Lee supports the CRTC in the implementation of Bill C-11
As EVP and general counsel at Corus Entertainment, Jennifer Lee welcomed the passing of Bill C-11 earlier this year. Also known as the Online Streaming Act, the bill gives new power to Canada’s broadcasting regulator – the CRTC – and extends the current Broadcasting Act to the digital realm, requiring streaming platforms to contribute to the creation and promotion of Canadian content. It marks the first wholesale change of Canada’s broadcasting legislation for over 30 years.
“This is a very welcome change,” says Lee. “You don’t have to be a lawyer or media expert to see the degree of change in the industry and how people consume content. We’re not seeking to turn back the clock, but we do need the regulatory and legislative framework to acknowledge the new reality, so we’re pleased to see that bill get passed. It’s an exciting thing to be a part of as a lawyer.”
Lee and her team have been very active in their advocacy of the bill, and providing input on where they think change is needed. They are now working closely with various industry groups and continuing to provide feedback to the CRTC to help implement the new bill as soon as possible.
Lee has been leading the legal department at Corus since 2021, following 13 years at TD Bank where she held a variety of legal and regulatory roles as well as non-legal roles which allowed her focus on innovation and technology.
In addition to leading the legal and regulatory department at Corus, Lee also has oversight of ESG, ethics and conduct, and risk matters. She leads a team of around 60 people – including lawyers and others with adjacent responsibilities.
While preparing for regulatory changes, Lee is also focused on commercial matters at Corus, particularly with regard to nurturing the Canadian mass media giant’s relationships with various US and international studios.
“That’s always very exciting and keeps you on your toes as a lawyer to be in involved in these very live commercial agreements that are very relevant to our business,” says Lee. “We have to secure programming rights and supply that content that Canadians want to see.”
Lee’s team has been instrumental in helping Corus launch and operate some of its popular products including the subscription video streaming platform StackTV, and working with US partners to launch the free streaming service Pluto TV.
“It’s really interesting to be at the forefront of launching some really great products that Canadians want and will consume,” says Lee.
In 2024, Lee plans to continue supporting her team as they focus on regulatory changes and commercial matters. They are also currently working on projects involving digitalization and automation of forms and contracts, to help improve efficiency within the team.
Being a good general counsel means not only being a good lawyer, but also being business-friendly as part of the leadership team, and being a strong leader for your department, Lee says, so supporting her team in their personal career goals and aspirations is always top of mind for her.
“The number one thing that you really need to lead with and acknowledge is that people have their own paths, their own personal goals and their own professional desires,” says Lee. “As general counsel, you have to really help them nurture that and respect that and make sure they feel valued and heard. You’re representing a very important function in the company, so you have to be a strong voice and be attuned to what those people need.”