GATINEAU, Que.— The federal government is asking Canada’s broadcast regulator to review the licence renewals for several TV providers following outcry over their potential impact on Canadian content on screen.
In mid-May, the CRTC renewed the licenses for multiple broadcasters and set the amount they must spend on programs of national interest to five per cent of their total revenue — a drop for some broadcasters.
At the end of June, groups representing Canada’s independent producers, professional performers and other media workers submitted a petition to the Canadian Heritage minister to set aside the renewals or refer them back to the CRTC, saying the lowered investment could hurt the industry.
The government said in a statement it is referring the decision back for the CRTC to reconsider following numerous appeals from the cultural sector.
It said it wants the CRTC to ensure Canada achieves the right balance of investment in content and ability to compete.
CRTC spokeswoman Patricia Valladao said in an email that the regulator will reconsider its decision and announce the next steps at a later date.
The government move was applauded by the Canadian Media Producers Association, Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists and the Directors Guild of Canada.
This action requires the CRTC to re-evaluate its decisions, which would decrease the amount that Bell Media, Rogers Media and Corus Entertainment are required to spend on Canadian Programs of National Interest, the groups said in a statement.
The coalition said it was “deeply concerned with the potentially devastating impacts of the CRTC decisions.”
“This is a real victory for the thousands of Canadians who stepped up and spoke out to defend Canadian storytelling,” said Stephen Waddell, national executive director of ACTRA.