TVO pulled from cable, satellite outside Ontario

TVO, Ontario’s public broadcaster, has been pulled from cable and satellite systems outside its home province, including Bell satellite TV, because of a carriage dispute.

According to TVO, it was asked by the government to reduce its reliance on public funding and has decided to try to earn revenue from distribution outside Ontario. As of Sept. 1, 2011, cable and satellite providers are required to get permission from over-the-air television stations before distributing them outside their home markets. TVO has more than 200 transmitters across Ontario (though most of them will be shut down between July 31, 2012, and October 2013).

Videotron, the main cable player in Quebec, is still carrying the channel on its digital service on channel 77. Rogers cable customers outside Ontario (it also operates in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and parts of eastern Quebec) have also lost the service.

Bell’s media relations didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but a customer service representative said “it was removed due to poor viewership.”

The fact that I’m hearing about this more than a week after it happened suggests they may be right.

TVO is known mainly for its children’s, educational and current affairs programming, including The Agenda with Steve Paikin

TVO’s Facebook page has received a few comments from out-of-province viewers upset that the channel has been pulled. It responds that it has failed to reach an agreement with Bell but is negotiating with Shaw and Telus.

Here’s TVO’s full response to the dispute:

New Broadcast Distribution Regulations went into effect on September 1, 2011 that require cable or satellite distributors to obtain consent from a TV station in order to distribute that station as a distant signal. For TVO this means distribution of our signal outside Ontario.
As a publicly funded agency of the Government of Ontario, we believe that we have a responsibility to earn revenues from the sale of our service outside of our home province. TVO is willing to consent to cable and satellite distributors carrying our signal outside the province, provided that we’re fairly compensated. Since cable or satellite distributors receive subscriber revenues driven by having TVO as part of their offering, we feel it’s reasonable to be compensated.
Unfortunately, we could not come to an agreement with Bell to compensate TVO for carrying our signal outside of Ontario, and the decision was made to cease offering our signal outside of Ontario.
We hope that you will continue to visit and, which offer an opportunity for people to connect with much of TVO’s high quality educational programming. For example, as you may know, we offer podcasts and streaming video of all of our in-house content, as well as streaming video of many of our acquired programs at

Affected Bell TV customers are reporting that they’re being offered $10 refunds if they complain to customer service.

21 thoughts on “TVO pulled from cable, satellite outside Ontario

  1. James Lawlor

    My son loves TVOkids. It is the best children’s channel as it has no commercials. CBC kids is similar but for some reason my son doesn’t like it.
    Your sentence is a bit unclear, Videotron is still carrying the channel on its cable service channel 77 ?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Videotron is still carrying the channel on its cable service channel 77 ?

      Yes. It’s not clear yet whether that’s because they’ve come to an agreement.

  2. Kevin

    As I have videotron, I did not notice.
    I was contemplating a switch this summer, but maybe not since TVO and TFO are 2 stations thu watch a lot

  3. ATSC

    TVO can still be received over the air in certain parts of South Western Quebec.

    Ottawa, ON
    24.1 – TVO (Digital)

    Hawksberry, ON
    39 – TFO (Analog)
    48 – TVO (Analog)

    If the budget cuts have effected TVO, and you can bet those same budget cuts have effected TFO as well. But, has TFO taken the same approach towards meeting its budget needs?

      1. Hercules 130

        William is right. I am too with Bell Fibe. TVO is alive and well in channels 265 and 1265 (HD). To get it, however, one needs to subscribe to the time shifting pack.

  4. John

    Thanks for this post.

    I called Bell about this last week when I noticed TVO was missing from my satellite package. They told me it was done to make room for another channel but the call centre agent didn’t know what channel that was. She offered to forward the complaint officially as enough complaints may prompt Bell to reverse the decision. There were about 100 complaints so far when I called. But clearly, it’s more than just a case of Bell switching up the channels.

    I also asked if I may write to someone specifically to express why I’d like TVO back but apparently, they don’t have an email address for that. My son loves TVOKids and I loves me some Victorian Farm so, understandably, I’m a little miffed.

  5. Sheldon

    We have Shaw (StarChoice) Satellite service. Checked tonight and TVO is still available on our dish.

  6. Norma

    I am in Montreal and was considering switching to Bell this fall when my contract is up. Now I won’t because TVO is one of my favourite channels. I will be staying with Videotron as long as they carry this station.

    A friend of mine is thinking of breaking her contract with Bell and going back to Videotron so she can get TVO Why can’t Bell tell us the honest reason why they are no longer carrying TVO not because people weren’t watching it.

  7. liz

    We regret that TVO was pulled by Bell here in British Columbia. We watch
    Steve Paikin’s Agenda when topics involve all of Canada (which is often) —-other programs are of interest to us also. I complained to Bell, who claimed TVO was to blame. We were 0ffered no compensation and little sympathy. Liz


  8. V Shipman

    I too complained to Bell (no $10 sweetener was offered to me however…) and remain frustrated that TVO has been dropped as I loved the UK programming it offered. Very disappointed.

  9. Maggie

    My daughter has been a loyal TVO customer since 4 years old. She is almost 10 now. She has been complaining to me that her TVO was gone. I didn’t pay any attention until now. I definitely will complain to bell and try to cancel all my bell program in the fall if nothing changes. If videotron confirm they has agreement with TVO I will switch.

  10. Pedro

    I really felt disapointed that TVO is our of air My son 4 yrs old really loved that channel, I hope is going to be available again.

  11. warren

    I go to the list of channels on the Bell website and it says TVO is available as part of their
    ‘Partour en Canada” listing. So I am confused as I cannot get it here in Montreal.

  12. Matty

    Hi Kevin,

    Just to let you know, I live in Gatineau and have service with Videotron, and currently receive TVO on channel 10.

  13. Gordon Baker

    I can’t understand the pressure placed on the good channels, TVO and Vision; they march to a different drummer which is refreshing.

    If the CRTC was really a friend of the people, it would prohibit bundling of channels; I pay Rogers for a bundle that gives me sequences of 4 or more more identical channels or a repetitive sequence of them. I think they learned this from DNA.

    Unbundle and we’ll see what channels we really want and what are being forced on us’

  14. Walter

    I am giving you an update. On the Bell channel listing for channels available in Quebec (update November, 2014) and when I do a search according to my postal code, I should be getting TVO on Channel 265. The last time I called Bell (about a year ago), they said that it was not available and they would change the listing of channels. Well, they not only didn’t; when they updated the channel listing they still included it as available in Quebec.

    Is this false advertising ?Is there any remedy for this from Bell? Is this against CRTC rules to falsely list TVO in two places on their website as being available when it isn’t. (By the way Bell technical support intially told me it was available, too!).


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