Broadcasting Participation Fund
This website contains information to aid public interest and consumer groups in making an application for funding to the Broadcasting Participation Fund to help offset the costs of participating in the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) broadcasting proceedings.

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Caution To Potential Applications For Costs Awards:
The funds available to the Broadcasting Participation Fund are currently limited as described in the letter below to the Fund's Stakeholders. The letter informs the Stakeholders that the Fund will be materially depleted in early 2018 unless significant additional funds are received. The Fund strongly encourages potential costs awards applicants to take this information into account when planning interventions in Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission broadcasting proceedings. A significant risk exists that the Fund will not be in a financial position to award costs in early 2018.


Dear Stakeholders:

The Board of Directors of the BPF (the “Board”) wishes to provide an update to Fund Stakeholders on certain recent developments relating to the fund administered by the Board (the “Fund”), that the Board believes will be of interest to Stakeholders. This update relates to the forecast timeline for the anticipated exhaust of the Fund, and the Board’s intended steps in relation thereto.

Stakeholders will recall that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the “Commission”) determined initial funding for the Fund shortly following establishment of the BPF in two separate decisions, namely, $3M in 2011 resulting from Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-163, and $2M (payable in seven equal annual installments) in 2013 resulting from Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-310. The Commission is currently considering additional funding for the Fund in the current Part 1 Proceeding (application/reference number 2017-056-0) resulting from the submission by Sirius XM Canada Inc. (“Sirius”) of its tangible benefits proposal following Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2017-114. No further funding has been received by the Fund since such initial funding and the outcome of the ongoing review by the Commission on the Sirius tangible benefits proposal is uncertain at this point.

Based on the historical rate of disbursements from the Fund (anticipated five year average of $621,000), and if no additional funding contributions are forthcoming, the Board currently projects that the Fund could be materially depleted by early 2018, to the point that it is anticipated that the funding of cost awards from the Fund could cease in whole or in part prior, on or around such time, dependent upon the number and scope of Commission broadcast proceedings as well as the participation of groups seeking cost awards in those proceedings.

The Board has been actively assessing Fund exhaust on an ongoing basis, and the purpose of this communication is to advise Stakeholders of the intended next steps by the Board. In addition to consideration of this issue at a number of recent Board meetings, the Board met with the Commission staff to advise it of the status of Fund exhaust and to discuss potential solutions. One of the outputs of such meeting was that staff encouraged the Board to write the Minister of Canadian Heritage (the “Minister”) in an effort to identify potential future sources of contributions to the Fund. We were also advised that the Commission, in the course of dialogue with the Minister referred to the status of the Fund. Following the meeting with the Commission and the Board’s consideration of several options in relation to future funding for the Fund, the Board proposes to write such a letter to the Minister, encouraging the Minister to consider ongoing funding options for the Fund. More specifically, the Board intends to request that the Minister ensure that the Fund will be financially supported on an ongoing basis. Such funding or change may, or may not, include Commission determined funding. If a determination is ultimately made such that future funding of the Fund is other than through Commission determined funding, the Board will return to you to seek your consent for such funding regime.

Given the forecast depletion of the Fund, the Board believes that this is a prudent and reasonable step to take at this stage.

We are providing you this information to ensure that Stakeholders are informed as to the status of the Fund, and to solicit and consider Stakeholder views during the early stages of this process. We welcome input with respect to our proposed approach; however, please note that this is a time-sensitive matter and we ask that any comments be sent to the BPF Corporate Secretary, J. Scott Fletcher, at scott.fletcher@gowlingwlg.com by October 27, 2017.

For further information on the Fund, please visit the BPF website: www.bpf-fpr.ca.

Kind regards,

David McKendry, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the BPF
Chair
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