Radio Canada International
By Marc Montgomery
May 14, 2021
Canada’s international broadcast service from the English language team
of Radio Canada International has come to an end.RCI, (originally the
International Service, CBC-IS) was initially created towards the end of
the Second World War.
The purpose was to broadcast news and information from home via
shortwave to Canadian military personnel fighting in Europe. It also
began providing reliable news and information to recently liberated
countries and to Germans still in the war.
That reliable news and information was considered of great value during
the subsequent Cold War years, as several more languages were added to
This included for example Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Hungarian and
Polish, along with such language sections as Brazilian Portuguese and
With 14 language sections in 1990, and some 200 staff, the full English
and French newsroom provided news of interest and importance for each
language section and specifically targeted to each of the various
broadcast regions around the world.
Following a major budget cut of some 80 per cent in 2012, the shortwave
and satellite service was terminated along with the majority of staff
including the newsroom and some language sections. In recent years, only
Chinese (Mandarin), Arabic, and Spanish remained along with English and
RCI was transformed into a much smaller internet-based operation
consisting of three people per language section.
In December 2020, the domestic public broadcaster CBC / Radio-Canada
announced that the English and French sections of RCI would close for
good in May.
In their place curated stories from the domestic English and French
public broadcaster will be provided.
A manager will now oversee the staff of eight who will adapt curated
stories from the CBC and Radio-Canada into Mandarin, Arabic, and
Spanish, along with Punjabi and Tagalog.
An effort was and is being made by the RCI Action Committee to preserve
and even expand the service which has garnered great support from a
former prime minister, former diplomats and many academics, but the end
date has come.
This is the last entry by the RCI English section.From the English
Section consisting of Lynn, Marc, and Levon, we thank you for having
shared our stories over these many years.
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