About Us

Our History

our history header

Originally founded in 1985 to combat significant budget cuts to the CBC, Friends of Canadian Media has evolved into a non-partisan citizens’ movement that stands up for Canadian voices in Canadian media. From letter-writing campaigns and petitions to on-the-ground meetings with MPs and senators, we are a constant presence in Ottawa. Backed by leading-edge policy and opinion research, we lobby the government, engage key stakeholders, and mobilize citizens to take action.

Friends of Canadian Media Timeline

Since 1985, Friends of Canadian Media has been amplifying the voices of Canadians who believe that public broadcasting is sacred, fearless journalism preserves our democracy, and that telling our own stories helps bring Canadians together and fortifies our sovereignty.


The new Mulroney Government slashes $100 million from the CBC’s budget. CBC fires some 1,150 employees to stay afloat.

open letter 1985


Ian Morrison convenes a group of concerned citizens to fight these cuts. The newly formed Friends of Public Broadcasting takes out a two-page ad in The Globe and Mail. It contains an open letter to Prime Minister Mulroney, signed by 1,200 Canadians, each of whom donated $20. A movement in defence of Canadian public broadcasting is born.


Friends of Public Broadcasting becomes Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. Prominent Canadians including Pierre Burton and Adrienne Clarkson join the cause.


Alongside the Council of Canadians, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting launches “100 Days of Action” against cuts to CBC proposed in the federal budget.



Prime Minister Jean Chretien breaks election promise and makes massive cuts to the CBC. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting rallies with a campaign called “Keep the Promise” in the next election, compelling candidates to pledge to keep the election promise to the CBC. Many who refuse are replaced with candidates willing to take the pledge. The Liberals increase CBC funding in their 1998 budget.

open letter 1998


Friends of Canadian Broadcasting stops Bill C-44, which would give the Prime Minister the authority to fire CBC’s President at will.

Dalton Camp Award


The Dalton Camp Award is launched, an annual prize for the best essay on the subject of media and democracy.


Friends of Canadian Broadcasting heads off the Harper government’s agenda to privatize the CBC and delays the introduction of ads to CBC Radio Two. Thanks to our petitions, both proposals are eventually dropped.


Friends of Canadian Broadcasting supporters submit more than 3,400 interventions to the CRTC during the CBC licence renewal process.

2015 We Vote CBC


Election Canada reports that Friends of Canadian Broadcasting was the most active non-profit organization during the federal election. Justin Trudeau rushes to accede to the demands of our “We Vote CBC” campaign just before the election and wins a majority government. His 2016 federal budget pledge is $675 million in new funding for the CBC over several years.

2017 close the loophole


Friends of Canadian Broadcasting commissions research identifying a loophole in the Income Tax Act that allows Canadian corporations to spend more than $5 billion in digital advertising expenditures on foreign platforms tax-free and calls on Ottawa to close this loophole to level the playing field for Canadian broadcasters and news media.



Founder, Ian Morrison, steps down and Daniel Bernhard is announced as the new Executive Director of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.



Our “We Choose” election campaign uses lawn signs, petitions, leaflets, and public meetings to help elect pro-CBC MPs in 20 key ridings during the 2019 federal election.  The Globe and Mail profiles the campaign.

2020-wanted poster hoarding


“Wanted” posters of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are plastered on streets across Canada, introducing the issue of “news theft” by foreign tech giants. Two years later, the Liberal government introduces the Online News Act.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting publishes research on the legal issues surrounding online harms. We play an active role with other stakeholders to help the government craft practical and enforceable solutions that will force online platforms to create safe spaces for Canadians online. (Click here to read the report)

2021 EOY fundraising email header celebs IACC


Friends of Canadian Broadcasting becomes FRIENDS. Cultural icons such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Colin Mochrie, Adrienne Clarkson, Jann Arden, and Andrew Phung lend their faces to our “I Am CanCon” election campaign, drawing attention to the importance of telling our own stories.

Marla Boltman, Executive Director, Friends of Canadian Media

Jan 2022

Marla Boltman, a trusted and passionate leader in the Canadian media sector, joins FRIENDS as the new Executive Director.

May 2022

FRIENDS appears at Heritage Committee hearing to testify in support of the Bill-C11, the Online Streaming Act, legislation that would finally ensure that foreign streaming platforms contribute their fair share to original Canadian content.

Sep 2022

Cabinet orders the CRTC to reconsider its CBC licence renewal decision. Thanks to a successful petition by FRIENDS and others, the decision was sent back to the CRTC for reconsideration. FRIENDS becomes part of a rare club as only 14% of all Cabinet appeals under the Broadcasting Act have been granted since 1992.”

Dec 2022

FRIENDS takes out a full-page ad in The Globe and Mail calling on Canadians to “Defend the CBC.” Within days, over 11,000 Canadians sign the pledge to defend our national public broadcaster.

Apr 2023

FRIENDS and our supporters stand up to Elon Musk and Twitter for mislabelling the CBC as government-funded media. Musk backs down.

The Online Streaming Act receives royal assent representing the first update to the Broadcasting Act in over 30 years. FRIENDS succeeds in securing an amendment to the Act to protect Canadian ownership and control of our broadcasting system.

1,207 supporters celebrated National Canadian Film Day with FRIENDS and Reel Canada

May 2023

FRIENDS appears at Senate committee to testify in support of Bill C-18, The Online News Act.

Aug 2023

In response to Meta throttling news in Canada, more than 4,500 Canadians write to their MPs, urging them to join our 48-hour Go Dark Campaign to boycott Meta’s platforms. Elected representatives from various political backgrounds rallied to our cause.

Nov 2023

FRIENDS participates in National Philanthropy Day and publishes a full-page ad asking Canadians to “Stand Up for Canadian News”.

Dec 2023

As part of implementation of the modernized Broadcasting Act, FRIENDS appears before the CRTC to make the case for initial financial contributions from foreign streamers for Canadian content programming, including support for local news.

Jan 2024

FRIENDS changes its name to Friends of Canadian Media.