Radio-Canada Flip-Flops On Name Change

CBC logo. Image: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
CBC logo. Image: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Radio-Canada, the French-language branch of the CBC, announced on June 5 that it was changing its name to “ICI” (the French word for “here”).

So many people objected to the change, however, that on June 10th the president of the CBC said the broadcaster would keep the name Radio-Canada after all.

The organization uses the tagline “Ici Radio-Canada” on its TV and radio news stories. It wanted to “rebrand” itself with a name that could be used for all of its services – television, radio, satellite and website – so it planned to drop “Radio-Canada” from its name and be known simply as “ICI.”

(“Rebrand” means to use a new name or logo to change the way the public thinks of a company or product. Radio-Canada paid $400,000 to a marketing company for advice on changing its name and image.)

But many Canadians were very upset about the name change. They objected to removing the word “Canada” from the name because the organization is part of Canada’s heritage, and because it is paid for with money from Canadian taxpayers.

CBC/Radio-Canada was created by the government in 1936 to be Canada’s national public broadcaster. The organization gets most of the money it needs to operate – about 60 per cent, or $1-billion a year – from the government.

Its official purpose is to provide programming that is “predominantly and distinctively Canadian,” and to “contribute to shared national consciousness and identity.”

Federal Heritage Minister James Moore, who is in charge of giving money to CBC/Radio-Canada, also opposed to new name. He said taxpayers would only be willing to pay for the broadcaster if it was Canadian in content and in name.

The union that represents Radio-Canada employees also objected to the new name. The union also criticized the organization for spending $400,000 on the name change.

There was so much opposition to the plan that CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix announced that the French branch would not drop “Radio-Canada” from its name after all. He said the organization has heard the message “loud and clear” from the public. “We recognize people’s powerful connection to everything that Radio-Canada stands for,” he said.

The radio station will now be called ICI Radio-Canada Première. The television network will be ICI Radio-Canada Télé, and the website will be

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
A brand is a name, symbol or design that is connected to one specific product. Brands are carefully designed so they are memorable and easy to recoginze. For example, McDonald’s brand is its famous golden arches.

Pick a product that you like and identify its brand. Do you think its brand is effective? Why or why not?

Invent a product idea and create branding for it. Make sure to think about the name, symbol, design and colours that will be associated with your brand.

Reading Prompt: Analysing Texts
Newspaper articles are written so there is a flow from the first sentence to the last. Read the article and identify how the journalist connected the first and the last paragraph. Did this structure affect how you read and understood the article?

Analyse texts and explain how various elements in them contribute to meaning (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Analyse a variety of texts, both simple and complex, and explain how the different elements in them contribute to meaning and influence the reader’s reaction (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Grammar Feature: Translation
The English word ‘here’ is ‘ici’ in French.

Use a dictionary, the Internet or a friend to find out the French translations for the following words:
1. cat
2. bicycle
3. homework
4. summer
5. clock
6. hat
7. _______ (you pick the word)
8. _______ (you pick the word)