CRTC Decides To “Tax” Cable And Satellite TV Viewers With “Local Programing Improvement Fund” Charge

I got a letter from Rogers Cable TV informing me that CRTC requires them to add a 1.5% service fee for “The Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF)” to my bill starting on August 31 2009. This new percent based fee is suppose to help “local” programming stay alive in markets that have less than 1 million viewers. So the higher you pay for TV, the more that this fee will be.

All together now… Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?

So I checked the CRTC website and unlike the notorious System Access Fee that the cell companies love to screw over charge Canadians with, this one looks legit:

As a temporary measure for the upcoming broadcast year, cable and satellite companies will contribute 1.5 per cent of their gross broadcasting revenues to the fund, an increase of 0.5 per cent. As a result, the total funds available will rise from $68 million to over $100 million. Television stations in smaller markets will be able to draw on these funds to maintain their spending on local news and other types of local programming. The Commission will consider the appropriate long-term provisions for the Local Programming Improvement Fund at a public hearing to be held this fall.

Temporary? That’s what they said about income tax. Look how well that worked out. From the sounds of it other TV providers are going to be charging this as well. If you’re a Bell, Cogeco, or Shaw customer, I’d love to know if you get a similar letter as I don’t see those TV providers absorbing this charge.

Here’s why I think this is total BS. People who will receive these local channels over the air will not have to pay this tax. So those with cable or satellite are subsidizing people with antennas. That’s not fair. By the way, let’s call this a tax as that’s what this is.

But I digress.

This is a poorly thought out tax. TV providers such as Rogers and Bell aren’t going to absorb this tax so you the Canadian consumer get hosed again. The CRTC needs to get a clue here and come up with a new way to finance local programming. Oh, by the way, there seems to be a lot of anger towards Rogers, Bell, Shaw, and Cogeco. That anger in my humble opinion is misplaced as the real bad guys in this are the CRTC. So if you want to be mad at somebody, fire an e-mail over to the CRTC and let them know how you feel.

4 Responses to “CRTC Decides To “Tax” Cable And Satellite TV Viewers With “Local Programing Improvement Fund” Charge”

  1. I’m starting to think all cable subscribers should short pay their next bill for the amount of the LPIF. When Rogers, Bell, Cogeco, Shaw call to ask about payment, tell them you are not paying an illegal tax imposed by the CRTC.
    I doubt the cable companies will discontinue everyone’s service; instead, when they are stuck with the bill to the CRTC they will go to court and fight its tax status.
    Enough is enough!

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