CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Public vs. Private Ownership

History, Political Science
3 lessons
To examine public versus private ownership in Canada
Using a variety of web-based resources, students will explore the issue of public versus private ownership in Canada and write a press release or dramatize a press conference to share their opinion.

Lesson Plan


The early history of radio and television reflects opposing opinions on public versus private ownership of stations. Various commissions and regulatory bodies have been established to examine the issue and make proposals around it. Over the years, the issue of public versus private ownership has extended to several fields in Canada, including transportation, education, health care, insurance, parks, and energy and other utilities.

The Task

Students will analyze the opposing positions on public versus private ownership of radio and television. Each member of the group will then select another field and research the issues around public versus private ownership. The internet resources for this activity can provide a few ideas for other fields to research. Members of the group will share and discuss the results of their research and come to a consensus on their position. They will write a press release or plan a press conference for radio or television to share that position.

The Process

Students will work in small groups. They should begin their research on the topic Canada Tunes In: Radio and TV's Early Years on the CBC Digital Archives website, specifically the clips titled "The Canadian Radio League", "CBC radio goes on the air", "Canadian TV: not ready for prime time", "CBC in living colour" and "A new network for Canada: CTV". 


Students can do further research online, using archives of newspapers, magazines, and television broadcasts, and use the download sheet Public Versus Private Ownership to record their findings and conclusions. They will need one copy of the download sheet to analyze the radio and television industry and another copy to analyze the second industry of their choice. Groups should note all resources consulted and cited.

Using their information, students identify their group position and then prepare their press release or dramatization for their press conference.


Students read their press releases or stage their press conferences on the issue of public versus private ownership in Canada. Encourage students to ask questions of one another and have students discuss the majority position presented.

Assessment Tip
Listen for clarity of position in the press releases and press conferences. Do students back up their ideas with evidence? You might collect students' organizers to see how they have translated their pro and con ideas into a clear position.

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