OTTAWA (21 April 2021) – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Forum for Research and Policy in Communications (FRPC) today filed a Part 1 Application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to protect consumer and public participation in Canadian broadcasting regulation in an era of fundamental change to the Canadian broadcasting system. The Application seeks continuing funding of the pivotal Broadcasting Participation Fund (BPF), which provides funds to consumer and public interest groups in CRTC broadcasting matters. The BPF faces serious budget shortfalls in the coming years unless the CRTC and the broadcasting industry find a new way to support public participation on key questions of what Canadians can watch, listen to or be entertained by, whether on their TVs, radios, computers or cellphones.
“The Broadcasting Participation Fund allows PIAC and FRPC, and many other consumer groups to protect consumer interests in broadcasting at the CRTC. Without it, the consumer voice on upcoming legislation on regulating internet speech, news, media mergers such as Rogers and Shaw, the CBC’s licences and the regulation of online shows will be silenced,” stated John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of co-applicant PIAC.
The application highlights the precarious nature of the support of public interest advocacy in broadcasting, before the CRTC, and the importance of continuing support of the consumer voice. It also notes that there will be a long transition to the major reforms of broadcasting in Bill C-10, which Parliament is presently considering and which will require considerable public participation to implement fairly for all.
Monica Auer, Executive Director of co-Applicant FRPC noted: “The issues that face Canadian broadcasting in the 21st century are too important to be decided without the informed public input that organizations such as PIAC, the Forum and others provide.”
“The CRTC recognized some years ago that the BPF was crucial to a balanced and reasoned debate on broadcasting matters touching consumers every day,” added Lawford, “we are just asking that this be continued as we set the new rules for broadcasters.”
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director/General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
285 McLeod Street – Suite 200
Ottawa, ON K2P 1A1
613-562-4002 ext 125 [new!]
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