Broadcasting Act (S.C. 1991, c. 11)
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Act current to 2023-05-17 and last amended on 2023-04-27. Previous Versions
PART IGeneral (continued)
Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty
4 (1) This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.
Marginal note:Application generally
(2) This Act applies in respect of broadcasting undertakings carried on in whole or in part within Canada or on board
(a) any ship, vessel or aircraft that is
(i) registered or licensed under an Act of Parliament, or
(ii) owned by, or under the direction or control of, Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province;
(b) any spacecraft that is under the direction or control of
(i) Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province,
(ii) a citizen or resident of Canada, or
(iii) a corporation incorporated or resident in Canada; or
(c) any platform, rig, structure or formation that is affixed or attached to land situated in the continental shelf of Canada.
Marginal note:For greater certainty
(3) For greater certainty, this Act applies in respect of broadcasting undertakings whether or not they are carried on for profit or as part of, or in connection with, any other undertaking or activity.
(4) For greater certainty, this Act does not apply to any telecommunications common carrier, as defined in the Telecommunications Act, when acting solely in that capacity.
- 1991, c. 11, s. 4
- 1993, c. 38, s. 82
- 1996, c. 31, s. 57
Marginal note:Non-application — programs on social media service
4.1 (1) This Act does not apply in respect of a program that is uploaded to an online undertaking that provides a social media service by a user of the service for transmission over the Internet and reception by other users of the service.
Marginal note:Application — certain programs
(2) Despite subsection (1), this Act applies in respect of a program that is uploaded as described in that subsection if the program
(a) is uploaded to the social media service by the provider of the service or the provider’s affiliate, or by the agent or mandatary of either of them; or
(b) is prescribed by regulations made under section 4.2.
Marginal note:Non-application — social media service
(3) This Act does not apply in respect of online undertakings whose broadcasting consists only of programs in respect of which this Act does not apply under this section.
Marginal note:For greater certainty
(4) For greater certainty, this section does not exclude the application of this Act in respect of a program that, except for the fact that it is not uploaded as described in subsection (1), is the same as a program in respect of which this Act does not apply under this section.
Marginal note:Regulations — programs to which this Act applies
4.2 (1) For the purposes of paragraph 4.1(2)(b), the Commission may make regulations prescribing programs in respect of which this Act applies, in a manner that is consistent with freedom of expression.
(2) In making regulations under subsection (1), the Commission shall consider the following matters:
(a) the extent to which a program, uploaded to an online undertaking that provides a social media service, directly or indirectly generates revenues;
(b) the fact that such a program has been broadcast, in whole or in part, by a broadcasting undertaking that
(i) is required to be carried on under a licence, or
(ii) is required to be registered with the Commission but does not provide a social media service; and
(c) the fact that such a program has been assigned a unique identifier under an international standards system.
(3) The regulations shall not prescribe a program
(a) in respect of which neither the user of a social media service who uploads the program nor the owner or licensee of copyright in the program receives revenues; or
(b) that consists only of visual images.
PART IIObjects and Powers of the Commission in Relation to Broadcasting
5 (1) Subject to this Act and the Radiocommunication Act and to any directions to the Commission issued by the Governor in Council under this Act, the Commission shall regulate and supervise all aspects of the Canadian broadcasting system with a view to implementing the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1) and, in so doing, shall have regard to the regulatory policy set out in subsection (2).
Marginal note:Regulatory policy
(2) The Canadian broadcasting system should be regulated and supervised in a flexible manner that
(a) takes into account the different characteristics of English, French and Indigenous language broadcasting and the different conditions under which broadcasting undertakings that provide English, French or Indigenous language programming operate — including the minority context of French in North America — and the specific needs and interests of official language minority communities in Canada and of Indigenous peoples;
(a.1) takes into account the nature and diversity of the services provided by broadcasting undertakings, as well as their size, their impact on the Canadian creation and production industry, particularly with respect to employment in Canada and Canadian programming, their contribution to the implementation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1) and any other characteristic that may be relevant in the circumstances;
(a.2) ensures that any broadcasting undertaking that cannot make maximum or predominant use of Canadian creative and other human resources in the creation, production and presentation of programming contributes to those Canadian resources in an equitable manner;
(b) takes into account regional needs and concerns;
(c) promotes innovation and is readily adaptable to scientific and technological change;
(d) facilitates the provision of broadcasting to Canadians;
(e) facilitates the provision to Canadians of Canadian programs created and produced in both official languages, including those created and produced by official language minority communities in Canada, as well as in Indigenous languages;
(e.1) facilitates the provision of programs that are accessible without barriers to persons with disabilities;
(e.2) facilitates the provision to Canadians of programs created and produced by members of Black or other racialized communities;
(f) does not inhibit the development of information technologies and their application or the delivery of resultant services to Canadians;
(g) is sensitive to the administrative burden that, as a consequence of such regulation and supervision, may be imposed on persons carrying on broadcasting undertakings;
(g.1) protects the privacy of individuals who are members of the audience for programs broadcast by broadcasting undertakings; and
(h) takes into account the variety of broadcasting undertakings to which this Act applies and avoids imposing obligations on any class of broadcasting undertakings if that imposition will not contribute in a material manner to the implementation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1).
(3) The Commission shall give primary consideration to the objectives of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1) if, in any particular matter before the Commission, a conflict arises between those objectives and the objectives of the regulatory policy set out in subsection (2).
Marginal note:Employment equity
(4) Where a broadcasting undertaking is subject to the Employment Equity Act, the powers granted to the Commission under this Act do not extend to the regulation or supervision of matters concerning employment equity in relation to that broadcasting undertaking.
- 1991, c. 11, s. 5
- 1995, c. 44, s. 46
- 2023, c. 8, s. 5
Marginal note:Official language minority communities
5.1 In regulating and supervising the Canadian broadcasting system and exercising its powers under this Act, the Commission shall enhance the vitality of official language minority communities in Canada and support and assist their development.
5.2 (1) The Commission shall consult with official language minority communities in Canada when making decisions that could adversely affect them.
Marginal note:Objectives of consultations
(2) When engaging in consultations required by subsection (1), the Commission shall
(a) gather information to test its policies, decisions and initiatives;
(b) propose policies, decisions and initiatives that have not been finalized;
(c) seek the communities’ opinions with regard to the policies, decisions or initiatives that are the subject of the consultations;
(d) provide them with all relevant information on which those policies, decisions or initiatives are based;
(e) openly and meaningfully consider those opinions;
(f) be prepared to alter those policies, decisions or initiatives; and
(g) provide the communities with feedback, both during the consultation process and after a decision has been made.
Marginal note:Policy guidelines and statements
6 The Commission may from time to time issue guidelines and statements with respect to any matter within its jurisdiction under this Act, but no such guidelines or statements issued by the Commission are binding on the Commission.
Marginal note:Policy directions
7 (1) Subject to subsection (2) and section 8, the Governor in Council may, by order, issue to the Commission directions of general application on broad policy matters with respect to
(a) any of the objectives of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1); or
(b) any of the objectives of the regulatory policy set out in subsection 5(2).
(2) No order may be made under subsection (1) in respect of the issuance of a licence to a particular person or in respect of the amendment, renewal, suspension or revocation of a particular licence.
Marginal note:Directions binding
(3) An order made under subsection (1) is binding on the Commission beginning on the day on which the order comes into force and, subject to subsection (4), shall, if it so provides, apply with respect to any matter pending before the Commission on that day.
(4) No order made under subsection (1) may apply with respect to a licensing matter pending before the Commission where the period for the filing of interventions in the matter has expired unless that period expired more than one year before the coming into force of the order.
Marginal note:Publication and tabling
(5) A copy of each order made under subsection (1) shall be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the making of the order.
(6) The Minister shall consult with the Commission before the Governor in Council makes an order under subsection (1).
Marginal note:Procedure for issuance of policy directions
8 (1) Where the Governor in Council proposes to make an order under section 7, the Minister shall cause the proposed order to be
(a) published by notice in the Canada Gazette, which notice shall invite interested persons to make representations to the Minister with respect to the proposed order; and
(b) laid before each House of Parliament.
(2) The Minister shall
(a) specify in the notice the period — of at least 30 days from the day on which the notice was published under paragraph (1)(a) — during which interested persons may make representations; and
(b) publish the representations that are made during that period.
Marginal note:Implementation of proposal
(3) The Governor in Council may, after the period referred to in paragraph (2)(a) has ended and the proposed order has been laid before each House of Parliament, implement the proposal by making an order under section 7, either in the form proposed or revised in the manner that the Governor in Council considers appropriate.
(4) The Minister shall consult with the Commission before a proposed order is published or is laid before a House of Parliament under subsection (1).
(5) [Repealed, 2023, c. 8, s. 7]
- 1991, c. 11, s. 8
- 2023, c. 8, s. 7
Marginal note:Licences, etc.
9 (1) Subject to this Part, the Commission may, in furtherance of its objects,
(a) establish classes of licences other than for online undertakings;
(b) issue a licence, the term of which may be indefinite or fixed by the Commission;
(c) amend a licence as to its term, on the application of the licensee;
(d) amend a licence other than as to its term, on the application of the licensee or on the Commission’s own motion;
(e) renew a licence, the term of which may be indefinite or fixed by the Commission; and
(f) suspend or revoke a licence.
(g) [Repealed, 2023, c. 8, s. 8]
(h) [Repealed, 2023, c. 8, s. 8]
(2) [Repealed, 2023, c. 8, s. 8]
(3) [Repealed, 2023, c. 8, s. 8]
(4) The Commission shall, by order, on the terms and conditions that it considers appropriate, exempt persons who carry on broadcasting undertakings of any class specified in the order from any or all of the requirements of this Part, of an order made under section 9.1 or of a regulation made under this Part if the Commission is satisfied that compliance with those requirements will not contribute in a material manner to the implementation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1).
Marginal note:Repeal or amendment
(5) The Commission shall repeal or amend an exemption order made under subsection (4) if the Commission considers that doing so will contribute in a material manner to the implementation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1).
- 1991, c. 11, s. 9
- 1994, c. 26, s. 10(F)
- 2023, c. 8, s. 8
- Date modified: