In a broadcasting decisions handed down last week by the CRTC, the federal regulator has approved an application by Quebecor for a new Canadian Category 2 digital specialty news channel called Sun News.

The new station, which will headquartered in downtown Toronto near the Toronto Sun newspaper offices, is now expected to launch in March of 2011.

"Today marks the dawn of a new era for Canadian news media," said Quebecor Media President and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau in a written statement. "Sun News will be a welcome addition to Sun Media Corporation's English language newspapers and news websites. It will aim to challenge conventional wisdom and offer Canadians a new choice and a new voice on TV."

Quebecor first announced the 24/7 English-language news channel last June saying that it wanted the CRTC to give the station a coveted Category 1 licence which would make it mandatory for cable and satellite companies to carry the station.

In July, the CRTC denied Quebecor's application for a category 1 specialty licence saying it would not consider issuing any new Category 1 licences until October 2011, following the completion of next year’s transition from analog to digital television.

The company then applied for a Category 2 license which was quickly approved by the government regulator. Broadcast distributors and not required to carry category 2 specialty channels which means Quebecor will have to negotiate with cable and satellite companies across the country for carriage on their systems.

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