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CRTC Calls for Comments

October 20, 2017

The CRTC is exploring "the future of audio and video programming in Canada," and is asking for comments from the publicThe background is this: when Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly made her "Creative Canada" announcement on Sept. 28 it included the government’s intention to review the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act. In light of that review, the federal government is seeking the CRTC’s views on how the broadcasting system is evolving, and the CRTC is in turn asking Canadians what they think. Members, find out more by logging on to the WGC website and reading the CRTC Consultation FAQ under the "policy" menu.
While the announcement of a $500 million spending commitment from Netflix on original Canadian production got much of the attention immediately following Minister Joly’s September announcement, a review of the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act has the potential to be the most significant outcome of this process over the medium to long term. It is the current Broadcasting Act which grants to the CRTC the authority (and obligation) to regulate Canadian broadcasting in the public interest, which includes imposing Canadian programming requirements on broadcasters and cable/satellite TV companies — a huge part of the support for our sector. And it is the current Telecommunications Act that prevents ISPs or other telecommunications services, now so central to the distribution of content, from contributing to that system. The review of these Acts will be fundamental to deciding what cultural policy tools remain in the policy “toolkit.”
The CRTC’s Oct. 12 call for comments is just the first step in this process, but it is an important one. Ultimately, it is Parliament and the Government of Canada that will determine what’s in — or out — of the new Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act (or an amalgamation of the two), but the CRTC’s report will help to define the terms and set the tone for that discussion. 
The CRTC's consultation page sets out the process and the key issues to be considered. The CRTC has also released a formal “Notice of Consultation” with additional details. As you can see, the consultation is structured in two phases, with the first being a series of questions about how the audiovisual market is evolving, in terms of consumer trends and business models, and how we can continue to support Canadian content creation and distribution in that context. 
Deadline for comments in the first phase is November 24, 2017. If you would like to comment, you can do so here.

Canadian Screenwriter fall 2017 is on newsstands now. View excerpts, and subscribe here.

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