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Allocation of Paid Broadcasting Time

Under section 335 of the Canada Elections Act, every broadcaster in Canada is required to make available for purchase by registered political parties six and one-half hours (390 minutes) of air time during a federal general election. The Act provides that the allocation of this time among the parties is to be made by agreement among them, or failing such agreement, by the decision of the Broadcasting Arbitrator.

Section 338 of the Act sets out a statutory formula to be used by the Broadcasting Arbitrator in allocating broadcasting time. That section also gives the Broadcasting Arbitrator the discretion to modify an allocation based on the statutory formula, if he believes that such an allocation would be unfair to a registered party or contrary to the public interest. Since 1992, the Broadcasting Arbitrator has modified the statutory allocation so that one third of the allocated time is divided equally among all registered parties, while two thirds of the allocated time is provided according to the statutory formula.

On an annual basis, the Broadcasting Arbitrator convenes and chairs a meeting of the registered parties to review the allocation of broadcasting time. Additionally, the Broadcasting Arbitrator must convene a meeting for the purpose of reallocating time where a party has been deregistered or has ceased to be eligible for registration, or if two or more registered parties have merged.


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