anada is recognized as a world leader in radio,
television, cable television, telephone and
telecommunications. The CRTC's role is to supervise and regulate Canada's broadcasting and
telecommunications systems, balancing the interests of consumers, the creative community and
distribution industries in implementing the public policy objectives established by Parliament.
Wherever you have a radio, a television or a telephone, we're there -- helping to
sustain the characteristics which make Canadians and Canada unique. We're also
there to ensure Canadians have access to the best communications services
possible, at reasonable prices. We're the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission -- the CRTC -- an independent federal agency.
In your living room or family room... we're there to help make sure there's a wide
range of quality programming, especially Canadian, for you to choose from on
traditional television networks and stations, cable TV channels, pay TV and
specialty programming services.
In your kitchen or office... wherever there's a radio, the CRTC is working to ensure
there's programming available that reflects your community.
And wherever there's a phone, a fax... we're answering your need for affordable
rates and the best possible telecommunications services.
The CRTC and your television
ust about every Canadian uses TV to
some degree to stay informed, to build a better
understanding of our country and, of course, to be entertained.
The CRTC's role, in general, is to make sure there is a real
diversity of high-quality programming
for everyone to choose from, that Canadian programs have a chance to be made and seen, and
that programming meets established Canadian standards.
How do we do this? For example, we grant, renew, or approve
changes to the licences which
traditional television stations and networks, pay-TV or specialty services need to operate, and we
monitor their performance. We hold television stations and networks responsible for everything
they put on the air, including commercials. And while we don't censor programs, we welcome
your opinions on the performance of Canadian broadcasters, and take appropriate action on
Canada first! Following our mandate from
Parliament, we insist on a
strong Canadian presence on networks and stations, including an emphasis
on programming about local events, issues, and the community. In
recent years, we have also licensed a wide range of new Canadian
specialty and pay-TV services to help Canada compete in the coming
multichannel universe. We think it's important to feature our own
talent and programming on TV. That's the CRTC's primary commitment.
For instance, private television licensees generally must achieve
a yearly Canadian content level
of 60%, measured over the broadcast day, and 50% overall in the evening hours. CBC stations
are required to have 60% Canadian content at all times. Canadian specialty and pay-TV services
also have Canadian programming requirements. This pro-Canada approach benefits our film and
video industries, including writers, artists, actors, musicians, dancers and other creative
Canadians, and adds to the line-up of programs we enjoy.
Opening new windows of opportunity The CRTC emphasizes the
importance of making
television accessible to all Canadians. For example, with our encouragement, through regulations
or gentle persuasion, Canadian TV is offering more and more closed-captioned programs for
the hearing-impaired. Television stations produce programming which reflects the reality and
needs of ethnic and other special interest groups in their communities. And, we have also made
programming for children and youth a top priority.
Be aware, be fair The CRTC works closely with the industry
in the development of standards
on issues like television violence, gender portrayal, cultural-minority rights, as well as programs
and advertising aimed at children. The Commission's initiatives to deal with gratuitous television
violence, in particular, have resulted in broad-based industry/public cooperation which has
gained international recognition.
We're interested not only in increasing the variety
of programming, but also improving the range and quality of broadcasting
signals. For example, our support for combining cable TV with satellite
technology means remote communities now enjoy a variety of programs
once available only to major centres. In addition, the CRTC has encouraged the development
of a Canadian direct-to-home satellite industry to compete with foreign direct-broadcast-
satellite services. This is also part of our ongoing effort to provide consumers with even
more alternatives for receiving television signals.
The CRTC and your radio
adio was the earliest form of
broadcasting -- and Statistics Canada reports that 99%
of households in Canada have at least one radio.
Over the years, the CRTC has helped develop a radio industry in
Canada that is widely
acclaimed for its diversity and quality. From the CBC and private radio to community
and campus stations, Canadians continue to show their talent, developing music, drama,
entertainment, news and current affairs programs which are among the best in the world.
Tuning in your choice
One of the most important roles of the
CRTC is promoting diversity on your dial.
The CRTC works to ensure there's a good variety of music and
information available in every Canadian community. In addition
to regular commercial stations which provide a variety of music and
spoken word, we license and encourage ethnic, community, campus
and other special-interest stations. Campus radio stations, in particular,
have sparked greater awareness and availability of classical, jazz, folk,
avant-garde, and other music outside the mainstream.
Note the applause! The CRTC encourages and supports the
development of Canadian
talent. Canadian content regulations require stations to devote a substantial amount
of airtime to Canadian content. This has had a decisively positive impact on Canada's
music recording industry, developing many renowned international artists.
Let's talk about it... The CRTC encourages the radio
industry to give a voice to
community and social issues. For instance, we generally ask each station to provide
some local programming that reflects the community that it serves.
A new sound in the air Due to the pioneering work of
private radio broadcasters, Canada
has assumed an international leadership role in the development of digital radio technology
that will provide CD-quality sound. For its part, the CRTC has been working to develop an
appropriate regulatory approach for the introduction of digital radio broadcasting in Canada.
anada is also a pioneer and world
leader in cable television. Today, there are
approximately 2,000 cable TV systems coast-to-coast which receive signals by
microwave, satellite or over-the-air technology and distribute them to their subscribers. In
fact, three-quarters of Canadians subscribe to basic cable TV to receive traditional television
stations and networks, specialty services, and cable-originated programming. Many cable TV
systems also offer alphanumeric information channels as part of basic cable.
The CRTC's cable rate regulations are designed to ensure that the
cost of basic service
remains affordable, as well as to support strong Canadian programming and to encourage
the Canadian cable industry to better meet its subscribers' needs.
Adding the options In addition to basic service, most cable
TV companies offer extra
packages of specialty services and/or pay-TV channels which can be purchased for an
additional charge. The CRTC allows the marketplace to set the rates for these added 'tiers'
of service. However, we do set the guidelines for how foreign satellite services are packaged
with the channels. Cable companies also offer 'pay-per-view' services, which are billed on a
Canada first! While giving cable subscribers access
to the most
popular foreign services, the CRTC ensures that the majority of cable
channels are used for Canadian services. This is to promote the growth
of more, diverse Canadian programming.
The specialty networks are all required to show specific levels of
programming. Canadian pay-TV and pay-per-view services, as well as specialty networks,
must spend a minimum percentage of their revenue or programming expenditures on Canadian
programs, or as contributions to funds to create Canadian films or music videos.
communications We encourage and support the work of
community programmers in providing this grassroots TV, and in making
it possible for all members of the community to express themselves through
their own television shows.
Our requirement that all cable TV companies, except the very small
ones, provide community
programming channels and facilities for the public to use, free of charge, is a fundamental part
of ensuring the broadcasting system enables Canadians to have a better understanding of
themselves and their country.
In the forefront of technology We also encourage cable TV
companies to be innovative
in developing new technology and services. For example, we've modified our regulations to
allow cable companies to speed up the introduction of digital compression and addressability
in their systems so that, over time, each subscriber will have increased programming choices,
the possibility of an individually tailored package of discretionary services as well as an
affordable basic service.
The CRTC and your
ave you noticed that many companies are
now competing to offer you cheaper
long distance options? The CRTC plays a large role in these trends through its
regulation of telephone services and rates.
An important role of the CRTC is to promote universally available,
affordable telecommunications services. As a result, over 98% of Canadian households
across the country now have phones and Canada ranks among the least expensive
industrialized countries for basic local residential telephone service. We also foster
increased reliance on competition in all telecommunications markets in order to encourage
choice, innovation and better service at competitive rates.
A direct line to fair rates It's our duty to ensure that
changes in local rates are just and
reasonable and that there is no unjust discrimination between users. As well, we keep track
of telephone company expenditures to protect phone subscribers from excessive costs.
Making sure you get good service The CRTC approves
the terms of
service for the phone companies it regulates so that customers are
treated fairly in such matters as billing practices, disconnections, and
access to, and use of, phone facilities. Your telephone company can tell you
about its service policies, and its terms of service are set out in the first
section of your phone directory. If you have a problem you can't resolve
with a phone company, the CRTC is the place to take your complaint.
In your workplace too... The scope of our duties goes
beyond your home and beyond
traditional telephone services.
We also regulate business services such as data transmission which
are offered by
telecommunications companies. Our decisions have had a positive impact on the productivity
and international competitiveness of Canadian telecommunications companies through their
development of affordable advanced communications. This means a more competitive
s you can see, the CRTC tries in many
ways to keep Canadians more closely in touch
with each other, their communities, their region, their country, and the world.
To do all this we need you -- your ideas, your views, your
comments. Your advice helps us
make changes to our existing policies and practices, develop new guidelines, and assess the
performance of the TV, radio, cable TV, and telecommunications companies we regulate.
Major issues in broadcasting and telecommunications -- such as
station licence renewals or
telephone rate increase applications -- are examined at CRTC public hearings. Please feel
welcome to attend any hearings. Broadcasting hearings are announced in local newspapers.
Any of the CRTC offices across Canada would be pleased to provide information on
upcoming broadcasting or telecommunications hearings.
If you have comments or questions about any area over which the
CRTC has regulatory
authority, would like to participate in a public hearing, or want to file a complaint, please
write to the Secretary General of the CRTC through one of our five offices. If you have a
problem or want to ask a question, you can also call the nearest CRTC office. The phone
numbers and addresses of our offices are listed below.
Public consultation is an essential part of how the CRTC makes its
decisions. So, however you
choose to participate, remember: your views are important, and may add to the good things
Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications systems bring to your home and your workplace.