Policy 1.1.28: CBC/Radio-Canada Programming and National Consciousness and Identity

Effective: September 21, 2005


The Parliament of Canada through the Broadcasting Act of 1991 requires that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation "contribute to a shared national consciousness and identity". The CBC/Radio-Canada does so by providing "a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains" through a range of broadcasting services in English and in French.


CBC Program policy rests on certain premises, which distinguish the Corporation's philosophy:

(a) The air waves belong to the people, who are entitled to hear the principal points of view on all questions of importance.
(b) The airwaves must not fall under the control of any individuals or groups influential because of their special position.
(c) The full exchange of opinion is one of the principal safeguards of free institutions.
(d) The Corporation maintains and exercises editorial authority, control and responsibility for the content of all programs broadcast on its facilities.
(e) The Corporation itself takes no editorial position in its programming.


In its programming the CBC/Radio-Canada has a mandate to:

  • "be predominantly and distinctively Canadian,
  • reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions,
  • actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression,
  • be in English and French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, including the particular needs and circumstances of English and French linguistic minorities,
  • reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada."


The CBC/Radio-Canada creates arts and entertainment and performance programming that is reflective of all regions of the country and of the diverse communities resident in these regions. The expression of the Canadian experience provides the roots and inspiration for distinctive Canadian programming.

This presentation of the Canadian experience in the CBC/Radio-Canada's art and entertainment and performance programming enables Canadians to share the cultural expressions of their diverse heritage, to laugh and to reflect together, to enjoy the talent of their artists and performers and to experience their common and unique histories and traditions..


Freedom of speech, opinion and expression; the free flow and exchange of ideas, opinions and information are fundamental tenets of Canadian Society.

CBC/Radio-Canada's function in such a community is to facilitate the exercise of this freedom by communicating to the public the information and ideas that are the ingredients of free discussion and debate.

CBC/Radio-Canada information programs apply the principles of the CBC/Radio-Canada Journalistic Standards and Practices, accuracy, integrity and fairness, to achieve optimum objectivity and balance.

The role of the CBC/Radio-Canada, then, in its information programming, is to inform Canadians about the issues they confront as they decide upon their future through the democratic process. The exercise of this responsibility calls both for identifying and exploring the issues confronting Canadians fairly and thoroughly, comprehensively and accurately, and for reflecting differing views about these issues, fully and fairly, and in a balanced manner, taking into account the weight of opinion which holds those views.

CBC/Radio-Canada's information programs must reflect Canada as a nation and explore the social, economic, political, cultural, and linguistic dimensions of Canadian nationhood. They do so by providing coverage of the issues and ideas of concern to Canadians and by presenting the broad range of opinion on these matters of public concern.

The CBC/Radio-Canada's Journalistic Standards and Practices states in part:

"The challenging of accepted orthodoxies should be reported but so also should the established views be clearly put. Moreover, the range of views and the weight of opinion are changing and these dynamics of change must be reflected. Nor are range and breadth of presentation sufficient in journalistic programming: there must also be depth, the capturing of dimensions and nuances. Without these elements, the programming becomes too simplistic to permit adequate comprehension of the issues put before the public.

If the media are to do their work reflecting and revealing reality properly, there will at times be tension between the media and different elements of society. This should not inhibit the CBC/Radio-Canada, so long as the Corporation in its information programming is carrying out this essential task of informing the public in accordance with its established journalistic standards."


In light of Canada’s linguistic duality, the Corporation shall ensure that newly hired employees are given the information they need to understand the importance of the two official-language communities, their interdependence, and the significance of mutual support and respect between them.


The overall objectives of CBC/Radio-Canada programs with respect to contributing to a shared national consciousness and identity rest with the Media Vice Presidents, Program Directors, Managers and Section Heads, but Producers and Journalists are responsible for carrying out these objectives in their programs.

1. Formerly designated Corporate Policy No. 13

Search highlight tool