CAB Special Update on Diversity #2 - July 9, 2008
These Diversity Updates have been designed as a tool to provide key information and links on the issues relating to diversity in broadcasting to assist private broadcasters and other industry stakeholders in their efforts to ensure that our airwaves reflect all Canadians.

CAB Annual Report to the CRTC on Diversity in Broadcasting
The CAB filed its third annual report to the CRTC on the progress made by broadcasters to ensure diversity both on the air and behind the scenes. The report has been widely disseminated, including being made available to CAB members at Regional Conventions and to delegates attending the RTNDA’s National Convention in Ottawa. In a letter dated June 26, the CRTC responded to the CAB’s Report, recognizing the CAB’s “high level of commitment...to lead the Canadian broadcasting industry in addressing diversity objectives.” The CRTC notes that CAB is demonstrating continuing leadership in this area through such initiatives as the diversity seminars it presented at the annual conventions of two regional broadcasting associations, and the diversity webinars it plans to produce. Having acknowledged the CAB’s Diversity Best Practices for Radio, the Commission also looks forward to receiving CAB’s report on proposed closed captioning standards in November. On the representation of Asian-Canadians, the CRTC requests that the CAB “clearly address its plans in this area in its next annual diversity report” to be filed by January 30, 2009.
Contact : Marye Ménard-Bos, Ext. 311

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Diversity Presentations to BCAB and WAB
The CAB had a terrific opportunity in the past month to deliver a new session entitled Diversity on the Rise to the regional conventions of the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters in May and the Western Association of Broadcasters in June.

The sessions focused on Canada’s growing diversity, the goals of the CRTC, and diversity best practices and practical starting points for Radio. Past and current diversity activities undertaken by the CAB were outlined, and a number of very good resources for diversity information were identified for our members.

To summarize some of the points from the sessions:

Diversity in the Canadian population has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years, whether visible minorities, persons with disabilities or Aboriginal peoples. And Canada’s private broadcasters have done a tremendous job of embracing diversity in their programming, employment and community outreach initiatives.

Less is known about strategies to capture more diversity for Radio – but the Commission’s expectations are well known. To assist our Radio members with their diversity tracking and reporting going forward, the CAB has developed a series of Best Practices and developed an easy-to-use Reporting Template, available on our Diversity in Broadcasting website.

With these tools in hand, the BCAB and WAB Diversity on the Rise sessions presented the chance to encourage Radio members to begin developing their inventories of diversity activities now – so when reporting time comes around, a bank of information will be on hand.

And given Radio’s traditional engagement at the local level, much of what our members are doing now can likely be identified as diversity-driven.

During the sessions, it was also suggested that when reporting your diversity activities to the CRTC, be sure to provide information about your local markets, and just what types of diversity they represent. This information is readily available from Statistics Canada Census 2006 Community Profiles – and gives even more meaning to the idea of ‘local reflection’.

These Community Profiles – especially useful for smaller markets – can be accessed by clicking here.

In sum, Diversity on the Rise delivered a number of strategic ideas:

  • Diversity comes in many forms in individual markets, so help the CRTC to understand this
  • Position your on-going initiatives
  • Track your activities and start an inventory of your work in diversity
  • Put existing information about diversity tools to good use
  • Leverage your knowledge of local communities.

The presentation is posted on the CAB Diversity in Broadcasting website can be accessed by clicking here.

The CAB extends its sincere thanks to the BCAB and the WAB for their terrific hospitality and for the opportunity to bring forward some new strategies on diversity. Thanks for attending the sessions!
Contact : Marye Ménard-Bos, Ext. 311

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Télédiversité
Fourth Annual Event Scores another Hit
Télédiversité, the unique forum organized by the Association québécoise des télédiffuseurs et radiodiffuseurs (AQTR) to promote the portrayal of cultural diversity in private television in Quebec, took place in Montreal June 5th and 6th and was an unparalleled success that attracted 400 participants over the course of this two-day event.

Highlights of the fourth annual Télédiversité include a job and professional training fair in which some ten companies and academic institutions took part, and hands-on sessions offering participants the opportunity to simulate a television interview (Vox), the presentation of a newscast (TVA/LCN) and the position of veejay (MusiquePlus).

Also featured were four professional training sessions presented throughout the day of June 6. In the morning, participants could choose between taking part in a forum on how to meet the needs and expectations of broadcasters or one on the profession of journalist.  The two afternoon sessions covered the development of a TV project and television casting respectively. Finally, a session on the various organizations that provide funding for television productions was also offered.

This day of activities was preceded by an opening evening with an international flavour on Thursday. Luc Perreault, President of the AQTR, also gave a speech in which he stressed the importance of diversity in television and reiterated the commitment of Quebec’s private broadcasters towards ensuring television that reflects everyone!

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Rogers OMNI Television Honoured by Canadian Ethnic Media Association
TV programs about legendary broadcaster Johnny Lombardi and about young people expressing political opinions, won CEMA Awards at the organization’s 30th anniversary gala. One television award went to Grace Fusillo-Lombardi, producer, writer and director of the Fuel Productions documentary The Great Communicator - Johnny Lombardi, while the other went to Angie Seth, anchor and reporter with OMNI-TV’s South Asian News for the program Democracy 101. The awards gala, held June 27 in Toronto, will be broadcast July 20 on OMNI 1 and July 25 on OMNI 2. CEMA, formerly the Canadian Ethnic Journalists and Writers Club, is an organization for professional print and electronic journalists and creative writers.

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CRTC Consultation on Accessibility Issues
On June 10, 2008, the Commission released Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2008-8 and Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2008-8, Unresolved issues relating to the accessibility of telecommunications and broadcasting services to persons with disabilities. Services provided via the Internet and mobile devices are included within the scope of the hearing.

Specifically, the Commission is requesting comment on methods to improve access for persons with disabilities with respect to services such as Video Relay Service, teletypewriters (TTYs), captioning, described video, customer service, emergency services and portrayal/employment of persons with disabilities.

A background report summarizing a recent set of consultations with the Canadian disability community was released at the same time as the Public Notices.

Procedure for the Public Hearing is more in the style of telecommunications hearings than broadcasting hearings. The Commission has issued interrogatories to various telecommunications service providers and/or broadcasting undertakings, to be submitted by July 10, 2008.

Parties may submit general comments by July 24, 2008.  The CAB will be submitting comments summarizing the Association’s numerous accessibility-related initiatives launched over the last several years.

A second round of interrogatories may be issued by the Commission by July 31, 2008, with a reply date of September 2, 2008.

The Public Hearing will commence in Gatineau on November 17, 2008. Final reply comments are due by January 12, 2009.

Click here to view the Public Notice and supporting documents.
Contact: Jay Thomson, Ext. 310

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UN Convention on Serving People with Disabilities
The UN Convention on Serving People with Disabilities achieved enforceability status in April, 2008. According to the UN Convention, governments and broadcasters in the 127 countries that have signed on – including Canada – must now track and monitor accessible services being offered by the Information and Communications Technologies industries, including broadcasting.

The release of Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-8 (summarized above in this Special Update) coupled with the UN Convention on Serving People with Disabilities will likely generate more interest from the public on the subject of media accessibility. This interest may also capture accessibility issues relating to radio for the first time, with a particular focus on the development of captioned radio programming.

At the present time, National Public Radio in the U.S. is undertaking extensive research in the area of audio captioning for radio receivers equipped with video screens. The focus of captioned radio programming is news, surveillance information and public announcements. Although limited for analog radio technology, audio captioning is possible with other radio technologies, such as DRB, DMB and HD Radio transmissions.

This research is capturing the attention of the Canadian disability community, which may in turn bring recommendations on captioning for radio forward to the CRTC’s Public Hearing on accessibility issues in November 2008.

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Closed Captioning Working Groups Continue Discussions
Stakeholders including captioning users and providers, along with representatives from private, public and educational broadcasters, continue to meet on a regular basis to identify and resolve closed captioning issues. Two working groups – one for each of the French-language and English-language markets – were established to support the CRTC’s commitment to respond to concerns raised during the 2006 review of conventional broadcasting, and are mandated to improve both the quantity and quality of captioning services.
Contact: Pierre-Louis Smith, Ext. 353

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For more information, please contact:

Marye Ménard-Bos
Executive Director, Events and Member Services
Canadian Association of Broadcasters
Tel.: (613) 233-4035, ext. 311
Fax: (613) 233-6961

Pierre Pontbriand
Vice President, Communications
Canadian Association of Broadcasters
Tel.: (613)-233-4035, ext. 351
Fax: (613)-233-6961