Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced changes in their regulations that will affect local news and community programming across Canada.

According to the CRTC, Canadians value local news and watch it regularly but new technologies are making it harder for broadcasters to monetize viewership on traditional platforms.

In response to this, the CRTC has announced the creation of the Independent Local News Fund.

This fund will give independent stations access to approximately $23 million dollars in resources to produce high-quality local news programming.

The commission states the Independent Local News Fund will support independent operators in the following localities: Victoria, Prince George, Kamloops, Medicine Hat, Lloydminster, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Rouyn-Noranda, Val d’Or, Gatineau, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Québec, Saguenay, Rivière-du-Loup, Carleton and St-John’s.

In addition to this support, new minimum thresholds for local news will be imposed on all local private television broadcasters, with up to $67 million possibly being provided by the government in support.

The CRTC states that public records show the framework for community television continues to be valid and relevant to Canadian citizens.

How will things change?

The new regulations will require that English-language stations broadcast at least seven hours of locally relevant programming per week in non-metropolitan markets, and 14 hours per week in metropolitan markets (namely Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary).

The CRTC states that French-language stations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, using a benchmark of five hours of local programming per week.

Canada’s television system employs nearly 60,000 people and invests more than $4 billion in public funds each year in the creation of content made by Canadians.

The public hearing to review the applications from the French-language ownership groups, namely Bell, Corus, Québecor and Groupe V, will begin on November 22, 2016, in Laval, Quebec.

Those to review applications from the English-language ownership groups, namely Bell, Corus and Rogers, will begin on November 28, 2016, at CRTC headquarters in the National Capital Region.