#CRTC and Canadian #Media News In Brief

CRTC

Faith Goldy

Faith Goldy, who is running for Mayor of Toronto, has hired constitutional law and civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby to represent her in a suit she’s launching against Bell Media for refusing to air her election ads. The ads were set to run on Bell-owned news channel CP24 during the last month of the election cycle until Goldy received a telephone call in late September from a Bell Media representative informing her the ads would not air and her cheque for more than $13,000 would be returned. CRTC rules stipulate that broadcasters treat all candidates equitably. If successful, the lawsuit could compel Bell to run Goldy’s ads. Ruby told a Tuesday morning press conference, they’re now awaiting an expedited court date. Read the full story here.

Anna Bourque

Cineflix Canada, the Toronto production company behind reality shows like Property Brothers and Mayday, is the subject of a $35-million dollar class action lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers. The statement of claim for the suit is based on the experience of story editor Anna Bourque, who according to the claim routinely worked 50 to 70-hour work weeks and did not become aware she was eligible for minimum wage, overtime pay, vacation pay and public holiday and premium pay because the defendants misrepresented her eligibility and entitlement. The claim alleges independent contractors working for Cineflix have been denied basic minimum standards under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act. The suit seeks general damages of $35 million plus other compensation on behalf of individuals who did not receive entitlements in recent years, covering those in production, pre-production and post-production and who worked or are still working at Cineflix. Filed by Toronto law firm Cavalluzzo LLP, it’s also issued a call for current or former workers of Insight Productions, Boat Rocker and other factual television producers to come forward. Cineflix says it will be vigorously contesting the claim. Read more here.

Mélanie Joly

Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, has outlined details of $14.5 million in funding earmarked to support radio and newspapers serving official-language minority communities.The Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023: Investing in Our Future includes internships for the next generation of media professionals at radio stations and in newsrooms of Francophone and Anglophone minority communities. $4.5 million in funding from Young Canada Works will provide for more than 100 year-long internships over five years, which began to be allocated in September. The Community Media Strategic Support Fund, with a funding envelope of $10 million over five years, will provide financial assistance for projects that contribute to the maintenance of official-language minority radio and newspapers. As a next step, the Association de la presse francophone, mandated by the Consortium des médias communautaires, will conduct a strategic analysis of the state of the minority press and make recommendations, starting next year.

Senator Terry Mercer, Senator David Tkachuk, and Janet Yale

Liberal Senator Terry Mercer, representing Nova Scotia and Conservative Senator David Tkachuk, who represents Saskatchewan, have raised concerns about a lack of regional representation on the Liberal government’s expert panel reviewing the country’s communications acts. Members of the Senate Transport and Communications Committee, the two senators have cited the lack of Prairie and Atlantic representatives on the seven-member panel, nor any average consumers. Officials from Canadian Heritage and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) have defended the panel saying members were chosen because of their individual expertise. The panel is headed by former TELUS EVP Janet Yale.

The Federal Court of Appeal has issued a 2-1 split decision that upholds Bell’s argument that enforcing its Wholesale Code under the Broadcasting Act is an overreach of CRTC authority. The commission introduced the code in 2015 following its Let’s Talk TV consultations over concerns about the market power of vertically-integrated companies like BCE Inc., which both creates and distributes content. The code governs how BDUs can negotiate with programming services.

Bell Media has applied to the CRTC to undertake “intracorporate reorganisation” that would change the ownership structure of its radio and television stations to general partnerships. The reorganisation would not change the effective control of the services, which BCE Inc. would continue to exercise. The company says simplifying its corporate structure will have “immediate and significant tax benefits.” The radio stations would carry on business as Bell Media Windsor Radio Partnership, Bell Media Ontario Regional Radio Partnership, Bell Media Ottawa Radio Partnership, Bell Media Toronto Radio 2013 Partnership, Bell Media Canada Radio 2013 Partnership and Bell Media British Columbia Radio Partnership. The applicant is also requesting new broadcasting licences to continue the operation of the stations under the same terms and conditions as those in effect under the current licences.

CBC/Radio-Canada Prince Edward Island is set to undergo a $2 million dollar renovation over the next year. The CBC PEI building on Charlottetown’s University Ave. has had few upgrades since it was built in 1978. The renos will include a more accessible and visible studio for English radio, that will be glassed-in, so hosts and guests can see outside. Most employees will temporarily move to the building’s basement while construction of a new newsroom happens on the main floor. There will be no change to the television studio which was redesigned and upgraded a few years ago. Tenders will go out in November for the first phase of work, which is scheduled to begin in December.

The Local News Research Project, a crowd-sourced resource that tracks what’s happening to local newspapers, broadcast outlets and online news sites across Canada, has released more data. A joint project of Ryerson University’s School of Journalism and the University of British Columbia’s SpICE Lab (Spatial Information for Community Mapping), the latest report indicates that while many local media outlets have been closing amidst a challenging environment, more digital sites continue to open. Since 2008, there have been 42 new online launches, and 13 site closures. According to the data, 14 TV stations closed in the same period with four new station launches; while 225 newspapers were shuttered with new papers launching in 35 communities. The total number of new radio stations amounted to seven, one less than the number that closed in the same period. Ontario leads media closures by province, followed by Quebec, BC and Alberta.

Esther Enkin

CBC Ombudsman Esther Enkin says there was no violation of policy when CBC reported on the mental health history of Danforth shooter Faisal Hussain. The complainant, a mental health advocate, questioned the relevance of events which occurred 10 years earlier and felt it was wrong to report the details because it could create a false link between those events and the shootings. Enkin says the editorial choices in this instance were legitimate and presented in context. She also notes that iit was in the public interest to understand as much as possible who Hussain was.

CBC News has added its name to the list of news organizations committed to The Trust Project, which aims to establish transparency standards that help audiences assess whether news comes from a credible source. Based at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, participants include the New York Times, the Economist, The Globe and Mail, Washington Post, and the BBC, among others.

Rick Campanelli

Rick Campanelli will host the 2018 Canadian Cannabis Awards on Nov. 29, recognizing excellence in the Canadian cannabis sector. Set to take place at the Carlu in downtown Toronto, voter-driven categories include Top Rolling Papers, Top Grinder, Top Pipe, Top Bong, as well as new awards for Woman in Weed – Trailblazer and Top Reviewed Product of the Year. The television personality left his co-hosting gig with ET Canada in Aug. 2017 after 12 years with the show.


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