The Canada Media Fund (CMF) received a pledge of $172 million over five years in this week’s federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) received a pledge of $172 million over five years in this week’s federal budget to keep it at its 2016-17 funding level of $350 million annually, as private sector contributions decline. The budget also opened the door to granting charitable status to news organizations to support investigative and public interest journalism, as well as proposing $50 million over five years to support independent local journalism in underserved communities. While money was earmarked to collect data on foreign OTT services operating in Canada, Unifor was among the groups decrying a lack of measures to close the so-called “digital loophole” in the Income Tax Act that would place Google and Facebook advertising under the same rules as TV and print advertising. In an effort to “fill gaps in knowledge for new and emerging cross-border services industries, such as content streaming services,” the government is pledging $15.1 million over five years to help Statistics Canada “address data gaps in international trade in services” including digital products and services. Addressing the taxation controversy, Finance Min. Bill Morneau said a tax system for the digital sector needs to be determined on a global scale.

Patrick Brown, former Ontario PC leader, has sent a notice of libel to Bell Media. In the notice, Brown alleges CTV engaged in “false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory” reporting, naming the network, Bell Media, anchor Lisa LaFlamme, reporters Glen McGregor and Rachel Aiello, as well as producers, editors, researchers and fact checkers who worked on the story. CP24, which is also owned by Bell Media, and reporter Travis Dhanraj are also named. Brown resigned his leadership post on Jan. 24 hours after a CTV News report aired in which he was accused of sexual misconduct by two women.

Videotron is now enabling its customers traveling abroad to place toll-free calls over Wi-Fi to a local or Canadian number in more than 100 countries. The new Wi-Fi Calling service lets eligible mobile customers connect to a Wi-Fi network to make voice calls and send text messages. It’s currently available for the iPhone 7, 7+, 8, 8+ and X, Samsung S7 and S7 Edge with more devices to be added in the coming weeks.

Huawei and Bell Canada have announced successful Wireless to the Home (WTTH) trials in the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum bands utilizing Huawei’s 5G-oriented Massive MIMO and 8T8R technology. The trials were conducted in the small Ontario communities of Orangeville, Feversham and Bethany. Bell plans deployment of WTTH to rural locations beginning in the second quarter of 2018.

The CRTC has granted Telus, Rogers and TBayTel Inc. more time to implement new requirements of the Wireless Code. The regulator says the companies demonstrated they are facing barriers that made it “financially unreasonable” and “technically impossible” to make required changes to their billing management systems by the original deadline, which was Dec. 1, 2017. TBayTel has an extra year to move to a new billing system, while Rogers has until May 31 and Telus, Mar. 31.

Bloomberg Canada and journalist Andreo Calonzo are among those nominated for the 2018 Financial Journalism Awards. Sponsored by the CFA Society Toronto, the awards recognize the contributions of Canadian-based publications and journalists in helping consumers and advisors gain a better understanding of the investment profession. The winners for each award category will be announced at the awards reception in March.

Anthony Chelvanathan, Julie Markle, Leia Rogers, and Neil Shapiro

Astral has announced that its ninth annual Carte Blanche ad agency competition will feature a a national jury this year, eliminating a general vote from industry members. The 2018 Carte Blanche jury is composed of: Anthony Chelvanathan, Leo Burnett; Julie Markle, Ogilvy; Leia Rogers, Rethink; Neil Shapiro, DDB; Anne-Claude Chénier, Cossette; and Luc Du Sault, lg2. Once again this year, all entrants will be working with the same format: large format digital billboard.

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