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Updated: March 11th, 2024

Canadian television is not just a source of entertainment but a mirror reflecting the country's rich cultural diversity and unique identity. Behind the scenes, the Canadian television industry operates within a carefully regulated framework overseen by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

These regulations aim to balance domestic content production and the distribution of international programs while fostering a vibrant and inclusive media landscape. Let’s delve into the current dynamics of Canadian television and the crucial regulatory framework that shapes the industry's landscape, a must-know for anyone interested in the field.

Television in Canada

television in canada

Canada boasts a rich television landscape, catering to viewers with diverse tastes. From its humble beginnings in the 1950s to the current streaming era, television has played a significant role in Canadian culture. Canada boasts a rich television landscape shaped by a unique blend of domestic content quotas and proximity to the American media powerhouse.

While Canadians are avid viewers, clocking in over 20 hours per week, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, less than half is dedicated to Canadian programming, based on information from Statista. This reflects a historical preference for American entertainment shows, particularly scripted dramas and comedies, according to Statista. However, Canadian content flourishes in news, current affairs, and sports broadcasting, where regulations and audience interest create a strong domestic market for Canadian Encyclopedia.

This duality highlights the tension between the influence of the US and the ongoing efforts by the Canadian government, through the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), to cultivate a distinct Canadian television identity.

TV Productions in Canada

The Canadian television industry is a powerhouse of content creation. Here's a closer look:

Public vs. Private Broadcasters

Canada has a unique mix of public and private broadcasters. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Société Radio-Canada (SRC) are publicly funded and mandated to produce Canadian content. Private broadcasters like Bell Media and Rogers Communications offer a mix of domestic and foreign programming.

Genres and Content

Canadian productions excel in various genres. Scripted dramas like "Schitt's Creek" and "Anne with an E" have garnered international acclaim. Comedies like "Kim's Convenience" and "What We Do in the Shadows" capture the Canadian spirit with humor. Documentaries explore diverse themes, while children's programming fosters creativity and education.

Impact on Economy

The television industry significantly contributes to the Canadian economy. According to the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA), the most recent data shows that film and television production generated over 11.9 billion CAD in direct production spending. This creates jobs in Canada's television industry for actors, writers, directors, technicians, etc..

Television Advertising in Canada

Advertising plays a crucial role in funding television productions.

Regulations and Content

The CRTC regulates television advertising. There are restrictions on the amount of advertising allowed per hour to ensure a balance between content and commercials. Canadian content regulations also apply to advertising, requiring a certain percentage of commercials to be Canadian-made.

Targeting Audiences

Advertisers in Canada employ various strategies to reach their target audiences. National campaigns utilize national networks, while regional campaigns leverage local stations and cable channels. Digital advertising is increasingly integrated with television campaigns, allowing for more targeted messaging.

Revenue Streams

Television advertising generates revenue through various models. Traditional methods include spot buys (purchasing airtime for commercials) and program sponsorships. Product placement within programs is becoming more common. With the rise of streaming platforms, new ad models like targeted pre- and mid-roll ads are emerging.

Pay TV in Canada

Pay TV, or multichannel television, offers viewers various programming options beyond traditional channels. Here's a breakdown:

Subscription Services

The main players in pay TV are cable and satellite providers like Rogers, Bell, Shaw, and Vidéotron. Subscribers pay a monthly fee to access news, sports, specialty, and premium channels.

Cord-Cutting Trend

The rise of streaming services like Netflix and Crave has led to "cord-cutting," where viewers cancel their pay TV subscriptions and rely solely on online platforms. In response, pay TV providers offer flexible packages and integrate streaming services.

The Future of Pay TV

While facing challenges from streaming services, pay TV providers are adapting by offering innovative features like on-demand content and multi-screen viewing options.

Television Market Leaders in Canada

television market leaders in canada

The Canadian television market is a competitive landscape, with a few key players dominating:

Broadcast Networks

The CBC and SRC are the leading public broadcasters, offering a mix of news, current affairs, documentaries, and entertainment programming. Private networks like Bell Media (CTV), The Sports Network (TSN), MuchMusic and Rogers Communications (Citytv, Sportsnet, OMNI) compete fiercely for viewers.

Cable and Satellite Providers

Rogers, Bell, Shaw, and Vidéotron control a significant share of the pay TV market, offering bundled packages of channels.

Streaming Services

Streaming giants like Netflix, Crave, and Disney+ are rapidly gaining popularity, offering diverse content libraries and on-demand viewing experiences.

The competition between traditional broadcasters, pay TV providers, and streaming services is driving innovation and shaping the future of television in Canada.

TV Consumer Behaviour in Canada

Canadians remain avid television viewers, but their viewing habits are evolving. Here's a glimpse:

Traditional vs. Streaming

Despite the rise of streaming, Canadians still dedicate much time to traditional television. According to Statista, in 2023, the weekly reach of television among adults in Canada was over 85%. However, streaming services are rapidly catching up, with subscription services reaching similar popularity to live TV broadcasts in 2021.

Content Preferences

Scripted dramas and comedies remain popular among Canadian viewers, according to statistics obtained from Parrot Analytics. News and current affairs programming holds value, particularly for local news. Sports broadcasts are a major draw, with hockey enjoying a strong following among Canada’s TV-watching populace.

What is The Average Annual Salary For Television Workers in Canada?

The average annual salary for television workers in Canada can vary greatly depending on several factors, including:

Specific Job Title

Roles like actors and on-air personalities can command high salaries. At the same time, entry-level positions like production assistants typically earn less.


Salaries generally increase with experience. Seasoned editors, directors, and producers will earn significantly more than their less experienced counterparts.


Compensation can differ based on the city or region. Major production hubs like Toronto and Vancouver may offer higher salaries than smaller markets.

Production Type

Working on big-budget productions with international distribution can lead to higher salaries compared to smaller, local productions.


Unionized workers in television often benefit from negotiated wage scales and better benefits.

Provincial And Territorial Average Annual Salary for Television Workers in Canada

Top Television Occupations in Canada 2021 NOC Codes Annual Average Salaries in Canada
Television Director 51120 121,734.90
Master Control Operator 52112 121,556.54
Broadcast Technician 52112 100,103.01
Program Producer 52114 93,100.01
Video Editor 51110 93,049.48
Videographer/Camera Operator 52110 88,949.10
Television Host/Personality 52114 79,346.42
Broadcast Journalist/Reporter 51113 78,690.10
News Anchor 51113 78,672.26
Motion Designer 52120 77,556.92

How Can I Work In Canada’s Television Industry

Canada's television industry welcomes skilled individuals with a passion for storytelling. Here are some immigration pathways for aspiring television workers.

Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a fast-tracked work permit program that attracts highly skilled workers in specific occupations. Television-related roles, such as animators, editors, and visual effects artists, are listed on the GTS eligible occupations list under Digital Media Designers and expedited processing times for work permit applications (typically within six weeks). Employers can apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption, simplifying the hiring process for foreign workers.

Postgraduate Work Permit

If you complete a full-time designated learning institution (DLI) post-secondary program (diploma or degree) in a field relevant to the television industry in Canada, you may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Work Permit (PGWP).

This open work permit allows you to gain valuable Canadian work experience for up to three years after graduation. The experience gained can strengthen your profile for future permanent residency applications.

Learn more about Canada’s PGWP.

Intra-Company Transfer Program

The Intra-Company Transfer Program facilitates the transfer of skilled workers within a multinational company to their Canadian branch. You may be eligible to transfer under this program if you are currently employed by a television production company with a Canadian department. This provides a streamlined work permit application process and enables you to include your spouse and dependent children in your application.

Reciprocal Youth Exchange Agreements

Reciprocal Youth Exchange Agreements allow young adults (typically 18-30 years old) from participating countries to work and travel in Canada for a set period, usually 12 to 24 months. This can be a fantastic way to gain experience in the Canadian television industry while exploring the country, mainly if you apply for a program like the International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Visa.



How Can I Stay Updated on The Latest Developments in Canadian Television?

Stay updated on the latest developments in Canadian television by following industry publications, television networks' official websites and social media channels, and entertainment news outlets covering Canadian media.

How Influential is Canadian Television on a Global Scale?

Canadian television has gained recognition globally for its quality and diversity, with notable shows like "Schitt's Creek," "Orphan Black," and "Letterkenny" resonating with audiences worldwide.

What Are Some Notable Canadian Television Shows or Series?

Notable Canadian television shows include "Schitt's Creek," "Orphan Black," "Letterkenny," "Corner Gas," "Trailer Park Boys," and "Anne with an E," showcasing the diversity and creativity of Canadian storytelling.

What Types of Programming Are Popular on Canadian Television?

Popular types of programming on Canadian television include news, dramas, comedies, reality shows, documentaries, and sports, reflecting a diverse range of interests and tastes among Canadian viewers.

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