Under rules introduced by the Canadian Radio Telecommunication Commission, CRTC, Canadians have been excluded from viewing American commercials during Superbowl television broadcasts. For the non-football fan, these creative ads are often the highlight of the game. Canadians would be forced to go to YouTube.com to be able to see the highly anticipated Victoria’s Secret commercials.

In a speech to a London, Ont., business audience on Thursday, CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais announced the ban Canadian TV channels from blacking out U.S. Super Bowl ads in favour of Canadian ones, starting with the big game in early 2017. The decision won’t take effect in time for this Sunday’s game in Phoenix between the New England Patriots and defending champion Seattle Seahawks.  However, it could be in place for next year if Bell Canada affiliate CTV waives its rights to switch ads for the 2016 event.

Currently, the CTRC is undertaking hearings to understand the impact of the internet and streaming video services such as Netflix onto the programming options available for Canadians. Clearly, Blais recognizes that the current status quo cannot stand. In fact, this one isolated announcement seems to reveal little about a well thought out strategy. Broadcasters Bell, Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. will have to continue to make plans in the dark.

Consumers will have to wait too.

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