Four vacancies at the CRTC have been posted, including that of the commission’s chair

  GENERAL:

Jean Pierre Blais

Four vacancies at the CRTC have been posted, including that of the commission’s chair. Jean-Pierre Blais’ five-year term is up this June, but there has been speculation he could be considered for renewal. Candidates are being sought for Ontario regional commissioner. The regional commissioner’s post for Manitoba and Saskatchewan is also vacant following the expiration of Candice Molnar’s term. The vice-chair broadcasting position is also posted which is temporarily being filled by Judith LaRocque. The deadline for applications is Feb. 20.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is calling on the federal government to update a 20-year-old interpretation of tax laws so that online advertising expenses are deducted like those for print and television. A study, commissioned by the public interest group, says the move would inject ad dollars into hard-pressed Canadian media outlets and generate up to $1B annually in new federal revenue. The group wants the feds to close a loophole allowing advertisers to deduct the cost of ads placed on foreign internet media platforms like YouTube and Google. Friends estimates closing that loophole would divert about $500 million in annual online ad spending back to Canadian online platforms. Spokesperson Ian Morrison argues the move would also provide the government with enough revenue to nudge CBC away from its dependence on advertising.

CBC/Radio-Canada has been named premier media partner for the upcoming 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG). The eight-day, multi-sport and cultural event will be held in Toronto from July 16-23. CBC/Radio-Canada will provide coverage of the ninth NAIG on multiple platforms including streaming a minimum of 100 hours of live and on-demand competition coverage. More than 5,000 Indigenous youth, aged 13-19, are expected to participate representing all 13 Canadian provinces and territories and up to 13 regions in the U.S.

Bell Canada is hiking monthly fees for a number of its home TV and internet packages beginning in February, with the increases primarily affecting customers in Ontario and Quebec. The company is linking the price hikes to infrastructure investments. The move comes as third-party, Ontario-based ISP TekSavvy lowers its rates in response to an October ruling from the CRTC. The ruling ordered big providers like Bell to stop charging smaller competitors too much for access to parts of their network infrastructure. A 2010 ruling mandated big companies should charge no more than their own costs plus a 10 per cent markup, however the CRTC found far more was being charged.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is welcoming submissions for its 2017 awards program until Feb. 24. The annual awards recognize the contributions and achievements of news organizations large and small, and both young and veteran journalists. The annual CJF Awards will be held in Toronto on June 8. Get all the info here.

Maria McLean

Maria McLean, former afternoon radio host at K93 FM (CIKX-FM) in Grand Falls, NB, went public on Bell Let’s Talk Day, claiming she was fired from the Bell Media-owned radio station earlier this month, just one hour after allegedly sharing her struggles with depression and anxiety and handing her supervisor a doctor’s note ordering her off work to adjust to new medication. The 24-year-old had been with the station since last March and says the day before she was fired had been asked if she would be interested in hosting the station’s morning show starting in June. Bell Media has not commented on the story.