I call the meeting to order.
Good morning, everyone.
Pursuant to a motion brought by Mr. Pierre Nantel, we are now going to have two hours with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. They are going to talk to us about their vision, their hopes, and their plans for the CBC.
Good morning and welcome, Monsieur Lacroix, Monsieur Lalonde, and Ms. Conway.
The usual way of presenting, although this is slightly different, is that we have 10 minutes for a presentation. After that there is a whole interactive question-and-answer period. In this instance we will suspend after Mr. Lacroix has shown a small video he is presenting as part of his presentation, in order for us to do some special programming that we're going to be seeing. Then we will come back again and finish the presentation.
Just so that everyone who is paying attention is very clear, that is what we're going to be doing.
We will begin.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you for inviting me to speak to you about the government's reinvestment in public broadcasting. Heather Conway, Louis Lalande and I have met with you before, so I'm very happy to see you and the committee members again.
Before I begin, let me offer just a word about the devices in front of you. They are virtual reality headsets. We've brought them here because they are an important part of a series of town halls that we have just launched in four communities to discuss the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. I wanted you to see for yourselves what this technology means to the way we tell stories. I'll talk more about that in a moment.
The past few months have provided some remarkable examples of what public broadcasting can do.
In August we helped Canadians share a truly Canadian moment, the final concert of The Tragically Hip in Kingston, Ontario. Almost 12 million Canadians gathered together in backyards, town squares, bars, parks, and public places. In all, there were more than 190 community viewing parties here and all around the world. One Canadian actually told us that they listened to the concert on their phone while sitting in their car in Hawaii. Bringing Canadians together the way we did that night is exactly what the public broadcaster should do.
There were also the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Who can forget the emotions we all felt when Penny Oleksiak—the whole world now calls her Penny—won the bronze, the silver, another bronze, and finally, the gold. This 16-year-old swimmer alone won more medals than any other Canadian athlete in the history of the Summer Olympics. And how can we forget that friendly rivalry between André de Grasse and Usain Bolt, or the resilience of wrestler Erica Wiebe, winning gold after having failed to qualify for the 2012 Games, the world championships, and, last year, the Pan-Am games.
Thirty-two million people joined us in celebrating those moments—that's more than 91% of the population. And 10.1 million Canadians tuned in to our more than 700 hours of Paralympic coverage. Rio 2016 was the most watched Summer Olympics in Canadian history. We got more than 229 million total page views and nearly 37 million video views on our websites and Olympic apps. In addition, the public found a new way to experience the Games: for the first time, virtual reality allowed Canadians to immerse themselves into the action.
It's actually impressive technology, but we believe it can be so much more.
Many of you know about the leadership role that CBC/Radio-Canada has taken on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. CBC Radio's The Current is actually hosting a series of town halls on this subject to help people better understand this issue.
When they walk into the town hall, they first experience this story in virtual reality. It puts them on the side of Highway 16, the infamous Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, the place where a number of indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing. This virtual reality documentary, a first for CBC, can be downloaded from our website.
The reaction to this presentation has been nothing short of incredible. In Prince George earlier this month, 200 people came out to experience it. Their town hall was then broadcast on The Current. Here is a bit of what they thought about it.
Madam Chair, with your permission, I would like to take a couple of minutes to let you experience it for yourself. Some of our staff are here to help you set it up. It's only four minutes long.
Thank you very much, Mr. Lacroix.
We will suspend, but I want to ask you not to keep your mikes open. Keep your mikes closed, please. In front of you, there is a transcript in French, because the virtual reality is in English only.
I will ask you to sit, as some people feel quite fragile when they are watching things. You think you are going to fall on your face, especially when you are above a certain level, and the chances are you just might, so please sit while you are doing this.
We will suspend, and everyone can start connecting to the virtual reality.
We believe this is what a public broadcaster should be doing: use whatever tools we can, together with great journalism and spectacular storytelling, to deepen Canadians' understanding, to help engage them in a conversation about important issues.
That is what our 2020 Strategy has been about.
Our transformation to become more digital, more local, and more Canadian has been challenging at times, but the main disruptions are now behind us, and our work is showing results.
We see it in the way Canadians now engage with us and each other on mobile devices, social networks, television and radio. We continue to transform our regional stations across the country to make them more open, mutli-platform environments. Halifax, Matane, Moncton and Sudbury are the most recent ones. We are providing more local content, more often and to more Canadians on every device they use.
Over 16 million Canadians now use our digital platforms each month—that's three million more in the last year alone. You know that our goal is to reach 18 million people by the year 2020. This is helping us build closer connections with Canadians.
We're not the only ones in the midst of a transformation. Last month, we hosted PBI 2016 in Montréal, a gathering of 60 public broadcasters from 52 countries around the world. It's clear that we're all facing the same challenges, but it's also clear that CBC/Radio-Canada is further ahead than many, and has taken a leadership role in this digital shift.
The government's reinvestment, announced in its 2016 budget, is helping us with this transformation. We are very grateful for that support. It's the first new investment in public broadcasting in over a decade. It represents an important vote of confidence in CBC/Radio-Canada, the value of our content, and our vision of the future.
When the government announced its reinvestment, it asked us to develop an accountability plan. We will be sharing that plan with Canadians soon, but first, let me tell you what we've been doing. It's worth bearing in mind that the government has promised us $75 million this year, and $150 million in the coming years.
Here's what we're already doing with that investment.
We are creating new programs around Canada's 150th anniversary, programs like Becoming Canadian, a digital-first project celebrating the people who choose Canada as their new home.
We also created the program La grande traversée.
This has 10 people recreating the 1745 voyage from France to Quebec in a sailing replica.
This summer we created a new national radio show, Out in The Open, with Piya Chattopadhyay.
We started filming a six-part television drama, Alias Grace, based on the book by Margaret Atwood, in partnership with Netflix—a first for us.
We were able to protect funding for the one-hour indigenous radio program, Unreserved, with Rosanna Deerchild.
We created a new one-hour Canadian youth soccer drama, 21 Thunder, which will be airing next summer.
We started work on a new radio station in London, Ontario, previously suspended because of budget cuts.
We created additional digital content for ICI Tou.tv and seven additional programs for Vero.tv, the new web TV channel on ICI Tou.tv EXTRA.
We've launched a new project called Next Generation—a space to experiment with new ways of enriching and sharing news and current affairs content, to be created and managed by millennials, talking to millennial
We created five additional one-hour episodes of the popular Maritimes television talk-talk show Méchante soirée, produced in Moncton.
We've added 15 hours of new weekday evening content on ICI Radio-Canada Première, replacing reruns.
This is just a sample. We will be reporting to Canadians on our progress on this and on all of our goals through our corporate plan and annual reports.
We're very proud of what we've been able to do to support Canadian culture. We believe a strong public broadcaster is at the heart of a strong cultural ecosystem. We look forward to showing Canadians what we can do with a reinvestment in public broadcasting.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Lacroix. I also thank Ms. Conway and Ms. Lalande for being with us this morning.
In your presentation, you covered several subjects, some of which are very important. The government is very proud of its reinvestment in CBC/Radio-Canada, an institution we strongly believe in. You spoke of $75 in investments this year, and $150 million for the next four years.
My question is about local content.
How will the money be invested to benefit our communities across the country? It's an important element of our study, and we appreciate having you with us to talk about it. How will you be able to measure whether there's been an increase in local content in the short-term and medium-term?
Thank you, Mr. Lacroix.
Plan 2020 has three components.
The first is to provide support for the digital shift that is under way, especially with respect to local news. In the consultations that the CBC regularly holds throughout the country, we noticed that local news is an issue Canadians regularly raise. They are asking for local news, seven days a week, and not just in the morning, noon or evening. Accordingly, we must expand this content, and that's what we've done in Plan 2020, and are continuously strengthening. To ensure this objective is achieved as it should be, part of the money will be allocated to this content.
The second component is in line with the second wish expressed during the consultations. Although news is important, the CBC needs to reflect other dimensions of life in communities, especially in the regions. Therefore, this second component is to offer programming options on the radio, on TV and on digital platforms, to broaden audiences' areas of interest.
The third and last component is to ensure that, for the major national initiatives, there are representatives throughout the country presenting national issues that emerge from the regions. This is why we have national correspondents in all the country's major regions. They ensure that regional issues are better reflected in our programming as a whole, in news, on the radio and in digital formats.
It would be roughly the same level of priorities as Louis. The 2020 plan did call for a digital-first approach in local programming, and we continue to invest in that. We continue to invest in providing people with 18 hours a day of constantly updated information locally.
Like Louis, we are also looking at the role that CBC plays in our communities as a catalyst for having the conversations that people want to have in their communities, with initiatives like Matt Galloway doing a series on carding in Toronto, or issues like missing and murdered indigenous women, or talking about issues of importance to specific communities and having CBC act as either the catalyst for creating a town hall or having the conversation and inviting people in to do a panel—those kinds of initiatives.
We will also be looking to increase our investment in non-news programming over the coming years, because again, as Louis said, people do want to see their communities reflected and see what's happening in their culture scene, in the arts scene, and in other parts of their communities.
You will also know that in particular we had a program to extend CBC radio stations into communities that did not have them and had expressed an interest in them. The first one of those that we announced was for London, Ontario, and we are proceeding with that. We have selected a space, and it's a public library space that we'll be sharing, again in order to ensure we're a place where the community can gather. We'll hope to do more of that.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
There are some critics of the CBC who say that it fails to be and should become more of a genuine public broadcaster. When they say this, they mean that it should focus more on things like Canadian art, music and performances by Canadian performers, Canadian films and theatre, and programs of a documentary nature that would focus on things like Canadian geography and Canadian history.
Their suggestion is that the CBC should try less to emulate mainstream broadcasters, that news is not a comfortable fit for a publicly subsidized broadcaster, and that sitcoms and dramas that seek to compete with private sector broadcasters are not really a genuine fit for a public broadcaster.
What is your response to those critics?
We have invested in arts programming. We have created a number of digital arts properties. We have also invested in documentary programming with a program called Firsthand. We continue to support programs such as The Nature of Things, which is documentary programming that often focuses on wilderness and the wonder of Canada's geography and history.
I do believe that public broadcasters have a mandate that is different from other broadcasters. I would also argue, however, that comedy is a deeply cultural product. There is a Canadian sense of humour, and Canadians like to see it reflected on the CBC. There are very few places for political satire or shows like Kim's Convenience, which, we hope, is a new hit for us—it's doing very well so far—and Baroness von Sketch, an all-female comedy troupe.
Comedies and dramas are places where Canadians can see what Canadian creators have to offer, and if it's not the public broadcaster, there really isn't a lot of space on the private sector broadcasters' schedules in prime time for any of that.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you very much for your presentation.
Last time I was here, I asked a question about getting a breakdown in writing from you of the CBC employees who are directly involved, on a day-to-day basis, in creating, writing, producing, and editing some of the local news. I was informed that CBC wouldn't supply that information to the committee.
As we are trying to map out the gaps in local news currently found in Canada, it makes it very difficult to do that if we don't know where the employee footprint of CBC is. I just wonder whether you would assist our committee and task your organization to provide that breakdown of how many CBC employees are directly involved in local news, broken down by media platform and by province.
I'll ask Louis and Heather to chime in, in a second.
We don't think that way. We'd be happy to tell you how many employees we have in each of the places of business of CBC/Radio-Canada; that's an easy one. However, we don't segregate these platforms in that way. There is no such thing, in 2016, as one of our journalists being assigned only to a particular platform or to a particular kind of news. Everybody participates in the delivery of the information. As you've seen us do now, we refresh our web pages eight to 12 times an hour. We try to push out information that is relevant to Canadians on a regular basis as that information happens.
The concept that we have these broken-down silos in CBC/Radio-Canada is a thing of the past. That is not the way we do our business every day. It's not the way we deliver the news to Canadians, and it's not the approach that we take in our business.
Heather and Louis, do you want to add to that?
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I thank all three of you for being with us today. You know how much of a Radio-Canada fan I am, and how happy I am to see that the current government has decided to give you some breathing room so you can continue fulfilling your important mandate. I want to note that when I arrived here earlier today, I congratulated Ms. Conway for her imitative on The Secret Path, which aired Sunday evening on the CBC, and for the efforts you made to bring us the last Tragically Hip performance in Kingston. That was an example of turning on a dime for events that are meaningful for Canadian culture.
You've shown us this morning that you're on board for new technologies like virtual reality, and you should be proud of that. It has indeed been an overwhelming change. It was wise to showcase the CBC as a brand that brings new technologies to communities so we can understand Canadian realities better.
Branding is also about credibility. Bernard Derome continues to say that journalism at the CBC is a proud tradition that will never go out of style. You've established credibility. Members of my staff reminded me that, curiously, one of the most credible sources for the Société Générale in Paris is the Radio-Canada news site, because of its objectivity, and the serious work that is done there.
I think your work, and your ability to renew yourselves, are very inspiring. What you have just told us about your consultations with the Canadian public is exemplary. I hope your efforts will eventually be compatible with the efforts the government has undertaken in relation to the's consultations. I have mentioned many times that I find they lack collegiality, are very discreet and, frankly, very selective as to what ends up being heard. I find that unfortunate, and I hope you will get the opportunity to participate.
You've been talking to us about Strategy 2020, which, if my memory serves, was developed around 2013-2014. A lot of things have changed in that regard. The reinvestments are probably the most positive thing for you.
With respect to your real estate strategy, are there any changes to mention? For example, could you please update us about the Front Street headquarters in Toronto?
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I thank the witnesses for their remarks.
I think this is an exciting time. Congratulations for your fine work on the Olympics and The Tragically Hip's Secret Path show. It was very impressive. I'm proud to be a supporter of the $675 million, I believe, in new money that will be going to CBC/Radio-Canada in the next five years.
But I have one problem.
There is a problem involving French radio. Last summer, in the very year that your funding was increased by $75 million annually, we learned the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation would be eliminating all regional programming broadcast in the noon hour in Western Canada. For many years, in my riding, the Midi Plus program aired local content out of Saint-Boniface. Now, the broadcast is from Montreal.
Moreover, in Manitoba, a radio program called L'heure de pointe, which airs when people are on their way home, was cut short by an hour. As for television, we used to have 90 minutes of local programming, but that was reduced to 60.
How does the current situation for French-language programming in Manitoba constitute greater openness toward local news for our communities?
There have indeed been changes to the noon hour radio schedules, for a very simple reason. In francophone markets, particularly regional ones, the number of people listening to radio shows during the noon hour declined considerably. I must specify that there have been no job losses. The plan developed in collaboration with all the regional stations was intended to identify the best ways to increase the value of our news and our existing programming where the listener base is improving.
Morning shows are experiencing growth in all the francophone markets. Afternoon programs have been strengthened as well, and our digital presence has been significantly enhanced. In the case of Winnipeg, it's quite remarkable. It's during the consultations in Winnipeg that Franco-Manitobans expressed the strongest desire for a Radio-Canada local presence in the digital media arena. We developed that component right after that.
This did have impacts. As the situation improved on the digital side, audience levels for the noon-hour radio shows predictably decreased. Let me however assure you that, as I was saying earlier, we intend to increase Radio-Canada's profile on many kinds of content other than news bulletins, in order to better reflect the interests of all Western communities.
I should also remind you that an important cultural program continues to be produced in Winnipeg. These initiatives will ensure Westerners a significant presence on all our platforms.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to all three of you for appearing in front of the committee.
As you know, this is a new government in place. We've made a significant commitment to you, as the shareholder, but we also want a significant rethink of all of our cultural institutions and important institutions like the CBC. As the minister has said before, everything is on the table, and there will be a fundamental reshaping, I think, of cultural institutions in this country in the coming years, so your appearance here is important and your responses are important.
I grew up in Goose Bay, Labrador, and I'm happy to say that my first employer was the CBC. At the age of 10, I was working for a morning show called Anybody Home? on Saturday mornings. I was bemused that anybody would be listening to radio instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, but it does bring home the point—and it's relevant even today—that there are a lot of people in small, rural, and northern parts of this country who do rely upon radio.
To say that people are in the digital space is true, but it is not for everybody, and it is not for a significant and very important part of our population, those who are rural. While I understand that the infrastructure is not your responsibility, the mandate of making sure those people are serviced in local news is, I think, a part of your mandate.
I want to make it very clear that it is not a burden to the CBC or Radio-Canada to be in local communities and to be providing local services, enhancing local services, and expanding our footprint where we can. The issue has been one of resources.
The challenge for all media companies, I think, is to manage this balance between continuing with the traditional television and radio infrastructure, which is expensive and has heavy infrastructure requirements, and meeting Canadians where they are, which is, in increasing numbers, around digital platforms.
What you're hearing, and what you have been hearing from people in the sector, is that we are challenged to pay for an entirely digital service and movement while continuing to invest in the traditional and legacy media infrastructure we have. It's not that we want—
To interject, Ms. Conway, the problem is what we've heard from a number of fledgling news providers, one of which called you an “uber-predator”.
What he meant is that there is a very small amount of online advertising that's available for these fledgling news sources. There's that, and then, coupled with your new foray into opinion.... Those aren't really things people are starving for nationally. We're getting a lot of opinion pieces, yet we have a finite number of dollars going to them.
If I could, I'll just bring up the BBC example, because it's important, and I only have a few moments. The BBC is pouring £8 million into paying for 150 new local journalists who will be used to feed content into local newspapers and local radio stations, because they understand that there is a democracy gap and that there aren't enough reporters in the field in this new online universe we live in who are covering property issues and covering water and sewer.
As we heard said by even the creator of The Wire on HBO, a former journalist himself, the next few years could be a politician's dream. I think what he meant by that was that they could be years where corrupt politicians on the ground could take advantage of less and less scrutiny on local issues.
The BBC, first of all, doesn't take any online advertising, but that's part of a much broader mandate. Second, it's using new money in order to get local presence to feed into its structure. I think that's at least a creative way of going about this. I'm wondering if there is anything you could say to that. Is the CBC planning on doing anything on that level that may be able to help us bridge that democracy gap at a local level?
The BBC is also funded at nine times our level. What the BBC can undertake versus what we can undertake, even with an injection, is very, very different.
The CBC has always been an opinion. I would argue that Cross Country Checkup is an opinion show. I would argue that all of our point-of-view documentary is opinion. We used to have a show called Commentary, on which people read opinion over the radio. Opinion is not new for the CBC.
I think it's important, again, for the CBC to be the place where people have important conversations, including community conversations and national conversations.
It's not something that we pursue. As Neil Macdonald noted in one of his analysis columns, when he writes about indigenous issues, his readership is guaranteed to drop, but he doesn't stop writing about it. He's not in the click business; he's in the public broadcasting business.
Our focus on issues that matter and on the role of the public broadcaster is deeply, deeply important to us. Where we can be in those communities, we will be. We're absolutely committed to it. We don't want to lessen our participation in any local news initiative. We're not trying to compete with the private sector. That's not our motive. Our motive is always how to best service Canadians where they are. What are they asking us to do? What do they want from us? It's the Canadian response to our content that drives our agenda.
In the francophone market, we launched the Tou.tv platform several years ago. It's worth noting that Tou.tv was launched before Netflix. We spoke about the risks CBC and Radio-Canada need to take regularly. Tou.tv is a very good example of that. We have truly introduced a way to catch up on programming that uses something different from a recorder. It's a very accessible platform that we've developed. It's certainly one of the main ways for francophones to consume television content at this time.
It's also a very interesting platform that enables young creators to develop new formats, especially in the drama segment. Tou.tv has been winning awards in all the international creation festivals, with what we call new writing. The platform enables young people to develop new formats, such as short formats in the drama segment.
Tou.tv is certainly an important element of our strategy, and it helps us achieve our main objective to stay in contact with Canadians by offering them meaningful, Canadian and original products and content, whether it be drama programming or news. That's the main challenge. I am not using the word "compete" here, because that's not our obligation.
The combined pressure on us with respect to francophone content is inevitably very difficult to absorb because anglophone content is gaining an ever-increasing foothold. We have the additional duty not only to produce French-language content, but also to ensure that it's distributed and seen. Tou.tv is one initiative in that regard.
I don't think you can overstate the seriousness of the competition presented by the Netflixes, the Amazon Primes, the Hulus.
There were 400 new hours of English-language drama created in the last year, and 50% of it will fail. It's a level of investment that is staggering. I think most of you know the investment that Netflix makes in its series. For two seasons of House of Cards, the investment is $100 million. That's roughly the budget of English-language non-news for an entire year, and Netflix is spending that for one series. Our ability to compete with that and our need for investment in Canadian content and Canadian creators is enormous.
When we partner with those companies, as we are on Alias Grace—a great Canadian writer, Sarah Polley, is producing and writing the series, and it has a great Canadian broadcaster in CBC—the investment is about $30 million. That is something that is almost unprecedented for us in terms of the volume of dollars. If we hope to be able to compete with that kind of content, that's what we're going to have to be able to do.
As Louis says, we're going to have to invest more and more in a CBC player so that people can access that content in the way that they want to when they want to. It requires a huge investment in digital infrastructure and technology. You want to be able to provide people with the kind of viewing experience that they've become used to from the Netflixes of the world, to say, “If you liked this, you'll probably like that.” You need to be able to gather information about how people watch, what they binge watch, what they like.
Sorry for interrupting, but my time is limited.
Well, $675 million is certainly a major investment. I'd like to know a bit more about the action plan. Perhaps there is one, and you can summarize it for me in sixty seconds. There is talk of digital content, cultural content, Canadian content, rural communities and minorities. Those are five major themes I've noted. But I haven't heard much about minorities and culture. Mr. Lalande, how will this money be used to inject more life into those aspects?
I just gave you a concrete example. During the most recent federal election, I was the only francophone Acadian MP from Nova Scotia. I told Radio-Canada that I was going to get elected, and asked them to come do reports on the subject. No journalists from Radio-Canada showed up during the election campaign—not even on election day. However, a journalist travelled two hours to cover the province's anglophone candidates. I was very disappointed. What's more, I had to email Radio-Canada twice to ask them to pronounce my family name the French way, not the English way. This despite the fact that I had given nearly a thousand interviews to Radio-Canada over the preceding 11 years.
Sir, the mandate of CBC/Radio-Canada is one that is important. It's a wide range of programming. It's about information. It's about enlightenment. It's about entertainment. That's what we focus on.
When these dollars were made available to us, that's what we focused on. We listened to what Canadians wanted us to do. We have these conversations going on all the time.
We have been under pressure, and severe financial pressure, for the last year. We have done a whole bunch of cuts trying to reshape the broadcaster and make sure we can deliver on the promise of balancing our budgets, which we did, through thick and thin.
I'll come back to a comment that I think was to Mr. O'Regan. One of the things we did not do is that we never changed our footprint. We kept every single station out there alive, because we believe in being deeply rooted in the regions. If you are not there, then you can't have the pulse of the region and you can't understand what's going on in the country.
That's what we did in this environment. That is our focus. This is what I understand the dollars to be invested in CBC/Radio-Canada are for, to be able to continue delivering on our mandate.
I was really happy to hear that we were talking about hockey. We talked about how there isn't the same hockey programming that there used to be. We were talking about men's hockey. I want to flag that there's an opportunity out there, the Canadian Women's Hockey League. They play on Saturday nights.
In fact, this Saturday, Brampton and Toronto will playing. Go Furies. I think we should be talking a bit more...because we're studying women in sports right now.
Some of the evidence we've been hearing is that one of the challenges faced by female athletes is that there's less media coverage for them. Because of that, there's less sponsorship, less financial support for women in sports.
I was looking at your inclusion and diversity plan. As far as hiring women and having women at boardroom tables is concerned, CBC has been doing well. The point is that it also gets reflected out. I want to ask what the opportunities are to better reflect women in sports on the CBC.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I was asking earlier about competition in some of the industries. Just to go back to that, other mediums have come before us in this process as well, and they indicated that the CBC was one of their biggest competitors—was a reason for them not expanding, and that sort of thing—because of your funding. I believe that there are over 7,200 employees, and 66% of the budget is a parliamentary appropriation, so you're getting about $1 billion a year from the federal government of the $1.5 billion in revenues. They felt that was inappropriate from their perspective.
As far as competition goes, it's very difficult for them, they felt, do their job of getting the news out there, because they're surviving on advertising where—from the notes we have—you have 16% in advertising revenues. I would like you to comment on that.
As well, 9% of your revenue is from subscriber fees for specialty services and 9% from other income. Can you describe what the specialty services would be, and also the other, because 9% seems to be a fairly large number of other income?
Madam Chair, I'm going to begin.
During the meeting, we spoke briefly about the job reductions that were, I believe, announced in 2014, as part of Strategy 2020. Since then, our government has announced investments.
I am particularly interested in successorship—in the young people who are studying in colleges and universities and who, of course, are interested in the communications field. Earlier, Mr. O'Regan noted that his first job was with the CBC. Many young people are looking for their first jobs in this field, and the CBC remains a very interesting employer in this regard. There are brilliant, interesting young people with extraordinary talents who could help CBC/Radio-Canada make the shift that's under way.
What's your situation with respect to possible hires over the coming years?
I will tell you about it another way.
At Radio-Canada—and I think it's the same thing at the CBC—the reinvestment is enabling us to become attractive to young people again. That's something I've felt throughout the country. Young people are interested in contributing to CBC/Radio-Canada, on the radio, on TV, on digital platforms, and in every form of expression. It's very encouraging.
To follow on Mr. Lacroix's remarks, we've launched a project for indigenous Canadians. At Radio-Canada, for the first time, four indigenous interns will be joining four regional station teams for a year. This will enable them to contribute to the economy, because the internships are paid.
An extremely stimulating movement has been launched. If you listen to the radio, you'll hear these new, young journalist voices throughout Canada. The movement is very much under way. We'll be able to continue offering young people such opportunities.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
There is no doubt that, as our public broadcaster, the CBC must be the champion of new practices, a new framework, and a new telecommunications universe in Canada. I fully support that mission. We also expect a great deal of transparency, because the CBC is the broadcaster of Canadians, and Canadian taxpayers.
To answer my colleague's question, all the selection criteria for the board of directions are posted on the site, but those pertaining to current members have been redacted to avoid showing too much about whether or not they have the requisite skills. Two empty columns correspond to two vacant positions. The site also contains Mr. Lacroix's work report, but it's redacted on the basis that it's a trade secret. Naturally, the choices you make on behalf of all Canadians must be strategic, but they must not be too accessible, because you'd want to avoid the same document being used for the CEO of Global or CTV.
On the other hand, it's unfortunate that this transparency is absent, and this discussion we should be having with the minister as part of the consultations might not take place. The big players—Bell, Rogers and the others—have said what they had to say without whipping themselves, or putting themselves through the grinder. It's too bad, because we really need to speak face to face.
Ms. Conway, you mentioned that you're doing some productions with Netflix. We'd like to know how that works, whether you would licence Netflix to use the programming outside Canada, and whether these productions will be available in Canada after you've aired them live here. I focus particularly on children's television programming.
Thank you, Mrs. Conway.
I want to thank the CBC for coming. It was a long session. You sat there for two hours and answered questions, which is good. It's really what we wanted from you.
I have a couple of questions as the chair. I usually don't ask questions, but I really do want to ask this.
Coming up to Canada 150, CBC has a huge amount of archival content, shows that you have done over the period of time between 1952 and 1992. Is it possible for you to put that treasure chest of archival content out there online, so that Canadians can see it and remember the journey?
I can give you one example. It's a west coast production, The Beachcombers, and Molly's Reach. There are lots of things you have in your archival content, and it could benefit Canadians to go back and look at them. Do you have any plans for doing that? That's the first question.
The second question is about diversity. We heard a question about diversity. You have Kim's Convenience and Little Mosque on the Prairie. You have gone into diversity, but I think there is room to do that more. There is room to look at the diverse LGBTQ populations and tell stories about them. I wonder whether you have a plan to become a little more diverse in terms of representing Canadians.
The archives are extremely important. As Ms. Conway mentioned, there's a large proportion of programs to which we don't own the rights. Therefore, when we want to rebroadcast or reuse them, we need to pay royalties.
Many shows belong to us too. For drama and variety, there's everything before 1985. From then onward, there are all the documentaries, and there's the entire news category.
All I can tell you is that we have an expedited plan in this regard. The first phase is to ensure the full archive is digitized. The second, which we have always had on radio on TV and in prime time, is programming that draws on archives. The TV program Les enfants de la télé and the radio program Aujourd'hui l'histoire are examples. This enables us to use archived materials and help audiences re-experience major moments in history from a modern perspective.
All of this will accelerate, but it's true that rights are a challenge for the major productions. We'll probably get there one day.
I am a lesbian, so I'm always a supporter of more LGBQ and transgender stories, and we're not shying away from that.
I think increasingly we want to see shows in which the transgender aspect is not the most important thing about the character. It's just a part of everybody's daily life, the same way that we want to see diversity reflected. We look and say, “Is there a reason that everybody on this show has to be able-bodied? Is there a reason that every character on this show is white?” If there's no rationale for it, we say to producers, “Go and find a diverse representation.”
We're also trying to do it on our services. It you look at our last hires, for the last six to 12 months in radio, we have Rosanna Deerchild, Piya Chattopadhyay, Duncan McCue running Cross Country Checkup, Candy Palmater, and Raina on Radio Two, who has replaced Tom Power in the mornings. Their backgrounds are diverse, so it's something we are seized with. It's something we care deeply about.
Frankly, one of our biggest priorities is also to reflect it internally in our staffing, because that's how it becomes part of the fabric, and when you've been cutting people, it's very very difficult to do that. You have to be in a hiring mode to be able to do that.