If enacted, the changes would move the Canadian broadcast framework closer to that found in the U.S. The Federal Communications Commission has a limited rule against broadcast hoaxes that provides:
No licensee or permittee of any broadcast station shall broadcast false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe if:
(a) The licensee knows this information is false;
(b) It is forseeable that broadcast of the information will cause substantial public harm, and
(c) Broadcast of the information does in fact directly cause substantial public harm.
Any programming accompanied by a disclaimer will be presumed not to pose foreseeable harm if the disclaimer clearly characterizes the program as a fiction and is presented in a way that is reasonable under the circumstances.
The move toward U.S.-style regulation comes as there is mounting debate in that country over the tone and rhetoric of broadcasting from across the political spectrum. The proposed CRTC changes are currently open for comment until February 9, 2011. It plans for the new rules to take effect on September 1, 2011.