The Weekly Briefing

The CRTC has dismissed, in part, a complaint against the Bell Fund from a coalition of media producers including CBC, the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and Blue Ant Media, which alleged bias in how the fund decides to disperse funding. Lodged in May, the complaint suggested a new program structure unfairly favoured applications from producers working with large broadcasters like Bell Media. The group also submitted that the composition of the fund’s board of directors did not meet the requirement that at least two thirds of board members be independent as five of its eight board members were independents and three were representatives of the broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) of Bell Canada or its affiliates. In this week’s decision, the CRTC said the fund’s structure need not be revised, however it ordered the fund to be in compliance at all times with the requirement that two thirds of its board members be independent and to fill any vacancy among independent board members within 90 days. In 2017, the fund doled out $9.4 million in grants to 64 projects.[22]

The CRTC has called for comments on a Production Report to be completed annually by large English- and French-language ownership groups with their annual returns filings. The new report would replace the existing PNI Report and include all Canadian programming expenditure categories, except news and sports programming. It would also require licensees to identify how much they are spending on original, first-run programming and other content produced by official language minority communities and Indigenous producers. Additionally, questions would be included to measure the efforts of broadcasters to commission programming made by women occupying the roles of producer, director, writer, cinematographer and editor. The deadline to comment is Feb. 6.[23]

Darren Entwistle, Gloria Macarenko, Daniel Lessard, and Daniel Lamarre

Telus CEO Darren Entwistle, CBC Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko, and former Radio-Canada Parliament Hill correspondent Daniel Lessard are among the most recent appointments to the Order of Canada. Other appointees from the Canadian film, entertainment and broadcasting worlds include Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group; André Simard, retired Acrobatic Designer of Cirque du Soleil; Quebec investigative journalist Jean Pelletier; television producers Barbara M. Bowlby and John M. Brunton; Serge Gouin, retired Chairman of the Board of Quebecor Media; Shaftesbury Films CEO Christina Jennings; actor Len Cariou; Cree actress Shirley Cheechoo; BBC chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet; and Decouverte host Charles Tisseyre.

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