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CBC to invest in program diversity as part of CRTC license renewals

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission renews CBC’s license for five years, with changes to its mandate that will require it to spend money on programming produced by people with disabilities, Indigenous and racialized people and LGBTQ community.

“We are delighted that the CRTC has, for the very first time, recognized the important contribution of our digital delivery services (…) to the Canadian content ecosystem,” said the President and CEO of CBC, Catherine Tait, in a statement. “We are also encouraged that the Commission’s decision recognizes diversity and the representation of contemporary Canada in our content as essential to the future of the national public broadcaster.”

The CRTC is dropping the requirement for the CBC to maintain minimum local programming thresholds in urban markets where Canadians have many options, but is maintaining those thresholds in rural parts of the country.

In its decision, the CRTC says there have been many changes in the media landscape since 2013, the last license renewal, and is making changes to CBC’s mandate to align with that.

It establishes new rules to ensure that the difference between news and information programming and “branded content” or advertising is clearly distinguished.

CBC will have to submit new reports to the CRTC on a range of topics, including workforce diversity, privacy issues, perception and consultation.

The changes will take effect on September 1, 2022, and licenses for radio, TV and cross-platform content in English and French are valid until August 2027.