Broadcasting Act (1991)

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Broadcasting Act
An Act respecting broadcasting and to amend certain Acts in relation thereto and in relation to radiocommunication
CitationBroadcasting Act
Enacted byParliament of Canada
Date assented toFebruary 1, 1991

The Broadcasting Act (long title: "An Act respecting broadcasting and to amend certain Acts in relation thereto and in relation to radiocommunication") is an Act of the Parliament of Canada regarding broadcasting of radiocommunications.


The Act was given royal assent on February 1, 1991. A prior version of the Broadcasting Act received royal assent on June 23, 1936; it was subsequently updated in 1958 and 1968.[1]

The 1958 Act created the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) to replace the CBC as the regulatory for broadcasting in Canada and in 1968 the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was created to replace the BBG.[2]

The current federal Act is based on the 1968 Act with amendments in 1991. The stated goal of the Act is to maintain Canada's cultural fabric — thereby strengthening its economic, political and social structures.


The Broadcasting Act covers three main sections: a broadcasting policy for Canada; the regulatory powers of the CRTC; and the operating procedures and policies for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Act imposes a Canadian owned and controlled system of broadcasting, and includes provisions regarding Canadian content in programming and production. It encourages the development of Canadian expression, and the use of Canadian talent and creative resources. There is also a specific emphasis on reflecting Canada's cultural diversity: section 3 states that programming and employment opportunities should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians, and reflect their various circumstances.

The Broadcasting Act emphasizes that each broadcaster is responsible for its own programs, and that a high standard of programming is expected. There is no specific reference, however, to address violent programming or hate propaganda.

The CRTC addresses issues of media violence, and hate messaging through its regulations for radio, television, specialty services and pay-television.

If a broadcaster fails to follow the Broadcasting Act policies or regulations, the CRTC may invoke a number of penalties — such as imposing fines, or limiting or denying a station's application for licence renewal.

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