The CRTC has been asked by six public- and consumer-interest organizations to enable the Broadcasting Participation Fund (BPF-FPR) to continue to operate for the next two years by clarifying a decision it made in 2022. The CRTC approved the establishment of the BPF-FPR in 2012 “to assist in the representation, research and advocacy of public interest and consumer groups across Canada in both official languages.” The BPF-FPR announced on 10 April 2023 that it would be suspending its operations as of August 2023 due to a lack of funding.
In 2022 the CRTC granted Rogers’ application to acquire the broadcasting undertakings licensed to Shaw Communications, and as a condition of approval required Rogers to remit $725,439 to the BPF-FPR in equal payments of $241,813 over three years. As the BPF-FPR has granted costs to (more than 100) public-interest organizations (that the CRTC permitted to participate in its proceedings) which averaged $479,000 per year over the last decade, annual payments of $241,813 are likely to leave the BPF-FPR unable to operate as the CRTC intended.
The six organizations are: the Consumers’ Association of Canada (Manitoba), Consumers Council of Canada, FRPC, Option consommateurs, PIAC and Union des consommateurs. Their Part 1 application – asking the CRTC to facilitate the required payment to the BPF-FPR by September 2023 – is available here.