Cabinet rejects CMPA Terms of Trade petition

The producers association opposed OWN Canada's ability to remove Terms of Trade from its condition of licence.

The federal cabinet has rejected a petition from the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) requesting a decision by the CRTC to remove Terms of Trade from OWN Canada’s condition of licence be either put aside or reconsidered.

“The Governor in Council, having considered the petition, is not satisfied that the decision derogates from the attainment of the objectives of the broadcasting policy for Canada set out in subsection 3(1) of the Broadcasting Act,” reads the order in council, which is dated Jan. 26, 2016.

On Oct. 28, 2015 the CRTC approved an application from Corus Entertainment to change a condition of licence for OWN Canada relating to its nature of service, as well as its adherence to a Terms of Trade agreement with the CMPA. With the CRTC approval, OWN Canada will no longer be required to adhere to Terms of Trade as part of its condition of licence starting April 29, 2016.

The CRTC opened up the opportunity for broadcasters to apply to remove Terms of Trade as part of its condition of licence following the Let’s Talk TV decisions. Corus Entertainment was the first broadcaster to apply for the removal, prompting the CMPA to file the petition with cabinet, said president and CEO Reynolds Mastin. Overall, he said the CMPA respects the cabinet’s decision regarding the application, and considered the whole process a successful exercise in exposing the terms of trade issue to a new cabinet.

“What we were also trying to achieve, leaving aside this specific decision, was to raise awareness with this new government and with newly elected MPs about terms of trade and how important it is to the independent production sector,” Mastin told Playback Daily. “In that regard, we feel that we were very successful. We’re very pleased with our efforts in that regard and the response we received.”

Reynolds said the CMPA will now turn its attention squarely on the Corus Entertainment/Shaw Media transaction. Earlier this week, the CMPA filed a letter on behalf of a number of organizations requesting a full public hearing into the deal.

“[The CRTC] has done that for transactions of similar magnitude, and much lesser magnitude, and we feel that public interest is best served by a full and transparent public hearing,” Mastin said.

In its initial application to the CRTC regarding the transaction, Shaw Communications requested an “administrative review” of the deal, which the regulator uses for deals involving an intra-corporate reorganization, or when there is no change in effective control. Going the administrative route means there would be no public consultation process. The CRTC rejected this request, and is currently accepting comments from the public on the deal via online submission, mail or fax until Feb. 15.

Photo credit: Centre Block, Canadian Parliament / Flickr Creative Commons / Tony Webster