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Canada’s policy of preventing Canadian broadcasters from substituting U.S. Super Bowl ads with Canadian commercials has been sacked.
As part of the newly signed trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico, Canada has agreed to treat all programs equally when it comes to subbing in ads. The policy means the Super Bowl cannot be singled out as the Canadian Radio-Television and Communications Commission had intended in a 2015 policy decision.
Annex 15-D of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) reads:
“Canada shall rescind Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-334 and Broadcasting Order CRTC 2016-335. With respect to simultaneous substitution of commercials during the retransmission in Canada of the program referenced in those measures, Canada may not accord the program treatment less favorable than the treatment accorded to other programs originating in the United States retransmitted in Canada.”
As with other parts of the USMCA, the deal would still need to be ratified by all three countries for this policy to be enacted.
On his blog, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist said there is also the possibility that so-called “simultaneous substitution” is abandoned altogether in Canada.
Still, a policy that kills “sim-sub” has never been put forward by the CRTC or the Trudeau government.
BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) subsidiary, Bell Media is the current Canadian broadcast rights holder of the Super Bowl and would be the biggest corporate beneficiary of this policy change. Both Bell and the NFL had made numerous attempts to reverse the CRTC policy which it said was unfair and penalized Canadian advertisers.
BNN Bloomberg is a division of Bell Media, which is owned by BCE.