The Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation - Pierre Nollet
Disc Jockey to General Counsel
a fast-moving, multi-channel and multi-media universe, the C B C
has remained constant in its mission to serve Canadians and to reflect
the Canadian way of life. It is a daunting task: the mandate circumscribes
programming options, prevents it from bidding on blockbuster programs
and otherwise stalls the broadcaster from adopting a wide-reaching
constellation strategy. The net result is reduced revenue options.
the CBC developed a five-year plan to address the challenges of
the fast-moving multi-channel and multimedia universe. Central to
this plan is a focus on English television, sports, transmission
and distribution. The corporation aims to
- tell Canadian
stories reflecting the reality and diversity of their country
- inform Canadians
about news of relevance and interest
Canadian arts and culture
- build bridges
among Canadians across the many regions and linguistic communities
tuned for further developments. News at 11 (or, shall we say - 10?).
Company: The CBC's permanent staff includes over 7000 employees
across Canada, supplemented by more than 600 temporary staff to
complete the team. The broadcaster operates four national radio
networks featuring information, general interest programs, classical
music and cultural programs: CBC Radio One and CBC Radio Two in
English, and La premiere chaîne de Radio-Canada and La Chaîne culturelle
in French. Two specialty cable television services feature news
and information programs 24 hours a day, seven days a week: CBC
Newsworld in English and le Réseau de l'information (RDI) in French.
The CBC also broadcasts in eight aboriginal languages on radio and
television services for Canada's North. Supporting Canadian foreign
policy, CBC operates a shortwave service, Radio Canada International,
which broadcasts around the world in seven languages.
CBC continues to develop and offer new media programs. The CBC website,
cbc.ca, and its French equivalent, radio-canada.ca, provide audio
and video clips, current news items, upcoming program information
and general information of interest to Canadians. CBC's pay audio
service, Galaxie, offers 30 channels of commercial free music of
all types 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over the Internet.
The corporation has joined forces with the private sector in presenting
applications to the CRTC for mandate-driven specialty channels.
Also under review are other partnership strategies in non-core areas.
Counsel: Pierre Nollet, Head of Legal Services, General Counsel
and Corporate Secretary
Outside Counsel: McCarthy Tétrault, Lafleur Brown ( now part
of Gowlings ), and Heenan Blaikie
Significant Firms: Boyne Clark in Dartmouth, Spiegel Sohmer
in Montreal, and Reynolds, Mirth, Richards & Farmer in Edmonton
Law Department: The CBC's in-house legal services team currently
includes 13 lawyers. In the coming months, 5 lawyers who currently
work elsewhere in the corporation will be integrated with the law
department acts, amongst other things, as a call centre for program
media personnel across Canada. A number of the lawyers devote up
to 50 percent of their time to providing legal advice relating to
program broadcasts (mostly news and current affairs programming).
in-house counsel routinely handle contract and commercial matters
(including contracts relating to the Olympics and other sports events,
and entertainment contracts), intellectual property issues, employment
and labor matters, and supervision of matters referred to outside
counsel (mainly litigation and labour relations).
the law department expanded its range of in-house services to include
labour relations. As well, one lawyer has now become actively involved
in hands-on litigation, working as co-counsel with outside counsel.
outsources roughly 10,000 hours of work to law firms. Matters referred
outside tends to be commodity-style work, i.e. which can be handled
more efficiently outside the law department.
The bulk of the work relates to media broadcasts, requests for
information, as well as industrial relations matters.
Mainly licensing agreements and joint ventures make up CBC's transactional
Challenge: In addition to the traditional duties of General
Counsel, Pierre will head up a steering committee charged with multi-year
intellectual property initiatives. Riding the crest of the new millennium
wave, Pierre and his committee will explore the rich potential of
knowledge management and asset mining.
goals: set corporate standards and establish company-wide policies
Projects: CBC aims to establish new partnerships with private
companies in the area of asset holdings or property management.
In-house counsel will assist to ensure the success of these new
Relationships with Outside Counsel: As is the case with all
Canadian corporations, the cost of legal services purchased from
law firms remains a paramount concern. CBC is encouraging its law
firms to become proactive in managing litigation adequately, using
the latest technology, and by streamlining file-handling procedures
Style: Pierre is a hands-on executive who likes to interact
as much as possible with his team. He encourages his lawyers to
focus on "staying ahead of the wave" as CBC forges ahead in new
ventures and new directions. He is frank but fair, and favors direct
dialogue. Passionately devoted to his work, he is an agent of change
who loves to pioneer new projects and challenge others to adopt
Pierre's career began with the media, at CKSM Radio in Shawinigan
as a disc jockey and then news journalist. In 1981, he embarked
upon a legal career with Beaumier Richard Nollet & Perreault in
Trois-Rivières. January 1990 saw him cross the Atlantic to France
as Director of the Paris office of Goodman Phillips and Vineberg
(GPV). Returning to Canada at the end of 1992, he joined GPV's corporate
and commercial team in Montreal. On leave from GPV in 1993, he carried
out a brief assignment as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Consumer
and Corporate Affairs in 1993, where he oversaw the first review
of lobbyist regulations and promoted the passage of amendments to
the Patents Act. In August 1995, he moved in-house with Astral Communications
Inc., as Director of Business and Legal Affairs and then General
Counsel and Secretary. Pierre joined CBC in his current position
in August 1997.
Married to Christine Reux. The couple have a daughter, Sara, and
a son, Charles.
A technology enthusiast, Pierre devotes most of his leisure-time
reading to technology magazines.
Pierre enjoys computer-related leisure activities, and also plays
D. Brazier, LL.B., M.B.A. is a partner with Catalyst Consulting,
a national consulting firm serving law firms, corporate law departments
and users of legal services. Her practice focuses on litigation
and claims management, work flow analysis, service, reporting and
billing best practices, and partnering between corporations and
their legal counsel.