CRTC delays CBC licence renewal until after budget by Steve Ladurantaye

Feb 6, 2012

Source: Globe and Mail

Canada's broadcast regulator has agreed to postpone Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s licence renewal application until after a federal budget that is expected to reduce its funding.

The broadcaster's English and French-language services are due for review by the CRTC, but the CBC said with cuts likely in an upcoming Federal budget it would be a bad time to outline its plans for the future.

The CBC receives about $1.1-billion in federal funding. Federal departments are expected to face cuts of at least 5 per cent in the upcoming budget as the Tories seek to cut costs, and it's unlikely the broadcaster would be exempt.

In a letter to the CRTC, the broadcaster's chief regulatory officer said it needs months to understand the implications of any budget cuts.

Its renewal hearings were scheduled for June.

“The corporation anticipates that this narrow window will not be sufficient to allow it to reflect on and operationalise its plans give that its budget is expected to be announced in late February or March,” wrote Steven Guiton. “The corporation respectfully submits that more time is needed to establish its future operating budget prior to imposing licence conditions.”

The CRTC agreed, saying “it would be inappropriate to set a hearing date for the renewal of CBC's licences until the CBC has had an opportunity to establish its future operating budget.”

The hearing has been postponed “until further notice.”

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