Milestones In Aboriginal Broadcasting

1978-1982 The Anik B Experiments. Inuit organizations in the Eastern Arctic and Northern Quebec participated in pilot projects to test communications satellites in applications such as TV broadcasting, community communications, tele-education and tele-health.

1980 CRTC establishes the Committee on Extension of Service to Northern and Remote Communities (the Therrien Committee). The subsequent report stressed the urgent need for special measures to allow Aboriginal people to preserve their languages and foster their culture through various broadcasting initiatives.

1981 CRTC licenses CANCOM to deliver a range of southern programming into northern and remote communities. As a quid pro quo, CANCOM is required to provide assistance to northern Aboriginal broadcasters. CRTC also licenses NNBY and IBC.

1983 Government of Canada announces the Northern Broadcasting Policy and the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program. Public funds are allocated for the production of radio and television programs by thirteen native communications societies across the north.

1985 CRTC releases its Northern Native Broadcasting policy statement (Public Notice CRTC 1985-274). This policy establishes certain short term measures to ensure native broadcasters have access to existing northern distribution systems, but it also emphasized that a dedicated northern transponder would be required to handle the volume of programming and to ensure that programs were scheduled at appropriate times.

1988 Minister of Communications announces support for a northern Aboriginal distribution system, soon to be known as Television Northern Canada

1991 The new Broadcasting Act recognizes the special place of Aboriginal peoples within Canadian society.

1991 CRTC licenses TVNC.

1992 Inaugural launch of TVNC.

1998 In Public Notice CRTC 1998-8 the CRTC recognizes TVNC as “a unique and significant undertaking serving the public interest and the objectives of the Broadcasting Act” and that a national Aboriginal channel should be “widely available throughout Canada in order to serve the diverse needs of the various Aboriginal communities, as well as other Canadians.” The Commission also stated that it would consider any application by TVNC designed to achieve these objectives.

“It makes a big difference to see the world from someone elseís eyesÖnot just for them but for you too.”