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Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
Transmitted by CNW Group on : August 26, 2010 14:00
CRTC changes community television policy to enhance local participation
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, Aug. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today issued a new policy that will give Canadians more opportunities to participate in their community television channels. The CRTC's policy will also ensure that these channels better reflect the realities and interests of local citizens.
"Community channels give Canadians the unique ability to see themselves and their neighbourhoods, towns and cities reflected on television," said Michel Arpin, the CRTC's Vice-Chairman of Broadcasting. "This can only be achieved through equal partnerships between cable companies and the communities they serve. Access to the broadcasting system must be as open as possible, especially for people who are new to the production of television programming."
Under the new policy, the CRTC will require that community members must be involved in the creation of at least half of a community channel's programming. This means that the original idea for a program must come from members of the community, who must also be involved in some aspect of the production, whether in front or behind the camera.
Additionally, at least half of a channel's programming expenditures will have to be devoted to this type of programming, as well as to community outreach initiatives and the training and development of volunteers.
Given the significant changes to the policy, the CRTC has determined that the new requirements will take effect on September 1, 2014.
The CRTC has also introduced measures to improve the accountability and transparency of the funds cable companies allocate to the operation of their community television channels. Cable companies will have to provide this information on a yearly basis starting in 2012.
Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-622
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2009-661
These documents are available in alternative format upon request.
Additional information on community television stations
The Canadian broadcasting system is made up of three basic elements: private broadcasters, public broadcasters and community broadcasters.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's community television policy is designed to:
- ensure the creation and exhibition of more locally produced programming that is reflective of the community, and
- foster a greater diversity of voices and alternative choices by facilitating the entry of new participants to the broadcasting system.
To meet these objectives, at least 30 per cent of the programming aired each week by community channels must be created and produced by local citizens and community groups. As of September 1, 2014, the minimum will be raised to 50 per cent.
On that same date, the Commission will require that community channels allocate 50 per cent of their programming expenditures to this type of programming. Initiatives to promote and generate programming and to train and develop volunteers will also qualify as eligible expenditures.
There are presently 119 cable systems funding community channels in Canada. Unlike local television stations, community channels are not permitted to air mainstream commercial advertising, with the exception of sponsorship messages. Any revenues generated through sponsorship messages must be reinvested in community programming.
As part of their total contributions to Canadian programming, the larger cable companies may allocate up to 2 per cent of their gross revenues to the operation of their community channels. This percentage resulted in contributions of approximately $119 million in 2009. The Commission considers that community channels have enough funds to achieve the policy's objectives, and has decided to maintain funding at current levels.
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