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Canadian Content rules are under attack. Again.

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The CRTC decision to order U.S. ads during the Super Bowl will cost performers jobs. Take action.

Most Canadians don’t know that the Canadian ads they see during the Super Bowl mean work opportunities for Canadian performers.

But they do.

And a reckless CRTC decision is putting that at risk.

Simultaneous substitution is a longstanding and successful policy that ensures Canadian advertising dollars stay in Canada. The policy is simple: when an American broadcaster is showing the same program as a Canadian broadcaster, cable and satellite distributors substitute the Canadian programming. It ensures that advertising dollars stay here in Canada – which means Canadian advertisers and Canadian broadcasters have more money to invest here in Canada.

Last year, without warning, the CRTC scrapped that requirement for the U.S. Super Bowl – the single most important day for advertising in North America. This decision alone will take millions of dollars out of Canada’s economy – millions that will not be available to hire Canadian performers making programs for Canadian broadcasters or advertisements for Canadian advertisers. The CRTC made this rash and damaging move in response to less than 100 – or 0.00001% – out of the 9.23 million viewers who watched Super Bowl XLIX on Canadian television in 2015.¹

For performers, this means lost work opportunities. Canadian broadcasters use the revenue from selling Canadian advertising to finance Canadian programs. Canadian advertisers use platforms like the Super Bowl to make ads starring Canadian performers. Simultaneous substitution is a key part of the Canadian regulatory system that has built Canada’s film and television industry and created work opportunities for thousands of Canadians.

Some experts speculate that this is an attempt by the CRTC to do away with simultaneous substitution entirely. Instead of an honest conversation about the future of Canadian TV, the CRTC is sneaking in changes that will take money out of the system that keeps Canadian talent working – and handing it to U.S. advertisers. That’s not smart.

Take action now and show that Canadian creative talent matters. Here are three things you can do today:

  • Write your Member of Parliament (here’s a sample letter). Let your elected representative know what’s happening at the CRTC, and that these changes are undermining the film and television industry and Canadian culture. If you don’t know your local MP or their email address, you can look that up here;
  • Spread the word on social media. If you’re active on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, spread the word about this change and the impact it will have. ACTRA has already been spreading the word through its social media accounts. Feel free to share these posts from our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels;
  • Also, visit and spread the word!

¹Why Super Bowl advertisements in Canada should be Canadian, by Ron Lund, Financial Post, February 5, 2016

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