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Canada’s public broadcaster has launched a new initiative to advance the diversity of its homegrown programming lineup while appearing at the Banff World Media Festival.
On Friday, the CBC said it will require that at least 30 percent of all key creative roles on its new original scripted and unscripted series commissioned from indie producers must be held by people who are Indigenous, Black, People of Color or persons with disabilities.
“We know we have work to do to better represent the voices and lived experiences of creative talent from Indigenous, Black and all racially diverse communities as well as those with disabilities, all underrepresented groups that are significantly underemployed in the Canadian industry,” Sally Catto, general manager, entertainment, factual & sports at the CBC said in a statement.
For scripted drama, comedy and kids live action series, the 30 percent requirement will apply to all writer, director and principal performer roles, and will be stipulated in all contracts with indie producers. The CBC initiative follows a series of diversity commitments made by Canadian broadcasters in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd in the U.S.
It also comes after the pubcaster faced controversies around representation on two of its original series commissioned from indie producers, the indigenous drama Trickster and the Kim’s Convenience comedy, which now streams on Netflix.
Canadian film director Michelle Latimer apologized for wrongly claiming Indigenous family roots in a Quebec Algonquin community after helming the first season of Trickster, a CBC TV drama about an Indigenous teen struggling to support his dysfunctional family as myth, magic, and monsters seep into his life. The controversy around Latimer’s indigenous ancestry sparked criticism from the Canadian film industry, where generous subsidies are increasingly on offer to First Nations filmmakers amid an industry reckoning.
And in social media posts, two stars of CBC’s Kim’s Convenience comedy — including Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu — shared behind-the-scenes experiences of working on a show they claim suffered from diversity issues, unfair pay and racist storylines on season five.
The CBC’s new diversity commitment comes ahead of a 2021 Fall and Winter season filled with diversity-themed series like Coroner, Diggstown, The Porter, Pretty Hard Cases, Run the Burbs and Sort Of.
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