The WGC has made its formal submission to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel, which is tasked with making recommendations to government on potential changes to the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act, and related legislation that could shape the future of Canadian television. The WGC’s full submission can be found here.
The Broadcasting Act is the foundation for the regulation of broadcasting in Canada, and supports more than $2 billion in financing to English-Canadian domestic production annually. Roughly $500 million of that sum is being spent on the production of the drama, comedy and animation series predominantly worked on by WGC members. Needless to say, broadcast regulation is critical to these productions. The movement of viewers—and revenue—to unregulated Internet-based steaming services is threatening that support.
In our submission, we're contending that:
- New legislation must clearly bring both online video services and Internet service providers “under the tent” of broadcast regulation—their contribution is crucial to creating a robust and sustainable Canadian content production business.
- Canadian creators—particularly Canadian screenwriters and showrunners, who provide TV productions with a distinct Canadian authorial voice—must be at the core of a 21st-Century Canadian content ecosystem.
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Wireless Service Providers (WSPs) must contribute to the system, just as traditional broadcasters do now, to ensure and improve the financial health of the Canadian television industry.
The Panel is expected to review all submissions and publish a “What We’ve Heard Report” by Jun. 30, with a final report, complete with recommendations to government, due by Jan. 2020. We'll be monitoring the process closely, and will make further comments if and when the opportunity arises.