Ryerson hosts launch of CRTC discussion on the future of Canadian broadcasting

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais speaks at the George Vari Engineering Building at Ryerson University on October 24, 2013. Peter Lozinksi / Ryersonian Staff

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais speaks at the George Vari Engineering Building at Ryerson University on October 24, 2013. (Peter Lozinksi / Ryersonian Staff)

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is asking people to join a discussion about the future of television in the country.

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais was at Ryerson Thursday to launch the first session of Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians.

The discussion is aimed at creating a framework “that in its essence will have to be dynamic, flexible [and] able to change with the times,” said Blais, who wants people to think about new ways to look at Canadian broadcasting.

“What would concern me is [if] people take the old toolkit and try to utilize the old toolkit [in a] totally different environment. If you have a plumbing problem at home you don’t show up with a hammer and a saw,” he said.

During the question and answer session, Blais made an effort to engage with each speaker. Many Ryerson instructors and students spoke about their concerns with the broadcast industry. Blais asked them all questions to try to better understand their perspective.

“Nothing is off the table. We don’t expect people to be experts to contribute,” Blais said.

RTA School of Media chair Charles Falzon told reporters before the public meeting the CRTC was right to pick Ryerson because of its reputation in the industry.

“The RTA School of Media has been around for 65 years,” he said. “We have thousands of grads who are leaders in the television industry. Most importantly, the students we have are the future content makers and their voice [is] important to the CRTC.”

Blais shared this sentiment.

“It was important to do it where the next generation of people who will inherit the system are currently studying,” he told reporters before the meeting.

An RTA school of media instructor addressed the CRTC at the Let's Talk TV event at Ryerson, October 24, 2013. Peter Lozinski / Ryersonian Staff

An RTA School of Media instructor addresses the CRTC at the Let’s Talk TV event at Ryerson, October 24, 2013. (Peter Lozinski / Ryersonian Staff).

The initiative asks Canadians three questions:

What do you think about what’s on television?

What do you think about how you receive television programming?

Do you have enough information to make informed choices and seek solutions if you’re not satisfied?

These questions are part of the first phase of consultations. Canadians are encouraged to submit their opinions online, by telephone, by email, by fax or by mail.

People can also host their own “flash” conferences to have organized discussions about the future of TV in Canada.

After the consultation period ends on November 22, the CRTC will publish a detailed report and an interactive questionnaire.

In phase three, the CRTC will propose new approaches for the Canadian television market. A public hearing will be held in September 2014.

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Photos by Peter Lozinski.