Transparency and accountability
In November 2014, the Information Commissioner of Canada awarded CBC/Radio-Canada an “A” grade for its 2012-2013 Access to Information performance. During the grading process, the Information Commissioner ranked the 24 institutions that received the highest number of requests, complaints or both. The Corporation was third among the top-performing institutions. An “A” is the highest grade possible on the Information Commissioner’s rating scale.
This was the second year in a row that CBC/Radio-Canada received an “A”, and it is another indication of how seriously we take our obligations under the Access to Information Act. More information on this award is available on our corporate website, here.
Access to information and proactive disclosure
During the past year, we responded to: 149 formal Access to Information Act (ATI) requests, 11 informal requests for records previously released under the Act by the Corporation, 50 consultations from other institutions subject to the Act (regarding information about CBC/Radio-Canada that appeared in records they were reviewing), and four requests submitted under the Privacy Act.
All responses to the formal requests were on time or early. This includes all 35 of the ATI requests carried forward from 2013-2014, and 114 of the 127 ATI requests received during 2014-2015. Two of the 13 active ATI requests carried into 2015-2016 were late.
During 2014-2015, we released approximately 9,967 pages of information, including some 1,332 pages pertaining to meetings of CBC/Radio-Canada’s Board of Directors posted proactively on our Transparency and Accountability website, as though they had been requested formally under the Act. As well, CBC/Radio-Canada continues to proactively post records released in answer to ATI requests that are of general interest to Canadians. During 2014-2015, 3,084 pages of records released in answer to 54 such ATI requests were posted.
We received 37 complaints regarding our processing of ATI requests in 2014-2015; this is a decrease of 22 from the previous year, and in fact the lowest number of complaints we have ever received.
The downward trend in our “deemed refusal rate” continues. This rate, which refers to requests, not responded to within statutory limits, has dropped steadily from a high of 80.5% in the first year we were subject to the Act to 1.2% for the fiscal year just ended.
Annual public meeting
The 2014 edition of the Corporation’s Annual Public Meeting (APM) was held in Montreal’s Maison de Radio-Canada in front of a 250 person capacity audience made up of the public, employees and stakeholders. More than 1,400 additional people from across the country watched via webcast and could participate online by sending questions via Twitter. At minimum, more than three times the number of people watched or took part this year: at least 1,693 people in 2014, compared to 542 in 2013. This potentially indicates a heightened degree of interest in the public broadcaster.
While several social media tools were used for promotion prior to the event, Twitter was the primary medium used during the event. The estimated overall reach, including retweets, was estimated at 239,819 accounts. The degree of participation was likely due to heightened interest resulting from rallies in support of the public broadcaster that had taken place the previous weekend.
The theme of the meeting was CBC/Radio-Canada: Transforming to reflect you. You’re changing – so are we. Following a corporate and financial update from Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO, a lively discussion took place featuring some of the Corporation’s high-profile talent from across both networks. Topics ranged from cuts and public funding to the role of journalists in a social-media-driven world. All materials from the APM are available on our corporate website.
Code of conduct
CBC/Radio-Canada employees at all levels 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. Our Code of Conduct and human resources policies can be viewed on our corporate website.
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, particularly in today’s social media environment. You can view CBC/Radio-Canada’s Journalistic Standards and Practices on our corporate website.
As highlighted in our Third Quarter Financial Report 2014-2015 (p. 24), effective January 2015, the Corporation will no longer approve paid appearances by its on-air journalistic employees. In order to further our commitment to transparency, we will continue to disclose all appearances on our websites.
Public complaints about news and current affairs programming 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, report directly to the President and CEO and, through the President and CEO, to the Board of Directors. The role of the Ombudsmen is pivotal in strengthening the national public broadcaster’s accountability and transparency to Canadians.
In 2014-2015, the Offices of the Ombudsmen handled a total of 4,723 complaints, expressions of concern and other communications. Of these, 2,877 concerned English Services and 1,846 concerned French Services. For English Services, 1,706 fell within the mandate of the Ombudsman (news and current affairs programming), compared to 1,373 for French Services. Communications not directly related to our news and current affairs programming were forwarded to the programming departments concerned.
The Ombudsmen can be reached as follows: The Ombudsman for English Services, CBC/Radio-Canada, P.O. Box 500, Station A, Toronto ON M5W 1E6, (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Bureau de l’ombudsman pour les Services français, CBC/Radio-Canada, C.P. 6000, Montréal QC H3C 3A8 (email@example.com).
The Corporation takes our corporate social responsibility very seriously. As part of demonstrating our sustainability as an organization, we compile and publish an annual Environmental Performance Report that references both national and regional indicators. The most recent version can be found on our corporate website.
Compliance with THE Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
CBC/Radio-Canada has implemented a risk-based approach to better facilitate compliance with Sections 67-69 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. As part of the established process, a project manager must complete a checklist for all physical activities prior to the initiation of the project. The checklist outlines the scope and description of the project and examines several environmental elements, including but not limited to, asbestos, halocarbons, mould, fuel storage tanks, water or air quality, etc.
The checklist is our formal tool to ensure the project carried out will examine any potential adverse environmental impacts and outline any appropriate action needed to minimize the effect. New checklists for the same project may be required in situations where there is a change in the project or the level of risk has changed. Otherwise, the checklist remains valid for the duration of the project. The checklist also serves to assist in the maintenance of a log of all projects.
As per the process outlined above, no project completed in the 2014-2015 fiscal year was determined to result in a significant adverse environmental effect.
It should be noted that CBC/Radio-Canada considers a physical activity as something that goes beyond normal maintenance, such as removing a wall, replacing equipment or excavating a parking lot. For the purposes of this approach, painting walls or maintaining equipment is considered maintenance work.