Capital Cities Communications Inc., Re, (1975) 7 N.R. 18 (FCA)

JudgeThurlow, Urie and Ryan, JJ.
CourtFederal Court of Appeal (Canada)
Case DateJanuary 17, 1975
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1975), 7 N.R. 18 (FCA)

Capital Cities Com. Inc., Re (1975), 7 N.R. 18 (FCA)

MLB headnote and full text

Re Capital Cities Communications Inc.

Indexed As: Capital Cities Communications Inc., Re

Federal Court of Appeal

Thurlow, Urie and Ryan, JJ.

January 17, 1975.

Summary:

This case arose out of an application by a Toronto cablevision company to the Canadian Radio Television Commission for authority to delete commercials from the television signal of WBEN broadcasting from Buffalo, New York. WBEN intervened and opposed the application by the Toronto cablevision company. The Canadian Radio Television Commission allowed the application and amended the license of the Toronto cablevision company to permit random deletions of commercial messages from the television signal from WBEN in Buffalo.

On appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, the appeal was dismissed and the order of the Canadian Radio Television Commission was affirmed. The Federal Court of Appeal stated that the Canadian Radio Television Commission made the order pursuant to s. 17 of the Broadcasting Act and that s. 17 was within the legislative competence of the Parliament of Canada. The Federal Court of Appeal stated that the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada over broadcasting includes both the transmission and the reception of signals - see paragraph 10. The Federal Court of Appeal stated that the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada respecting broadcasting extends to the content of broadcasts by a cable television system - see paragraphs 11 to 13.

The Federal Court of Appeal stated that Article 21 of the Inter-American Radio Communications Convention 1937, which prohibited rebroadcasts without permission, did not apply to the Toronto cablevision company because it was not rebroadcasting by radio communication - see paragraph 20.

Note that an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of Canada from the judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal.

Telecommunications - Topic 2684

Cable television - Regulation of program content - Commercial advertisements - Pursuant to s. 17 of the Broadcasting Act, the Canadian Radio Television Commission authorized a Toronto cablevision company to delete commercials from the television signal of WBEN broadcasting from Buffalo, New York - The Federal Court of Appeal declared valid an order of the Canadian Radio Television Commission which amended the license of the cablevision company so as to permit random deletions of commercial messages by the cablevision company from the television signal from WBEN Buffalo.

Telecommunications - Topic 5866

Treaties respecting television broadcasts - Rebroadcasting prohibitions - Article 21 of the Inter-American Radio Communications Convention 1937 prohibited rebroadcasting without per mission from the originating station - Canada and United States were parties to the treaty - A Toronto cablevision company was authorized by the Canadian Radio Television Commission to delete the commercials from the television signal of WBEN Buffalo, New York - The Federal Court of Appeal stated that Article 21 of the treaty did not apply to the Toronto cablevision company because the television signal from WBEN was not rebroadcast by the cablevision company by radio communication - See paragraph 20.

Constitutional Law - Topic 6644

Subjects excepted from section 92 of the British North America Act 1867 - Interprovincial works and undertakings - Radio and television - Pursuant to section 17 of the Broadcasting Act the Canadian Radio Television Commission authorized a Toronto cablevision company to delete commercials from the television signal of WBEN broadcasting from Buffalo, New York - The Federal Court of Appeal held that section 17 of the Broadcasting Act was within the legislative competence of the Parliament of Canada - The Federal Court of Appeal stated that the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada over broadcasting included both the transmission and the reception of signals - See paragraph 10 - The Federal Court of Appeal stated that the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada respecting broadcasting extended to the content of broadcasts by a cable television system - See paragraphs 11 to 13.

Administrative Law - Topic 2204

Natural justice - Policies or rules adopted by a board or tribunal - Right of a claimant to a hearing for the purpose of questioning the policies or rules of a board - A television station, WBEN from Buffalo, New York, intervened before the Canadian Radio Television Commission with respect to an application by a Toronto cablevision company - The application by the Toronto cablevision company was for authority to delete commercials on a random basis from programs broadcast by WBEN - The application was granted by the Canadian Radio Television Commission - WBEN claimed that the Canadian Radio Television Commission "shut their ears" to the intervention by WBEN - The Federal Court of Appeal stated that the commission was obliged to listen to the objections of the intervenor with respect to policies of the Commission - The Federal Court of Appeal stated that the Canadian Radio Television Commission did not "shut their ears" to the intervention by WBEN - See paragraphs 15 to 17.

Cases Noticed:

Re Regulation and Control of Radio Communication in Canada, [1932] A.C. 304, folld. [para. 10].

Re CFRB and the Attorney General of Canada, [1973] 3 O.R. 819, folld. [para. 11].

Public Utilities Commission v. The Victoria Cablevision Ltd. et al. (1965), 52 W.W.W. 286, folld. [para. 13].

Fortnightly Corp. v. United Artists Television Inc. (1967), 392 U.S. 390, folld. [para. 13].

British Oxygen Co. Ltd. v. Minister of Technology, [1971] A.C. 610, folld. [para. 16].

Statutes Noticed:

British North America Act, 1867, sect. 92(10)(a).

Broadcasting Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. B-11, sect. 3(c) [para. 14]; sect. 17 [para. 8].

Inter-American Radio Communications Convention 1937, art. 21.

Counsel:

G. Henderson, Q.C. and G. Robinson, for the applicants;

J.J. Robinette, Q.C. and P.S. Grant, for the respondent;

Arthur C. Pennington and Duff F. Friesen, for the intervenor.

This appeal was heard by the Federal Court of Appeal at Ottawa, Ontario on December 11, 12 and 13, 1974. Judgment was delivered by the Federal Court of Appeal on January 17, 1975 and the following opinions were filed:

RYAN, J. - see paragraphs 1 to 23.

THURLOW, J. - see paragraphs 24 to 27.

URIE, J. concurred with RYAN, J.

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