Today, the CRTC formally removed RT (previously known as Russia Today) and RT France from the list of non-Canadian programming services authorized for distribution in Canada.

Programming on RT and RT France is not consistent with Canadian broadcasting standards

March 16, 2022 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

Today, the CRTC formally removed RT (previously known as Russia Today) and RT France from the List of non-Canadian programming services and stations authorized for distribution.

Further to a public consultation, the CRTC determined that the continued authorization to distribute RT and RT France is not in the public interest.  RT’s programming is not consistent with the standards against which Canadian services are measured nor the policy objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act. The CRTC is also concerned with programming from a foreign country that seeks to undermine the sovereignty of another country, demean Canadians of a particular ethnic background and undermine democratic institutions within Canada.

The Commission took into account the submissions and notes the seriousness of the allegations provided in the interventions. It also considered the reports of the actual situation in Ukraine, the current and escalating sanctions on Russia and Russian individuals, as well as the swift steps taken by other jurisdictions to pull the services.

Television service providers are authorized to distribute foreign television services in order to provide Canadians with a broad range of views and voices. These services are not licensed like Canadian services. However, the CRTC considers that non-Canadian news services should be held to the same standards in respect of their programming as Canadian services.

“Freedom of speech and a range of perspectives are a necessary part of our democracy. However, it is a privilege and not a right to be broadcast in Canada. Foreign channels can be removed from the authorized list should their programming not be consistent with the standards to which Canadian services are held, or their continued distribution no longer serves the public interest, as was the case for RT and RT France.”

“We would like to thank all those who submitted comments through this public consultation. We have heard Canadians concerns about RT’s programming. Your views are important to us and help the Commission in its decision making.”

Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC

On March 2, 2022, the CRTC received a request from the Governor in Council, further to section 15 of the Broadcasting Act, to determine whether RT and RT France should be removed from the list of non-Canadian services authorized in Canada.

In response to this request, the CRTC launched a public consultation on March 3, 2022.

The CRTC received a total of 373 interventions; 350 were in favour of removing RT and RT France from Canadian airwaves and 16 were for keeping it.

Prior to launching its review, the Commission had received several complaints from the Canadian public regarding the programming on RT and whether that programming is consistent with the policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act and with the Commission’s broadcasting regulations.

The scope of this proceeding was limited to RT and RT France. Even though many interveners submitted comments which applied broadly to Russian-state controlled and sponsored media, the Commission limited its examination to the services identified in the government’s request and the CRTC’s Notice of Consultation.

Even though Canadian television service providers had already removed RT from their channel lineup before the CRTC published its decision, they will no longer be allowed to offer RT and RT France as part of their services.

Canada is not the only country to have removed permission to distribute RT and RT France.  In March 2022, the EU banned RT and Sputnik from broadcasting in its member countries in response to the invasion and the service has been pulled from the airwaves in other countries such as Australia

RT is a Russian state-controlled international television network. The Commission authorized the distribution of Russia Today in Canada in 2009, and the distribution of RT France in 2020.