July 24, 2017
Open Letter to Minister Joly
Thousands of Canadians who value Canadian content or who work in the independent television production industry are deeply concerned about the recent CRTC licence renewal decisions for the English-language television groups.
When the CRTC released its decisions on the licence renewals for Corus Entertainment and Bell Media, it lowered the minimum requirements on these broadcasters to spend on Programs of National Interest (PNI) – programs such as dramas, award shows and documentaries, which tell Canadian stories and promote our culture to audiences at home and around the world.
These are television programs that reflect Canada and help maintain and enhance our national identity for audiences at home and around the world. Less broadcaster spending on PNI means less choice for consumers, less diversity of voices and less content innovation.
Further, these decisions will lead to significant job losses and reduced economic output across the country. The reduced PNI spending from broadcasters is likely to result in a drop of $189 million in independent production activity over the next year alone - resulting in the loss of thousands of high-quality, full-time jobs for middle-class Canadians.
Over the broadcasters’ full five-year licence term, the CRTC’s decisions will potentially lead to a decrease of $911 million in independent PNI production activity across Canada, which translates to a reduction in excess of $1.1 billion to Canada’s GDP.
Lastly, the CRTC’s decisions seem to run counter to what you are working to achieve through your Canadian Content in a Digital World review – namely to promote and support Canadian culture, to capture a greater share of global markets, and to embrace culture’s unrealized potential as a driver of economic growth.
Therefore, we are calling on you and the Governor in Council to set aside these CRTC decisions or send them back to the Commission for reconsideration so our independent television production industry can thrive, continue to provide thousands of jobs across the country and contribute to Canada’s culture, economic growth and innovation.