Subsequent to our original post, the CRTC issued a clarification to
Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2011-415, indicating that, in
fact, broadcasting undertakings are not prevented
from renegotiating the rates, terms and conditions of
pre-existing carriage agreements, whether expired or
After struggling to reconcile this with the wording of the
original directive, it would appear that all that the
"standstill" directive was intended to do was to ensure
that during negotiations, existing services continue to be made
available by broadcasters and continue to be carried by
In other words, the original directive should be read as if it
During any negotiations between a programming undertaking
and a broadcasting distribution undertaking or the operator of an
exempt distribution undertaking with respect to the terms of
carriage of programming originated by the programming undertaking,
the programming undertaking should continue to provide the
distributor or operator with its programming services. During this
negotiating period, the programming services should be provided on
the same terms and conditions as contained in the last agreement
reached between the concerned undertakings.
During any negotiations between a broadcasting distribution
undertaking and a programming undertaking with respect to the terms
of carriage of programming originated by that programming
undertaking, the broadcasting distribution undertaking should
continue to distribute the programming services of that programming
undertaking. During this negotiating period, the
programming services should be distributed on the same terms and
conditions as contained in the last agreement reached between the
Services must continue, as directed above, until 30 days
following the publication of the Commission's decision in the
proceeding initiated by Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC
2010-783, or as otherwise agreed by the parties.
Drafting and interpretation issues aside, the fact remains that
the CRTC appears to be creating an unenforceable
"expectation" for some broadcasters to continue to
provide service. While pay, specialty and broadcasting
distribution undertakings are required by regulations to continue
service during a dispute between the parties over carriage terms,
there is no such requirement in regulations affecting other
undertakings, such as conventional television broadcasters.
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