Board Profile - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Corporation Mandate

The mandate of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC/Radio Canada) is to inform, enlighten and entertain; to contribute to the development of a shared national consciousness and identity; to reflect the regional and cultural diversity of Canada; and to contribute to the development of Canadian talent and culture. To achieve its mandate, the CBC/Radio Canada produces, procures, and distributes Canadian programming in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages and broadcasts a selection of programs around the world.

The Role of the Corporation

Section 3 of the Broadcasting Act (the Act) sets out the broadcasting policy for Canada and includes provisions specifically addressing the role of the Corporation in the Canadian broadcasting system. In particular, paragraphs 3(1)(l) and (m) specify:

  1. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as the national public broadcaster, should provide radio and television services incorporating a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains;
  2. The programming provided by the Corporation should:
    1. be predominantly and distinctively Canadian;
    2. reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions;
    3. actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression;
    4. be in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, including the particular needs and circumstances of English and French linguistic minorities;
    5. strive to be of equivalent quality in English and French;
    6. contribute to shared national consciousness and identity;
    7. be made available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means and as resources become available for the purpose; and,
    8. reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada.

In addition to this domestic mandate, the Corporation is also required by section 46(2) of the Act to provide an international service which must comply with license conditions and regulations issued by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the "CRTC"), as well as any directions issued by the Governor in Council (GIC).

No other Canadian broadcaster — commercial or public — has the same breadth of mandate or the same scale or scope of operations as CBC/Radio-Canada.

The Role and Responsibilities of the Board of Directors

The Directors are stewards of the Corporation. They have the responsibility to oversee the conduct of the business, direct management and endeavour to ensure that all major issues affecting the business and affairs of the Corporation are given proper consideration.

While the Act allocates the responsibility "for the management of the business, activities and other affairs of the Corporation" to the Board, the Board then delegates this responsibility to the President and Chief Executive Officer, who is charged with the day-to-day leadership and management of the Corporation and, pursuant to the Act, the "supervision over, and direction of, the work and staff of the Corporation".

The President and CEO, and his or her management team, in consultation with the Board, formulate the strategies and plans and present them to the Board for approval. The Board approves the strategies of the Corporation, and the policies within which it is managed, and then steps back and monitors and evaluates management performance. Reciprocally, the President and CEO keeps the Board fully informed of the progress of the Corporation towards the achievement of its objectives and of all material deviations from the goals, objectives and policies established by the Board in a timely and candid manner. Once the Board has approved the strategies and policies, it acts in a unified and cohesive manner in supporting and guiding the President and CEO.

Challenges, Issues and initiatives

CBC/Radio-Canada faces a variety of challenges as it strives to fulfill its mandate to Canadians. Some examples include:

  • Remaining relevant as a public broadcaster in the second largest, and one of the most diverse countries in the world.
  • Contending with an increasingly concentrated broadcasting environment. CBC/Radio-Canada is the only national conventional television broadcaster in the country not owned by a cable or satellite company.
  • Proactively demonstrating its accountability and transparency to Canadians, which it does through a number of reporting mechanisms.
  • Managing significant financial and regulatory pressures.

Despite these challenges, the road ahead for the public broadcaster has never been more clear. CBC/Radio-Canada remains focused on achieving the goals it has set out in its five-year strategy, 2015: Everyone, Every way.

Strategy 2015: Everyone, Every way, stakes the claim that we can be something for, and mean something to, every Canadian. And, we’ll get there by providing the following:

  • More Canadian content: Network programming and national public spaces
  • More regional presence: Regional presence and community spaces
  • More digital services: New platforms and digital spaces.

Over the last year, the Corporation has made great strides in meeting its 2015 objectives and is proud that its progress can be publicly tracked through the regular release of its Strategy 2015 progress reports.

Core Attributes, Competencies and Experience

The core attributes, competencies and experience that must be demonstrated by all Directors include:

  • Commitment – Prepares for each Board and committee meeting by reading the reports and background materials provided for the meeting; maintains an excellent Board and committee meeting attendance record; requests information necessary for decision making; and participates fully and frankly in the deliberations and discussions of the Board.
  • Financial Literacy – The ability to read and assess financial statements.
  • Impact and Influence – The awareness of the impact of organizational issues, policies and decisions on public interest and concern and the capacity to be sensitive to the differing needs and agendas of multiple stakeholders and to act to convince or influence others in order to have a specific impact or effect.
  • Independence – The ability to think, speak and act independently with confidence and courage; and have the confidence and will to make tough decisions, including the strength to challenge the majority view when appropriate.
  • Informed Judgement – The ability to provide wise, thoughtful counsel, to analyze, ask relevant questions at the strategic level, consider the different stakeholders' perspectives, and understand situations and problems by addressing underlying issues.
  • Integrity and Accountability – Demonstrates high ethical standards and integrity, being willing to act on and remain accountable for board decisions, meeting the accountabilities outlined in the legislation and by-laws, and seeing oneself as serving the interests of Canadians.
  • Leadership – The capacity to inspire and mobilize energies and talents to work towards a shared vision and the ability to convey ideas to achieve understanding and acceptance and to inspire appropriate action.

Specific Skills, Knowledge and Experience

The types of skills, knowledge and experience that are needed by the Board as a whole, but not necessarily in each Director, are as follows:

  • Accounting / Auditing / Finance
  • Broadcasting / Journalism / Media / Production
  • Communications / Marketing / Public Affairs
  • Corporate Governance
  • Economics / Social Sciences
  • Executive, Senior Management, or previous Board experience
  • Financial Literacy / Financial Designation
  • Human Resources / Labour Relations
  • Information Technology / Multimedia
  • Legal / Regulatory Affairs
  • Public Policy / Government Affairs
  • Real Estate Management
  • Strategic Planning / Risk Management


The Board should be representative of Canada’s regions, linguistic duality, cultural diversity and genders.

Working Conditions

The Board meets at least six times a year, generally twice in Ottawa, once in Toronto, once in Montreal and twice in other parts of the country. Committee meetings are ordinarily held in conjunction with Board meetings (i.e., the day preceding the board meeting), but may meet on other specified days prior to Board meetings.