the best-known of these is probably the Canadian content rules. The CRTC reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Canadian Heritage, which is responsible for the Broadcasting Act, and has an informal relationship with Industry Canada, which is responsible for the Telecommunications Act. Provisions in these two acts, along with less-formal instructions issued by the federal cabinet known as orders-in-council, represent the bulk of the CRTC's jurisdiction.
In many cases, such as the cabinet-directed prohibition on foreign ownership for broadcasters and the legislated principle of the predominance of Canadian content, these acts and orders often leave the CRTC less room to change policy than critics sometimes suggest, and the result is that the commission is often the lightning rod for policy criticism that could arguably be better directed at the government itself.
Complaints against broadcasters, such as concerns around offensive programming, are dealt with by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), an independent broadcast industry association, rather than by the CRTC, although CBSC decisions can be appealed to the CRTC if necessary. However, the CRTC is also sometimes erroneously criticized for CBSC decisions — for example, the CRTC was erroneously criticized for the CBSC's decisions pertaining to the airing of Howard Stern's terrestrial radio show in Canada in the late 1990s, as well as the CBSC's controversial ruling on the Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing".
The commission is not fully equivalent to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which has additional powers over technical matters, in broadcasting and other aspects of communications, in that country. In Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada) is responsible for allocating frequencies and call signs, managing the broadcast spectrum, and regulating other technical issues such as interference with electronics equipment.
The CRTC has in the past regulated the prices cable television broadcast distributors are allowed to charge. In most major markets, however, prices are no longer regulated due to increased competition for broadcast distribution from satellite television.
The CRTC also regulates which channels broadcast distributors must or may offer. Per the Broadcasting Act the commission also gives priority to Canadian signals—many non-Canadian channels which compete with Canadian channels are thus not approved for distribution in Canada. The CRTC argues that allowing free trade in television stations would overwhelm the smaller Canadian market, preventing it from upholding its responsibility to foster a national conversation. Some people, however, consider this tantamount to censorship.
The CRTC's simultaneous substitution rules require that when a Canadian network licences a television show from a US network and shows it in the same time slot, upon request by the Canadian broadcaster, Canadian broadcast distributors must replace the show on the US channel with the broadcast of the Canadian channel, along with any overlays and commercials. As Grey's Anatomy is on ABC, but is carried in Canada on CTV at the same time, for instance, the cable, satellite, or other broadcast distributor must send the CTV feed over the signal of the carried ABC affiliate, even where the ABC version is somehow different, particularly commercials. (These rules are not intended to apply in case of differing episodes of the same series; this difference may not always be communicated to distributors, although this is rather rare.) Viewers via home antenna who receive both American and Canadian networks on their personal sets are not affected by sim-sub.
The goal of this policy is to create a market in which Canadian networks can realize revenue through advertising sales in spite of their inability to match the rates that the much larger American networks can afford to pay for syndicated programming. This policy is also why Canadian viewers do not see American advertisements during the Super Bowl, even when tuning into one of the many American networks carried on Canadian televisions.
In a major May 1999 decision on "New Media", the CRTC held that under the Broadcasting Act the CRTC had jurisdiction over certain content communicated over the Internet including audio and video, but excluding content that is primarily alphanumeric such as emails and most webpages. It also issued an exemption order committing to a policy of non-interference.
In May 2011, in response to the increase presence of Over-the-Top (OTT) programming, the CRTC put a call out to the public to provide input on the impact OTT programming is having on Canadian content and existing broadcasting subscriptions through satellite and cable. On October 5, 2011 the CRTC released their findings that included consultations with stakeholders from the telecommunications industry, media producers, and cultural leaders among others. The evidence was inconclusive, suggesting that an increased availability of OTT options is not having a negative impact on the availability or diversity of Canadian content, one of the key policy mandates of the CRTC, nor are there signs that there has been a significant decline of televisions subscriptions through cable or satellite. However, given the rapid progress in the industry they are working on a more in depth study to be concluded in May 2012.
The CRTC does not directly regulate rates, quality of service issues, or business practices for Internet service providers. However, the CRTC does continually monitor the sector and associated trends.
The commission currently has some jurisdiction over the provision of local landline telephone service in Canada. This is largely limited to the major incumbent carriers, such as Bell Canada and Telus, for traditional landline service (but not Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)). It has begun the gradual deregulation of such services where, in the commission's opinion, a sufficient level of competition exists.
The CRTC is sometimes blamed for the current state of the mobile phone industry in Canada, in which there are only three national mobile network operators – Bell Mobility, Telus Mobility, and Rogers Wireless – as well as a handful of MVNOs operating on these networks. In fact, the commission has very little to do with the regulation of mobile phone service, outside of "undue preference" issues (for example, a carrier offering a superior rate or service to some subscribers and not others without a good reason). It does not regulate service rates, service quality, or other business practices, and commission approval is not necessary for wireless provider sales or mergers as in the broadcasting industry. Moreover, it does not deal with the availability of spectrum for mobile phone service, which is part of the Industry Canada mandate, nor the maintenance of competition, which is largely the responsibility of The Competition Bureau.
Any transfer of more than 30% of the ownership of a broadcasting licence (including cable/satellite distribution licences) requires advance approval of the commission. One condition normally taken into account in such a decision is the level of foreign ownership; federal regulations require that Canadian citizens ultimately own a majority of a broadcast license. Usually this takes the form of a public process, where interested parties can express their concerns and sometimes including a public hearing, followed by a commission decision.
While landline and mobile telephone providers must also be majority-owned by Canadians under the federal Telecommunications Act, the CRTC is not responsible for enforcement of this provision. In fact, the commission does not require licences at all for telephone companies, and CRTC approval is therefore not generally required for the sale of a telephone company, unless said company also owns a broadcast licence.
Since 1987, the CRTC has been involved in several controversial decisions:
While an exact number has not been determined, thousands of Canadians have purchased and used what they contend to be grey market radio and television services, licensed in the United States but not in Canada. Users of these unlicensed services contend that they are not directly breaking any laws by simply using the equipment. The equipment is usually purchased from an American supplier (although some merchants have attempted to set up shop in Canada) and the services are billed to an American postal address. The advent of online billing and the easy availability of credit card services has made it relatively easy for almost anyone to maintain an account in good standing, regardless of where they actually live.
Sec. 9(1)(c) of the Radiocommunication Act creates a prohibition against all decoding of encrypted programming signals, followed by an exception where authorization is received from the person holding the lawful right in Canada to transmit and authorize decoding of the signal. This means receiving the encrypted programming of DishNetwork or DirecTV, even with a grey market subscription, may be construed as unlawful (this remains an unresolved Constitutional issue).
Notwithstanding, possession of DishNetwork or DirecTV equipment is not unlawful as provided by The Radiocommuncation Act Section 4(1)(b), which states:
"No person shall, except under and in accordance with a radio authorization, install, operate or possess radio apparatus, other than (b)a radio apparatus that is capable only of the reception of broadcasting and that is not a distribution undertaking. (radio apparatus" means a device or combination of devices intended for, or capable of being used for, radiocommunication)."
Satellite radio poses a more complicated problem for the CRTC. While an unlicensed satellite dish can often be identified easily, satellite radio receivers are much more compact and can rarely be easily identified, at least not without flagrantly violating provisions against unreasonable search and seizure in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Some observers argued that this influenced the CRTC's June 2005 decision to ease Canadian content restrictions on satellite radio (see above).
The CRTC is run by up to 13 full-time (including the chairman, the vice-chairman of broadcasting, and the vice-chairman of telecommunications) appointed by the Cabinet for renewable terms of up to five years. However, unlike the more directly political appointees of the American Federal Communications Commission, the CRTC is an arms-length regulatory body with more autonomous authority over telecommunications. For example, the CRTC's decisions rely more on a more judiciary process relying on evidence submitted during public consultations, rather than along party lines as the American FCC is prone to do.
The CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) assists in developing information, procedures and guidelines for the CRTC's regulatory activities.
André Bureau, (born October 10, 1935) is a Canadian lawyer and communications executive.
Born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, he received an LL.B. from Université Laval in 1958 and a D.E.A. from the University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne in 1960. He was called to the Quebec Bar in 1959.
From 1968 to 1972, he was an Executive Vice-President at La Presse, one of Quebec's largest French-language daily newspapers. He returned to practicing law from 1973 to 1976 before being appointed Executive Vice-President at Télémédia Communications Ltée in 1976. He was president from 1980 to 1981 and president of Telemedia Ventures from 1981 to 1982. From 1982 to 1983, he was president and CEO of Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. From 1983 to 1989, he was Chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). He then became President and CEO of Astral Inc and president of Astral Broadcasting Group Inc. In 1989, he practiced with Heenan Blaikie as counsel.
In 1993, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1992, he was made a Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2004, he was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.BravoFACT
BravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) was a Canadian fund that ran continuously from 1995 to 2017. It was established to fund the creation of Canadian arts-based short films and videos. BravoFACT funded shorts from various subject matters, genres and styles including animation, drama, comedy, dance, and more. BravoFACT was established in 1995 by Bravo, a Canadian specialty television channel devoted to the arts, as a condition of licence. The fund was supported entirely by Bravo, and the supported projects aired on Bravo! weekly, on BravoFACT Presents.In 2017, at the request of Bell Media, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission deleted the condition of licence requiring Bravo! to financially contribute to BravoFACT. On September 26, 2017, bravoFACT was officially discontinued.CHTK-FM
CHTK-FM is a Canadian radio station that broadcasts a hot adult contemporary format at 99.1 FM in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The station is branded as EZ Rock. CHTK is owned by Bell Media.
The station has been broadcasting at its current frequency since October 21, 2011. It previously broadcast at 560 kHz from its first sign-on in 1965 until 2011.
On January 11, 2011, CHTK received Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approval to convert CHTK (AM) to the FM dial at 99.1 MHz.CIHS-FM
CIHS-FM is a Canadian radio station broadcasting a gospel music format at 93.5 FM in Wetaskiwin, Alberta and is owned by Tag Broadcasting.
The station began broadcasting in the early 2000s after being given approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on November 8, 2000. The station has also gone through some technical changes.CJRU
CJRU, branded as CJRU.ca and originally branded as The Scope at Ryerson, is a low-powered AM campus and community radio station, owned and operated by Radio Ryerson Incorporated at Ryerson University in Toronto, which was granted a broadcast license by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on December 11, 2014.The station broadcasts on 1280 kHz with a signal strength of 99 watts as well as online. The station officially launched on the AM band on March 31, 2016 after several weeks of test transmissions. CJRU's current license expires on August 31, 2021. The 1280 AM frequency was previously used by CFBN.CKMH-FM
CKMH-FM is a Canadian radio station that broadcasts an active rock format at 105.3 FM in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The station is branded as 105.3 Rock and is currently owned by Rogers Communications.
The station was licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in 2007. After beginning on-air testing on January 29, 2008, CKMH signed on February 25, 2008 at 1:05:30 PM.Category A services
Category A services were a class of Canadian specialty television channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, must be offered by all digital cable and direct broadcast satellite providers that have the capability to do so.
Category A services were an amalgamation of the former analog pay and specialty services licensed prior to digital television (with the exception of general interest national news and sports specialty services which are designated as Category C services) and the former category 1 digital specialty channels. In a policy decision released on October 30, 2008, the CRTC decided that all Category 1 digital services as well as all analog pay and specialty channels would be renamed Category A services, effective September 1, 2011.Category A services share a number of similar regulations, including that they must be offered by all television providers in Canada, and have higher Canadian content quota levels than Category B services. They were also previously protected by "genre protection" rules forbidding other specialty channels from directly competing with them, but the CRTC is in the process of phasing out these policies in favour of switching all specialty services to standardized licenses as discretionary services.Category B services
A Category B service is the former term for a Canadian discretionary specialty television channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, may be carried by all digital cable television and direct broadcast satellite providers. Such services were called Category 2 until September 1, 2011.Unlike Category A services, Category B services are not protected as to format. They are licensed to broadcast within defined formats which are not provided by or overly close to an existing protected channel, but their formats are not protected themselves and need not protect other Category B services. Also unlike Category A services, a Category B service does not have guaranteed cable carriage rights, but must directly negotiate carriage with cable distributors. Category B services encompass both pay television and specialty channels.
In December 2012, the CRTC exempted from formal licensing services with less than 200,000 subscribers that would otherwise meet the definition of a Category B service, and services which air 90% of their programming in a language other than English, French, or languages of aboriginal peoples in Canada.Henceforth, most Canadian specialty channels (except for national news and mainstream sports channels, which are classified as Category C services) will be licensed as Category B services.Category C services
A Category C service is the former term for a Canadian discretionary specialty channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, provides programming in genres that are subject to different standard conditions of licences from those of other discretionary services. As of 2011, this category applies to all national news and mainstream sports broadcasters.
Under previous policies, these services were intentionally unprotected from competition by other Category B services of the same genre, but are still "protected" from competition by other discretionary services. In other words, if someone wants to launch a competing service, they must do so by committing to the same obligations, including common requirements for the exhibition and funding of Canadian-produced programming, as others. Discretionary services, by contrast, may not devote more than 10% of their monthly programming to live professional sports.Mainstream news channels are subject to a form of must carry rules; they must be offered on a packaged or standalone basis, but not necessarily on the lowest tier of service, by all digital television providers. Category C sports services are not subject to must-carry rules; distributors must negotiate directly with their operators for carriage.Community television in Canada
Community television in Canada is a form of media that carries programming of local community interest produced by a cable television company and by independent community groups and distributed by a local cable company.
A community channel is a form of community television, much like public-access television cable TV in the United States and other forms of citizen produced content. The provision of a community channel is required by CRTC regulations governing the licensing of cable companies. Cable companies are required to allocate a small percentage of cable subscription revenues for the provision of a community channel. This amounts to over $116 million annually in Canada. The community channel is viewed as a public trust that the cable companies manage on behalf of the Canadian public.
Due to a 2016 change in CRTC regulation, cable community channels are no longer provided in several of Canada's largest television markets; in major markets where the cable company is also the licensee of a conventional television station, the company is not required to operate a separate community channel so long as the equivalent percentage of cable subscription revenue is allocated to the newsgathering operations of the conventional station. In smaller markets or in cities where the cable company does not also hold a terrestrial television license, however, the provision of a community channel remains a mandatory condition of license for all CRTC-regulated cable companies.Discretionary service
A discretionary service is a Canadian specialty channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, may be carried optionally by all digital subscription television providers. It replaces the previous category A, category B, category C, and premium classifications.Discretionary services may air programming from any of the CRTC's defined categories, although no more than 10% of programming per-month may be devoted to live professional sports. Discretionary services may offer multiplex channels with CRTC permission.Fox Sports World Canada
Fox Sports World Canada was a Canadian English language Category B specialty channel. FSWC's programming primarily featured soccer and covered other world sports such as rugby.
Although its original Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) licence called for Fox Sports World Canada to carry soccer, cricket and rugby as their core sports, cricket and rugby matches all but disappeared from the channel after the first few years. FSWC's flagship program was the Fox Soccer Report, which comprised most of its Canadian content.
On October 27, 2010, Shaw Communications gained control of Fox Sports World as a result of its acquisition of Canwest, which was renamed Shaw Media.On March 6, 2012, Shaw Media released a statement announcing that they would cease the broadcast of Fox Sports World Canada on midnight of April 30 of that year. The company had been examining the possibility of launching a mainstream sports channel in competition with TSN and Sportsnet, but ultimately decided against it. Shaw claimed the channel "no longer makes strategic and economic sense for Shaw Media going forward" in light of that decision. The channel officially shut down on April 30, 2012, while its license was officially revoked on April 19, 2016, nearly four years after the channel went off the air.Françoise Bertrand
Françoise Bertrand, (born 1948) is a Canadian business personality. She is the first woman to head a North American television network, as CEO and president of Télé Québec, and the first woman to serve as chairperson of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), a position she held from 1996 to 2001. Bertrand was inducted into the National Order of Quebec in 2008 and appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013. She has served as president and CEO of Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (Québec's Federation of Chambers of Commerce) since 2003, the first woman to hold the position.Harry J. Boyle
Harry Joseph Boyle (October 7, 1915 in St. Augustine, Ontario - January 22, 2005 in Toronto, Ontario) was a Canadian broadcaster and writer.
He began his career in media working for a local radio station during the 1930s and later as district editor for the Stratford Beacon Herald. During this time he was also contributing articles to the London Free Press, Globe and Mail and the Toronto Telegram.
In 1942, he began working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as its farm commentator as well as the director of the National Farm Radio Forum.
In 1968, Boyle was appointed vice-chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and in August 1975 became its chairman. He held this position until 1977.
After leaving the CRTC, he became a member of faculty at the Banff School of Arts and a member of the Ontario Arts Council (1979–1982).
Boyle's writing was primarily autobiographical fiction dealing with life in rural southern Ontario during the interwar period. Two of his books were awarded the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour: Homebrew and Patches in 1964 and Luck of the Irish in 1976.
In 1978, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. The same year he received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University.Pierre Juneau
Pierre Juneau, , (October 17, 1922 – February 21, 2012) was a Canadian film and broadcast executive, a one-time member of the Canadian Cabinet, the first chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and subsequently president of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He is credited with the creation, promotion, and championing of Canadian content requirements for radio and television. Juneau is the namesake of the Juno Awards, which were named for him.Quebecor Media
Quebecor Media Inc. is a Canadian media company that owns a wide array of media outlets, as well as an internet service provider.
In August 2000, Quebecor Media bought Vidéotron for CA$ 4.9 billion. In May 2001, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the transfer of broadcasting licenses from Vidéotron to Quebecor Media. Also in 2001, Quebecor Media bought Groupe TVA.
As of June 2018 Quebecor Inc. fully owns Quebecor Media while CDP Capital d’Amérique Investissements Inc. (a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the provincial pension fund) previously owned a 18.9% share. On May 8, 2018, Quebecor announced its intent to buy out the remainder of the Caisse's stake for $1.69 billion in cash and stock.RDS2
RDS2 is a secondary feed of the Canadian French language specialty channel RDS, owned by CTV Specialty Television Inc., a joint venture of Bell Media (80%) and ESPN (20%). The network was launched on October 7, 2011 to coincide with the start of the 2011 MLB post-season; its launch night programming included coverage of the Division Series and a documentary on the Montreal Expos.
As with its English-language equivalent TSN2, it is a secondary outlet for programming that cannot be aired on the main network, and operates under the same Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) licence as RDS itself. It is available on digital cable and satellite services. As of November 23, 2011, television providers that carry the new channel include Bell TV, Shaw Direct, Vidéotron.Simultaneous substitution
Simultaneous substitution (also known as simsubbing or signal substitution) is a practice mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requiring broadcast distribution undertakings (BDUs) in Canada to distribute the signal of a local or regional over-the-air station in place of the signal of a foreign or non-local television station (typically one that is affiliated with a U.S. commercial television network such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox), when the two stations are broadcasting identical programming simultaneously.
The CRTC first introduced the policy in 1972, and it is sometimes erroneously called "simulcasting", the name of a practice different from simultaneous substitution in that there is no signal replacement. According to the CRTC, the practice of simultaneous substitution is necessary "to protect the rights of broadcasters, to enable television stations to draw enough advertising revenue and to keep advertising money in the Canadian market". Canadian broadcast networks, which must request each and every substitution on an individual basis, have been criticized for exploiting the regulation and not investing enough money into Canadian content.The most prominent public criticism of simsubs has been centered around the Super Bowl—the championship game of the National Football League—which is well-known for featuring high-profile commercials on its U.S. broadcast. In 2015, citing the ads as having become an "integral part" of the broadcast, the CRTC announced that it would implement a policy to prevent broadcasters from requesting simsubs for the game; it was officially implemented prior to Super Bowl LI in 2017. This has faced criticism over the change in policy from the game's rightsholder, CTV owner Bell Media; the company argued that it singled out a specific program for policy in violation of the Broadcasting Act, and devalued its rights to the league. Bell has attempted appeals to get the policy overturned, whilst the as-yet-unratified United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement contains an annex that would require the CRTC to withdraw this policy, effective after Super Bowl LIII in 2019.Zazeen
Zazeen is a Canadian telecommunications company and broadcast distribution provider launched in 2013. It provides VoIP telephone service, DSL and cable Internet, and IPTV television service in urban areas of Ontario and Quebec.