CRTC quiets loud TV commercials

Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that new rules requiring Canadian broadcasters and broadcasting distributors to control the loudness of television commercials come into force on September 1, 2012.“Starting on September 1, Canadians will be able to enjoy their favourite television programs without having to adjust the volume during commercial breaks,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “We appreciate the efforts undertaken by the broadcasting industry to conform to the new standard and ensure that programs and commercials are transmitted at a similar volume.”

Broadcasters and television service providers must adhere to an objective international standard for measuring and controlling television signals. It is important to note, however, that loudness is a perception that is dependent on a number of factors, including the nature and content of the audio material.  Some frequencies are perceived to be soothing, while
others are more irritating to the human ear.  As a result, a commercial can be broadcast at a similar volume, or audio level, as the program that preceded it, but perceived to be of different loudness.The international standard only applies to digital television services and not to analog services. Viewers who are unsure if they subscribe to analog or digital television services should contact their cable company. Furthermore, the United States will adopt the same international standard by the end of the year.  Until then, viewers watching the over-the-air signals of American television stations may be exposed to excessively loud ads.

Viewers who believe that a commercial was broadcast at an excessively loud volume should:
• First contact the broadcaster or television service provider about their concerns and attempt to resolve the complaint directly.
• If the concerns are not addressed to their satisfaction, viewers may then submit a complaint to the CRTC via its website or by the other means listed on the website.


The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises
broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

Reference documents:
Video on loud TV commercials

Fact sheet on Loud TV commercials

Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2012-News release, “CRTC moves a

step closer to making loud TV ads a thing of the past,” May 8, 2012

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2012-273

News release, “CRTC tells broadcasting industry to turn down the volume on
loud television commercials,” September 13, 2011

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-584

Status Report on Loudness Control Technology Standardization for