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Pick-and-Pay and Skinny Basic are a GO

PIAC supports CRTC decision to increase choice and flexibility for Canadian TV subscribers

OTTAWA, March 19, 2015 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) supports the decision made by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today to increase choice and flexibility for Canadian television consumers.

“Today’s measures will ensure that Canadians will be the ones who decide how to access television content and what they want to pay for it,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and Counsel to PIAC. “That choice should fall to Canadian consumers, not their television service providers.”

The latest CRTC Let’s Talk TV decision will require licensed television service providers to offer a skinny basic television package for $25 by March 2016 and most channels à la carte and in small customized packages by December 2016. Television service providers must begin to offer pick-and-pay or small customized or pre-assembled packages by March 2016. However, smaller television service providers, including those providing analog service, will not be required to offer their customers skinny basic and pick-and-pay options.

At the CRTC hearing last September, PIAC in a coalition with other public interest organizations advocated for greater choice and flexibility – including through pick-and-pay and skinny basic options.

“Canadian consumers were getting frustrated with soaring prices for television that didn’t necessarily give them the content they wanted to watch,” said Alysia Lau, Legal Counsel at PIAC. “We would have wanted all Canadian consumers to benefit from pick-and-pay and a skinny basic package, but the CRTC’s decision will increase flexibility and make TV service more affordable for many Canadians.”

The CRTC decision also initiates a consultation into a “Wholesale Code” which will regulate affiliation agreements between television programmers and distributors, and establishes rules for independent, official minority language, and ethnic channels which must be offered.

PIAC participated in Let’s Talk TV in a coalition with other organizations named the Groups for the Public Interest. The Groups also included the:

  • Canadian Ethnocultural Council;
  • Consumers’ Association of Canada;
  • Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia;
  • National Pensioners Federation; and
  • Option consommateurs.

For more information please contact:

Alysia Lau
Legal Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002×38
Mobile: (613) 400-9145
alau@piac.ca
www.piac.ca

Geoff White
Counsel to the Groups for the Public Interest
(613) 562-4002×24
Mobile: (613) 612-1190
gwhite@piac.ca
www.piac.ca

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