Canadian Media Production Association seeks to appeal CRTC Let’s Talk TV decision

From a media release:

The Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) has filed an application for leave to appeal asking the Federal Court of Appeal to set aside a CRTC decision to no longer enforce critical safeguards for independent producers in their dealings with Canada’s largest private broadcasters (Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Corus). These safeguards, known as terms of trade, were put in place in 2011 by the CRTC in the form of regulatory conditions designed to redress the imbalance of bargaining power between independent producers and broadcasters.

“We had no choice but to seek to appeal this aspect of the Let’s Talk TV decision” said Michael Hennessy, CMPA President and CEO. “Regulatory enforcement of producer safeguards is the only way to ensure producers are able to negotiate fair deals with the media giants. They are critical for the health of the independent production sector and the thousands of creators and skilled workers it employs.”

In its leave to appeal application, the CMPA argues that the CRTC failed to provide the CMPA with notice or the opportunity to make proper submissions with respect to this critically important issue for independent producers. The appeal is not related to the CRTC’s recent policies to provide more choice and affordability to Canadian TV viewers.

“We are disturbed that the CRTC has decided to no longer enforce safeguards for independent producers without any notice or asking us a single question on the subject at the Let’s Talk TV hearings,” says Hennessy. “Without the current regulatory conditions to ensure fair bargaining, and in the absence of any other Codes or safeguards, thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses are in jeopardy. Even more troubling to us is that at the same time the enforcement for producer safeguards were withdrawn, the CRTC enhanced protections afforded to much larger industry players like independent broadcasters and cable providers such as Cogeco and TELUS.”

Total film and television production volume in Canada in 2013/14 was $5.86B and accounted for over 125,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs including 49,300 direct jobs on productions. That accounts for $7.5B GDP to the economy. Canadian independent television production accounted for $2.3B in volume, generating 49,000 FTEs including 19,300 direct jobs, and $2.9B in GDP.