Opening remarks at the public hearing to consider the renewal of five broadcasting licences for non-compliant radio stations
June 16, 2020
Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC
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Good morning and welcome to this public hearing. Before we start, I want to acknowledge that we Commissioners, as well as some Commission staff, are gathered here on traditional unceded Algonquin territory. I would like to thank the Algonquin people and pay respect to their Elders.
This public hearing will be hosted virtually. Under the current circumstances, the Commission is adapting so we can continue to support the regulated industries upon which Canadians are relying.
At this hearing, the Commission will examine the licence renewal applications of five radio stations whose licences all expire on August 31, 2020.
The licensees have been called to this hearing because they appear to be in serious non-compliance with their regulatory requirements, certain conditions of licence or mandatory orders issued by the Commission. The Commission is also concerned that the licences for these stations were already renewed for shorter terms because they have previously been found in non-compliance.
During this hearing, the licensees will be called upon to address these issues. They will need to explain why their licences should be renewed, and not suspended, revoked or renewed for a shorter term, with or without the imposition of mandatory orders. Each instance of apparent non-compliance will be evaluated in its context and in light of factors such as the quantity, recurrence and seriousness of the non-compliance.
Licence renewal applications
First, the panel will consider the application for the English-language community radio station, CICR-FM Parrsboro, in Nova Scotia. In the current licence term, the station appears to be in non-compliance with its regulatory obligations, including by not providing certain program logs, reports and music lists. As well, it appears it may not have complied with part of the Radio Regulations. If found to be in non-compliance, this would be the third consecutive licence term in which the station would be in non-compliance.
Next up, the panel will consider the application for the French-language community radio station CKMN-FM Rimouski/Mont-Joli, in Quebec. For the current licence term, the licensee seems to be in non-compliance for not providing a complete and accurate self-assessment report. It also appears that it did not respect its condition of licence requiring the station to devote a minimum of 5% of its music selections to special interest music. If found to be in non-compliance, this would be the fifth consecutive licence term the station would be in non-compliance.
We will then consider the application for CJWI Montréal, a French-language ethnic commercial AM station. In the current licence term, the station appears to have failed to file complete annual returns on time and a complete and accurate music list, among other requirements. Furthermore, the licensee is in apparent non-compliance with two mandatory orders requiring it to comply at all times with certain sections of the Radio Regulations, as well as with several of its conditions of licence. If found to be in non-compliance, this would be the fourth consecutive licence term in which the station would be in non-compliance.
Next, the panel will examine the application for the French-language commercial AM station CJMS Saint-Constant, in Quebec. For the current licence term, the licensee seems to be in non-compliance because it did not file complete annual returns on time or a music list, among other things. The licensee is also in apparent non-compliance with a mandatory order requiring it to comply at all times with a specific section of the Radio Regulations. If found to be in non-compliance this would be the sixth consecutive licence term in which the station would be in non-compliance.
Finally, the panel will consider an application for the French-language commercial radio station CFOR-FM Maniwaki, in Quebec. For the current licence term, the licensee is in apparent non-compliance for not filing complete annual returns on time, a program log and a music list, among other things. Furthermore, the station did not seek the Commission’s approval when it made ownership changes. And it appears that it did not respect its condition of licence pertaining to its financial contributions for Canadian content development. If found to be in non-compliance, this would be the fourth consecutive licence term in which the station would be in non-compliance.
The Commission reminds the licensees that having a broadcasting licence is a privilege that comes with certain responsibilities and obligations. This hearing will help assess their compliance and commitment to adhere to their regulatory obligations as well as whether the licensees should continue to benefit from this privilege.
The panel and the licensees will also discuss, in the event that the licences are renewed, whether measures should be imposed to ensure future compliance.
Before we start, let me make a few introductions.
The hearing panel consists of:
- Alicia Barin, Commissioner for Quebec
- Caroline Simard, Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting
- and myself, Ian Scott, Chair of the CRTC. I will be presiding over this hearing.
The Commission team assisting us includes:
- Catherine White, Hearing Manager
- Christina Maheux, Legal Counsel, and
- Jade Roy, Hearing Secretary.
I would now invite our Legal Counsel to further explain the possible outcomes and their implications, as well as what is expected of the licensees at this hearing.
I would now invite our Hearing Secretary, Ms. Roy, to explain the procedure we will be following during this public hearing.
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