Study: New Pick & Pay TV Rules will Cost 15,000 Jobs & Erode CanCon


By Daniel Tencer,          Jan 6 2016                                                                                                                                                                  


Starting this year, Canadians will be able to pick and choose the cable or satellite TV channels they buy, a move many consumers’ advocates applauded. But a new study argues those and other changes will harm the economy. | Donald Iain Smith via Getty Images

A group of unions and guilds involved in Canada’s media industry are pressuring the federal Liberal government to undo changes to TV rules announced under the previous Harper government.

Starting this year, Canadians will be able to pick and choose the cable or satellite TV channels they buy, a move many consumers’ advocates applauded. But a new study commissioned by those media groups argues those and other changes will harm the economy.

Specialty channels are at risk of disappearing and Canadian content will suffer under the new pick-and-pay rules, according to the report issued Tuesday.

It says the changes to TV regulations will cost more than 15,000 direct and indirect job losses by 2020, and will reduce Canada’s economic output by $1.4 billion by that time.

“For good reason the new government has abandoned Stephen Harper’s policy of denigrating the CBC. It should take the same approach to the CRTC’s [TV] decisions,” said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, in a statement.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting was one of the groups that commissioned the report, along with performers’ guild ACTRA, the Canadian Media Guild, the Directors Guild of Canada and Unifor.

crtc tv rule impact
Changes to Canadian TV distribution rules will cost a cumulative total of more than 15,000 jobs, and will reduce GDP by a total of $1.4 billion by 2020, a new report predicts. (Chart: Friends of Canadian Broadcasting)



  1. Hmmmm. If people don’t want to watch these channels, why are they there in the first place?

    More importantly, if I don’t want these channels, why am I forced to pay for them?

    It would appear to me that this is a giant corporate welfare scheme (scam) that pads the bottom line of the media conglomerates that refuse to provide quality Canadian programming on the over-the-air channels.

    Instead, they fill the air time on these pay channels with low cost repeats that we have seen over and over again. AND they sell commercials. Lots of them. What a concept. THEN they ADMIT that the channels will cease to exist because nobody in their right mind would actually choose to pay for them!

    I mean, really, how many times do we need to see Mike Holmes install an elevator in the home of the handicapped child? This one episode is probably close to celebrating its 1000th broadcast!

  2. Oh boy, where do I start?

    Since when has free enterprise business been seen as a welfare state just to keep people employed?

    I once worked for a better end audio/video retailer, though the company still does well, it did shut down some stores that as time past by and the local markets for each suffered, they had to be closed due to economic reasons. NOBODY in government was there to force the stores to be kept open by subsidizing them with monies from the better/profitable stores.

    I can go on and on but for some reason many feel cable/satellite t.v. must enforce a level of welfare at the explanation of forcing and thus PAYING MORE than they should by cable/satellite subscribers, just to keep these lousy and under performing channels on the air!

    Boo Hoo! sorry to those who may lose their jobs. LIFE IS NOT FAIR! Hundreds of thousands or more have seen their jobs evaporate for many reasons and I bet none of you shed a tear!

    T.V. and the assortment of networks/channels SHOULD BE MARKET BASED! If one or a group of channels can’t make a buck then like all too many other businesses they should try to restructure or if said fails, to close shop. Tough luck. The employees will be eligible for E.I. for up to 52 weeks.

    We have the CBC as a government operated network on radio and t.v. It does not have to be a profit model as its designed to be able to give news, info and programming to anyone living anywhere in Canada. The private networks do not have to do such.

    Our cable bills may actually go lower if these blood sucking channels die and no longer get welfare from over priced cable/satellite costs.

    I want to only pay a fair price for the channels that I want to watch. That is market based idealism.

  3. Sorry Les H.,

    “Our cable bills may actually go lower if these blood sucking channels die and no longer get welfare from over priced cable/satellite costs.”

    Sadly, your cable bill will probably remain the same as all the BDU’s will price the surviving channels to make up for the losses experienced by the channels that die. Do you think Shaw (or Bell or Rogers) would actually do something of benefit to the consumer? Nothing will be allowed to interfere with the executive compensation packages (JR Shaw $17.9-mil, Brad Shaw $13.4-mil, the now-retired Peter Bissonnette $11.6-mil, Jay Mehr $8.7-mil, etc etc etc).

  4. Anyone who believes their cable bill will go down in an a la carte universe is sadly mistaken. In a market where TSN (for example) won’t necessarily be in every home, you can bet Bell Media will price it appropriately so that there is no lost revenue.

    Truth is most underperforming channels are likely operating on acquired/commissioned/repurposed content, a video server, and a person in traffic keying in the pertinent information. If they’re not hurting the bottom line, I don’t see many of them dropping off the air.

    The juvenile comment about lost jobs above is rather silly juxtaposed with this message board’s typical habit of lighting votive candles anytime someone is handed a banker’s box with their personal effects in this industry. That said, it brings me to the bigger point about the change the industry is facing.

    The adjustment those wanting a job Canadian broadcasting will have to face (more than those in the industry elsewhere in the world) is that Canadian media companies seem to be competing with the 21st century’s technological disruption by moving to a model of acquisition, commission, and outside production.

    Those wanting a career going forward will have to shed their romance of the transmitter and longing to work for a set of call letters in exchange for jobs at lean, startup-minded outside production houses. Those not willing to make the adjustment won’t be behind a microphone. That, in turn, disrupts Unifor and CMG’s business model (and they are a business). But, I believe, it is the direction everyone has to accept if they want to be in this game.

  5. As others have mentioned, it’s all about the money, honey. The only place where people grieve about firings of personnel are on discussion forums like here.

    Outside of this world, nobody cares.

    When one of your on air buddies gets fired, (like Sterling Faux) you’re all in a snit and angry with the corporate world. But, in reality, they don’t really give a fuck what you say !

    Even if 500 posters wanted Sterling Faux or Larry Hennessey back on the air, doesn’t mean that they will be rehired at the same station. The whole business is cruel and heartless.

    As far as cable companies trying to extract money from customers, well, the best cure for that is a REVERSE firing. Cancel the stinking tv service, outright, and move your internet and telephone service to a local independant company.

    Imagine if 10,000 Canadians cut their Shaw television service, every year ? You would be happier than hell, plus Shaw would be out $ 100,000 dollars in revenue a year.

    If they keep losing money over 10 years, we could all eventually bankrupt Shaw and then, we would celebrate like New Years day.

    A bankrupcy of a major broadcasting company would make everyone very happy !

    Why don’t we plan on how to take out a major Canadian corporation through guerilla warfare.

  6. I’m with Bell and they have already quietly increased the basic package from $31 per month to $48. I expect they will levy another increase for the basic package very shortly. In order to receive the a la carte system you must have the basic package.

    My current monthly bill is $98. I fully expect with the new basic package and paying for the 10 channels I want, my monthly bill in March will increase from the current $98 per month.

    I will be dumping Bell in favour of FTA local digital TV for local news & the fluff programming. From there I will be subscribing to Shomi, Crave and Netflix. $30 per month combined. There are other on demand providers I have not yet explored on my Apple TV box, so maybe $60.00 per month. No more paying for the privilege of being subjected to 25 minutes per hour of mindless advertising. I’m gonna miss the Smithsonian channel and the odd program on Discovery and BBC Canada. I will adapt.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.