Senate Study on CBC/Radio-Canada a Missed Opportunity

July 20, 2015, Ottawa

Today the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation and Communication released its report “on the challenges faced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in relation to the changing environment of broadcasting and communications.”

Frankly, we were hoping for more.

CBC/Radio-Canada provided Senators with detailed information on audience patterns, broadcasting trends, budgets, and strategies for addressing the challenges of the future. It explained what it does to maximize the efficiency of its operations, and its accountability to Canadians. The Committee met with CBC/Radio-Canada employees in 8 locations, and heard testimony from the President and CEO, Chair, the heads of our news services, and the ombudsmen.

We shared with them four main challenges facing the Canadian broadcasting system:

  1. how to continue to invest in Canadian programs and services in a broadcast environment where advertising revenue is disappearing;
  2. how to continue to reach Canadians with quality Canadian programming, when an almost unlimited number of global choices are available to them;
  3. how to serve those Canadians who are quickly shifting to digital platforms, without leaving behind those who still rely on our traditional services;
  4. how the public broadcaster ensures that it does all of that today, while still remaining financially stable enough to avoid having to cut people and services every year just to balance its budgets[1]

This report fails to propose constructive suggestions to address any of the real challenges facing the broadcasting system.

In the time since this study began, the broadcast environment has continued to change and all broadcasters have taken action to meet those changes. Among public broadcasters worldwide, CBC/Radio-Canada is in many ways, leading the way with a five-year strategy to reinvent some of its services and enhance its connection to the citizens it services.

We will continue to work hard to demonstrate that the trust Canadians place in their public broadcaster is well-deserved. And we will continue to provide the independent, high quality Canadian content and services Canadians expect for their investment in public broadcasting.

1. Hubert T. Lacroix, testimony. Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, Issue 13 - Evidence, February 17, 2015.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages.

A space for us all is CBC/Radio-Canada’s strategy to transform the public broadcaster, and ensure that it continues to fulfill its mandate for Canadians, now and for future generations. Through to 2020, the Corporation will increase its investment in prime-time television programming and continue to create radio programs of the highest quality, while promoting the development of digital and mobile platforms and content.

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