The Directors of Guild of Canada sent the following letter to the Federal Cabinet urging them to order the CRTC to revisit their May 15th licencing rulings that will slash production of Canadian film & television by $900 million over the next five years. The deadline to send these decisions back for reconsideration is Monday, August 14th.

Sign the official House of Commons petition to reverse
this deeply damaging CRTC ruling

Dear Ministers:

As artists and creators, we write to you today regarding the CRTC’s Group Licence Renewals handed down on May 15th. In the last two months, nearly twenty-thousand Canadians - citizens, businesses, guilds and associations - have spoken out against these rulings and have petitioned you for redress. Now, we, too, are calling on you to act.

The shockwave from these ill-conceived decisions has rippled across the film & television industry: The CRTC’s English-language rulings will strip as much as $911 million in broadcaster investment from independently-produced scripted programming over the next five years and sap $1.15 billion from our GDP. These changes will mean 704 fewer hours of the high-quality Canadian programming and eliminate, rather than create, nearly four thousand middle-class jobs. In the wake of the French-language decisions, three original dramatic series have already been cancelled in Quebec. Across Canada, young, emerging and diverse creators are already seeing many of their best opportunities squelched with the end of MuchFACT, Bravo!FACT and vidéoclip financing.

But the impact of these decisions runs far deeper than short-term production budgets.

The CRTC’s May 15th rulings were made under the Commission Chair, Jean-Pierre Blais, appointed by the previous government. In his tenure at the CRTC, M. Blais pursued a controversial agenda to say the least. He attacked many of the pillars of support for Canadian broadcasting – weakening or eliminating requirements to hire Canadian talent and air Canadian programming. M. Blais defended these decisions, arguing that what mattered in an age of global competition and on-demand services was “the amount of money invested… to produce compelling content that can compete on the world stage.”

Then, on his way out the door, M. Blais, despite assurances that funding would be maintained, slashed the amount of money broadcasters are required to invest in creating compelling, innovative content, including documentaries, scripted drama and children’s programs, that can compete on the world stage.

Worse yet, in his farewell address to the industry, at the World Media Festival in Banff, Alberta, M. Blais framed slashing broadcaster financing as just the latest step in an agenda that can only be described as both radical and ideological.

“Thinking in government and indeed in [the] industry—in this room—is still flawed. It’s focused all too much on… the status quo as an operating principle.” He went on: “That’s not the future. Broadband is. Apps are. Quotas, tax credits and the way we all did business 20 years ago are not. They’re anachronisms.”

Eliminating film & television tax cuts? Let’s be clear, what’s being proposed here is nothing short of dismantling an entire industry, along with the $2.9 billion and 140,000 good, middle-class jobs it generates each year.

Your government now has an opportunity to reject this approach, send this decision back to the CRTC and chart a new course for Canada’s creative sector.

This is a moment of both profound potential and change for our industry. We’ve cultivated top talent and we create content that is seen around the world. As Canadians, we want – and our talent demands – access to international markets and competitive financing for our productions. We want to tell our stories both at home and abroad. But what’s the point if we don’t own the productions, and we’re not telling our own stories?

As Canadians, we need to modernize broadcasting and telecommunications systems to bring them into the 21st century – not tear our industry apart at a time when Canadians are producing more high-quality content than ever.

The Federal Government, and Cabinet, has provided laudable support for the arts. Our Minister of Heritage has spoken often and eloquently of your Government’s commitment to a creator centric cultural policy. But that positive message is at odds with the very real consequences if these decisions are allowed to stand. Support for the cultural sector must include support for the most significant and widely seen segment of the sector – film & television.

As artists, creators and Canadians, we urge you to extend your support for culture & the arts and send back these decisions for reconsideration.


The undersigned

Mairzee Almas

Daniel Grou

Ken Scott

Louise Archambault

Sturla Gunnarsson

Ron E. Scott

Roger Avary

Gail Harvey

Helen Shaver

Lara Azzopardi

Grant Harvey

Albert Shin

Jennifer Baichwal

Mars Horodyski

Mina Shum

Norma Bailey

Norman Jewison

Kari Skogland

Simon Barry

J.J. Johnson

John Smith

Paolo Barzman

Michael Kennedy

Jonathan Sobol

Dean Bennett

Jeremy Lalonde

Warren Sonoda

Yannick Bisson

Eleanore Lindo

Tim Southam

Cory Bowles

Peter Lynch

Lynne Stopkewich

Stephen Campanelli

James Marshall

Sudz Sutherland

Jordan Canning

Liz Marshall

Bruce Sweeney

Yung Chang

Michael McGowan


Louis Choquette

Deepa Mehta O.C.

Rachel Talalay

Caroline Christies

George Mihalka

Jacob Tierney

Jerry Ciccoritti

Adrienne Mitchell

Jonathan Torrens

Michael Clattenburg

Nathan Morlando

Jean-Marc Vallée O.C.

David Cronenberg C.C.

April Mullen

Ingrid Veninger

Gerry Dee

Vincenzo Natali

Denis Villeneuve

Tracey Deer

Kim Nguyen

Clement Virgo

Director X

Gordon Pinsent C.C.

Wiebke Von Carolsfeld

Jim Donovan

Bruce Pittman

Peter Wellington

Atom Egoyan C.C.

Jeremy Podeswa

Anne Wheeler

John Fawcett

Sarah Polley C.C.

Charles Wilkinson

Kevan Funk

Jason Priestley

Dawn Wilkinson

Jem Garrard

Peter Raymont

Martin Wood

Stuart Gillard

Daniel Roher

Jeff Woolnough

Ken Girotti

Patricia Rozema