The CMF sparks an industry-wide conversation about Canadian content

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) is a catalyst, here to spark conversation. Our screen-based sector is at a crossroads—and Canadian content, in all its forms, is at the centre of the debate.

The government opened the door to a new legislative and regulatory framework in 2016. This was followed by the Creative Canada Policy, the Legislative Review Panel, the Yale report, the now defunct Bill C-10, and the current Bill C-11. With a CRTC review forthcoming, regulatory and legislative changes are on the horizon—and the definition of Canadian content is on the table.

The world is very different today, compared to when the structures and processes that defined CanCon were put in place.

Streaming services have resulted in new power dynamics, there are debates about intellectual property, and questions about our cultural sovereignty. According to Profile 2021, Canadian production has decreased by 9% over the past decade, while foreign location and service production in Canada has increased by 212%. Important questions have been raised about ownership, authorship, and what exactly is Canadian content?

Historically, we have spent a long time telling Canadian stories that were rarely representative of the astonishing diversity that makes up our country.

With all this in mind, how we define Canadian content is perhaps the most critical discussion we can have.

The CMF is the country’s largest funder of Canadian content across all audiovisual platforms. Last year, we supported over 1,400 television and digital media projects. Part of the role we play in the industry is to be a convenor of ideas, of what is most important right now. Consultation is in our DNA. We listen to what the industry tells us, shape our programs to respond to market needs to the extent we can, and we act.

Our President and CEO Valerie Creighton moderated a discussion at Content Canada with Melanie Nepinak Hadley, Executive Director at Warner Bros. Discovery Access Canada, Laura Michalchyshyn, Chief Creative Officer & Co-President at Blue Ant Studios, Richard Jean-Baptiste, Executive Producer, and Vinay Virmani, Chief Content Officer at Uninterrupted.

The panel was the official kickoff of the CMF’s exploration of Canadian content. We will continue the discussion over the next several months, during our fall consultations, through an industry-wide survey, in a series of Now & Next articles, and at other events.

These conversations are not intended to define Canadian content. They will facilitate industry discussions and make space for as many voices as possible as we head into the continued legislative and regulation process working towards a definition of Canadian Content.

When we have listened, we will share what we have learned—because rethinking Canadian content is one of the most important challenges facing our industry.


Join the conversation on social media and tell us how you define Canadian content with #CanConDef