Ian Scott at the public hearing on broadcasting licence renewal for services with mandatory distribution on basic service in accordance with section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act

Speech

Gatineau, Quebec
April 30, 2018

Ian Scott, Chairman
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Check against delivery

Good morning and welcome to this public hearing. Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional territory of Indigenous peoples. I want to thank the Algonquin people and pay respect to their Elders.

At this hearing, we will consider licence renewal applications for a number of services that have mandatory distribution on the basic service in accordance with section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act. We are examining whether these services, whose licences expire on August 31, 2018, should continue to benefit from this distribution and, if so, under what conditions.

I would like to point out that some applicants will not appear at this hearing, since their files are considered to be complete and we have no additional questions. The three non-appearing applicants are: Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC); AMI-audio, -télé and -tv services; and the Legislative Assemblies of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

The other services that have mandatory distribution – MétéoMédia/The Weather Network, TV5/Unis, APTN and Canal M – will appear at this public hearing to answer the panel’s questions.

Questions for consideration

Mandatory distribution on the basic service is a privilege reserved for services that meet an exceptional need in the broadcasting system.

Over the next days, we will study the requests to determine if the channels are still of exceptional importance in achieving the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. More specifically, we want to know if their inclusion in the basic service helps protect, enrich and sustain our Canadian culture by using local, regional, national and international sources.

In addition, it is crucial that these services continue to reflect and strengthen Canada’s linguistic duality and ethno-cultural diversity, including the importance of Indigenous peoples in Canadian society.

We will ask applicants questions about their programming and their compliance with the conditions of licence they were granted. We will also discuss the applicants’ proposed changes to their programming requirements and, in some cases, increases to their wholesale rate. We will review these requests to ensure that the rates continue to be reasonable and allow the services to fulfill their mandate.

The Commission will then be able to decide whether the services should retain the privilege of mandatory distribution on the basic service.

Procedure

Before we start, I would like to make a few introductions.

The panel for this hearing consists of:

  • Yves Dupras, Regional Commissioner for Quebec
  • Linda Vennard, Regional Commissioner for Alberta and the Northwest Territories
  • and myself, Ian Scott, Chairperson of the CRTC. I will preside over this meeting.

The Commission team assisting us includes:

  • Tracy Speigel and Guillaume Castonguay, Hearing Co-Managers
  • Eric Bowles and Barbara Cuber, Legal Counsel
  • Peter Keriakos, Economic Analyst
  • Jade Roy, Secretary of Public Hearings

I would now invite Ms. Roy to explain the procedure we will be following.

Madam Secretary…

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