Jean-Pierre Blais on the Implementation of Pick-and-Pay

Speech

Notes for an address

Gatineau, Quebec
1 December 2016

Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman
Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission

Check against delivery

Good morning.

Before we start the hearing, I’d like to say a few words to highlight that we’ve reached the last step in the implementation of new TV choices stemming from Let’s Talk TV.

As you may recall, since March 1st, Canadians can subscribe to a basic package that costs $25 or less.

As of today, December 1st, all licensed service providers must offer all optional channels (also known as discretionary or specialty channels) on a pick-and-pay basis. They must also offer small packages of up to 10 channels.

So, after choosing the basic package they want (either the small basic package or one of the providers’ larger entry packages), Canadians can now get additional channels in the way that makes the most sense for them. They can choose one channel; they can choose small packages of channels, or they can chose large packages.

Our decisions are, and always have been, about choice.

Canadian households are not all the same. They have different tastes, needs, budgets, and interests. They watch different TV shows. Some watch a lot, and want big bundles of channels. Others watch an increasing amount of online content and want to shrink their TV service bills, since they don’t watch it much as they used to. Others have cut the cord entirely. And others use an antenna to watch local over-the-air stations for free.

All this to say that Canadians have choice when it comes to watching programming.

We, the CRTC, have made available online tools to help Canadians shop around for TV services. We have a checklist so they can figure out their needs and their budget. We show them the 5 steps to negotiating a better deal with their provider. We also gave Canadians tools to find other service providers in their area and links to online tools that compare services across the country.

If they’re unsatisfied with their TV services, Canadians have a responsibility as informed consumers to do their homework. It’s quite possible that, given their specific interests and budgets, they may come to realize they already have the best deal. Or they may decide to make changes.

We’ll be closely monitoring how television service providers are implementing the new TV choices and if they’re following the best practices we have identified.

We have renewed the licences of most providers for a one-year term. Next year, when those licences are up for renewal, we will not hesitate to take action if any provider doesn’t conform to the established policy or respect Canadian consumers and their right to choice.

Thank you

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