The landscape of T.V is changing in Canada. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that as of today, Canadian TV service providers must offer consumers an affordable basic television package that costs no more than $25 per month.

In addition, service providers must give viewers the option to choose supplemental channels either individually as "pick and pay" options, or in packages of up to 10 channels- in essence, gone are the days of ordering hundreds of channels to get the few you want.

These changes in TV packaging rules don’t come out of the blue but follow the Let's Talk TV conversation conducted by the CRTC, which allowed Canadians to voice their feedback on cable T.V.

These talks brought to light the fact that viewers in Canada wanted more choice, flexibility and affordability in their TV services.

Here is what cable companies have been mandated by the CRTC to include in their required basic $25/month packages:
  • both local and regional television stations
  • channels of public interest such as the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)
  • educational channels, and
  • community channels and services operated by provincial legislatures, where available.

The affordable basic package might also include at no additional charge:
  • local AM and FM radio stations;
  • non-local over-the-air TV stations (up to a maximum of 10);
  • stations affiliated with American commercial networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) and PBS;
  • educational channels of another province or territory in each official language (if no educational channel is offered).

Any cost of equipment is not included in the basic cable $25/month fee, and is added to it.

And as the CRTC points out, although service providers with fewer than 20,000 subscribers are not required to offer the affordable basic package, pick and pay or small bundles in Canada, most Canadians have access to two satellite television providers who must offer these options.

Canadians can search for the television service providers in their area using the CRTC's new online tool .