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A Full Investigation of the Role for a Public Broadcaster in the 21st Century

The committee agreed to undertake a full investigation of the role for a public broadcaster in the 21st century, an examination of the various services including the adequacy of regional programming and an examination of the issues posed by new media.

Study themes and questions to be addressed by those who want to send submissions

  1. The Role of the CBC/Radio-Canada as a Public Broadcaster in the 21st Century

    The overall mandate of the CBC/Radio as Canada’s public broadcaster is set out as follows in section 3(1)(m) of the Broadcasting Act, 1991:

    Mandate of the CBC/Radio-Canada as set out
    in the Broadcasting Act
    (1991, c. 11, B-9.01, [Assented to on 1 February 1991)
    1. be predominantly and distinctively Canadian,
    2. reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions,
    3. actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression,
    4. be in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, including the particular needs and circumstances of English and French linguistic minorities,
    5. strive to be of equivalent quality in English and in French,
    6. contribute to shared national consciousness and identity,
    7. be made available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means and resources become available for the purpose, and
    8. reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada
    • Explain how, since 1991, and to what degree the CBC/Radio-Canada has carried out each part of his legislative mandate as stated above?
    • List the principal changes that have occurred in the broadcasting sector in Canada and the impact these changes have had on each component of the legislative mandate of the CBC/Radio-Canada?
    • Explain, where applicable, how the wording of each component of the stated mandate of the CBC/Radio-Canada should be modified?
    • Does the governance structure of the CBC/Radio-Canada continue to satisfy the needs of the Corporation and to address the new realities of the broadcasting sector in Canada? If not, what changes would need to be made?
    • Would the Corporation be better able to carry out its mandate if stronger partnerships were forged between the CBC/Radio-Canada and private broadcasters? If so, explain how?
  2. Financial portrait of the CBC/Radio-Canada: Issues and Challenges

    • Is the CBC/Radio-Canada able to carry out its legislative mandate with the parliamentary votes and funding it currently receives?
    • Which services offered by the Corporation have represented a greater financial burden in recent years?
    • How can the CBC/Radio-Canada diversify its revenue sources and increase its earnings?
  3. Services offered by the CBC/Radio-Canada

    • List the challenges facing the various CBC/Radio-Canada services, specifically:
      • French and English language radio services, including services broadcasting in Northern Canada and CBC/Radio-Canada International;
      • French and English language satellite radio services;
      • French and English language television services, including continuous news channels (RDI, Newsworld) and partnerships with private broadcasters;
      • Internet services;
      • New communications and information platforms.
    • How and to what extent should CBC/Radio-Canada programming be re-examined, in particular:
      • News and current affairs programming;
      • Sports programming;
      • Arts and cultural programming;
      • Children’s and youth programming.
    • Does CBC/Radio-Canada programming offered by the various services adequately account for and reflect Canada’s regional and linguistic diversity?
  4. The Emergence of New Media and the Future of the CBC/Radio-Canada

    • How and to what extent does the emergence of new media impact the way in which the CBC/Radio-Canada carries out its mandate as Canada’s public broadcaster?
    • Which technological changes pose a special challenge to the CBC/Radio-Canada? Conversely, which changes have made the Corporation better able to carry out its mandate?
    • Will the growing number of new communications and information platforms prompt the Corporation to reevaluate some of the services offered to Canadians?
    • How and to what extent has the emergence of new media had financial implications for the CBC/Radio-Canada’s overall budget?
    • Would it be to the advantage of the CBC/Radio-Canada if the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) were to regulate the new media sector? If so, what approach should the CRTC take?
    • Explain how new media help the CBC/Radio-Canada better reflect the country’s regional diversity, while meeting the special needs of the regions?
    • How have public broadcasters in other countries been affected by new media?

Organizations and individuals wishing to appear before the Committee should submit their briefs by February 26, 2007. Submissions should be limited to 10 pages in length and accompanied by a one page executive summary. Briefs should be provided in electronic form whenever possible.