TV packaging rules come into force in Canada

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
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CRTC welcomes new era of choice for TV viewers

  • Canadians can now subscribe to television services on their terms

GATINEAU — As of today, Canadians can subscribe to an affordable basic television package that costs no more than $25 per month. They will also have the option of supplementing this package with additional channels, either individually or in bundles of up to 10 channels.

In March 2015, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced these changes in TV packaging rules following the Let’s Talk TV conversation. During this extensive process, Canadians told the CRTC they wanted more choice, flexibility and affordability in TV services.

Affordable basic package

All licensed television service providers must offer the affordable basic package. This package must cost no more than $25 per month (not including equipment) and must include the following channels:

  • local and regional television stations
  • channels of public interest such as the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)
    educational channels, and
  • community channels, and services operated by provincial legislatures, where available.

The affordable basic package may also include at no additional charge:

  • local AM and FM radio stations;
  • non-local over-the-air TV stations (up to a maximum of 10);
  • stations affiliated with American commercial networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) and PBS;
  • educational channels of another province or territory in each official language (if no educational channel is offered).

Pick and pay and small bundles

Canadians also now have more options, as licensed TV service providers must offer channels either individually (“pick and pay”) or in packages of up to 10 channels.

Although service providers with fewer than 20,000 subscribers are not required to offer the affordable basic package, pick and pay or small bundles, most Canadians have access to two satellite television providers who must offer these options.

Canadians can search for the television service providers in their area using the CRTC’s new online tool.

Quick Facts

  • As of March 1, 2016, television service providers must offer channels either individually or in small packages of up to 10 channels.
    By December 1, 2016, television service providers must offer both pick and pay and small packages.
  • These changes will ensure Canadians have the ability to choose the television content that meets their unique needs, budgets and realities.
  • Canadians who are satisfied with their current services do not have to make any changes to their subscriptions.
  • More than 13,000 Canadians shared their views on the future of their television system during Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians.
  • The CRTC announced a number of important changes to the TV system in an environment that is in profound evolution.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era of choice for Canadian television viewers. The television system is evolving as Canadians’ viewing habits change and technology provides more options. During the Let’s Talk TV conversation, Canadians told us that they wanted the freedom to choose services according to their needs, their realities and their budgets. Canadians can now make television choices on their terms.” said Jean Pierre Blais, Chairman and CEO, CRTC