News Release by CBC/Radio-Canada

Our culture, our democracy: Canada in the digital world

Today CBC/Radio-Canada provided its proposal for strengthening Canadian culture and democracy to the Government of Canada’s panel reviewing the Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Radiocommunication Acts.

In its submission, CBC/Radio-Canada presents its case for modernizing Canada’s cultural legislation, which includes ensuring a strong public broadcaster to support Canadian culture and democracy in the digital world. Given the growing dominance of global digital companies that threaten to drown out the country’s stories as well as its news and information, CBC/Radio-Canada is concerned about the health of the Canadian broadcasting system and its ability to continue to serve the needs of citizens.

“CBC/Radio-Canada remains a cornerstone of Canada’s cultural and creative sector,” said Catherine Tait, CBC/Radio-Canada’s President & CEO. “We want to ensure it can help strengthen homegrown culture. Like public broadcasters around the world, we have a crucial role to play in reflecting diversity; in providing more trusted news and stronger links with local communities; in being a destination for future generations of children; and in providing a powerful platform to share culture globally.”

In its submission, CBC/Radio-Canada is proposing support for three key initiatives:

  1. Strengthen public broadcasting as a cornerstone of Canadian culture;
  2. Strengthen the quality and access to trusted news and information for all Canadians; and
  3. Strengthen Canadian culture by ensuring that all companies who benefit from our market contribute to the sustainability of Canadian culture.

Among its proposals, CBC/Radio-Canada recommends sufficient, predictable funding for the public broadcaster, in order to allow it to fulfil its role in supporting culture and democracy.

In addition, the public broadcaster recommends that digital companies—both foreign and domestic—which are profiting from Canadians’ love of content, contribute to the creation of Canadian culture, as traditional broadcasting companies already do. The current inequality is not sustainable and undermines the creation of great Canadian stories. Countries around the world are grappling with the same issue.

Ms. Tait added: “CBC/Radio-Canada is excited about the future. Canadians are embracing our new digital services, and younger Canadians are returning to their public broadcaster through mobile services and podcasts. While there are significant challenges in the digital world, CBC/Radio-Canada believes there are tremendous opportunities for Canada to use the power of digital to build a strong cultural system for Canadians.”

About the review of Canada’s communications legislative framework

As committed to in Budget 2017, the Government of Canada is reviewing the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act and the Radiocommunication Act.

In June 2018, the Government of Canada announced a review of broadcasting legislation by a panel of external experts chaired by Janet Yale.

CBC/Radio-Canada submitted its recommendations as part of the panel’s call for comments from interested individuals and organizations.

For Canada’s public broadcaster, this legislative review is important and timely. In particular, the Broadcasting Act is the public broadcaster’s governing legislation and sets out the scope of its mandate to serve the public. As such, modernization of this legislation will determine the future of Canadian culture, how the country sees itself and how others view Canada.

CBC/Radio-Canada is a member of the Public Media Alliance


Header Image: Ontario headquarters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Credit: KathrynHatashitaLee /istock