open Secondary menu

The Broadcasting Arbitrator: Appointment, Term of Office and Duties

October 2019

The Broadcasting Arbitrator
According to the provisions of the Canada Elections Act


Chosen by a unanimous decision of representatives of the registered political parties represented in the House of Commons, or named by the Chief Electoral Officer if consultations do not result in unanimity (ss. 332(1))

Term of office

Expires six months after polling day at the general election which follows his or her appointment (ss. 332(2)), and can only be removed for cause by the Chief Electoral Officer (ss. 332(3))

Duties between elections

Convenes a meeting of representatives of all registered political parties to consult on the allocation of broadcasting time within 30 days after the receipt of a written request from the chief agent of a registered party, or six months after he or she takes office, whichever is earlier, and chairs this meeting (ss. 336(1) and (2))

If unanimous agreement on the allocation by all registered parties cannot be reached, the Broadcasting Arbitrator allocates the broadcasting time according to the formula in the Act (ss. 337(3))

Under subsection 338(5), the Broadcasting Arbitrator has a certain discretion to modify the allocation if he or she considers that the strict application of the statutory formula would be unfair to a registered party, or contrary to the public interest

The Broadcasting Arbitrator gives notice in writing of the allocation to every registered or eligible party, as soon as possible (ss. 338(6))

The Broadcasting Arbitrator convenes the representatives of the remaining registered and eligible parties for the purpose of reallocating the time that had been provided to a party that:

  • was deregistered, within two weeks after the publication of a notice of deregistration in the Canada Gazette (ss. 340(1)),
  • ceased to be eligible, within two weeks of the cessation of eligibility (ss. 340(2)), or
  • without delay, if two or more registered parties have merged, for the purpose of reallocating the time among all registered parties (ss. 341)

The Broadcasting Arbitrator notifies the CRTC of every allocation that he or she makes, and of the entitlement of new parties to broadcasting time, as soon as possible after it is made (ss. 342(1))

On an annual basis, the Broadcasting Arbitrator convenes and chairs a meeting of the representatives of all registered parties to review the allocation or entitlement (ss. 343(1))

Duties during an election

The Broadcasting Arbitrator, not later than two days after the issue of the writs for a general election, prepares and sends to the CRTC a set of guidelines respecting:

  • the allocation of or entitlement to broadcasting time under the Act,
  • the procedures for booking broadcasting time by registered and eligible parties, and
  • any other matters that may be pertinent to the conduct of broadcasters and network operators under the Act (s. 346)

In the event of a conflict between a broadcaster or network operator and the representative of a registered or eligible party concerning the purchase of broadcasting time under the Act, the matter is referred to the Broadcasting Arbitrator, who must decide on the requests without delay, and give notice of his or her decision to the broadcaster or network operator and to the representatives of the registered or eligible party (ss. 344(4))

The decision of the Broadcasting Arbitrator is based on statutory factors (ss. 344(5)) and is final and binding on the registered or eligible party and the broadcaster or network operator (ss. 344(6))