CTV News Editorial Standards and Policies
This is a summary of CTV News policies and is not meant to be comprehensive. CTV News is committed to producing journalism that is accurate, fair and complete. Our journalists act with honesty, transparency, and independence, including from conflicts of interest.
As part of Bell Media, it is a core principle of CTV News to represent ethnocultural groups, Indigenous people and persons with disabilities in a balanced and accurate manner. Our policy is to seek out diverse voices, not only in the types of stories we cover but also in our sources, on-screen, on-the-air, behind the scenes and within our workforce. Understanding the composition of Bell Media's workforce is at the heart of its diversity and inclusion strategy. Bell Media employees are asked to complete a diversity questionnaire, from which data is analyzed on a monthly basis. Reports on this data along with their action plans are presented to Bell Media's Diversity Leadership Council, so it can monitor progress against benchmarks and established goals in its efforts to employ and build a diverse workforce.
Our commitment to diversity is also reflected in the types of stories we report on at CTV News, including the inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women, athletes at the Invictus Games, and, for Canada’s 150th birthday, a five-part series on new Canadians who came to Canada from all corners of the world. CTV News monitors the statistics of its full-time staff as it is committed to employment equity and diversity. To protect individual privacy, it does not publicly disclose these numbers.
The goal of CTV News is to be accurate and balanced. Our credibility on air and online depends upon such reporting. Accordingly, CTV News will endeavour to promptly correct significant errors of fact in its journalism, once we determine that an error has been made. The placement of a correction made will be dependent upon how critical the error is, when it is discovered and the repercussions of the error. If we are correcting a significant error in an online article, photo caption, video or other content, we should post a correction on the story page explaining the alteration in a timely fashion. Sometimes, our reporting may be accurate, but the wording used may not be as clear as it could be. In these situations, CTV News will consider rewriting the story and/or publishing a clarification.
An online article is not considered inaccurate, or does not contain an error, simply because there have been future developments in a story after publication. However, CTV will consider newly available information to determine whether an update is necessary. In the case of an update, a specific notification to our readers is not usually necessary as a time stamp will indicate that an update has occurred. Our archival material is very important, and in this digital age, reflects a permanent record of the information available at the time of original publication. In some exceptional cases, that material or parts of it may be substantially wrong. In these situations, we will review the material and determine whether the original story should be revised or rewritten, or whether an update, clarification or correction should be published. The content of a significant correction or clarification and its timing and placement will be the ultimate responsibility of senior news management.
Requests to remove online content: Our online journalism is part of the historical record and our archives represent our commitment to accuracy and fairness. Since our online material is available indefinitely and can be searched and retrieved online, we are regularly being asked to “unpublish” or remove online articles or video, often many years after the content was first published. We do not, except in very narrow circumstances, unpublish articles or video. Source remorse or embarrassment is not a reason to unpublish. If someone changes their mind about being quoted, that is not sufficient reason to remove content from our archives.
However, if there is a change in circumstances, for example, criminal charges were dropped after we had reported that a person was charged with an offence, CTV will review the new information and consider whether it is warranted to update our story to include the new facts. If we determine that an update is appropriate, the original story will not be removed, only updated. We will only consider removal requests in very exceptional circumstances. These may include legal considerations or where the named person is facing genuine threats of physical harm. In these rare circumstances, any decision to remove content must be weighed against the public’s right to know and the historical record and only after consultation with senior news management, who will make the final decision, after considering all these issues including legal ramifications.
Founded in 1971, CTV News is from Bell Media, part of BCE, a publicly traded company. CTV News operations include specialty channels CTV NEWS CHANNEL, BNN Bloomberg, CP24, and information programming including CTV NATIONAL NEWS WITH LISA LAFLAMME, CTV NATIONAL NEWS WITH SANDIE RINALDO, W5, POWER PLAY, and QUESTION PERIOD. CTV News’ digital operations include flagship news sites CTVNews.ca, as well as CP24.com and BNNBloomberg.ca, and are complemented by the CTV News, CP24, and BNN Bloomberg apps, and text-over-video product, ON THE GO, which provide a direct connection to Canada’s most trusted news anytime and anywhere. Part of Bell Media’s vast slate of podcast offerings, CTV News’ podcasts include QUESTION PERIOD, POWER PLAY, POP LIFE, VIEWPOINTS WITH TODD VAN DER HEYDEN, and the brand new TREND LINE for the 2019 federal election. CTV News is committed to upholding principles of journalistic independence and is governed by a Journalistic Independence Policy ensuring independence and non-interference between BCE and CTV News while remaining in compliance with the Broadcast Act and relevant industry codes.
CTV News is funded through advertising revenue and does not receive government funding or subsidies.
CTV News’ newsgathering is independent of commercial or political interests. We do not accept gifts, including paid travel, in order to avoid any conflict-of-interest or appearance thereof. When we rely on an organization for a product or access to an event, we are transparent about the relationship and note it within the relevant work. The newsroom is insulated from advertisers and underwriters by a firewall. All CTV News properties, news directors, producers, editors, and journalists follow our internal CTV News Policy Handbook which specifies strict adherence to the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics, which mutually govern impartiality in the newsgathering process.
These codes also govern the dissemination of information and news to our readers and viewers. These guiding principles underscore our commitment to journalism that is accurate and reliable in the public interest.
CTV News’ mandate is to uphold journalistic integrity and independence under all circumstances and at all times, without exception. As a reputable news organization in a democracy, it is the fundamental purpose of CTV News to enable Canadians to know what is happening and to clarify events so they may form their own conclusions. This is done through accurate, fair, and relevant stories told in a clear and compelling way.
With a perspective that is uniquely Canadian and via a network of national, international, and local news operations, our mission is to be Canada’s most trusted news source, providing the most timely and relevant news and information on all platforms while adhering to the highest standards of journalism at all times. In its 2020 Digital News Report, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism confirmed through an independent survey that CTV News is Canada’s most-trusted English language brand, outranking all other reputable news organizations across the country. Our target audience is a broad cross-section of Canadians of all ages who are interested in the world around them.
This news organization commits to do its best to publish accurate information across all of its content. We take many steps to ensure accuracy: We investigate claims with skepticism; question assumptions; challenge conventional wisdom; confirm information with subject-matter experts; and seek to corroborate what sources tell us by talking with other informed people or consulting documents. We verify content, such as technical terms, stats, etc., against source documents or make clear who is providing the information. We may share relevant components of a story with a primary source or an outside expert to verify them.
We stand by the information as accurate, and if it’s not, we will change it as quickly as possible and be transparent with our readers about the magnitude of the error.
We guide our journalists to ask the following questions when they double-check information in a quest for the truth.
- How do you know?
- How can you be sure?
- Where is the evidence?
- Who is the source, and how does the source know?
- What is the supporting documentation?
We welcome feedback from our readers and sources regarding the information that we publish. Contact: email@example.com.
We provide a means for the public to report inaccurate or contested material.
We include the name and contact information for the reporter, as well as the editor’s name, for each substantive news item that we publish.
Our objective is to get everything 'on the record.' Our viewers deserve to know where we get our information, who our sources are and why their comments merit their trust. We should strive to attribute all comments. We must guard against those who wish to use anonymity as a means to hide the truth, deride opponents or manipulate public opinion. But there are circumstances when permitting anonymity is necessary to obtain sensitive information vital to the public good or where the source might face harm, legal jeopardy or loss of livelihood for speaking with us.
We are committed to using bylines except in circumstances as described below, when stories are the culmination of several journalists or when they are supplied by a news agency.
CTVNews.ca staff: If you see the CTVNews.ca staff byline rather than a byline for a specific reporter, writer or producer, it may be that the story was a piece of content based on the work of several people. It may be a collaboration based on the work of several journalists at CTV News, including and not limited to: writers, producers, reporters, trusted content from wire agencies (see information below). On some pages you will see bylines from news agencies rather than CTVNews.ca staff. We trust news agencies to help us cover the world as fully as possible and to adhere to the highest journalistic standards.
The Canadian Press: CP has been Canada's trusted national news agency for more than 100 years, a news source and leader in providing real-time, bilingual multimedia stories across print, broadcast and digital platforms. Through words, photos, graphics, audio and video, more than 180 journalists cover news stories that impact Canadians with fairness, compassion, accuracy and taste. CP, a for-profit enterprise owned jointly by three of Canada's largest media companies, gives Canadians an authentic, unbiased source, driven by truth, accuracy and timeliness. More details about CP's news principles are available here.
The Associated Press: AP is an independent, not-for-profit news co-operative, serving member newspapers and broadcasters in the U.S., and other customers around the world. CTV News is proud to be one of them. AP journalists in more than 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting to visual storytelling. Since 1846, AP has been covering the world’s biggest news events, always committed to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism. Learn more about policies and standards in AP’s Statement of News Values and Principles.
Reuters: Founded in 1851 in London by German-born Paul Reuter, Reuters is an international news organization owned by Thomson Reuters. Reuters was acquired by the Thomson Corporation in 2008 and now makes up the media division of Thomson Reuters. It employs some 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide, publishing in more than 16 languages and reaching billions of people every day. More details about Reuters' standards and values are available here.
CNN: Staffed 24 hours, seven days a week by a dedicated team in CNN bureaus around the world, CNN's digital platforms deliver news from almost 4,000 journalists in every corner of the globe.
CTV News is a member of the Trust Project, a global network of news organizations.
Founded by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman, the Trust Project aims to build standards that affirm and amplify journalism’s commitment to transparency, accuracy, inclusion, and fairness.
Tools developed by the Trust Project, such as a system of trust indicators, are designed to inform the public so they can make informed news choices.
CTV News holds itself accountable to our commitment to journalistic standards. And in a time when readers are bombarded with information online, we want to make it easier for the public to understand how our journalism is produced.
For these reasons, CTV News has taken several measures to enhance trust and improve transparency:
Trust indicators include:
- Publishing our editorial standards and policies
- Bylines on published articles
- Labels on written content that provide context, for example whether it is a news article, analysis, or opinion
- Corrections, with a published link to our corrections policy
These indicators of credible journalism are also “machine-readable,” signalling to search engines and social media platforms that they are reliable sources of information.
You can find more information on the Trust Project here.
We believe that public feedback is not a one-way street -- that is, simply publishing your comments or letters. Instead, we are committed to engaging with you and taking action based on your suggestions, complaints and other feedback. You may help us develop an individual story or line of coverage, answer questions that a story may raise, identify related or under-covered issues, and teach us about new and diverse sources, experts and perspectives. In line with this, we are committed to providing greater transparency about our journalism and offering regular points of contact and interaction. We believe that news organizations have a responsibility to engage with the public on the values, issues and ideas of the day, and that we have much to gain in return.
Here’s how you can reach us: 416-384-6300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s how you can reach our local teams: