The Founding of CBC/Radio-Canada
In the 1920s, broadcasting from the United States was flooding the Canadian market, and it was widely perceived that unless Canada acted to establish a Canadian broadcasting service, we would be smothered in American culture.
Following the Report of the Aird Commission in 1929, the first Broadcasting Act was passed in 1932 to create the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC).
In 1936, a new Act established the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as the successor of the CRBC. At that time, CBC/Radio-Canada encompassed eight publicly owned or leased stations and 14 private affiliates. Within one year, thanks to new transmitters, national coverage reached 76 per cent of the population, and included French-language broadcasting out of a station in Montreal.
In September 1952 the first CBC/Radio-Canada television broadcasts began, in Montreal (bilingual) and Toronto (English).
For more information, visit Our History.
CBC/Radio-Canada’s strategic roadmap, leading up to 2015, is called Everyone, Every Way. It has three main thrusts: to make its already overwhelmingly Canadian content even more Canadian, to improve and extend its services to local communities, and to make significant investments in its online and digital platforms to bring programming and services to more Canadians in new ways.
Click here for more information on our most recent progress.
The Corporation is governed by a Board of Directors, made up of 12 directors, including the Chair, and the President and CEO. The key responsibilities of the Board are to approve the strategic direction and corporate and business plans for the Corporation, and to assess the Corporation’s progress in achieving its strategic and business objectives. Members of the Board also participate in the following committees:
- Standing Committees on English and French Language Broadcasting
- Audit Committee
- Governance and Nominating Committee
- Human Resources and Compensation Committee
- Real Estate Committee
- Strategic Planning Committee
In addition, the Board oversees the plans and policies in place to ensure effective communication with Parliament, the public and stakeholders.
For more information, view the Board of Directors page.
How CBC/Radio-Canada Operates
CBC/Radio-Canada’s day-to-day operations are managed by a Senior Executive Team (SET), lead by the President and CEO. View more information on the current SET.
In June 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada employed approximately 8,660 employees, and operated 82 radio stations and 27 television stations across the country. Head office is located in Ottawa. Internationally, CBC/Radio-Canada News has 14 foreign bureaus, offering the most extensive and in-depth coverage of any Canadian media organization.
Consult the list of CBC/Radio-Canada facilities.
CBC/Radio-Canada relies on four sources of funding: government funding, advertising revenues, specialty services revenues and other revenues.
CBC/Radio-Canada’s total government funding is close to one billion dollars. According to a study by Deloitte from June 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada had a substantial impact on the Canadian economy in 2010. Every dollar that Canadians invest in public broadcasting creates almost four dollars in economic value.
In addition, according to a study by Nordicity in April 2011 on government support for public broadcasting, Canada ranked 16th among the 18 major Western countries analyzed in the study. At $34 per inhabitant, our funding was 60% less than the $87 average.
Advertising is also a vital source of revenue for CBC/Radio-Canada, accounting for approximately 20 per cent of CBC/Radio-Canada’s total sources of funds. A study by Nordicity in November 2011 estimates that the elimination of advertising from CBC/Radio-Canada would result in a net financial impact of $533 million. That would translate into a $160 million reduction in Canadian programming expenditures. CBC/Radio-Canada, alone, invests as much in Canadian programming as all conventional private broadcasters combined ($696 million in broadcast year 2010).
CBC/Radio-Canada also generates subscription and advertising revenues from its specialty services, CBC News Network, bold, ARTV, documentary, and Réseau de l’information de Radio-Canada (RDI).
CBC/Radio-Canada continually looks for ways to leverage its assets to generate revenue that can be reinvested in programming. Self-generated revenues come from across the Corporation. For example, we generate revenue through program sales, facilities rentals, and building and parking fees.
Transparency and Accountability
As Canada’s national public broadcaster and a Crown corporation, CBC/Radio-Canada operates at arm’s length from government, but is responsible to Parliament and to Canadians. We report to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. We also report to Parliament through our Corporate Plan Summary, Annual Public Meeting, Annual Report, Quarterly Reports and Committee appearances which are made public.
We account for our activities to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) through year-end reports and by submitting annual financial returns.
We’re also attentive to the public’s concerns, through our ombudsmen, audience relations department, community outreach activities and stakeholder meetings, to name but a few.
In addition, CBC/Radio-Canada became subject to the Access to Information Act in 2007. The Corporation has received many requests. To date, more than 85,000 pages of information have been released. Approximately one third of these pages, including senior management expense accounts and other charges incurred by the Corporation, can be viewed on our website. We are the only entity covered by the Act to voluntarily post that many records released under the Act on a publicly accessible website.
A portion of the legislation contains specific safeguards to protect the journalistic, creative and programming independence that is fundamental to a successful national public broadcaster.
For more information on how CBC/Radio-Canada is accountable to Canadians, visit our section on Transparency and Accountability.
Today, the radio and television services that have traditionally been the core business of CBC/Radio-Canada are accompanied by an array of programming offerings, including news and current affairs, arts and entertainment, children’s programming, and sports, via a comprehensive range of services.
CBC/Radio-Canada brings Canadians programming when, where and how they want it ― through a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, satellite-based services and mobile devices.
In addition to offering its services in English and in Frenchin six time zones, the national public broadcaster also provides coverage in eight Aboriginal languages, and in seven languages via our worldwide radio network, Radio Canada International (RCI). And we have foreign bureaus around the world, with correspondents reporting from places like Jerusalem, Washington and Beijing.
CBC/Radio-Canada is no longer simply a traditional English- and French-language television and radio broadcaster with a presence on the Internet and other new platforms. The Corporation is transforming itself into an integrated content provider, the home of Canadian programming and a multimedia leader with an increasing presence in the regions.
Consult the list of CBC/Radio-Canada services.
CBC/Radio-Canada is the home of Canadian content. In the 2010-2011 broadcast year, CBC Television showed 85% Canadian programming over the full broadcast day.
CBC is currently at 82% Canadian content on our prime-time television schedule (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.), and will be over 90% Canadian content starting in Fall 2012.
Radio-Canada is currently at 88% Canadian content on our prime-time television schedule (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
CBC Radio airs 99% Canadian content over its broadcast day and 100% during its prime time, which is 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. weekdays. In the same time period, Radio de Radio-Canada’s Canadian content is a full 100%, as is its full broadcast day.
For the most recent information on the Corporation, please consult the quarterly reports.