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Milestones in Television Broadcasting
in Northern Canada

1978 -
The Anik B satellite is launched. Inuit organizations in the eastern Arctic participate in pilot projects to test communications satellites in applications such as TV broadcasting, community communications, distance education and tele-health.

1980 -
The CRTC establishes the Committee on Extension of Service to Northern and Remote Communities (the Therrien Committee). The subsequent report stressed the urgent need for special measures to allow aboriginal people to preserve their languages and foster their culture through various broadcasting initiatives.

1981 -
The CRTC licenses CANCOM to deliver a range of southern programming into northern and remote communities. As part of the license approval, CANCOM is required to provide assistance to northern aboriginal broadcasters.

1982 -
Inuit leaders in the eastern Arctic pressed for a permanent television system, and in January 1982 the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation began broadcasting in allocated slots on CBC North.

1983 -
The Government of Canada announces the Northern Broadcasting Policy and the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program. Public funds are allocated for the production of radio and television programs by thirteen native communications societies across the north.

1985 -
The CRTC releases its Northern Native Broadcasting policy statement. This policy establishes certain short term measures to ensure native broadcasters have access to existing northern distribution systems, but it also emphasizes that a dedicated northern transponder would be required to handle the volume of programming and to ensure that programs were scheduled at appropriate times.

1986 -
The Task Force on Broadcasting Policy (Caplan-Sauvageau report) recommends a satellite transponder be dedicated to servicing northern communities.

1987 -
Northern aboriginal communications societies, as well as CBC and the Government of the Northwest Territories meet to discuss the future of television in the North.

1988 -
The Minister of Communications announces support for a northern aboriginal network to be known as Television Northern Canada (TVNC).

1991 -
The Broadcasting Act of 1991 recognizes, for the first time, that aboriginal broadcasting is an intrinsic part of the Canadian broadcasting system. Section 3(d)(iii) states that the system should "through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, ... and the special place of aboriginal peoples within [Canadian] society."

1991 -
The CRTC licenses TVNC.

1992 -
Inaugural launch of TVNC.

June 1997 -
TVNC Board of Directors votes to move forward towards the establishment of a national aboriginal television network.

November 1997 -
TVNC appears before the CRTC’s hearings into Third National Networks and contends that aboriginal broadcasting should be considered alongside English and French as vital broadcasting services.

December 1997 -
TVNC representatives attend AFN’s Annual General Assembly where AFN unanimously passes a resolution supporting TVNC’s efforts to establish APTN.

January 1998 -
TVNC conducts an Angus Reid survey that finds two out of three Canadians support the idea of a national aboriginal TV network, even if it would mean displacing a currently offered service.

February 1998 -
In Public Notice CRTC 1998-8 the CRTC recognizes TVNC as "a unique and significant undertaking" and that a national aboriginal channel should be "widely available throughout Canada in order to serve the diverse needs of the various Aboriginal communities, as well as other Canadians." The Commission also states it would consider any application by TVNC designed to achieve these objectives.

February 1998 -
TVNC establishes an Advisory Group of southern aboriginal people involved in the media to assist the TVNC Board of Directors in meeting the needs and aspirations of southern aboriginal producers.

June 5, 1998 -
TVNC submits an application to the CRTC for a broadcast license for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). This application contains full details on programming schedule, financial projections, technical specifications, marketing studies and structure.

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network logo February 22, 1999 -
The CRTC grants a broadcast license to the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. APTN's business plan was based on the CRTC granting the network a mandatory carriage status, which would require all cable companies to carry APTN as part of their basic service. While this was accomplished, it was not without opposition.

May 4, 1999 -
Winnipeg is chosen as the site for APTN's uplink and presentation centre.

September 1, 1999
APTN begins broadcasting.

To Northern News & Communications Links

APTN logo used with permission

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