There are No Rules: CRTC Rules About Cancon Vanishes (Along With Other Pages)

If you want to look up the official rules regarding Cancon, you have to look elsewhere as it’s no long on the CRTC website.

Yesterday, a content creator directly asked the Heritage Minister what the Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11) means for content he creates. It’s a very fair question, but one that was destined to not get a response from the Minister. Lucky for him, however, I happened to have caught his question, so I happily answered it. In a nutshell, I explained that his content would likely get demoted in favour of government certified “Cancon” (Canadian Content) for Canadian audiences. What’s more, in all likelihood, his content wouldn’t have any hope in qualifying as “Cancon” as that designation is generally reserved for the cultural elite and large corporations in this country.

In fact, over a year ago, I personally ran Freezenet content through the currently existing system and found that despite I, as a Canadian, producing content in Canada, don’t qualify as “Cancon”. It’s a problem that affects a vast majority of digital first creators out there. So, to offer a direct reference to the CRTC rules, I went to retrieve a link to actual rules so he could determine this for himself.

There was just one problem with this: the page is now a 404 error. It’s not that the server is inaccessible, but rather, it appears as though the page was simply removed. This was problematic as it made it more difficult to explain what the rules currently are in regards to what is and is not Cancon. Instead, I attached a link to my analysis as it still has a quote from the actual rules itself as well as my determination how my own content doesn’t qualify. It’s, at least, still reasonably helpful in that situation.

Yes, a natural reaction is to simply access the rules through the Way Back Machine. Indeed, the page has been cached on that service at the very least, so it’s possible to read what the original page was said, but this seems to be a rather unnecessary step. These are rules critical for creators when considering whether or not they want to try and be part of the Cancon system in the first place.

Another reaction to this is that the CRTC is currently undergoing consultations regarding the broadcasting system. Yes, that is true as of May. The problem with that argument is the fact that, according to the CRTC timeline, the consultation that discusses what is and is not Canadian content won’t happen until Winter 2023/2024:

Winter 2023-2024 (upcoming)

Public consultations may include
Consultation on definitions of Canadian and Indigenous content: This consultation would review the definition of Canadian content and examine possible changes.

Basic logic would dictate that until the consultation is conducted and a decision is rendered, the old rules still apply. At minimum, you would think that the current rules should still be available. Maybe a note could’ve been added saying that there is a consultation coming up discussing possible changes to these rules. All of this strikes me as better ways of handling this as opposed to just removing the current rules outright.

So, surprised and confused by the situation, I contacted multiple people regarding the removal of this page. As it turns out, the removal was news to them as well. Commissioner Miner complimented the finding:

Nice catch.

That user then assessed what other pages were possibly missing and, apparently, there were a number of pages that are now no longer available:

CanCon Mandate is also down:

Understanding CanCon industry responsibilities is down too:

Both radio and TV support for CanCon are also down:

French-language music requirements is down:

Requirements for different types of radio stations is down:

Ensuring a Place for CanCon Programs is down:

I asked if this could be a technical error or if this has happened before. As it turns out, the CRTC has done something like this in the past:

Yeah, I’v seen this before. Just before a consult launches the CRTC sites with info goes 404.

Pretty sure @FRPC_FRPC noticed this once or twice before as well.

Not the first time I see this, but I haven’t specifically tracked it to start naming the consults this went on with.

Either way, some critical resources are now gone. If this is what the CRTC does normally, it’s a really bizarre policy to have. What’s worse is that this move does make it harder for people like myself to explain the practical implications of the Online Streaming Act. It might also be one less resource the public can use for these consultations as well.

To that end, we shot the CRTC an e-mail message, notifying them of the pages that are now missing. We’re not exactly holding our breath because we never got a response the last time we contacted them. At any rate, there’s nothing more we can do on our end of things. For the record, this is the note I sent them:


I just wanted to inform you that several pages on the CRTC website appears to be missing.

This includes the following pages:

– Drew Wilson Founder

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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