Thank you, Madam Chair.
My name is Pierre Karl Péladeau. With me today is Peggy Tabet, vice‑president Regulatory and Environmental Affairs.
Bill C‑11, which revises outdated legislation from 1991, is an opportunity for parliamentarians to address the growing historical inequity between foreign broadcasting platforms and Canadian companies.
As you are no doubt aware, a CRTC licence was required to obtain the status of broadcaster and cable operator. That licence was legitimately attached to conditions and regulations. Technology, such as the Internet, and globalization have made it possible to skirt the licencing requirements.
Regarding this new fundamental and inescapable equation, where foreign giants with gigantic financial capabilities have swooped in, we say that we must now remove Canadian businesses from the burden of regulations and conditions that continually stifle them and threaten their survival.
Last January, proof was provided beyond a shadow of a doubt. In fact, the Académie de la transformation numérique at Université Laval published a study that concluded unequivocally that, for the first time in Quebec, paid online viewing services have surpassed traditional cable television services. Indeed, 71% of Quebec adults subscribe to paid online viewing services, while 66% subscribe to a cable television service.
For years, Quebecor has been reiterating and alerting the various bodies that traditional local broadcasters and cable operators, such as TVA and Vidéotron, that showcase our culture and promote our artisans and talent, must face fierce competition in an outdated and unfair regulatory environment. The unbridled competition from online platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ is unfettered, and as I said, the CRTC's overwhelming regulations threaten the sustainability of local businesses and, therefore, our cultural sovereignty and our ability to inform Canadians with rigour, while having the resources to do so.
The goal going forward is to restore fairness and reduce the regulatory burden. Indeed, over‑regulation has also contributed to the weakening of traditional local broadcasters and cable operators. This approach has been a monumental failure. Canadian broadcasters are at an all‑time disadvantage and are struggling to make a go of it.
In total, between 2010 and 2020, the combined profits before interest and taxes of the major traditional private channels fell by nearly $216 million. TVA alone has seen a drop of almost $60 million. Apart from the CBC/Radio‑Canada, no business can survive without profits.
In this context, Parliament must restore fairness between Canadian and foreign businesses, and substantially reduce the regulatory and financial burden, such as the fees referred to in Part II. As such, it is of grave concern that Bill C‑11 no longer contains the principle of fairness among the various players in the industry, which was present in the previous bill. To put an end to the current two‑tier system, Parliament should amend the bill to ensure that all broadcasting undertakings are treated fairly and equitably.
However, there is a simple solution. Instead of asking the CRTC for a new set of sprawling regulations with mind‑boggling requirements, Parliament should focus on the essentials, such as a lighter regulatory regime in which foreign online platforms contribute financially to our ecosystem and to the various industry stakeholders, to maintain a strong and robust Canadian broadcasting system.
Honourable members of Parliament, thank you very much for your attention.