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Minister's Message

The Honourable James Moore, C.P., M.P

Each year, the Canadian Heritage Portfolio organizations, including the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), work very hard so that Canadians across the country can benefit from their rich culture and heritage. As Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, I am pleased to present the 2010–2011 Report on Plans and Priorities prepared by the CRTC.

Digital technologies are enhancing our ability to share, celebrate, and enjoy our culture and heritage. Nowhere is this more evident than in the communications industry. Creators are using innovative ways to produce and distribute Canadian programming, which consumers can enjoy at their convenience on a growing number of platforms. Just as importantly, citizens are connecting with others and participating in our country's democratic life like never before.

The CRTC has an important role to play in ensuring that Canadians benefit from broadcasting and telecommunications services that are among the best in the world. In the coming months, it will review the programming commitments of private and public broadcasters, as well as its policies for community radio and television stations. The CRTC will also examine the effectiveness of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services in resolving disputes on behalf of consumers.

The 2010–2011 Report on Plans and Priorities describes how the CRTC intends to deliver on its mandate, in order to achieve the objectives of the Canadian Heritage Portfolio and the Government of Canada. In this way, the CRTC will contribute to Canada's cultural, social, and economic vitality.

The Honourable James Moore, C.P., M.P
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Chairman's Message

Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C.

I am pleased to present the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC's) Report on Plans and Priorities for 2010–2011. The report outlines how the CRTC will develop sound regulatory policies that are tailored to the digital communications environment.

Following a public hearing held in November 2009, the CRTC will implement a new framework that will be used to renew the licences of conventional, pay and specialty television services. This framework will enable us to consider, simultaneously, all the television services owned by each corporate entity. Additionally, this year, we will renew the licences of the CBC's radio and television services. This process will give us an opportunity to discuss local and regional programming issues, as well as the evolving role of the public broadcaster.

Another priority will be the transition from analog to digital television, the date for which is August 31, 2011. After the transition, some viewers outside major Canadian cities may no longer be able to watch their local television stations using rabbit ears or an antenna. The CRTC will work with stakeholders to find an acceptable solution that ensures viewers can continue to enjoy the programming offered by local stations.

The wholesale provision of broadband Internet access services will be the subject of a healthy debate next year. The CRTC will hold a public hearing to determine whether it should mandate the rates and terms under which larger telephone and cable companies sell these services to smaller Internet service providers. At the government's request, we will also reconsider an earlier decision related to the Internet speeds the large telephone companies are required to make available to their wholesale customers.

Finally, the CRTC stands to take on important new responsibilities under the proposed Electronic Commerce Protection Act. The Act is designed to protect Canadians from spam and harmful computer programs, and to increase their confidence in the digital economy. If passed in its current form, the Act will give the CRTC the authority to investigate violations, impose fines and ensure compliance. We will make the necessary organizational changes to be ready to implement the legislation should it come into force.

Digital technologies are transforming modern communications at a rapid pace. We are seeing a greater convergence of wireline and wireless networks, devices and platforms, as well as the corporations that supply these products and services. It has been advocated to the CRTC that this evolution requires new business, regulatory and legislative concepts. In the meantime, the CRTC is committed to providing the industry with the regulatory flexibility and certainty it requires to succeed in this environment, while ensuring that consumer needs are addressed. These ongoing efforts are made possible by the commitment of the CRTC's staff to serving the public interest.

Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C.

Section I – Overview

Raison d'être

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems in the public interest.

The CRTC's mandate is to ensure that the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public. The CRTC's determinations are guided by the objectives established in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act.

The CRTC balances Canadians' needs with the economic realities of the communications industry. Through its regulatory function, the CRTC addresses, among other matters, economic, social and cultural issues in relation to the communications industry. The CRTC fosters:

  • a competitive marketplace for Canadian communications enterprises to create jobs and ensure best value for Canadians
  • Canada's linguistic duality and cultural diversity
  • enhanced accessibility for people with disabilities, such as closed captioning for persons who are hearing-impaired and described video for persons who are visually impaired, and
  • the development of mechanisms to address concerns such as abusive comment or violence in the broadcast media, or unjust rates for telecommunications services.


The CRTC exists under the authority of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act of 1985. The CRTC's mandate is governed by the Broadcasting Act of 1991 and the Telecommunications Act of 1993.

The Broadcasting Act seeks to ensure that all Canadians have access to a wide variety of high-quality Canadian programming. The Telecommunications Act seeks to ensure, among other things, that all Canadians have access to reliable, high-quality telephone and other telecommunications services at affordable prices.

The CRTC fulfils its responsibilities through a number of interrelated activities, including:

  • consulting with Canadians through public processes
  • using it website to inform and consult Canadians
  • issuing, renewing and amending licences for broadcasting undertakings
  • making determinations on mergers, acquisitions and changes of ownership
  • approving tariffs and certain agreements for the telecommunications industry
  • monitoring and removing obstacles to competition
  • resolving competitive disputes
  • researching, developing and implementing regulatory policies
  • monitoring, assessing and reviewing, where appropriate, regulatory frameworks to meet public policy objectives
  • monitoring the programming and financial obligations of broadcasting undertakings to ensure compliance with regulations and conditions of licence, and
  • investigating telemarketing complaints and enforcing associated rules.

The CRTC endeavours to ensure that its regulatory policies are current and take emerging technologies, market developments and evolving consumer interests into account, and that regulation, where required, is efficient and effective.

As a federal organization, the CRTC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The CRTC is listed in Schedule 1.1 of the Financial Administration Act. Its budget and employees are subject to Government of Canada policies and guidelines to ensure excellence and accountability to Canadians.

Timeliness, transparency, fairness and predictability are the four principles that guide the CRTC's work.

Strategic Outcomes and Program Activity Architecture

Strategic Outcomes and Program Activity Architecture


During 2010-2011, the CRTC will focus its efforts on achieving one overarching strategic outcome: To ensure Canadians have access to a wide variety of high-quality Canadian-produced programming and to reliable, affordable and high-quality telecommunication services.

Three program activities will deliver on expected results: Canadian Broadcasting, which deals specifically with activities and priorities of the broadcasting sector; Canadian Telecommunications, which deals with activities and priorities of the telecommunications sector; and Internal Services, which includes activities that support the CRTC itself.

Planning Summary

Financial Resources ($ millions)
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
48.1 48.1 48.1

Human Resources (FTEs)1
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
425 425 425
Strategic Outcome 1: Canadians have access to a wide variety of high-quality Canadian-produced programming and to reliable, affordable and high-quality telecommunication services.

($ millions)
Program Activity Forecast Spending
Planned Spending Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
2010-11 2012-12 2012-13
Canadian Broadcasting 17.2 17.5 17.5 17.5 A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage
Canadian Telecommunications 16.5 14.1 14.1 14.1 A fair and secure marketplace
Internal Services 2 16.9 16.5 16.5 16.5 A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage
A fair and secure marketplace
Total Planned Spending 50.6 48.1 48.1 48.1  


Contribution of Priorities to Strategic Outcome(s)

Operational Priorities
Operational Priorities Type Links to Strategic Outcome(s) Description
Transition from analog to digital television Ongoing
  • In Canada, the transition from analog to digital television transmission is scheduled for August 31, 2011.
  • In 2010–11, the CRTC will work toward an industry-led solution that will ensure Canadians continue to have access to conventional broadcast programming.
  • In 2010–11, the CRTC will work with the Department of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada toward an orderly digital transition in support of the Government of Canada's spectrum management policy and in keeping with international spectrum requirements.
Convergence Ongoing
  • Technological, business and social innovation continue to drive rapid developments in broadcasting and telecommunications, leading to further convergence of networks, devices, platforms and corporate entities.
  • In 2010-11, the CRTC will continue building an understanding of the implications of convergence on both Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications industries, as well as internationally.
  • The CRTC will release an evidence-based report, Navigating Convergence, which sets out the challenges and opportunities for the current regulatory framework.
Enhanced 911 emergency services Previously committed to
  • Canadian wireless service providers recently upgraded their 911 services 3 to enable emergency responders to determine with greater precision the location of 911 calls from cellular phones.
  • Improvements to wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) enhanced 911 emergency services have helped improve public safety and provide Canadians with more reliable services.
  • In 2010–11, the CRTC will review the feasibility of further enhancing 911 services for nomadic VoIP subscribers. The CRTC will continue to monitor technology developments.
  • The CRTC will also review possible improvements to enhanced 911 services for persons with disabilities, including text messaging to 911.4
Electronic Commerce Protection Act (ECPA) 5 New
  • Under proposed legislation, the CRTC would have investigative and enforcement responsibilities and powers to counter spam and malware
  • Enforcing anti-spam legislation would reduce the volume of unwanted emails and harmful computer programs that Canadians receive, thereby ensuring access to more reliable Internet services and improving privacy.
  • In 2010–11, the CRTC will establish its ECPA team, develop processes and begin investigating and enforcing ECPA rules.
Television renewals based on ownership groups New
  • Decisions made after a November 2009 regulatory policy hearing established a new licence-renewal framework for private conventional, pay and specialty television groups.
  • In 2010-11, the CRTC will proceed with public hearings for those licence renewals based on the new policy framework. 
  • The CRTC will also hold the licence renewal process for the CBC/SRC's radio and television services.
  • This process will allow for a discussion of key issues such as local and regional programming, and will ensure that CBC/SRC continues to fulfill its mandate, as set out in the Broadcasting Act.
Revisions to wholesale rates and terms Previously committed to
  • Ensuring that rates and terms for wholesale services are reasonable helps facilitate competition in telecommunications services.
  • In 2010–11, the CRTC will continue its review of wholesale telecommunications services pricing issues and related filings, such as wholesale high-speed access services, support structures and unbundled local loops.
  • In response to Order in Council 2009-2007, dated December 10, 2009, the CRTC will hold a public proceeding that will include reconsideration of the matching speed requirement currently imposed on the incumbent telephone companies for the sale of high-speed access to wholesale clients. 6

Management Priorities
Management Priorities Type Links to Strategic Outcome(s) Description
A streamlined regulatory approach Ongoing
  • The new streamlined and converged rules of procedure will bring broadcasting and telecommunications procedures into greater harmony, improve CRTC transparency, encourage Canadians participation, and be better adapted to new technologies. 
  • The CRTC will introduce new streamlined and converged rules of procedure by the end of 2010–11. 
  • Internal processes will be adapted to respond to new converged rules. This change will improve the CRTC's regulatory framework so that it meets the needs of a converging and increasingly competitive market. 
Evaluations and audits follow-up New The CRTC is committed to improving its management practices to better serve Canadians.
  • In 2010–11, the CRTC management will finalize its action plan and address recommendations from the results of:
    • its performance in implementing the Management Accountability Framework of the Government of Canada; and
    • its internal audit to review and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory processes, management practices, and systems and procedures.
An improved organization Previously committed to The CRTC is committed to improving its resources management to better serve Canadians.
  • In 2010–11, the CRTC will continue to implement Public Service Renewal initiatives such as:
    • talent management for employees;
    • continuity plans for key positions; and
    • an in-house training program for employees to enhance their knowledge about the CRTC and the industries it regulates.
  • The CRTC will also continue to increase the effectiveness of its IT management through such activities as:
    • Updating information technology platforms to keep pace with industry and government standards.
    • Developing service-level agreements that will be achieved through performance monitoring and infrastructure investment.
    • Streamlining cross-sector databases and case management systems for enhanced information dissemination.


Risk Analysis

In planning its activities for 2010–2011, the CRTC recognizes that its ability to achieve expected results depends upon many factors, some of which are beyond the CRTC's control. While the CRTC can count on its strengths and welcomes new opportunities, it faces a number of challenges and threats. For example, in a rapidly transforming global communications environment, the CRTC must keep abreast of new developments and adapt quickly. This frenetic pace can create resource challenges.

Below are lists of the CRTC's principal strengths and opportunities, as well as the challenges and threats the CRTC expects to face in the next three years.

Strengths and opportunities

  • The telecommunications industry is a vital element of the Canadian economy. It produced a total of $40.3 billion in revenue in 20087 —a 5.5% increase over 2007—and employs approximately 110,0008 Canadians.
  • The broadcasting industry is also an essential element of the Canadian economy, in addition of being a pillar of the cultural, information and entertainment landscapes. In 2008, total broadcasting revenues were $14 billion, an increase of 7% over the previous year9 . The broadcasting industry employs more than 32,700 Canadians.
  • Many opportunities will arise to improve accessibility for Canadians as stakeholders in the broadcasting and telecommunications industries implement the requirements and objectives of the recently introduced accessibility policy.
  • Technical advancements in the wireless industry offer opportunities for new services and content.
  • Enhanced 911 emergency services help improve public safety and provide Canadians with more reliable services.
  • Managing new responsibilities, such as the proposed Electronic Commerce Protection Act, offers development opportunities for CRTC staff.10
  • The Canadian communications sector's evolution presents an opportunity to promote the development of high-quality Canadian content and infrastructure.
  • As the broadcasting industry prepares for the digital transition, Canadians will start to have access to technically superior television and radio programming.
  • Television stations in Canada's non-metropolitan markets now have access to funds to maintain and improve the quality of local programming through the Local Programming Improvement Fund.
  • The CRTC's community television review and the community and campus radio review provide opportunities to ensure access to the airwaves and to contribute to programming diversity, thus making a strong contribution to the achievement of the objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act.
  • The CRTC's converged rules of procedure exercise, combined with the revision of related processes, create opportunities for consultation with industry and the establishment of harmonized procedures.
  • The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) is widely used by Canadians. Since its launch in September 2008, more than eight million Canadian numbers were registered on the National DNCL.
  • The CRTC has asked the Federal Court to review the issue of whether the Broadcasting Act applies to Internet service providers when they are providing access to Internet.
  • Results from the 2008 Public Service Employee Survey show that CRTC employees are motivated and engaged in their work.

Challenges and threats

  • The CRTC faces a growing challenge in regulating the converging broadcasting and telecommunications sectors in a manner that fulfills legislated policy objectives of two separate acts, the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act.
  • The broadcasting industry faces a growing challenge where the business models of conventional television stations involved in the production and presentation of Canadian content are under strain. In addition to pressures created by the current global economic context, broadcasters are having a difficult time meeting their regulatory obligations in the face of such factors as audience fragmentation across regulated and unregulated platforms.
  • The CRTC works diligently to ensure the communications sector is regulated fairly, effectively and efficiently. Ensuring compliance with regulations and conditions of licence is among the key challenges. Additional powers and tools to ensure compliance would enable the CRTC to provide maximum benefits for Canadians.
  • The global economic uncertainty and its effect on the broadcasting and telecommunications industries may produce financial concerns and takeovers, create further difficulties for industry players in meeting regulatory obligations, or lead to increases in the number of applications the CRTC receives for tariff modification, for example.
  • No long-term funding has been identified for the CRTC activities related to the National DNCL, including investigation and enforcement. Without funding, the CRTC will not be able to discharge its statutory responsibilities with respect to the National DNCL after March 31, 2010.
  • The CRTC must manage its service-delivery functions and increasing workload with a reduced budget.
  • In the absence of a review of the membership requirement of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, mandatory membership for telecommunications service providers with more than $10 million in annual revenue will end on December 20, 2010.
  • The implementation of plans associated with the Electronic Commerce Protection Act depend on the proposed legislation being reinstated and approved at the beginning of the next parliamentary session, as well as on funding availability.
  • Although August 31, 2011, is the date by which television signals must convert from analog to digital, there are still challenges to be met.
  • The rapidly changing technological and economic environment is a significant challenge for the CRTC. The CRTC must keep pace with change.
  • The CRTC expects that further reliance on market forces in telecommunications markets will increase the number of competitive disputes. The CRTC will be called upon to resolve these disputes efficiently and effectively.
  • Nearly 30% of the CRTC's workforce is eligible to retire in the next five years.
  • The CRTC's timing in implementing streamlined rules of procedure depends upon the Department of Justice's review of any proposed amendments flowing from public consultation.
  • From time to time, the CRTC is called on by the Governor-in -Council to address an issue on a priority basis. To respond to these requests, the CRTC needs to reconsider the schedule of its planned activities and, as a result, some elements presented in this report could be postponed or cancelled.
  • The potential for a high volume of complaints related to Internet traffic management practices could result in a shortage of financial and human resources.
  • Shared responsibility between Industry Canada and the CRTC for determining levels of Canadian ownership and control under the Telecommunications Act may create inefficiencies and delays to approve new entrants into the wireless telecommunications sector.
  • New11 or changing legislation 12 as well as the potential for additional statutory responsibilities could generate new job requirements for the CRTC that would necessitate new skills and expertise.
  • The CRTC's timing in implementing the revised Part II broadcasting licence fee regulations, allowing to recover $100 million in 2010–11, is dependent upon the Treasury Board Secretariat's approval. The Department of Justice's review of any proposed amendments flowing from the public consultation is another factor that will affect the timing.

Expenditure Profile

Canada's Economic Action Plan

Canada's Economic Action Plan is a comprehensive stimulus package that was announced by the Government of Canada in the 2009 Budget. It represents Canada's plan to stimulate our economy, protect Canadians during the global recession and invest in our long-term growth13.
The following table shows the CRTC's participation in Canada's Economic Action Plan.

CRTC Canada's Economic Action Plan at the CRTC

2010–11: $14,000 student hiring
2010–11: $80,000 (MOU broadband mapping exercise with Industry Canada)
2011–12: $80,000 (MOU broadband mapping exercise with Industry Canada)

For 2010–11, the CRTC plans to spend $48.1 million to meet the expected results of its program activities and contribute to its strategic outcome. This amount represents a decrease of $2.5 million—approximately 5%—compared to 2009–10.

The figure below illustrates the CRTC's spending trend from 2006–07 to 2012–13.

The figure below illustrates the CRTC's spending trend from 2006–07 to 2012–13


For the 2006–07 to 2008–09 periods, the total spending figures include all Parliamentary appropriation and revenue sources: Main Estimates, Supplementary Estimates, Treasury Board Vote transfers and revenues from Part I broadcasting licence fees and telecommunications fees. The figures also include operating budget carry-forward adjustments.

For 2007–08 and 2008–09, the CRTC received temporary funding to address increased workload related to its legislative and regulatory responsibilities. Details on the approved increases and the related billing impact for broadcasting and telecommunication industries are noted in Broadcasting Circular CRTC 2007-9 and Telecom Circular CRTC 2007-18 dated December 21, 2007.

The amount for 2009–10 includes the Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimate amounts (i.e. authorized budget carry-forward and the temporary funding received for the activities related to the National Do Not Call List).

For fiscal years 2010–11 to 2012–13, total spending figures correspond to the planned vote-netted revenues14 and statutory appropriation related to employee benefit plans. Supplementary funding and carry-forward adjustments are unknown at this point and therefore not reflected.


Voted and Statutory Items

($ millions)
Vote # or Statutory Item (S) Truncated Vote or Statutory Wording 2009-10
Main Estimates
Main Estimates
1 Operating expenditures - -
(S) Contributions to employee benefit plans 5.4 5.7
Total 5.4 5.7


Program Activities - As per Main Estimates

($ millions)
  2010-2011 Main Estimates
  Budgetary Total
  Operating Less: Revenues credited to the vote  
Internal Services 16.5 14.4 2.1
Canadian Broadcasting 17.5 15.5 2.0
Canadian Telecommunications 14.1 12.5 1.6
  48.1 42.4 5.7