Category Archives: CRTC

CRTC UPDATE

COMMISSION DENIES UNIFOR COMPLAINT

CRTC Decision 2016-8 denied the applications by Unifor Local 723M and Urban Alliance on Race Relations for an expedited public hearing into Rogers’ May 2015 decision to cancel local third-language newscasts on its OMNI stations.

Ontario CRTC commissioner Raj Shoan disagreed with the decision and said that the CRTC should have taken this opportunity to undertake a review of the 1999 Ethnic Broadcasting Policy in conjunction with this decision.

While the CRTC spins its wheels with bureaucratic process Vancouver’s Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi communities will continue to be denied the daily local ethnic news Rogers promised Canadians when it received its licence renewal for OMNI just last year.

That said, the OMNI cuts issue has come up several times during the CRTC’s current public hearing on local television.

Let’s Talk Local TV News

Local President Steve Hawkins appeared in front of the CRTC’s current hearing into local TV news, on Thursday, January 28th.

He called for stronger conditions of licence to require Rogers to provide the levels of local news programming they promised Canadians when they were allowed to purchase CITY and OMNI.  He said the CRTC’s lack of conditions of licence allowed Rogers to make programming changes that resulted devastating job loss.

From his presentation:

“Some have asked if local programming on OMNI and CITY in western Canada is the canary in the coal mine for local news.  If it is, that canary is lying on the bottom of the cage and its future prospects don’t look very good.  It’s being starved of the resources it needs to survive”.

He also called on the CRTC to conduct a separate review of the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy.

A full transcript of his presentation can be found on the Local web site: www.unifor830m.ca.

Video of the presentation can be found on CPAC2, Jan 28th, second posting at 1:45 to 2:05

Interestingly, when the Urban Alliance on Race Relations (the 2nd party to file an application on the OMNI cuts) appeared on Friday – emphasizing ethnic communities’ shock at the CRTC’s unwillingness to take action over the cuts – the CRTC’s Chair, Jean-Pierre Blais essentially said that Rogers was not yet off the hook for local news, and that he very much hoped the Alliance (and others) would be involved in the spring 2017 renewal process.

The CRTC will likely be sending out broadcasters’ television licence renewal application forms this September, for a hearing in March/April or even earlier – Jean-Pierre Blais’ term as CRTC Chair ends 7 June 2017:  if he wants to set his mark on the renewal decisions, they would probably have to happen by February, to permit the decisions to be issued within the next four months.

Stephen will be travelling to Ottawa in the first week in February to call on the new Liberal Government to require the CRTC to act on these important policies and to support the work we do in providing local news and local programming on CITY and OMNI

Response by Unifor Local 723M to the CRTC

Thanks to  the thousands of Canadians who have expressed their great concern about Rogers decision to shut down multicultural newsrooms across the country, and especially to the over 880 individuals that took the time to register interventions in support of our efforts at the CRTC to hold Rogers accountable.
 
This is the final response document in Local 723M’s current complaint process; this is not the final chapter for daily multicultural news in Canada. 
In this election year the Canadian Government has the responsibility to call on the CRTC to act on this important matter.  Rogers will also be required to tell Canadians why they are the best Company to be entrusted with five of Canada’s six multicultural broadcast licences as they apply for license renewals in 2016/2017. 
Hopefully we can continue to count on you for support as we participate in this important process.
 
Stephen Hawkins
Local President, Unifor 830 M

 

Cuts to OMNI Outrage Community Groups & Politicians

Here is what people are saying:

Rogers decision to cut OMNI News across the country has outraged community groups and politicians across all levels of government.

Rogers has walked away from its responsibilities to the multi-ethnic communities by eliminating all local multicultural news and diversity programs.

Local Multicultural news connects us to our communities, it links generations and provides access to essential information for citizens to participate fully in their communities and our Canadian democracy society.

The CRTC must mandate Rogers to fulfill their obligations to the multicultural communities and bring back local multicultural news to the standard that was in place when Roger’s obtained the original licenses.

Contact the CRTC Directly Here

Others agree that Rogers should do more, here is what they have to say:

York South – Weston, Liberal MPP  Former Anchor on OMNI’s Italian Edition, statement in the Ontario Legislative Assembly, May 11

York South – Weston NDP MP, Mike Sullivan letter to the CRTC, May 14th

Newton – North Delta NDP MP, Jinny Sims quotes in CANINDIAN, May 15

Canadian Punjabi Advocacy Committee letter of complaint Re OMNI TV News May 20

Group of Concerned Toronto Area Italians letter to the CRTC, May 22

Unifor’s Media Director, Howard Law’s letter of Complaint to the CRTC, May 29

Vaughan Conservative MP, Julian Fantino, May 29th, 2015 Statement

Unifor 723M CRTC Complaint – media release, June 8

Unifor Local 723M, detailed CRTC Complaint, June 8

Canadian Punjabi Advocacy Committee letter of complaint to the CRTC, June 8

Letter from Ontario Minister Chan to Chair Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, June 15

Rogers executives get call to appear in front of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Heritage on June 17th

Public Interest Advocacy Centre, support for Unifor 723M Complaint, June 19

Globe & Mail Article: Tonight on Omni: The Fun Time Harper Variety Hour!, June 20

 

For more information on Canada’s Ethnic Communities efforts to get Rogers to bring back OMNI news follow the Facebook Site: No OMNI News Is Bad News

 

 

Nanos survey finds Canadians skeptical about CRTC TV proposals

Toronto (September 5, 2014) – On the eve of a CRTC hearing that could result in the gutting of Canada’s TV rules, a new Nanos survey released this morning finds the sweeping changes up for consideration next week are on shaky ground with Canadians.

The survey found more than half (54%) think it is unlikely that unbundling cable TV packages to allow consumers to pick and pay for only the channels they want will result in lower TV subscription costs.  Only one-in-four (24%) believe the federal government’s promise of lower prices while 62% believe cable and satellite companies who say prices won’t go down by unbundling TV packages.

Even with the prospect of lower subscription costs, 41% of Canadians say pick and pay and other changes should not occur because of potential damage to the economy and Canadian programming, while 43% believe the changes are acceptable.

According to the survey, Canadians place a very high level of importance (84%) on local news, yet this kind of programming is threatened by the CRTC’s proposals.

“Local TV stations across the land, especially in smaller markets, will shut down and investment in Canadian programs will plummet if the CRTC adopts rule changes it has broached in its review of TV policy, says Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting which commissioned the survey in collaboration with ACTRA and Unifor.

“This poll shows that regardless of the platform upon which content is being delivered to viewers, the CRTC is trusted to ensure support for Canadian programming, to strengthen diversity in the system, and to use its authority to affirm the cornerstone place of the CBC,” says Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director of ACTRA.

By a very strong margin (68% agree), Canadians want foreign Internet broadcasters like Netflix to abide by the same rules as Canadian companies.  They also want foreign companies to contribute financially to new Canadian programming.   More than half (52%) completely disagree with the notion that these companies should not be required to financially contribute to help support new Canadian programming.  Of note, if Netflix and Canal + contributed to new Canadian programming, the positive impressions of those organizations would increase for most people (69%).

Other findings from the survey include:

• Canadians are satisfied (46% satisfied/25% somewhat satisfied) with the choice of US and other foreign programming that is available to them.

• Canadians place most trust and confidence in CBC and the CRTC to protect Canadian culture and identity on TV  (report pages 13 to 18).

• Canadians see the CRTC as responsible for protecting Canadian TV and radio content (page 5), strongly support the goals of the CRTC (report pages 19 to 23), and see a need for the CRTC today (report page 24).

• The vast majority of Canadians would like to see funding for the CBC stay at the same level or increase while only 10 percent would like to see CBC funding decreased.  Among federal Conservative supporters 51 percent would like CBC funding to be maintained, 25 percent would like to see CBC funding increased and 21 percent would like to see funding decreased.

• Canadians see the CBC playing an important role in strengthening Canadian culture and identity. The intensity of views on this opinion has increased over the past year.

“We have given evidence to the CRTC that the regulatory changes under consideration could cost the Canadian economy more than 31,000 jobs and almost $3 billion, a devastating consequence. Eliminating simultaneous substitution alone is a $300M revenue loss from Canadian media companies to American broadcast giants,” says Randy Kitt, Media Chair at Unifor.

Nanos conducted a random telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians between August 16th and 25th, 2014. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists – www.actra.ca) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent watchdog for Canadian programming and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including 14,500 media sector workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

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For information:

ACTRA: Carol Taverner 416-644-1519 ctaverner@actra.ca

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting: Jim Thompson 613-567-9592 jim@friends.ca

Unifor: Randy Kitt, Unifor Media Council Chairperson 416-529-5152 (cell)  rkitt@unifor79m.ca

The complete Nanos Report is available here.

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