Ian Scott at the public hearing on applications for a national, multilingual multi-ethnic television service offering news and information programming for mandatory distribution on the basic service

Speech

Gatineau, Quebec
November 26, 2018

Ian Scott, Chairperson
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 would like to thank the Algonquin people and pay respect to their Elders.

At this hearing, we will consider eight applications for a national, multilingual and multi-ethnic television service. The applicants are also seeking mandatory distribution for their proposed services as part of the digital basic service across Canada.  

We will examine whether these proposals meet the criteria for a service that will provide Canadians with programming, including news and information programming, in multiple languages from a Canadian perspective.

Any service, if licensed, must ensure that the multicultural nature of Canadian society is reflected in its programming, as well as access to affordable third-language programming in the Canadian broadcasting system. Such programming assists Canadians in civic engagement and can help promote cross-cultural understanding.

Questions for consideration

Mandatory distribution is a privilege reserved for television services that provide an exceptional contribution to the broadcasting system and to achieving the policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act. Any such service would be included on the digital basic service and all Canadian television subscribers would pay for it. Accordingly, we take the granting of such a privilege very seriously.

Over the next four days, we will examine whether the proposed services would contribute to the achievement of these goals. In particular, we will want to know if their inclusion on the basic service would support the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.

To that end, the applicants are required to demonstrate how their proposed services would meet the criteria for mandatory distribution set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-629.

Furthermore, each applicant will have to clearly demonstrate how its proposed service would fulfill other criteria, including how it would:

  • operate under a diverse governance structure
  • serve a broadly representative set of minority linguistic and cultural communities, including newcomers to Canada
  • be relevant to all Canadians across the country, and
  • present news and information programming in multiple languages from a Canadian perspective, including local, regional and national news and information.

Applicants were also asked to provide any other evidence and arguments to support the issuance of an order for mandatory distribution on the digital basic service.

Based on this information and the evaluation of the applications in the context of these criteria, the Commission will then decide whether any of the proposed services should receive a licence and have the privilege of receiving mandatory distribution. We are seeking an exceptional service that will contribute to the diversity of Canada and best serve Canadians.

Procedure

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

The panel for this hearing consists of:

  • Caroline Simard, Vice-Chairperson of Broadcasting
  • Christianne Laizner, Vice-Chairperson of Telecommunications
  • and of course, myself, Ian Scott, Chairperson of the CRTC.

The Commission team assisting us includes:

  • Tracy Speigel and Tina Louise Latourelle, Hearing Managers
  • Eric Bowles and Valérie Dionne, Legal Counsel, and
  • Lynda Roy, Hearing Secretary.

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

Madam Secretary…

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