From a media release:
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today took measures to ensure Canadians continue to have access to local programming that reflects their needs and interests.
New minimum thresholds for local news will be imposed on all local private television broadcasters. Also, through a rebalancing of resources, the large private broadcasters will now have the necessary flexibility to keep local stations open and fund the production of local news programming. This represents up toÂ $67 millionÂ that could be available for local news.
In addition, the CRTC is creating the Independent Local News Fund to give independent stations access to approximatelyÂ $23 million dollarsÂ in resources to produce high-quality local news programming.
The Independent Local News Fund will support independent operators in the following localities:Â Victoria,Â Prince George,Â Kamloops,Â Medicine Hat,Â Lloydminster,Â Thunder Bay,Â Hamilton,Â Rouyn-Noranda,Â Val d’Or,Â Gatineau,Â Montreal, Trois-RiviÃ¨res,Â Sherbrooke, QuÃ©bec, Saguenay, RiviÃ¨re-du-Loup,Â CarletonÂ andÂ St-John’s.
Canadians value local news and they watch it on a regular basis. Local news and information is also a key part of a democratic society. However, new technologies are making it harder to monetize viewership on traditional platforms.
The thorough public record shows that, overall, the framework for community television continues to be valid and relevant, ensuring that citizens have access to content production acrossÂ Canada.
Cable companies will continue to have the stewardship of the community channel on behalf of their subscribers as they have for decades. The CRTC was not persuaded that this successful model should be changed.
Nevertheless, the CRTC is taking steps to ensure that this programming continues to reflect local citizens and events, and that more of the overall funding is directed to on-screen results rather than overhead.
- The CRTC has issued its new regulatory framework for local and community programming, following a process that began inÂ September 2015.
- During this process, Canadians reiterated that they place great importance on local news to stay informed.
- Average weekly viewing hours for Canadian news and actualities broadcast by Canadian television services is over 23% of total hours viewed in the English market and over 28% in the French market.
- The emergence of new technologies allowed Canadians to easily have access to local and international news. However, new digital media do not yet have adequate funding and the expertise necessary to replace traditional local news.
- There are currently sufficient sources of funding within the system to fund the creation of locally produced, locally reflective programming.
- Canada’sÂ television system provides a strong foundation on which to build for the future. It employs nearly 60,000 people and invests more thanÂ $4 billionÂ in public funds alone each year in the creation of content made by Canadians.
- The allocation of some of the funding sources has been reviewed to ensure that local programming continues to be of high quality and receive adequate funding.
- The CRTC expects broadcasters to fulfill their social responsibility to produce programming that informs and reflects local communities.
- English-language stations will be required to broadcast at least seven hours of locally relevant programming (especially news) per week in non-metropolitan markets, and 14 hours per week in metropolitan markets (namelyÂ Toronto,Â Montreal,Â Vancouver,Â EdmontonÂ andÂ Calgary).
- French-language stations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, using a benchmark of five hours of local programming per week.
- Canadians still value community television programming, especially in smaller communities.
- In the digital era, it is increasingly easy to create and share content online at lower cost. Community channels are encouraged to make content available on multiple platforms to all Canadians.
- The CRTC today also published a notice of consultation that launched the renewal process for television licences owned by large ownership groups.
- The public hearing to review the applications from the French-language ownership groups, namely Bell, Corus, QuÃ©becor and Groupe V, will begin onÂ November 22, 2016, inÂ Laval, Quebec.
- The public hearing to review the applications from the English-language ownership groups, namely Bell, Corus and Rogers, will begin onÂ November 28, 2016, at our headquarters in the National Capital Region.