Heritage minister calls on CRTC to review its decisions on PNI and French-language content

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Minister of Heritage Mélanie Joly is calling for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to review its decisions on programs of national interest (PNI) and French-language content.

Back in May, the CRTC set the minimum PNI expenditure requirement for Bell, Rogers and Corus at five per cent of revenue. As it stands, these broadcasters spend between nine and 10 percent on PNI.

Unions representing actors, directors, screenwriters and producers have expressed concern that these regulations would significantly reduce the amount of investment in Canadian production.

“The CRTC got it right when they said that, in the digital world, broadcasters need to invest in innovative content that stands out in a global marketplace,” Directors Guild of Canada national president Tim Southam said in a statement from May. “So why let broadcasters slash their investments in distinctive, original content by $200 million over five years?”

Joly says she wants to ensure that there is “the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete” in Canadian production. “Canadian broadcasters and creators are at the centre of the broadcasting system, and at a time when our competitive advantage rests on creativity, they must be positioned to succeed,” she wrote on Twitter. “The entire industry is in transition and the next few years will be critical to establishing the conditions for Canadians to be able to compete with the best in the world.”

This fall, Joly says she will “present a vision that supports our cultural industries through this transformation and will bring us in line with the changing digital environment.”

Source: Government of Canada