CHLF-TV

CHLF-TV, TFO, Toronto

Ontario French-Language Educational Communications Authority

StationYearChannelNetwork AffiliateOwner/Info
CHLF-TV
2007
25 (Sudbury)
Télé-Française d'Ontario
Ontario French-Language Educational Communications Authority
CHLF-TV
1994
25 (Sudbury)
Télé-Française d'Ontario
The Ontario Educational Communications Authority
CHLF-TV
1989
25 (Sudbury)
La Chaîne Française
The Ontario Educational Communications Authority
1986

On December 3, the CRTC approved the application by The Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario) for a broadcasting licence to carry on a French-language educational television network operation. The licence would expire September 30, 1991. TVOntario operated as a non-commercial educational broadcaster, established by provincial legislation. Since its inception, TVOntario operated on the principle that its service should be available in both official languages. With only 5% of its schedule initially in French, TVOntario expanded the range of its French-language programming to 17%, including 15.5 hours per week scheduled from noon to midnight on Sunday, as well as 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. Thursday and 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The new French-language network was the result of a joint initiative of the governments of Canada and Ontario which committed $30 million for its establishment and operation, with the federal Department of Communications and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture each contributing $15 million. This is in addition to the $8.6 million that TVOntario allocated for French language programming in the projections it submitted with the application for the renewal of the English language television network service. The new network would draw on TVOntario's existing programming, technical and administrative facilities, and would be distributed via satellite to cable systems throughout the province.

This French-language service would offer a weekly schedule of programs for children, youth and adults that included 7 hours 30 minutes of formal in-school instructional programming; 4 hours of non-formal educational programming, designed to involve viewers in interactive part-time learning courses; and 71 hours of informal, non-structural learning with particular emphasis on Franco-Ontarian interests and concerns. The network would build from an inventory of programs that the French service had already established through TVOntario's Sunday schedule. It proposed that acquired and originally produced Canadian material would make up 67.5% of the broadcast day between 7:00 a.m. and 12:30 a.m., while 59.5% of the programming scheduled from 6 p.m. to midnight would be Canadian.

The Commission noted with respect to the proposed satellite distribution that the Cable Television Regulations, 1986 required all Class 1 and 2 cable systems in Ontario to distribute both the English and French language educational programming services of TVOntario on the basic band on a priority basis. The licensee estimated that of the approximately 1.5 million Ontarians to whom the French-language service was targeted, more than two-thirds already subscribed to cable, while a further 17% had access to it. As a means of supplementing the cable-distributed service, TVOntario also planned to establish television transmitting undertakings in areas where the francophone population was sufficiently large and had allocated six per cent of the total approved funding for the French service ($1.8 million) for this purpose. The designated areas included Ottawa, Cornwall, Windsor, Sudbury and Hawkesbury/Rockland. The licensee advised the Commission at the hearing that it would soon submit applications for licences to establish retransmitters to serve the latter two regions

1987

La Chaîne Française (known on-air as La Chaîne) began operations at midnight, January 1. Up to this time, TVOntario broadcast in French on Sundays from noon until sign-off. Following the launch of La Chaîne, this Sunday service continued on TVO while at the same time, La Chaîne offered the same time period in English. La Chaîne was the only French-language television network in Canada whose operations were based outside of Quebec.

On September 9, TVOntario (OECA) received approval to operate French-language television transmitters at Hawkesbury and Sudbury, on channels 39 and 25 with effective radiated powers of 6,840 watts and 164,400 watts respectively to rebroadcast the programs of La Chaîne française, received via satellite

1987-88

With La Chaîne in full operation and the expansion of its daytime schools schedule, French-language production increased by 65% over the previous year.

1988-89

Jacques Bensimon was named managing director of French-language programming.

1989

The Sudbury and Hawkesbury over-the-air transmitters began operation.

1990

On March 23, the CRTC approved applications for the operation of transmitters for La Chaîne française at: New Osnaburgh (channel 20), Sultan (channel 28), Hawk Junction (channel 19), Harris Township (channel 16), Evanturel (channel 22), Lac Ste-Thérèse (channel 32) and Brethour (channel 26). Transmitter power for all: 20 watts. Each would receive its programming via satellite.

On September 19, the CRTC approved the application for a low-power television transmitter to serve Longlac. This undertaking would distribute the programs of La Chaîne française on channel 17 with a transmitter power of 40 watts.

On October 17, for administrative reasons, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licences for CHLF-TV-1 Sudbury (formerly CISF-TV-1) and CHLF-TV-2 Hawkesbury (formerly CHLF-TV), which rebroadcast the programming of La Chaîne française, from 1 October 1991 to 31 August 1992. This term would enable the Commission to consider renewal of these licences at the same time as that of La Chaîne française.

1990-91

La Chaîne held its first membership drive, Le Telethon.

1991

On January 4, the CRTC approved the applications for licences for transmitters at Oba and Summer Beaver to rebroadcast, on channels 17 and 11, respectively, and with a respective transmitter power of 20 watts and 5 watts, the programs of La Chaîne française, received via satellite. The Commission issued licences to The Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario) expiring August 31, 1992. This term would enable the Commission to consider the renewal of these licences at the same time as that of "La Chaîne française". 

On May 13, the CRTC approved the application for a transmitter at Pembroke to broadcast on channel 17 with a transmitter power of 58,100 watts, the programs of La Chaîne française, received via satellite.

On November 22, the CRTC approved an application by TVOntario for authority to operate a transmitter at Kirby's Corner to rebroadcast the programs of La Chaîne française, on channel 51 with a transmitter power of 40 watts.

1992

On May 22, the CRTC approved the application to add a La Chaîne française transmitter at Kaboni, operating on channel 28, with a transmitter power of 40 watts.

On November 27, the Pembroke transmitter (channel 17) began operations.

Concern was being expressed in the legislature about the cost of the French service. It got about a tenth of the viewing but took about a third of TVO's $80 million budget.

1992-93

Panorama, La Chaîne's flagship live public affairs and arts program was launched.

La Chaîne's Ottawa office opened - serviced by TVO's mobile production unit.

La Chaîne introduced a $600,000 documentary fund.

1993-94

La Chaîne became the first Canadian broadcaster to offer major foreign films such as Cinéma Paradiso and Canadian feature films like Jésus de Montréal.

1994

La Chaîne Française became known as TFO (Télé-Française de l'Ontario).

It should be noted that with over-the-air transmitters on the air in a variety of locations, TVO and TFO discontinued the Sunday afternoon and evening switch of language programming (French on TVO and English on TFO).

1995

On January 31, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority received CRTC approval to amend the licences of the English and French-language educational television programming undertakings held by TVOntario by deleting the authority to operate at Jogues the transmitter of the English-language service CICA-TV-10; and by adding the authority to operate a transmitter at Jogues, to distribute the French-language service, "La Chaîne". TVOntario indicated that 90% of the population of Jogues requested the replacement of the English-language service with "La Chaîne".

On October 27, the CRTC approved the addition of a transmitter for TFO at Val Rita, operating on channel 28, with an effective radiated power of 20 watts.

1997

On October 2, the CRTC approved part of TVOntario's application that would allow it by condition of licence, to have TFO distributed (received via satellite), on the basic service of the cable distribution undertakings licensed to Fundy Cable Ltd. in New Brunswick. The Commission considered that approval of the application was in the interest of New Brunswick's large Francophone community, particularly since the province did not have its own educational television service.

1997-98

The TFO and TVO broadcast signals were switched from analog to digital, which led to a reduction of more than 50% in ongoing satellite transmission costs.

1999

On October 14, TFO received CRTC approval for the addition of a low-power transmitter at Nakina, operating on channel 9, with a transmitter power of 10 watts.

2000

On March 1, The CRTC, by majority vote, denied the application by The Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario) relating to carriage in the province of Quebec of its French-language educational television service known as TFO. Specifically, the applicant had requested that all Class 1 cable systems and MDS distribution undertakings serving Quebec be required, on a mandatory basis, to distribute TFO on a discretionary analog tier for a fee.

2006

On June 29, the Government of Ontario announced a restructuring of TVOntario. TFO would be taken over by a new, separate Crown corporation - the Ontario French-Language Educational Communications Authority (Office des télécommunications éducatives de langue française de l'Ontario), with a separate management and budget.

2007

TFO announced its autonomy from TVO as of April 1. The CRTC did not approve the change until June 28: The Commission approved the application by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated (the applicant), to acquire the assets of the satellite-to-cable programming undertaking CHLF-TV Toronto, currently held by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario). The acquisition of assets of CHLF-TV Toronto also included the acquisition of its transmitters CHLF-TV-1 Sudbury, CHLF-TV-2 Hawkesbury, CHLF-TV-3 Evanturel, CHLF-TV-4 Harris Township, CHLF-TV-5 Hawk Junction, CHLF-TV-6 Lac Ste Thérèse, CHLF-TV-7 New Osnaburgh, CHLF-TV-9 Brethour, CHLF-TV-10 Longlac, CHLF-TV-12 Summer Beaver, CHLF-TV-13 Pembroke, CHLF-TV-14 Kirby's Corner, CHLF-TV-5 Kaboni, CHLF-TV-16 Val Rita and CHLF-TV-18 Nakina, Ontario. The applicant stated that the purpose of its application was to implement the decision of the Ontario government granting full autonomy to the French-language educational television service, TFO. The Commission noted that the low-power community television transmitters CHLF-TV-8 Sultan, CHLF-TV-11 Oba and CHLF-TV-17 Jogues were not included in the broadcasting licence to be issued. The applicant indicated that communities served by these transmitters now received satellite broadcasting signals and that, consequently, these communities had requested that these transmitters be taken out of service. The licence would expire August 31, 2008.

Gisèle Chrétien was chair of TFO.

2008

On July 16, the CRTC renewed the broadcasting licence for the satellite-to-cable television service TFO and its transmitters to August 31, 2015. At this time TFO operated the following transmitters: CHLF-TV-1 Sudbury, CHLF-TV-2 Hawkesbury, CHLF-TV-3 Evanturel, CHLF-TV-4 Harris Township, CHLF-TV-5 Hawk Junction, CHLF-TV-6 Lac Ste-Thérèse, CHLF-TV-7 New Osnaburgh, CHLF-TV-9 Brethour, CHLF-TV-10 Longlac, CHLF-TV-12 Summer Beaver, CHLF-TV-13 Pembroke, CHLF-TV-14 Kirby's Corner, CHLF-TV-15 Kaboni, CHLF-TV-16 Val Rita and CHLF-TV-18 Nakina. In its application, TFO committed to airing at least nine hours of priority programming each week during peak time. This commitment was conditional upon funding from the Canadian Television Fund, which supported TFO programming, continuing during the new licence term. TFO committed to airing at least 39 hours per week of Canadian programming for children and teenagers 2 to 17 years of age during its new licence term. TFO committed to supporting and encouraging Canadian talent and exceeding the Commission's Canadian content requirements by devoting no less than 60% of its programming to the broadcast of Canadian content each broadcast day and no less than 50% in each evening broadcast period. TFO also proposed to create, in collaboration with the Franco-Ontarian independent production community, at least 56 hours of Canadian drama programming, i.e. at least 24 hours more than between 2000 and 2008. The licensee intends to continue broadcasting music series, which would air during peak time. The licensee would not broadcast advertising messages other than those promoting its own programs and activities.

On December 12, the CRTC gave permission for TFO to be made available for distribution in high definition (HD) format.

2009

On March 31, TFO launched an HD simulcast called TFO HD. TFO HD only broadcast a cable and satellite feed and did not broadcast over-the-air. 

2010

TFO named former CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Glenn O'Farrell as its new president and CEO. "TFO is an essential institution for francophone communities throughout Ontario, and is recognized as a producer and distributor of quality educational and cultural content," said O'Farrell, in a statement. "It is imperative that we meet the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the digital media to continue its mission to better serve French life in Ontario." 

2012

On July 27, the CRTC approved the application to amend the broadcasting licence for TFO (CHLF-TV Toronto), operated by the Ontario French Language Educational Communications Authority (OFLECA), in order to delete reference to four analog transmitters, effective August 1, 2012. The OFLECA planned to cease operation of these transmitters on July 31, 2012. The following transmitters were removed from the licence: Sudbury CHLF-TV-1, Hawkesbury CHLF-TV-2, Lac Ste-Thérèse CHLF-TV-6, and Pembroke CHLF-TV-13.

2019

Eric Minoli was named interim president and CEO of Groupe Média TFO. Minoli had been with TFO for more than 12 years, most recently as VP and COO. Glenn O’Farrell vacated the role August 16 after being with TFO since 2010.

The story continues elsewhere...
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