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Canada Providing COVID-19 Relief to Broadcasters

Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
(Image credit: CRTC)

OTTAWA—The government of Canada has announced additional relief efforts for broadcasters as the industry continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Announced in the government’s Fall Economic Statement, the Part II broadcasting license fees for 2020-2021 will be waived for eligible TV and radio stations. The Part II broadcasting license fees are regulatory charges collected by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) from conventional TV, radio, discretionary TV service or a broadcast distribution undertaking license.

By waiving the fee for 2020-2021, CRTC estimates that it can provide relief of up to $50 million for broadcasters, helping them to maintain their broadcasting productions.

To qualify for the waiver, broadcasters must confirm a minimum 25% reduction of advertising revenues due to the pandemic and are continuing to operate in compliance with their regulatory obligations regarding Canadian content for at least two years. The CRTC will contact eligible stations directly to inform them of next steps.

The measure does not include cable, satellite and IPTV providers.

“Canadians rely on radio and television to stay up to date on matters related to COVID-19,” said Steve Guilbeault, minister of Canadian Heritage. “We continue to help radio and television broadcasters weather the unprecedented pressures the pandemic has placed on their advertising revenues.”

Many U.S. broadcasters asked the FCC to similarly waive annual regulatory fees due to the pandemic, but the FCC ultimately opted not to.