APTN received its licence from the CRTC in February 1999, and was on the air within six months. Offering programming in English (55%), French (15%) and a variety of Aboriginal languages, the Network was available in nine million Canadian homes, and offered a unique vehicle for the reflection of First Nations, Inuit and Métis history and the lives of their peoples, to the entire Canadian nation, through a schedule that embraced the entire spectrum of entertainment and information programming. APTN was a not-for-profit organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors, and was headquartered in Winnipeg. Mandatory carriage on cable and satellite systems was required.
In August 2009, APTN announced the launch of an exciting new fall line-up, bringing viewers more original programming, hit series, new seasons of fan favourites, a variety of documentary and movie premieres, investigative news programming, and more commercial-free kids programming.
APTN said it would kick off its new fall season with a special celebration of the network’s 10th anniversary. The 90-minute special: Milestones, Memories and Moving Forward, starring Lorne Cardinal, would chronicle the journey of where APTN began and how the network had continued to grow and evolve.
On January 13th 2012, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network announced that Ms. Monika Ille had accepted the appointment of Director of Programming at APTN effective immediately. Ms. Ille was based out of the network’s Montreal office.
“Ms. Ille is a respected member of the APTN Senior Management Team,” said Jean LaRose, APTN’s Chief Executive Officer, in announcing the appointment. “Monika has demonstrated strong vision and leadership skills. Her experience, expertise and background will be an asset to the network as well as our entire Aboriginal production community. I am very happy that she has accepted to tackle this key role at APTN.”
On December 9th 2011, TVOntario announced the production of a new half-hour drama series, which would play on the network in 2013, and also on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Extracting buckshot from the back of a hunter’s head in a mosquito-infested tent by a peat bog may not sound like medical school. Nor does a four-hour snowmobile ride to a remote cabin in the bush. But that was to be the day-to-day reality at Hard Rock U, a fictional medical school at the heart of the upcoming television series.
The TVO-commissioned series was a Canadian-Australian co-production from Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. and Moody Street Productions. Hard Rock Medical Productions was a joint venture of Ottawa’s Title Entertainment Inc., Distinct Features Inc., and Carte Blanche Films Inc. Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Rick Bartolucci announced funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to support the regional production of the series.
Loosely inspired by the world-renowned Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Hard Rock Medical would provide fresh and engaging insight into some of the unique features and challenges of delivering healthcare in Northern Ontario.
On January 19th 2013 , the CRTC announced that, at a hearing to be held on April 23rd, one matter on the agenda would be the examination by the Commission of applications by existing programming services that were currently distributed on a mandatory basis as part of the basic service of all Canadian cable and satellite providers. The Commission would assess whether these services should continue to benefit from such distribution, as well as examine the overall renewal of these licences.
APTN was one of the services that could be affected by decisions taken as a result of this hearing.
Production on the Hard Rock Medical series had begun in and around Sudbury in 2012, and the series premiered on TVO on Sunday June 9th 2013 at 8:00 pm. It was reported that the broadcasts on APTN would begin in 2014.
On August 8th, the CRTC approved the APTN application for continued mandatory distribution on the Satellite and Cable digital basic services.
In February 2018, APTN announced that it would be rerunning the successful CBC drama series from the1990s, North of 60. The entire six seasons would be aired starting Feb. 19. APTN said that it had received many letters over the years from the show’s fans, asking for them to schedule this series. As well, APTN had received a petition with 1,500 signatures lobbying to bring the show back . Created and produced by Barbara Samuels and Wayne Grigsby, North of 60 starred Tina Keeper, Tom Jackson, Tracey Cook and Gordon Tootoosis.
In 2019, APTN launched an OTT platform. APTN lumi gave viewers access to the network’s catalogue of programs in English, French and a variety of Indigenous languages for $4.99/month.
It was announced in 2019 that Monika Ille would succeed Jean La Rose as CEO of APTN. Ille had been with the network since 2003, most recently as Executive Director of Programming and Scheduling. A member of the Abenaki First Nation of Odanak, Ille previously worked for Radio-Canada and the National Film Board, and with Quebec Native Women in Montréal and the Assembly of First Nations. in Ottawa. La Rose had headed APTN for 17 years.
In March of 2021, APTN made changes to its programming team, including the addition of Adam Garnet Jones as Director of TV Content and Special Events. In the newly-created position, Garnet would be responsible for all non-news programming on APTN’s four linear broadcast channels, including oversight of program development and acquisition. He was most recently the Indigenous Initiatives Lead for Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund. Lisa Ducharme would relinquish her title as APTN’s Director of Marketing to move into programming in the new role of Director of Online Content. Ducharme had been with APTN since 2007 when she joined the network as Manager of Research. She would oversee all online content – both original and acquired – including APTN’s lumi streaming platform, as well as content destined for various BDUs. Ducharme would also provide direction to APTN’s Content Creation team.
In May, APTN announce that Julie Grenier would succeed Jocelyn Formsma as chair of the company’s board of directors. Formsma would continue to serve as a board member.
Start Year: 1998