The envelope system was designed to provide a greater degree of funding predictability to both broadcasters and producers by allocating funds to broadcasters at the beginning of each fiscal year based on past performance in commissioning and airing convergent projects. The allocation of funds, known as envelopes, is applied to the Performance Envelope Program as well as the Development Program.

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The Performance Envelope Program is the main funding mechanism of the CMF. A Performance Envelope is a predetermined amount of CMF funding allocated to Canadian English and French-language broadcasters which they can direct to support production in television and digital media.

These envelope funds are divided amongst the following genres: Drama, Children's and Youth, Documentary, and Variety and Performing Arts. The distribution ratio of Performance Envelope allocations per genre is approved by the CMF Board of Directors.

A Performance Envelope is calculated by measuring a broadcaster's performance against that of other broadcasters in each genre, based on five weighted factors: audience success – total hours tuned, audience success – original first run, historic performance, regional licensing and digital media investment. The CMF calculates each broadcaster's share of credit annually for the performance factors by language and genre. Each broadcaster is then allocated a corresponding share of available CMF funding, which is then directed to eligible productions.

Envelope Allocations


On March 31st, 2016, 26 English and 12 French broadcasters received performance envelope allocations from the program budget for use in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.  English broadcasters shared $167.8 million in envelope funds, while $83.9 million was shared among French broadcasters.

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The allocated Flex Amount (of 50%), shown in the broadcaster allocations above, can be used for supporting productions of any eligible genre. Small (as defined in the Performance Envelope Manual) and educational Broadcasters were granted 100% genre flexibility as well as exemption from the 15% In-house/Broadcaster-affiliated cap in order to enable them to better leverage their envelope allocations.

If a qualifying independent broadcaster or corporate group of broadcasters had an envelope of under $50,000 in both languages combined, they were granted a minimum envelope equal to that amount to ensure that they could meaningfully contribute to projects in the coming fiscal year. In 2016-2017, five English-language broadcasters and three French-language broadcasters were given this minimum envelope amount.
Several key changes have been introduced to the 2016-2017 performance envelope allocations:  

For more flexibility in convergence requirements, the CMF is taking a two-option approach. Beginning in 2016-2017, Digital Media Components will be divided into two categories: “value-added” and “rich and substantial” (as defined in section 3.2 DM of the PE Guidelines).  

Broadcasters must ensure that:

i.    at least 60% of Eligible Projects supported through their PE Allocation are projects that include a “value-added” or “rich and substantial” Digital Media Component; or

ii.    At least 60% of the PE Allocation is committed to projects that include a “rich and substantial” Digital Media Component.

A corporate group is allowed to claim within its ownership group OFR on a maximum of two channels, comprising of

- one conventional and one specialty channel

- two specialty channels.

Caps on licence fee credit for the Regional and Digital Media Investment Factors apply to affiliated as well as in-house productions.

Caps on licence fee credit for in-house and affiliated productions have been added to the Digital Media Investment Factor.

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