CRTC Says Canadian News Channels Must be Offered to All Cable Customers

Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced new measures designed to ensure Canadians can receive a range of Canadian television news services—and will have the option to subscribe to them à la carte.

The federal broadcast regulator says cable companies must give their customers these options no later than May 2014.

“Canadian news services are an important part of our democracy,” explains Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “With the rules we are announcing today, Canadians, as citizens, will have access to the news services that are of interest to them and will therefore have an opportunity to be exposed to a variety of opinions on matters of public concern.”

At a public hearing this past spring, the CRTC says it was made aware of the challenges facing all Canadian television news services, and particularly new entrants in this sector. These challenges were the sign of a systemic problem regarding the distribution of Canadian national news services on fair and commercially reasonable terms, the commission believed, and worked quickly to address these challenges.