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End advertising on CBC, force Canadian content on streaming services like Netflix: government panel – National Post



A government-appointed panel is calling for the end of advertising on the CBC while also recommending streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon be mandated to contribute to creating Canadian content.

The Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel, appointed in June 2018, released 97 recommendations calling for a wholesale overhaul of the broadcasting and telecommunications industry. It includes giving the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission a mandate to look at the affordability of services, efforts to support the expansion of 5G services, and pushing companies to expand broadband internet services to rural and remote communities.

The panel’s call for an end to CBC’s advertising dollars was accompanied by a recommendation for more stable funding, with the government making five year monetary commitments. The panel wants to see the elimination of ads begin with the CBC’s news programming.

We have seen instances where CBC particularly on their digital sites, have pushed into the advertising market

Janet Yale, the panel’s chair, said on the scripted side of the CBC’s programming, eliminating the advertising dollars would free the CBC to take more risks and worry less about the commercial success of its programming.

She said the CBC is also an important backstop for news gathering in Canada, especially with the news industry under financial stress.

“We believe that the best way to address misinformation and fake news is to have accurate and reliable sources of news.”

Yale said the public broadcaster should be a leader in local, regional and national news. She said having to chase advertising dollars and commercial success forces the CBC to stray from those goals.

The CBC receives approximately $1.1 billion in government revenue, with approximately $250 million more coming in advertising. She stopped short of calling for a funding boost, but Yale said compared to other public broadcasters the CBC is underfunded.

“We did not make a specific recommendation but we were conscious of the fact that in other OECD countries the public media institution has higher funding on a dollars per capita basis.”

Janet Yale

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

John Hinds, president of News Media Canada, an industry lobby group of which the National Post is a member, said the CBC isn’t a player on the scale of Google and Facebook when it comes to digital ads, but it’s not a small player either.

“Nothing is going to be a silver bullet, but I think every little bit helps. We have seen instances where CBC particularly on their digital sites, have pushed into the advertising market and they have disrupted advertising markets.”

The panel also called for Netflix and other streaming giants to be mandated to create Canadian content for their platforms and ensure that Canadians can find it easily.

“If you benefit from operating in the Canadian system you should contribute. We really believe these are responsible enterprises that will understand that standards of fairness should apply,” said Yale.

Yale said the government has to move fast on the recommendations, because Canada’s rules haven’t kept pace with the industry.

“This marks the first time these decades old laws have been reviewed in such a comprehensive and integrated manner and the need for this work has never been greater.”

Netflix said in a statement, “The local industry is flourishing; we will continue investing in made-in-Canada productions and stories, bringing them to the world.”

In the company’s written submission to the panel they said they invest heavily in Canada already and don’t see the need for regulation.

“We do not subscribe to the theory that a “regulated investment” is more valuable than a consumer and market-driven one.”

They also said rules and regulations could break a system that is working.
“We urge the Panel to recognize that market forces are driving significant growth both in production in Canada, and production of Canadian content, for worldwide markets; that these outcomes represent a substantive contribution to Canada’s cultural policy goals.”

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said the government will move quickly and pledged legislation would be in place by the end of the year.

If you benefit from operating in the Canadian system you should contribute

He said they want a system that is fair to all players.

“Our goal is simple, to make the system more equitable than it is right now,” he said. “It is not fair to many distributors who fall under a system that is regulated, as opposed to those other distributors who are not.”

On the CBC, Guilbeault said only that he was committed to looking at what the panel had to say.

The Conservatives said the panel had done good work, but had been limited to looking at the existing system rather than abolishing it and creating something new.

“We are not talking about the fact that we have a regulatory structure that is propping up a system that is out of date,” said the party’s industry critic Michelle Rempel Garner.

She said talking about more regulations and rules is the wrong direction.

“We are saying the system needs broader disruption,” she said. “We have to have a broader conversation about what Canadians want.”

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TD Bank CFO Ahmed to head securities unit, move seen as CEO succession play



TD Bank Group on Thursday named Chief Financial Officer Riaz Ahmed chief executive of its securities unit and head of wholesale banking, a move some investors interpreted as a sign he will succeed CEO Bharat Masrani.

For Ahmed, 58, the change marks a return to his TD roots. He began his career at the bank in 1996 as an investment banker in the securities division, following which he served as its CFO and chief administrative officer. He has been part of TD Bank‘s executive team for nine years, and CFO for over five.

“Cross-training in the capital markets role … increases the likelihood of (Ahmed) succeeding Masrani when he retires, but I doubt it would be soon, as that would create unnecessary turnover atop TD Securities,” said Brian Madden, portfolio manager at Goodreid Investment Counsel.

“Maybe Masrani announces his retirement next year (or the following) and leaves early in 2023” or 2024.

Masrani’s compensation arrangements anticipated his retirement in 2020, TD said in its 2019 shareholders meeting proxy circular. But he was granted stock options worth C$1.9 million ($1.5 million), vesting in five years, on the condition that he remain available to serve as CEO throughout that period.

Ahmed replaces Bob Dorrance, who will retire on Sept. 1 after about 16 years at the bank, Canada’s second-biggest lender by market value said in a statement.

When asked about TD’s succession plans, a spokesperson said: “Today we are celebrating Bob Dorrance’s incredible career and accomplishments, and the appointment of top executives to critical, leadership roles.”

At a time when diversity, particularly in executive and board ranks, has come under increased scrutiny, Ahmed’s appointment as CEO would mean TD, the only one of Canada’s six biggest lenders to have a non-Caucasian at its helm, would retain that aspect.

Ahmed’s appointment comes after TD’s wholesale banking unit recorded an 8% revenue decline in the second quarter from a year ago, contributing to the bank’s overall underperformance versus some rivals.

Kelvin Tran, currently executive vice president for enterprise finance, will replace Ahmed as finance chief.

Dorrance, who has headed TD Securities since 2005, will stay on as chairman of TD Securities and serve as special adviser to Masrani.

TD shares were flat at C$87.12 on Thursday afternoon, compared with a 0.2% gain in the Toronto stock index. The shares are up 21% this year, versus a 15% gain in the benchmark.

($1 = 1.2303 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in BengaluruEditing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis)

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AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life



Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.

The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.

“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.

“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”

The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.

AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.

Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.

AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)

(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon



Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 

Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 

Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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