News / Ottawa

Ottawa MPPs are asking TVO to keep local broadcast going

The CRTC is accepting public comments but said it doesn't have the power to reverse the decision.

Steve Paikin, anchor of TVO's flagship current affairs program The Agenda.

TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE

Steve Paikin, anchor of TVO's flagship current affairs program The Agenda.

Provincial politicians in Ottawa are asking TVO to change its mind about a cost-cutting decision to end over-the-air broadcasts outside the greater Toronto area.

Last month the public broadcaster announced it was ending the free signal in Ottawa, prompting a local online petition to keep the transmission going has received over 1300 signatures.

TVO has officially filed a notice with the CRTC to end the transmission in in Ottawa, Belleville, Chatham, Cloyne, Kitchener, London, Thunder Bay and Windsor in order to save the company $1 million.

“The decommissioning of the transmitters is warranted because it will permit TVO to address current financial challenges relating to constrained government funding and inflationary cost increases,” reads the application.

CRTC spokesperson Céline Legault said in this case the authority does not have the power to force TVO to keep the eight transmitters on, since keeping the GTA signal will fulfill the conditions of their broadcast license.

People can still submit official comments about the decision, but Legault said the public consultation is to “ensure interested parties are aware of TVO’s intention.”

The public broadcaster’s channel will remain available for those paying for cable television and online.

Ottawa South MPP John Fraser and Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi both confirmed they are disappointed by the decision and are trying to have it reversed.

Fraser said TVO has an independent board who makes broadcasting decisions, but he has reached out to the Ministry of Education to voice his concerns on behalf of Ottawa residents.

“I think it’s important for TVO to take a really hard look at this and have a plan to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind,” he said.

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