CRTC Reveals Plan to Update Broadcasting, Targets Online Streaming

Online streaming act

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has unveiled its plan to “modernize” Canada’s broadcasting system, with a focus on online streaming services. The plan will be implemented in three phases, with the first phase set to begin in Spring 2023.

This phase aims to ensure that online streaming services make “meaningful contributions to Canadian and Indigenous content,” and will involve consultations on a registration requirement for certain online streaming services, a review of exemption orders and possible basic conditions of service, and the development of a contributions framework applicable to both traditional broadcasters and online streaming services.

The consultation on registration of online streaming services will help to ensure that regulation is limited to companies capable of making a significant contribution to the broadcasting system, says the CRTC. The call says registration is required only for online streaming services generating over $10 million in annual revenues in Canada.

Subsequent phases will include additional public consultations on topics such as the definition of Canadian and Indigenous content, tools to support Canadian music and audio content, programming and support for video content, local markets access and competition, and protecting Canadian consumers.

The modernization process will be open and public, with consultations at every step, says the Commission. The CRTC says it understands the complexity of creating a modernized Broadcasting Act, and plans will be adjusted as necessary (sounds like they’re …making this up as they go along?).

As part of the first phase, the Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11) received Royal Assent on April 27, 2023, and the CRTC published its Regulatory Plan on May 8, 2023. Upcoming public consultations will cover contributions to the Canadian broadcasting system and registration of online streaming services.

The CRTC says it wants to create a broadcasting system that offers creators more opportunities to share their stories while providing Canadians access to a greater variety and diversity of content through online streaming platforms. Sounds pretty heartwarming indeed.

This is what all Canadians have been asking for of the CRTC, right? An ‘outdated’ broadcasting model is the number one concern on the minds of Canadians in 2023 (take a back seat inflation and high grocery prices).