Further to the commitment set out in Budget 2016, CBC/Radio-Canada is pleased to share with you some of its plans for the government’s reinvestment in the public broadcaster. This is an update to our plan published in February 2017.

Our Priorities

  • more local

    • More engagement
    • More information
    • More often
    • On more screens

  • more ambitious canadian programming

    • Dinstinctly Canadian stories
    • Delivering high-quality content

  • more digital

    • More in-depth, more focused, more relevant
    • More platforms
    • Allowing Canadians to engage more with us and with each other
    • Encouraging Canadian conversations

CBC/Radio-Canada continues to transform the way it operates in order to ensure that public broadcasting, and the content Canadians enjoy, thrive in the digital age. Our work is showing results. Canadians see it every day in the way they engage with us, and each other, on mobile devices, social networks, television and radio.

When we began Strategy 2020, more than half of Canadians told us that CBC/Radio-Canada was very important to them personally. By 2020, we want three out of every four Canadians to feel that way. We also want to increase our digital reach to 18 million Canadians – one out of two – by 2020. We are well on the way, with four and a half million new digital users since 2014-2015 across CBC/Radio-Canada platforms, and an average of almost 17 million digital users per month in 2016-2017.

As we move ahead with the strategy, our goal is to make the public broadcaster more digital, more local and more ambitious in its Canadian programming, and in doing so, to increase our value to Canadians.


In Budget 2016, the government proposed to invest an additional $75 million in CBC/Radio-Canada for 2016-2017, rising to $150 million in the following years. As stated in the Budget document, "Reversing past cuts will enable the CBC/Radio-Canada to invest in its Strategy 2020: A space for us all priorities, leading to the creation of Canadian content which will be more digital, local and ambitious in scope."(1)

This is an important vote of confidence by government and by Canadians in our programs, our people and our vision for the future. It is also recognition that CBC/Radio-Canada faces some significant financial challenges. The funding will provide an element of flexibility as we assess the progress of our digital strategy and make necessary investments in the future.

In March 2016, we announced details of how that funding would be used, specifically addressing how the $75 million earmarked for 2016-2017 would be applied in support of Strategy 2020. This includes one third of the funding to maintain our momentum for key, strategic programming and initiatives already planned this year; approximately half of the funding for the creation of new content across all of our platforms as we continue our transformation toward digital; and the remainder to support existing services. Here is what that means:

Maintaining our momentum ($27M in 2016-2017 to $34M in 2017-2018 and ongoing), including:

  • Continuing our commitment to showcasing Canada's Olympic and Paralympic athletes, for example by using digital platforms and social media to broadcast live competitions featuring Canadian athletes who will participate in the PyeongChang 2018 games.
  • Ensuring we can continue to hire new digital experts and creators and gain greater knowledge of our audiences. We are also strengthening our commitment toward innovation by reaching out to the tech community with events like CBC/Radio-Canada public hackathons.
  • Ensuring our financial stability in order to protect existing programs and services. For example, we were able to preserve funding for the one-hour network Indigenous radio program Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild.

Creation of new Canadian content ($36M in 2016-2017 to $92M in 2017-2018 and ongoing), including:

  • More content for all of our platforms, including innovative stories and content for digital users such as Corde sensible hosted by Marie-Ève Tremblay.
  • The creation of additional Indigenous content, including the digital portal Espaces autochtones.
  • Support for official languages minority communities by deepening our news digital offering and developing related resources. We continue to reflect French culture across the country through social and cultural programming. The series of five special podcasts on Première PLUS related to plays presented at the National Arts Centre is one example.
  • Investment in high-profile events that bring Canadians together like Canada's 150th anniversary. Programming includes:
    • We are Canada: A CBC/Radio-Canada TV/digital project profiling the next generation of Canadian change-makers.
    • Becoming Canadian: A digital-first project and the largest group narrative project ever attempted, celebrating the people who choose Canada as their new home.
    • La grande traversée: A 10-hour Radio-Canada series following 10 people recreating the 1745 voyage of colonists from La Rochelle France to Québec in a sailing replica.
    • On est les meilleurs: A series of 52 short bilingual videos on Canada's culinary creativity.
  • High-profile Canadian dramas like the six-part television drama Alias Grace based on Margaret Atwood's book, and a new, one-hour Canadian youth soccer drama, 21 Thunder, airing this summer.
  • More diverse voices on our airwaves like the new national radio show, Out in the Open with Piya Chattopadhyay.
  • Launch of the first phase of Prochaine géneration/Next generation, Radio-Canada's lab for the creation of journalism content by young millennials for millennials, and the resulting social media space, RAD, which opened in May 2017.
  • Support for new ways to serve Canadians with new risk-taking projects like Accélérateur d'idées going regional all across Canada during winter 2017.
  • Increased investment in Canadian feature film through the Breaking Barriers Film Fund. In November 2016, we announced the three inaugural recipients of funding to create new Canadian feature films. Radio-Canada was a co-presenter of Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, and ICI TOU.TV EXTRA initiated multi-screens broadcast of 50 Canadian movies over 50 weeks.
  • More regional perspectives with five additional one-hour episodes of the popular maritime television talk show Méchante soirée (for a total of 25 in 2016-2017) and the daily, Ottawa-based Tout inclus, four evenings a week, during the 150th anniversary summer of 2017.
  • More original programming on radio including two new hours on Saturday evenings on ICI RADIO-CANADA PREMIÈRE since October 2016 featuring live shows such as La route des 20, a series profiling the spirit of young Canadians across the country, initially produced for Première PLUS.
  • Enhancing our engagement with digital audiences with more digital content for ICI TOU.TV, including Vérités et conséquences, Monsieur Craquepoutte (youth program), L'ascenseur and seven additional programs for Vé

Enhancing our EXISTING services by investing in key programs and services ($12M in 2016-2017 to $24M in 2017-2018 and ongoing), including:

  • Creating a digital service in select local markets with no current CBC service, starting in London, Ontario in June 2017.
  • Investing in regional services and expanding services in underserved markets: we are investing in digital content production in Halifax, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, Regina, Yellowknife, Calgary and Edmonton. We are maintaining and deepening local services in Montreal, Regina, Saskatoon and Calgary. French services initiatives such as Jeunes leaders are strengthening communities, beyond programming.
  • Increasing regional reflection on Radio-Canada's national network including hosting existing shows (e.g. Entrée principale in Acadia, À la semaine prochaine in Trois-Rivières and Ottawa, Le 15-18 in Montreal parks) and new shows (e.g. 5 à 7 aux îles avec... Julie in Îles-de-la-Madeleine) in regions to ensure they project a local flavour.
  • Creating scaleable pocket bureaus to improve international coverage on all platforms, including new bureaus in Istanbul, New Delhi and Moscow.
  • Continuing to invest in data journalism, including hiring data journalists. We created Corde sensible, a digital journalism program that uses data journalism to investigate social issues like rental discrimination based on the ethnicity of names in Montreal.
  • Reinvesting in CBC Radio to create new programs and reduce the number of repeats.
  • Creating 15 hours of new weekday evening content on ICI RADIO-CANADA PREMIÈRE replacing reruns.
  • Reinvesting in CBC recordings of Canadian music performances like Sessions (where artists come to CBC to record unique performances) and more performances on q, the CBC Music Festival and the Polaris Music Prize.
  • Doubling our investment in the digitization of our archives. CBC/Radio-Canada has a rich archive of the stories and experiences of Canadians that we are using to generate content on existing platforms (e.g. Rétroviseur on ICI TOU.TV EXTRA) and new ones (Les Archives de Radio-Canada's Facebook account). We are digitizing even more of it so that Canadians can access it. One priority is our Indigenous Language Archives. CBC established an audio digitization centre in Yellowknife and hired local Indigenous staff for the digitization of decades of programming in eight Indigenous languages; we will be making this content available to Indigenous communities.
  • Investing in new children's content for Radio-Canada on the web. We have redesigned the Zone jeunesse web portal and launched L'appli des petits, a new mobile application dedicated to kids.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s priority is to create more Canadian content for Canadians on all of its platforms. This requires us to be nimble and to take advantage of important opportunities. CBC’s presentation of this past summer’s The Tragically Hip concert is a good example.

Because of the fluid nature of program production, and our programming independence, it is not possible to share specific program, quantity or genre targets in advance. We will continue to report on what we have been able to accomplish at the end of the year in this Annual Report and our Corporate Plan Summary. Here's how we do that.

How we measure our performance

An important part of our Strategy 2020 is the tools that measure and assess CBC/Radio-Canada's performance. We do this in two ways: by measuring the perceptions of Canadians and by tracking our success against specific measurable targets. The performance measurement framework covers three areas: Mandate and Vision (perception survey indicators), Strategy 2020 (strategic indicators), and Media Lines (operational indicators).

The Mandate and Vision perception survey is conducted by an independent research firm, in both official languages, twice a year. The Strategy 2020 performance indicators measure specific 2020 targets, including visitors to our digital sites and employee engagement. These performance measurements are updated each year, included in our Annual and Quarterly Reports and Corporate Plan Summary, and are available on our website.

We have also developed performance indicators specific to the additional reinvestment that we have provided to the government. These will measure the incremental impact of new funding on two key priorities: expanding our digital presence and increasing services to local markets. We will report these results to government and to Canadians at the end of each year in our Corporate Plan Summary and Annual Report. We will also report on the Canadian programming we have been able to create. All of these measurements are in addition to the specific performance targets set each year for our English and French services.

(1) Source: “Growing the Middle Class” Budget 2016, 22 March 2016 p. 186.