Internal Audit plans its audits in accordance with the results of the risk assessment process and provides assurance that major risks are covered on a rotational basis by the annual audit plan.

The following table discusses the key risks faced by CBC/Radio-Canada during fiscal year 2016-2017 and the ongoing impact into 2017-2018.

Key Risks

Risk Mitigation

Future Impact


Our ability to deliver our mandate is challenged by a shift from traditional television to specialty television and digital platforms, rapid technology evolution, changing media consumption habits, and industry fragmentation.

CBC/Radio-Canada's position paper in response to the government's consultation on how to strengthen Canadian culture in a digital world explains the benefits of exiting all advertising platforms and receiving replacement funding of $318 million.

Competing priorities may lead the government to narrow our mandate and/or change our business model, which would have a profound impact on the future of the organization and impact our opportunity to fix our broken business model.

Continue to promote and share strategic plan information with stakeholders both internally and externally.

Continue to promote CBC/Radio-Canada's position paper and the benefits of exiting all advertising platforms and receiving replacement funding with stakeholders both internally and externally. Reinforce the need for adequate stable funding of Canada's public broadcaster with all levels of government.

Retain flexibility when making operating decisions, with alternative plans associated with a potential advertising-free environment.

Develop pro-active and reactive communication plans, as required.

Pursue partnership arrangements to extend the reach of our news programs.

The strategic framework positions the Corporation to succeed now, as well as in an age beyond traditional broadcasting. It will ensure that the services we provide, and the operating model that supports those services, evolve in tandem with the changing expectations of Canadians and the movements of our industry.

The uncertainty of the future direction of the Corporation may impact self-generated revenues, operating decisions, morale and the retention of key staff.


New distribution methods can lead to industry disruption and new revenue models. CBC/Radio-Canada must adapt to new realities, often outside traditional industry relationships.

Continue focus on content on digital platforms, either content shared with broadcast or with digital original content.

Continue and expand partnerships with experienced and successful OTT providers (as long as branding is assured).

Align performance measurement to incent optimal decisions by adapting KPIs to audience content consumption patterns.

Continually evolve the technology to meet audience expectations.

Negotiate rights agreements to ensure access to popular content on feasible financial terms.

Begin to develop data management tools and strategies to enhance our ability to track, personalize and customize content for audiences.

The ability to serve audiences on the platforms or through the distribution channels they want will impact overall consumption of CBC/Radio-Canada content and influence the public value of our services, our advertising and subscription revenue and our relevance.


We face financial challenges that include an industry-wide softening of the advertising market and a shift of advertising dollars from traditional television to digital platforms.

The implementation of the CRTC's Let's Talk TV decisions, such as small basic packages and discretionary services being offered on a stand-alone basis or in small packages, may negatively impact subscriber and advertising revenue.

Audience consumption patterns such as cord cutting and cord shaving are reducing broadcast distribution undertakings (BDU) cable and satellite subscriptions.

Financial performance of the various Canadian media groups is putting downward pressure on prices and leading to a more aggressive approach to advertising volumes.

Changes to independent production funds' eligibility rules and declining BDU contributions may impact the availability and pricing of independent productions to CBC/Radio-Canada.

Continue to invest primarily in prime-time television, which is the biggest driver of audience and conventional television revenue.

Develop additional compelling, distinctly Canadian programming.

Maximize multiplatform/multiscreen strategy when broadcasting, acquiring or distributing content.

Leverage new kinds of partnerships or deals to grow new revenue streams or offer new value to existing customers.

Continue to implement cost containment measures established in Strategy 2020


Further advertising weakening and reduced subscriber revenue may require changes to our strategic plan.

A reduction in independent production funds means less original programming.


The retention and engagement of a strong workforce is essential to achieve strategic objectives.

There is a risk that negative workplace culture incidents, controversy and uncertainty may erode gains around staff engagement and morale and create challenges in recruiting and retaining talent.

Challenge of meeting 2020 diversity targets.

Continue with enterprise change management plan, including support activities linked to major projects that enable Strategy 2020.

Rollout 2016 engagement results and implement action plans to address areas of concern. Follow up with annual engagement survey to monitor engagement levels and address areas of concern.

Implement Joint Working Group with all unions on workplace culture to address common issues.

Implement Year 2 of the Culture Roadmap, including awareness campaign for the cultural census.

Develop and implement the 2015-2018 Inclusion and Diversity 3-Year Plan for 2018.

We will maintain our momentum to train people for this new digital world, train leaders to even better support their teams and continue building a strong foundation of business skills across the Corporation.


Negotiations are underway for the collective agreement for the new merged French union represented by the Syndicat des Communications de Radio-Canada (SCRC) and the discussions are ongoing with the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) to address key issues during the life of the current agreement.

There is a risk that prolonged proceedings to negotiate the first collective agreement could negatively affect the working relationship between management and employees.

There is a risk of disruption to operations due to labour stoppage.

Continue transparent communications to employees and unions, as well as the involvement of employees in the development of strategic initiatives.

Implement a clear negotiation mandate that ensures flexibility in working conditions and reduction of jurisdictional barriers between bargaining units.

Update contingency plans in case of labour disruption.

Continue negotiations and discussions with the bargaining units.


CBC and Radio-Canada are among the most prominent and most discussed brands in the country. In addition, they are brands on which every Canadian feels rightly justified in having and expressing an opinion. At any time, an event or an incident, large or small, can touch a nerve and instigate a controversy of national proportions.

There is a risk that negative perceptions of CBC/Radio-Canada may undermine credibility and stakeholder support.

Use a comprehensive issue management system that:

  • Monitors the environment;
  • Identifies potential issues and the stakeholder groups they could affect;
  • Prepares for them; and
  • Provides messaging and guidance to senior leaders, line managers and communications staff across the system.

Ensure a strong crisis management response that stresses transparency and decisive action is implemented to address critical issues.

Continue to invest in our brand equity (e.g. Canada's Public Broadcaster campaign, building community programming, Olympic programming, Canada 150 programming).

The Office of the Values and Ethics Commissioner will:

  • Review the Code of Conduct, conflict of interest policy, and certain other related policies to ensure adequacy and efficiency; and
  • Develop and roll out ethics training.

Clear and transparent action plans to deal with critical issues will improve credibility and stakeholder support.


In November 2016, CBC/Radio-Canada's Board of Directors approved the Broccolini proposal for the new MRC solution and the purchase offer by Groupe Mach for the existing MRC site. Government approval was obtained in April 2017.

There is a risk that the project may not achieve expected operational efficiencies, meet construction timelines, meet technical requirements or stay within budget, leading to increased costs.

Develop and maintain constructive business relationships with partners.

Ensure tight project management: proactively monitor, assess and control risks, and establish realistic schedules and budgets, contingency plans, and adequate planning in order to minimize changes during execution.

Develop alternate execution scenarios.

Enhance consultation and coordination with staff to help them prepare for the move to the new building.

The transactions will be closed upon receiving necessary City of Montreal approvals, and construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2017.


Despite heightened awareness and attention to cyber security, the number, cost and complexity of cyber incidents for all companies worldwide continue to grow. While CBC/Radio-Canada is investing in managing information security risks, evolving cyber threats have the potential to significantly disrupt operations (e.g. capacity to be on air, availability of our digital services) and/or damage our brand.

Monitor and assess network security and system vulnerabilities.

Implement enhanced information security rules, guidelines and procedures, and increase staff awareness and training on information security topics.

Review and augment, as necessary, the Crisis Management Response Plan for information security incidents.

Continue and refine identified strategies.


The Board of Directors currently has three vacancies. In addition, during calendar 2017, the terms of five members, including the President and the Chair of the Board, expire.

There is a risk that a high turnover of directors within a 12-month period or change in leadership at the Senior Executive Team may negatively impact decision-making processes, continuity and stability.

A selection criterion that reflects specific qualifications of ideal candidates to serve on our Board (Members, Chair and President) were developed and submitted to the Minister's Office.

Engage with the Minister's Office to ensure there is awareness of our need that qualified candidates be identified and appointed in a timely manner.

Continue rigorous onboarding process for new members, such as structured orientation sessions.

Develop transition plan and overlap with current President and any change in leadership at the Senior Executive Team.

A high number of turnovers may negatively impact the Strategy 2020 implementation plan and achievement of targets.

In June, the Government announced the creation of an advisory committee to provide the Heritage Minister with a list of qualified candidates for each current and upcoming vacant position on the Board of Directors, including the Chairperson of the Board and the President of  CBC/Radio-Canada.

The crowd at Halifax City Hall watching The Tragically Hip concert, live on CBC.