Annual Report 2011-2012
Message du président-directeur général

Access to Information

Transparency and Accountability
Transparency and Accountability

In 2011−2012, the Corporation continued to improve considerably its efficiency in dealing with requests under the Access to Information Act. In addition, it began issuing a new Transparency and Accountability Bulletin, which provides, among other things, updates on the Corporation’s performance under the Act. The Corporation also updates its Transparency and Accountability website regularly, providing Canadians with thousands of pages of information released either proactively or as part of ATI requests.

In November 2011, the President and CEO and the Vice-President, Real Estate Services, Legal Services and General Counsel of CBC/Radio-Canada appeared before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. They outlined some of the proactive steps we have taken − including internal training, revised guidelines and new transparency and accountability bulletins − to demonstrate and reaffirm our commitment to transparency and accountability so that Canadians can be confident that the resources invested in CBC/Radio-Canada are
used effectively.

On that front, the Corporation continues to provide Canadians with even more information about its administration on its Transparency and Accountability website, where records released in answer to five categories of ATI requests are posted. The site has been consulted more than 65,000 times this fiscal year.

Also on our, following the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat directive and criteria of November 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada has begun posting the texts of the completed ATI requests in both official languages on a monthly basis.

Section 68.1

In 2007, Parliament adopted section 68.1 of the Access to Information Act, which provides CBC/Radio-Canada a limited exclusion to protect information that “relates to its journalistic, creative or programming activities.”

As an independent news organization, we need guaranteed protection of sensitive information such as the files of our journalists, investigative materials and the identity of confidential sources. If we are to remain viable, we also need to be able to protect our programming strategies from our direct competitors.

In November 2011, the court ruled that the Information Commissioner has the right to examine our records to which we applied 68.1, subject to certain exceptions including, most importantly, journalistic sources. This finding is extremely important to us. Protecting our journalistic sources was one of the most important reasons for pursuing this court challenge.

Journalistic Standards and Practices

CBC/Radio-Canada has an extensive code of Journalistic Standards and Practices and editorial control mechanisms to guide employees and to ensure that our programming remains balanced and accurate.

To address new challenges, CBC/Radio-Canada adopted an updated and modernized Journalistic Standards and Practices (JS&P) document. This latest version still holds the national public broadcaster to the highest standards of accuracy and fairness when it comes to its news and current affairs, but also takes into account many of the new situations encountered in the world of social media and the Internet. The Corporation also adopted guidelines to ensure employees consider the implications of each and every posting they make on social media sites and services, and can act in a way that reflects CBC/Radio-Canada's values.

Complaints about news and current affairs programming from the public that are not resolved at the program level to the satisfaction of the complainants are dealt with by the Corporation’s two Ombudsmen. The Ombudsmen are completely independent of CBC/Radio-Canada programming staff and programming management and report directly to the President of the Corporation and, through the President, to the Corporation’s Board of Directors. The role of the Ombudsmen is pivotal in strengthening the national public broadcaster’s accountability and transparency
to Canadians.


In 2011−2012, the offices of the Ombudsmen handled a total of 5,861 complaints, expressions of concern and other communications (English Services and French Services combined). Of these, 3,881 concerned English Services and 1,980 concerned French Services, as documented in the annual reports from the Ombudsmen. For English Services, 2,954 communications fell within the mandate of the Ombudsmen (news and current affairs programming), compared to 1,242 for French Services. Communications not directly related to CBC/Radio-Canada news and current affairs programming were forwarded to the programming departments concerned.

In 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada initiated a review of its Ombudsmen’s mandate to determine if it should be updated and modernized. This review followed last year’s update of the Journalistic Standards and Practices and dealt specifically with the role of the Ombudsmen in the current media landscape.

The independent committee responsible for the review provided its recommendations to the Board, the Ombudsmen’s mandate was amended to align better with our Journalistic Standards and Practices, and the Board approved this revised version of their role. The Ombudsmen will remain an appeal authority for complainants, a key function within the public broadcaster.

The Ombudsmen can be reached at:

The Ombudsman for English Services, CBC/Radio-Canada, PO Box 500, Station A, Toronto ON  M5W 1E6 (ombudsman@cbc.ca); and Bureau de l’ombudsman pour les Services français, CBC/Radio-Canada, CP 6000, Montréal QC  H3C 3A8 (ombudsman@radio-canada.ca).

Code of Conduct

CBC/Radio-Canada employees at all levels across the Corporation are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct and policies governing their behaviour in such areas as respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, stewardship and excellence. The Corporation’s code of conduct and human resources policies are available for viewing online.