Policy 1.1.17: Contests, Quiz Programs and Lotteries

Effective: July 6, 1994


The CBC/Radio-Canada does not object to bona fide quiz programs or contests in which the award of prizes is based largely on merit. However, it is strongly opposed to prize giving schemes designed to attract or "buy" audiences chiefly by offering possibilities for prizes wholly or largely on chance. In the opinion of the Corporation such schemes do not constitute good broadcasting.

The following conditions suggest the basis on which contests and quiz programs may be accepted by the CBC/Radio-Canada:

  1. Contest programs based on genuine tests of skills or knowledge are acceptable in limited numbers on CBC/Radio-Canada stations and networks.
  2. Such programs may incorporate an element of chance and contestants may be chosen by lot.
  3. The main interest in the contest should lie in the test of skill, wit, or knowledge; and not in the value of the prizes.
  4. No consideration (e.g., entry fee or proof of purchase) should be required of any contestants.
  5. Proposals for programs in the contest or quiz category should be reviewed in detail by the appropriate Vice-President, with the assistance of General Counsel.


The broadcasting of lottery draws is not normally acceptable. However, exceptions may be made, by decisions of the network vice-president concerned, for lottery draws which meet the following conditions:

  1. They are considered to be in the national interest if proposed for full network distribution; or in the provincial interest if proposed for provincial distribution.
  2. They are undertaken in a format which has significant program value.
  3. The control of the content, production and point of origin rests with the CBC/Radio-Canada.
  4. All production and distribution costs, less commercial revenue, if any, is underwritten by the sponsoring organization.


It is imperative that no program proposal involving a lottery or similar program be planned or accepted without first obtaining an opinion from CBC/Radio-Canada's General Counsel as to its acceptability under the Criminal Code and other applicable legislation.

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