OMNI Advisory Council Mandate
OMNI Television provides free over-the-air television service to ethnic communities in Toronto, London, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Victoria. As an ethnic broadcaster, OMNI is committed to reflecting Canada’s diversity through ethnocultural and third-language programming at a local, regional, and national level.
The first OMNI Advisory Council (Advisory Council) was established when Rogers Broadcasting Limited (Rogers) acquired CFMT-TV (Toronto) from Multilingual Television Limited (MTV) in 1986 (CRTC Decision 86-586). This initial Advisory Council consisted of the original Board of Directors of MTV, which included independent directors and minority investors. Rogers confirmed in the public hearing for this acquisition that it would retain MTV’s Board of Directors and that representatives of the ethnic communities served by CFMT-TV would continue to form a majority of the Council.
In 1999, the Commission released the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy (Public Notice CRTC 1999-117) which encouraged ethnic broadcasters to establish advisory councils incorporating representatives of the ethnic communities in their service areas.
From the initial Advisory Council for CFMT-TV, OMNI Television developed others in Alberta and British Columbia as Rogers was approved for broadcasting licences for ethnic television stations in Calgary and Edmonton (i.e. CJCO-TV and CJEO-TV) in 2007 (CRTC Decision 2007-166) and acquired ethnic television programming undertakings CHNM-TV and CHNM-DT in Vancouver in 2008 (CRTC Decision 2008-72). All of the Advisory Councils were comprised of independent representatives from various ethnocultural communities in each of the markets served by OMNI Television. The Advisory Councils provided input and direction on ethnic programming which proved particularly valuable in the early years of OMNI stations.
In 2010, Rogers dissolved the Advisory Councils for the OMNI stations and replaced them with community liaison officers (CLOs) in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto. The rationale for the decision was to allow respective OMNI stations to focus their resources on fostering local and regional partnerships and program development rather than on the maintenance of formal Advisory Councils. Rogers believed that greater community outreach could be achieved through CLOs as the position is fully dedicated to community outreach and consultation.
CLOs provide a single point of contact between OMNI and various ethnocultural groups in each market. They are OMNI’s ambassadors and their primary purpose is to establish relationships with as many local community groups as possible. CLOs are full-time paid employees responsible for developing local productions, conducting community outreach and consultation, and fostering partnerships with local ethnic organizations and events.
In Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-399, the CRTC ordered the reinstatement of the Advisory Councils in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia as a condition of licence for all OMNI stations. The CRTC considered that Advisory Councils will assist local ethnic communities that wish to become involved with OMNI and ensure that Rogers provides an appropriate level of programming commensurate with the demographics of each market where OMNI operates.
In order to be effective Rogers believes the Advisory Councils must complement the role of the CLOs with respect to programming and community outreach. Accordingly, the newly formed Advisory Councils will work in cooperation with the CLOs to ensure that OMNI Television is fully engaged with the ethnocultural communities it serves.
It is the Mission of the Advisory Councils to enhance the engagement and reflection of ethnocultural communities on OMNI Television at a local, regional, and national level.
The Mandate of the Advisory Councils will be focused on three core areas of OMNI’s operations – Programming, Sales, and Community Outreach.
The Advisory Councils will advise OMNI Television on its ethnocultural programming strategies taking into consideration the demographic makeup of each market, viewer engagement, and the financial resources available to the station. The Advisory Councils will also provide guidance on relevant community and ethnospecific issues related to the regional or local market and how these issues are positioned and addressed in our programming, where applicable. Guidance may also include feedback on relevant policy issues such as the CRTC’s Ethnic Broadcasting Policy.
The Advisory Council will be called upon to help identify sponsorship and advertising opportunities for OMNI Television. To assist with this commitment, OMNI Television will review sales results with the Advisory Council during scheduled meetings.
Members of the Advisory Councils will also liaise with local ethnocultural communities who wish to become involved with OMNI Television and act as ambassadors for OMNI in this capacity. Members will promote and encourage participation by local ethnocultural groups and individuals in developing programming and other outreach initiatives that are aimed at enhancing OMNI’s role in the communities it serves. As part of this mandate, OMNI Television may request that Members of the Advisory Council attend OMNI events from time to time.
Three (3) Advisory Councils will be established representing each region served by OMNI Television: Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. Each Advisory Council will be comprised of not more than seven (7) and not fewer than five (5) Members. Each Council will consist of Members representing the various ethnocultural communities within OMNI’s broad service mandate and will also take into consideration demographic and gender balance as well as a diversity of skill sets and experience. Members are appointed for two-year terms with eligibility for renewal(s).
There will be one (1) Chair for each of the three (3) Advisory Councils. The first Chair of the Advisory Council for each region will be selected by OMNI Television from the Members of the respective Advisory Councils. All subsequent Chairs will be elected by Members of the respective Advisory Councils. The term of the Chair is two years with eligibility for renewal(s).
The Chair will oversee the business of the Advisory Council in fulfilling its Mandate. More specifically, the Chair will participate in the preparation of and approve the agenda for each Advisory Council meeting and preside over each meeting.
The Advisory Councils will meet a minimum of twice annually, every Spring and Fall. The Spring meeting will include a presentation of OMNI Television’s plans for the upcoming broadcast year with respect to Programming, Sales, and Community Outreach. The Fall meeting will include a review of the previous broadcast year with respect to the three core areas of the Council’s Mandate as well as a review of the annual report to the CRTC on the activities and accomplishments of the Advisory Councils.
A formal agenda will be circulated at least two weeks in advance of each meeting. Members will be invited to add items of interest to the agenda.
At least one representative of the Rogers management team will attend all Advisory Council meetings.
Attendance at ad hoc committee meetings may be required as the need arises, as well as other functions deemed necessary to fulfil the Mandate of the Advisory Council(s).
An honorarium of $500 will be given to each Member for participation (in person or via teleconference) at each Advisory Council meeting.
Ontario Advisory Council
Alberta Advisory Council