COVID-19: Canada Provides Relief to Broadcasting Sector

From: Canadian Heritage

Canadians rely on radio and television to stay up to date on matters related to COVID-19. The government knows that our Canadian broadcasters have been working around the clock to deliver news and information programming, while facing operational challenges and significant declines in advertising revenue.

This is why, after discussions with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will not issue letters requesting payment for Part I licence fees by broadcasters for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The government will transfer necessary funds to the CRTC to support its operations.

Waiving these regulatory charges for broadcasters provides immediate financial relief for the broadcasting industry, freeing up more than $30 million in cash.

Last week, the Government of Canada also announced that Canadian Heritage is working quickly to simplify the process for submitting and processing requests for 2020-21 funding for the Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund. The department is examining what other measures can be implemented quickly to support the beneficiaries of all of its programs.

Quotes

“Canadian broadcasters are working hard to fulfill the mission of sharing credible and verified information with Canadians. This task is even more difficult since they also face significant drops in advertising revenue. The decision to waive the regulatory charges is one we could make quickly and we are working on more measures to support the industry. We will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on all sectors, ensuring we remain well-positioned to respond to this rapidly changing environment.”

-The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is an administrative tribunal that operates at arm’s length from the federal government.

  • In 2020-21, 107 broadcasters are expected to pay licence fees to the CRTC.

  • The Canada Periodical Fund provides financial assistance to Canadian print magazines, non-daily newspapers and digital periodicals, allowing them to overcome market disadvantages and continue to provide Canadian readers with the content they choose to read. The fund has three components: Aid to Publishers, Business Innovation and Collective Initiatives.

  • The Canada Book Fund ensures greater access to a diverse range of Canadian-authored books nationally and internationally, by encouraging a strong book industry that publishes and markets Canadian-authored books. The fund has two streams: Support for Organizations and Support for Publishers (with two components). The fund is now accepting applications for projects starting in 2019-20 through the Accessible Digital Books initiative.

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