A Category B service (formerly Category 2 prior to September 1, 2011)[1] is a Canadian specialty television channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, may be carried, optionally, by all digital cable television and direct broadcast satellite providers.

Unlike Category A services, Category B services are not protected as to format. They are licensed to broadcast within defined formats which are not provided by or overly close to an existing protected channel, but their formats are not protected themselves and need not protect other Category B services. Also unlike Category A services, a Category B service does not have guaranteed cable carriage rights, but must directly negotiate carriage with cable distributors. Category B services encompass both pay television and specialty channels.

In December 2012, the CRTC exempted from formal licensing services with less than 200,000 subscribers that would otherwise meet the definition of a Category B service, and services which air 90% of their programming in a language other than English, French, or languages of aboriginal peoples in Canada.[2]

Henceforth, most Canadian specialty channels (except for national news & mainstream sports channels, which are classified as Category C services) will be licensed as Category B services.[3]

The following is a list of currently launched and officially licensed Category B services in Canada:

Category B specialty services




Category B pay services


Exempted Category B services[4]



Defunct Category B services

  1. ^ Gusto's intellectual property was sold to Bell Media in 2016. The original channel ceased operations on September 1, 2016, and was concurrently replaced by a version operating under a Category A license formerly used by M3.
  2. ^ After acquiring rights to its programming, Odyssey Television Network launched a separate channel under the same name)


See also

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