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Appendix 8
A Brief History of Canadian Content Policy

1929

The Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting, chaired by Sir John Aird, submits its report. It recommends some form of public ownership in Canadian broadcasting and says there was "unanimity on one fundamental question — Canadian radio listeners want Canadian broadcasting."   

1932

The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Act is passed, establishing the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC). Its mandate is to regulate and control all broadcasting in Canada.   

1933

The CRBC issues regulations that place a 40% limit on foreign programs.   

1958

The Broadcasting Act is passed, creating the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG), which has the mandate ensure that the broadcasting system is "basically Canadian in content and character."   

1959

The BBG announces regulations for television stations, which include quotas for Canadian content. Beginning on 1 April 1961, at least 45% of television stations' broadcast time in any four-week period would have to be "basically Canadian in content and character." As of 1 April 1962, 55% of broadcast time would have to be Canadian. A "Canadian" production is generously defined, and includes any program produced by a licensee, productions made in Canada as well as the broadcast of events taking place outside Canada in which Canadians were participating (e.g. NHL hockey), or which were of special interest to Canadians (e.g. The World Series). Also included are programs produced in Commonwealth countries and programs produced in French-language countries; these receive partial credit.   

1961

A committee consisting of representatives from the BBG, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), and the Department of Transport that was formed to study cable television and its effect on broadcasting makes its report. It says the Broadcasting Act's goal of a service that is basically Canadian in content and in character is not being met and Parliament should intervene.   

1962

The BBG amends the television regulations to increase the Canadian content credit given to Commonwealth programs, award partial Canadian content credit to televisions in which the lip synchronization was done in Canada, and to limit the total time for Canadian content credit programs to one-third of each station's broadcast time. Minimum Canadian content rises to 55% of broadcast hours.

 

The BBG amends the television regulations to require a minimum of 40% Canadian content in programs carried between 6 p.m. and midnight.

 

The BBG amends the television regulations to allow a reduction in Canadian content requirements over the summer period (27 May — 13 October) from 55% to 45%.   

1963

The BBG amends its television regulations to allow a reduction in Canadian content requirements over the summer period (26 May — 12 October) from 55% to 45% and removes the requirement for 40% Canadian content in programs carried between 6 p.m. and midnight during this period.

 

The Government of Canada signs its first co-production treaty with a foreign government — France. Co-productions are recognized as Canadian content for broadcast purposes and later for financial support programs.   

1964

The BBG amends the television regulations to reduce Canadian content requirements over the summer period (21 June to 30 September) from 55%, to 45%. It also changed the reporting period from any four-week period to each calendar quarter.

 

The BBG enacts new FM radio regulations that are similar to its AM regulations.   

1968

A new Broadcasting Act is passed, setting the broadcasting policy for Canada and creating the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) to replace the BBG. The CRTC is given special responsibilities to ensure that programming be of high quality with substantial Canadian content.   

1969

Canadian television stations are required to fill 55% of their broadcasting day with Canadian content, and 40% of the time between 6 p.m. to midnight; at night Canadian programming is "overwhelmingly news and public affairs," accounting for two-thirds of evening Canadian programming; between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., the level of Canadian content is "more like 20 per cent than 40 per cent."   

1970

The CRTC introduces new Canadian content regulations for television; from October 1971 to September 1972, 50% of television stations' programming over the full day (6 a.m. — midnight and 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.) must be Canadian; beginning October 1972, 60% of television stations' programming must be Canadian. The CRTC says it may "deem" to be Canadian any program or series involving agreements for the reciprocal broadcasting of programs, some of which are Canadian; lip-synched programs done in Canada are given a 25% Canadian content credit.

 

The CRTC introduces new AM radio regulations. Beginning in 1971, stations would be required to meet a quota of Canadian music.   

1972

The CRTC eases Canadian content requirements for television — it defines a Canadian program and updates criteria based on Canadian talent and Canadian facilities.   

1979

The CRTC (now the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) implements a new FM Policy, first announced in 1975, reducing Canadian content levels.

 

The Consultative Committee on the Implications of Telecommunications for Canadian Sovereignty, chaired by J.V. Clyne, publishes a report entitled Telecommunications and Canada. It recommends the CRTC "introduce a points system for measuring Canadian content combining qualitative, quantitative, and prime-time aspects, without relinquishing the present concept of a minimum quantity, but with strong emphasis on quality."   

1982

CRTC licenses the first pay television services (Decision 82-240). Canadian content requirements set by individual conditions of licence.

 

The CRTC amends the television regulations to relax slightly the time periods for calculating Canadian content.   

1983

The CRTC issues its Policy Statement on Canadian Content in Television (Public Notice 1983-18). It announces a proposal to introduce a definition for Canadian programming based on a point system, "which would focus primarily on the two observable aspects of any program: performance and production."   

1984

The CRTC publishes Recognition For Canadian Programs, in which it introduces a 10-point system that is harmonized, but not identical, to the system used by the Canadian Film and Videotape Certification Office of the Department of Communications for feature film productions (Public Notice 1984-94).

 

The CRTC amends its television regulations: it defines a Canadian program and changes the reporting period for measuring Canadian content from an annual to a semi-annual basis (Public Notices 1984-110 and -247).   

1986

The Task Force on Broadcasting Policy, chaired by Gerald Caplan and Florian Sauvageau, submits its report. It recommends a new Broadcasting Act to respond to changing conditions and proposes a series of taxes and funding to strengthen Canadian content on television.

 

The CRTC enacts new cable regulations to replace those in force since 1976. While recognizing the need for a flexible environment, the regulations say Canadian television and audio services must predominate.

 

The CRTC enacts new radio regulations; these set out broadcasters' minimum requirements for Canadian and musical content.

 

The CRTC reduces Canadian content requirements for Canadian pay television services.   

1987

The CRTC decides not to reduce the Canadian content requirements for country music broadcasters.

 

The CRTC revises the television regulations and reaffirms the 60% overall and 50% prime time Canadian content requirements that was first spelled out in 1970. It also indicates a greater reliance on conditions of license to fine-tune Canadian content contributions (Public Notice 1987-8).   

1988

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Communications and Culture submits its report on broadcasting policy, in which it recommends that a new Broadcast Act should encourage the development of Canadian expression.

 

The CRTC expands the definition of Canadian content to include animation productions.   

1990

The CRTC publishes An FM Policy for the Nineties; it increases minimum Canadian content levels on most popular music FM stations, from 20%, to 30%, increases stations' flexibility to meet their audiences' needs, and changes the daily limit on advertising from 150 minutes, to 15% of the broadcast week (Public Notice 1990-111).   

1991

The Broadcasting Act is amended. It says the broadcasting system should: "encourage the development of Canadian expression by providing a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity, by displaying Canadian talent in entertainment programming and by offering information and analysis concerning Canada and other countries from a Canadian point of view."

 

The CRTC amends the 1986 radio regulations: Canadian content levels are applied to both AM and FM (Public Notice 1991-89).   

1992

The CRTC publishes "Policies for Community and Campus Radio" (Public Notice 1992-38), which ensures that stations have flexibility while ensuring that they offer a programming alternative.   

1993

The CRTC publishes Changes to the Radio Regulations, 1986 Concerning Canadian Music, French-Language Vocal Music, and Logging Requirements; the CRTC recognizes as Canadian musical selections where a Canadian collaborates as composer and lyricist with a non-Canadian; reintroduces the 'once Canadian, always Canadian' rule for selections (Public Notice 1993-173).   

1998

The CRTC publishes revisions to its commercial radio policy entitled "Commercial Radio Policy 1998" (Public Notice 1998-41). It proposes increasing the required level of Canadian content for popular music selections broadcast each week to 35%, in the hope of bringing about a level of Canadian content that reaches 40% in five years.   

1999

The CRTC publishes "Building On Success — A Policy Framework For Canadian Television" (Public Notice 1999-97), which sets out a new regulatory framework to support a financially strong broadcasting system. It says there was consensus that regulation should continue to ensure that licensees exhibit appropriate amounts of priority Canadian programs in the peak viewing periods.

 

The CRTC publishes "Ethnic Broadcasting Policy" (Public Notice 1999-117),revising its 1985 policy. Ethnic television stations will continue to be required to broadcast the same minimum Canadian content levels as non-ethnic private television stations.   

2000

The CRTC publishes "Licensing Framework Policy for New Digital Pay and Specialty Services" (Public Notice 2000-6), which is intended to enhance diversity and choice for viewers.

 

The CRTC publishes "Campus Radio Policy" (Public Notice 2000-12) and "Community Radio Policy" (Public Notice 2000-13), that propose increasing, from 30% to 35%, the minimum level of Canadian content for Category 2 musical selections that stations are required to broadcast over the broadcast week.

 

The CRTC revises the definition of a Canadian program (Public Notice CRTC 2000-42).   

2002

On 2 April, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, launches a review of the definition of Canadian content in film and television production. The review is coordinated by François Macerola, who is expected to report by 31 March 2003.

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