Improved access for Canadians to multilingual, multi-ethnic television news and information from a Canadian perspective

News release

May 23, 2019 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

The CRTC today granted Rogers Media a licence to operate a national, multilingual and multi-ethnic television service in 20 languages. This follows a competitive process in which the Commission determined that Rogers best met the criteria set out in its call for applications. Beginning on September 1, 2020, Canada’s third-language communities will have improved access to news and programming relevant to them.

The new service, which will succeed Rogers’ existing OMNI Regional service, will be available on all digital basic television packages throughout Canada. The new OMNI Regional service will better reflect Canada’s diverse ethnic and linguistic communities and offer more news and information programming from a Canadian perspective.

Programming will be provided on four feeds that will serve BC, the Prairies, Ontario & Atlantic Canada, and Québec.

As part of its increased commitments, Rogers will:

  • broadcast at least six hours of local original newscasts per week from Vancouver, Calgary/Edmonton and Toronto
  • broadcast a minimum of six daily, original national newscasts, seven days per week in at least six different third languages
  • produce at least 2 hours of programming in Manitoba and/or Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada each week
  • devote 100% of the schedule to ethnic programs, and no less than 80% to third-language programming, and
  • devote a minimum of 70% of all programming to the broadcast of Canadian programming.

In Quebec, Rogers will:

  • broadcast at least three hours of original, local, ethnic programming in French per week
  • provide a minimum of one and a half hours of local, original French-language programming
  • broadcast at least 30 minutes of local, original English-language programming per week, and
  • devote no less than 90% of its schedule to ethnic programming and 60% to third-language programming.

OMNI Regional’s new licence will expire on August 31, 2023.

Quotes

“Canadians require access to high-quality local news and programming from a Canadian viewpoint in various languages. Being able to watch content in one’s mother tongue adds a sense of belonging for many, enables participation in civic affairs and our democracy, and helps ensure that Canada’s diversity is reflected in our broadcasting system.”

- Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC

Quick facts

  • At a public hearing held in November 2018, the CRTC examined eight applications for a new national, multi lingual and multi-ethnic discretionary service.

  • OMNI Regional will have four regional advisory councils, one assigned to each of its regional feeds. The councils will provide advice on how OMNI Regional can better respond to the programming needs of its various audiences.

  • OMNI Regional will join a limited number of services that benefit from mandatory distribution, which help ensure the availability of content that reflects and contributes to Canada’s linguistic duality and ethno-cultural diversity, among other things.

  • To ensure a measure of affordability, television service providers cannot charge more than $25 per month for the digital basic service package.

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