$30M in broadcaster licence fees waived amid pandemic ad revenue slump


The CRTC will be waiving Part I licence fees for broadcasters for the 2020-21 fiscal year, representing a collective savings of $30 million for more than 100 radio and television providers.

“Canadian broadcasters are working hard to fulfill the mission of sharing credible and verified information with Canadians. This task is even more difficult since they also face significant drops in advertising revenue. The decision to waive the regulatory charges is one we could make quickly and we are working on more measures to support the industry,” said Canadian Heritage Min. Steven Guilbeault, in a release issued late Monday. “We will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on all sectors, ensuring we remain well-positioned to respond to this rapidly changing environment.”

Part I Licence Fees require broadcasting licensees to contribute to the CRTC’s regulatory costs on a pro-rated basis, calculated using a formula that takes into consideration the estimated costs of the commission as well as broadcasters’ respective gross revenues. Canadian Heritage said the government will transfer necessary funds to the CRTC to support its operations.

The move follows two other federal olive branches extended to the media industry, including the promise of $30 million in federal ad spending for newspapers, magazines, radio and television on a COVID-19 awareness campaign. Last week, the government also announced that Canadian Heritage is working to simplify the process for submitting and processing requests for 2020–21 funding for the Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund, which provides financial assistance to Canadian print magazines, non-daily newspapers and digital periodicals.

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