Cultural Diversity and Canadian Television: Flash Conference Report to CRTC December 12, 2013
Feb 04 2014
Cultural Diversity and Canadian Television
Flash Conference Report to CRTC
December 12, 2013
The Blue Room, 25One Community
251 Bank St, 2nd Floor, Ottawa, K2P 1X3
from 2:30pm to 4pm.
UDF’s Flash Conference: Diversity and Broadcasting: A Conversation with Canadians on Future Opportunities.
- •Canadian television broadcasters have made progress in reflecting and including the diversity of Canadians,
- •The CRTC’s Cultural Diversity policy has been important over the last decade.
- •There are now cultural diversity reports from the last ten years. Reviewing the reports at this time would be opportune, to identify successful practices to date and gaps that need attention going forward.
- •The areas for focus going forward should be:
- oThe need for more racial minorities in senior programming roles,
- oThe need for funding from funding bodies that assist programming in English and French that reflect diversity,
- oContinuing to learn from other countries that do a better job
When it comes to diversity in broadcasting, it is fair to say that Canada ranks near the top. We are one of the most diverse countries in the world, and with arguably a greater degree of diversity more than the diversity that exists in Britain and America. We also have a significant Aboriginal population and are a bilingual country. Few other countries have these layers of diversity in their history and public policy, and continue to embrace all the diversity.
Why is diversity in broadcasting important? Simply put, radio and television programming have a lot to do with how a society defines itself, hears and sees itself. You are either in the picture or out of it, portrayed fairly or unfairly. While digital media is coming on strong, traditional broadcast media, will continue to be consumed widely and will be intertwined with digital media, and be integrated and seamless. So the traditional services will continue to be of importance for some time to come.
On December 12, 2013 UDF facilitated a conversation in English with a Group of Canadians (Appendix A) that addressed the constantly changing nature of diversity, especially going forward, and how television should reflect that diversity. The Agenda (Appendix B), began with an overview on demographics by Dr. Ravi Pendakur, University of Ottawa and contributions by Paul de Silva, Co-Director of the International Diaspora Film Festival and Bobby Del Rio, Canadian Feature Programmer of the ReelWorld Film Festival, followed by a discussion on best practices and gaps, and a conversation about what we want to see for the future based on needs and what is realistic.
The CRTC identified three themes for considering the Future of Television:
1. Programming: What do you think about what’s on television?
2. Technology –what do you think about how you receive television programming?
3. Do you have enough information to make choices and seek solutions about your ideas?
Our discussion focused on the first theme and specifically the sub-questions posed by the CRTC: Do you think programming on television is fully reflective of Canada’s cultural, ethnic, linguistic, geographic and demographic diversity? If not, what’s missing? How important is reflection to you and why? What do you think programming will look like in the next 5 - 10 years? And would you be satisfied with that situation?
Demographics by Dr. Ravi Pendakur (Appendix C)
Ravi Pendakur provided a powerpoint presentation and overview on current diversity and projected diversity in Canada. It focused mainly on comparisons between changes of Canada’s makeup from 1961 to 2011 and projected diversity in 2031. Immigration policy was changed in the 1960s. It sought to eliminate barriers to non-European immigration, which resulted in an influx of Asian and Caribbean immigrants. Selection of immigrants was split to include intake based on skills and reunification, not just family class. This was formalized into the point system we have today (which now also includes a provision for refugees). Immigrant intake was based on response to labour demand, where delay in arrival of immigrants produced a rather jagged graph of supply and demand. In the 1970’s immigration slowed with a couple of exceptional situations. In 1972 Canada accepted about 5000 Ugandan refugees who came as ‘independents’ to avoid the upper limit placed on ‘refugee class’. And the response to the plight of the Vietnamese boat people resulted in a mix of government and public sector group sponsored refugees/immigrants in 1975. To curtail the variable intake of immigrants based on demand, the government drastically increased the immigration level in the 1980s. About 250,000 immigrants per year have been admitted since 2001.
As immigration numbers increased, they remained predominantly urban (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver). Of note is the striking shift in immigrant ethnic composition from 1961 and 2011 according to intake by selection of Asian and Caribbean and a tendency for higher birth rates in these communities.
This shift can be seen from 1961 statistics:
Fifty years later it becomes complicated as people increasingly intermarry and have more than one ethnic origin. 2006 statistics :
11% Some mix of those
53% Some non-majority origin
Projection for 2031:
Growth of the Visible Minority Population
- ¥Approximately three Canadians in ten could be a member of a visible minority group in 2031. Canada would then have between 11.4 million and 14.4 million visible minority persons.
- ¥22% of Canada’s population will be immigrants.
- ¥South Asians and Chinese should still be the largest visible minority groups in Canada. The South Asian population would number between 3.2 million and 4.1 million in 2031, compared to 1.3 million in 2006. The Chinese population would go from 1.3 million in 2006 to between 2.4 million and 3.0 million in 2031.
Age structure of the visible minority population
- ¥Visible minorities will be younger (on average) than the rest of the population.
Census Metropolitan Areas
- ¥Almost all persons belonging to a visible minority group (96%) would continue to live in one of the 33 census metropolitan areas between now and 2031.
- ¥More than 71% of all visible minority persons would live in Canada’s three largest CMAs: Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal.
The last 50 years have witnessed substantial social, demographic, economic and cultural change. Diversity enriches society with its breadth of new ideas, different perspectives and varied cultural practice