Results and Outlook


As Canada’s national public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada occupies an important place in the Canadian broadcasting system and faces a unique set of risks to its plans and operations. Like all broadcasters, the Corporation must adapt to technological changes, shifts in demographics and evolving consumer demands, as well as structural changes in the industry. Given our statutory mandate to serve all Canadians, CBC/Radio-Canada also faces unique public expectations and financial challenges.

It is CBC/Radio-Canada policy to develop, implement and practice effective risk management to ensure risks and opportunities that impact the Corporation’s strategies, objectives and operations are identified, assessed and managed appropriately.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s Risk Management Program is part of an enterprise-wide approach integrated into business processes. Responsibility for risk management is shared among CBC/Radio-Canada’s Board of Directors, the Board’s Audit Committee, the Senior Executive Team and operational units.

1. Board

The Board oversees our key risks at a governing level, approves major policies and ensures that the processes and systems required to manage risks are in place.

2. Audit Committee

The Audit Committee of the Board discharges its stewardship and oversight responsibilities over risk management by monitoring key risks, discussing their status with management at quarterly Audit Committee meetings, and ensuring that management has programs for evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls.

3. Senior Executive Team

The Senior Executive Team identifies and manages risks, reports on our key risks to the Audit Committee and the Board, recommends policies, and oversees financial reporting and internal control systems.

4. Media and Support Business Unit

Media and support business units initially identify and assess risks through the annual business plan process, and develop and execute detailed plans to manage risks. Risks are prioritized based on their potential impacts and their likelihood of occurring.

The National - CBC

Peter Mansbridge, Chief Correspondent of CBC News

Internal Audit plans its audits in accordance with the results of the risk assessment process, and provides assurance that major risks are covered on a rotational basis by the annual audit plan.

The following table discusses the key risks faced by CBC/Radio-Canada during fiscal year 2014-2015 and the ongoing impact into 2015-2016.

Key Risks

Risk Mitigation

Future Impact

1. A space for us all Strategy Implementation

The public broadcaster’s ability to deliver its mandate is challenged by a shift from traditional television to specialty television and digital platforms, rapid technology evolution, changing media consumption habits, and industry fragmentation.

The new strategic plan, A space for us all, is a framework within which the Corporation can make strategic choices, even as market conditions and audience habits evolve. The ability to execute the strategy will determine achievement of plan objectives.

Take leadership in initiating a conversation amongst key players to reshape ecosystem and industry funding requirements.

Continue to promote and share strategic plan information with stakeholders both internally and externally. Emphasize context and shifts in the media landscape that demonstrate a need for our plan. Continue to reaffirm that changes associated with the strategy are needed, to ensure that CBC/Radio-Canada is better positioned to meet the evolving needs of Canadians and the fundamental shifts transforming the media landscape.

Take leadership in bringing together international public broadcasters to reflect on strategic challenges.

Review and adjust the organizational structure to ensure it is optimally aligned with the strategic plan.

Develop and implement change management strategies.

Monitor implementation closely to ensure adherence to plan.

The new strategic framework will position the Corporation to succeed now, as well as in an age beyond traditional broadcasting. It will ensure that the services we provide, and the operating model that supports those services, evolve in tandem with the changing expectations of Canadians and the movements of our industry.

2. Budget Concerns

CBC/Radio-Canada is faced with financial challenges that include an industry-wide softening of the advertising market, a shift of advertising dollars from traditional television to digital platforms and the NHL’s decision to move to a single, exclusive broadcaster. These reductions are in addition to significant pressures already managed by the Corporation since 2008-2009, including Federal Budget 2012 ($115 million), the elimination of the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) ($47 million), and the salary inflation funding freeze for five of the last six fiscal years ($65 million).

Due to limited financial flexibility, initiatives under the A space for us all strategic plan must be funded by reductions to other services.

The implementation of the A space for us all strategy will result in the reduction of up to 1,500 positions by 2020. Two-thirds of the reductions are expected to be announced by March 31, 2016.

Reductions required to finance A space for us all have been identified and incorporated into the five-year financial plan developed to support the new strategy. Detailed monitoring to ensure expected outcomes are achieved.

Underachievement of reduction targets, further advertising weakening and/or further government funding reductions may require changes to implementation plans.

3. Workforce Challenges – Recruiting, Training, Retaining and Empowering a Skilled Workforce

The degree to which staff is aligned with the Corporation’s new strategic plan will have an impact on engagement, retention and our ability to achieve objectives. Managers and employees require the necessary skill set to adapt to an accelerated pace of change and the transformation needs of A space for us all.

Staff reductions create a climate of uncertainty and stress that may lead to reduced morale, lower productivity and increased turnover.

Develop and implement an enterprise change management plan, including change management support activities linked to major projects that enable A space for us all.

Change management activities will include the following: transparent communication to employees and unions; involvement of employees in change; continued investment in learning and development; and increased efforts to recognize employee contributions.

Implement action plans to address recommendations of the Rubin Report on the internal review of allegations of improprieties in the workplace by former radio host Jian Ghomeshi.

The retention and engagement of a strong workforce is essential to achieve strategic objectives.

4. Reputation and Brand Management

CBC and Radio-Canada are among the most prominent and most discussed brands in the country. In addition, they are brands that every Canadian feels rightly justified in having and expressing an opinion on. At any time an event or an incident, large or small, can touch a nerve and instigate a controversy of national proportions.

There is a risk that negative perceptions of CBC/Radio-Canada may undermine credibility and stakeholder support.

Use of a comprehensive issue management system that:

  • monitors the environment;
  • identifies potential issues and the stakeholder groups they could affect;
  • prepares for them; and
  • provides messaging and guidance to senior leaders, line managers and communications staff across the system.

Strong crisis management response that stresses transparency and decisive action is implemented to address critical issues.

Clean and transparent action plans to deal with critical issues will improve credibility and stakeholder support.

5. Section 18.1 Radio-Canada Union Structure Review

On September 19, 2014, the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) ruled in favour of our position that the four Radio-Canada existing bargaining units should be consolidated to improve collective bargaining.

On May 15, 2015, the CIRB ruled that the new French Services union structure will comprise two bargaining units.

There is a risk that prolonged CIRB proceedings will make the negotiation of the first collective agreement long and difficult. This could negatively affect the working relationship between management and employees, and negatively affect implementation plans of A space for us all and the attainment of plan objectives.

Continue transparent communications to employees and unions, and involvement of employees in development of strategic initiatives.

Commence negotiation with the new bargaining unit and Association des réalisateurs (AR) members.

6. Real Estate Replacement and Optimization

There are risks that infrastructure replacement and optimization projects may be delayed or are unsuccessful, leading to:

  • continued risk of ownership (capital and operating costs and management of excess space); and
  • inability to achieve stated real estate footprint reduction target of approximately two million square feet by 2020.

Sell or reduce space in non-functional or under-utilized buildings when positive business case exists. Continue competitive leasing strategy for surplus facilities.

Continue with initiatives to sell or rent excess capacity in CBC/Radio-Canada facilities.

In light of the termination of the Montreal Maison de Radio-Canada redevelopment project process on May 7, 2015, we are reviewing our alternatives.

A project is underway to consider our options with respect to the Toronto Broadcast Centre.

7. Regulatory Issues
A. CRTC Television Policy

There is a risk regulatory decisions will negatively affect the carriage of CBC/Radio-Canada’s specialty television channels.

Assess potential ramifications of CRTC decisions to CBC/Radio-Canada revenues and operations, and develop, implement or modify strategies as required.

Monitor and participate in CRTC follow-up proceedings.

The implementation of the Let’s Talk TV decisions, such as small basic packages and discretionary services being offered on a stand-alone basis or in small packages, may negatively impact subscriber and advertising revenue. The potential impact of such decisions will become clearer in the coming months as BDU strategies become more-defined.

B. Funding of Independent Productions - Canada Media Fund (CMF)

CMF rule changes, or changes to how the CMF allocates funds to broadcaster performance envelopes, could result in narrower program rights and/or higher contributions required from CBC/Radio-Canada.

Proactively advance our position with the CMF, including participation in the CMF National Focus Group.

CMF released the 2015-16 Performance Envelope results to broadcasters in April 2015. CBC and Radio-Canada’s Performance Envelopes increased overall by $1.1 million ($2.4 million increase for Radio-Canada offset by a $1.3 million decrease for CBC).