Business Basics

Here in this section, we provide a very quick overview on: Budgeting; Getting Paid; Diversity, Inclusion and our Code of Conduct; Understanding Music Deliverables; Tech Specs & Producer’s Handbook. We have also added A Sample Contract for "Social Video" Creators!


Your CBC creative executive will likely introduce you to a B&R manager or Production Planning consultant before your project is green-lit for development or production. For emerging digital producers, one of our first tasks is to provide feedback on budgets, including any questions you may have on appropriate templates to use. Our more experienced partners send us budgets as well, which we review to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when building your production budget. Generally we assume that:

  • Producer fees should not exceed 10% of the B+C portion of the budget with the exception of productions with budgets of less than $500,000 for which the percentage is 15% (i.e. below the line production & post production expenses)
  • Corporate overhead should not exceed 10% of the B+C portion of the budget with the exception of productions with budgets of less than $500,000 for which the percentage is 15%
  • Contingency should not exceed 3-5% of the B+C portion of the budget
  • Related Party Fees should not exceed 25% of the global budget. (Defendable exceptions may be granted on this cap.)

Veteran producers are aware that for all productions (ones primarily for conventional television, as well as ones for digital platforms) we expect that you will budget appropriately to include third party clearances (including necessary music clearances), closed captioning, descriptive video, and both general liability and errors and omissions insurance. Depending on budget level, we may also require either a producer affidavit, review engagement or audit to support your final cost report and you should budget for any resulting accounting costs.

If you’re a member of the Canadian Media Producers Association or the Documentary Organization of Canada you may be eligible for discounted rates on things like insurance, so be sure to check in with them to see what’s available.

We recognise that each production is unique and we’ll work with you to arrive at a budget that is fair for all of us.

Getting Paid

We understand that cash flow is important to you. There are some things you can do to speed up the payment process:

  • First, fill in and submit a Vendor Form together with either a void cheque or an Electronic Funds Transfer form so we can sign you up as an official vendor, and set up direct deposit for you.
  • Next, take the time to familiarize yourself with the payment schedule set out in your contract.
  • When you’ve reached a delivery milestone you can send appropriate creative deliverables to your creative executive, and business documents to your Business & Rights representative. For payment milestones, be sure to send your B&R rep an email with the payment clause and amount identified, a list of deliverables provided to CBC, plus HST/GST included if applicable, and the company name/contract signatory. Once approved, we’ll generally issue the payment within 15 days.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Code of Conduct

It’s important to CBC that we support creators and stories that reflect Canada’s rich diversity. Help us implement and track our progress towards achieving these goals by submitting the following documents:

  • CBC Diversity Statement & Plan. Let us know how you plan on achieving diversity and inclusion in your production.
  • ECHOS Report. Submit this document once you’ve wrapped to let us know how closely you were able to stick with your initial plan.

When you work with CBC, you agree to work under a code of conduct that does not tolerate discrimination, harassment, bullying, and violence in the workplace, similar to CBC’s own code of conduct.

We take the code of conduct very seriously and expect you will too. Any breaches to the code of conduct may be deemed a breach of the licence agreement.

Understanding our Music Deliverables

We often get questions about the music deliverables in our contract. Here are some handy documents:


Tech Specs & Producer's Handbook

We’ve tried our best to compile all the information you need when working with CBC in helpful guidebooks:

Technical Specifications. In this document titled "Technical Specifications for Program Delivery" you’ll find our television technical specifications and delivery standards. We’ll also be posting technical specifications for digital original productions, so be sure to check back here.
Producer’s Handbook. If you’re producing for television, click here for the Independent Producers' Handbook. We’ll be posting a similar handbook for digital scripted content producers and for digital short documentary producers. Be sure to check in for updates.

Sample Contract for Social Video Creators

The contract linked below is intended for use by our social video creators. “Social video programs” are a distinct subset of our digital original strategy. They tend to be smaller budget productions, primarily intended for use on our social platforms like YouTube and Facebook, rather than the CBC video player. Often, on these productions, we’re working with people who are fairly new to the industry or to working with broadcasters in particular.

Let’s imagine that your pitch for “social video” is successful and we’ve moved on to formalizing the business arrangement. You’ll notice that the contract linked below is missing dollar figures and other project specific information. This information will come from your budget, production schedule and other documents which you’ll prepare in consultation with CBC’s creative and business teams. Your final contract will be the key document that sets out our mutual rights and obligations. Read it carefully and don’t hesitate to ask us about the provisions in it.

Working with creators, who are, by their nature, boundary pushing, has encouraged CBC to push our own boundaries. Starting in 2017, we streamlined our way of doing business, revamping our contracts to be easier to read and understand. We've included links to PDF samples of our contracts which serve as a template for Social Video and Digital Originals. Also below, you'll find a link to our Scripted Digital Originals handbook for Producers, coming in December 2019. 

Below is an example of our standard Social Video Contract: