Key events from the history of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) 1978 to 2015

Key Events


April 23, 2015

APTN Chief Executive Officer Jean La Rose named the CEO HR Champion of the Year at the 2015 HR Excellence Awards (formerly known as the Excellence in Leadership Awards Gala). The event, hosted by the Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba, was held at The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

January 27, 2015

APTN once again supported Indigenous musicians at the JUNO Awards as a sponsor of the Aboriginal Album of the Year Award.


December 9-11, 2014

APTN provided extensive coverage of The Assembly of First Nations National Chief Election in Winnipeg.

November 24, 2014

For the seventh consecutive year, APTN was placed on the list of Manitoba’s Top Employers.

November 21, 2014

For the second consecutive year, APTN is one of 10 companies across Canada recognized with The Learning Partnership Canada’s Outstanding Employer Award for its commitment to young people, after its successful participation in the Take Our Kids to Work™ program.

November 20, 2014

APTN was named one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™ of 2014.

November 4, 2014

APTN has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the third consecutive year.


APTN National News launched a home-based bureau in Thunder Bay, Ontario

September 26, 2014

APTN received a nod from the tourisms industry by taking home a Travel Manitoba – Manitoba Tourism Award for Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration, an annual celebration at the Forks that has become the largest mass gathering in celebration of Canada’s National Aboriginal Day.

September 12, 2014

APTN broadcasted LIVE the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. We also presented a special web broadcast from the Red Carpet of the APCMAs.

September 9, 2014

APTN announced that they have entered into a Terms of Trade Agreement with the Alliance of Aboriginal Media Professionals (AAMP). Recognizing the uniqueness of the production sector that APTN operates within, the Terms of Trade Agreement was arrived at by both parties by selecting elements from various agreements and defining others that were specific to the Aboriginal production community in Canada. This has led to an agreement that truly reflects the principles upon which Aboriginal Peoples conduct business within Canada’s broadcasting industry. The Terms of Trade establish a baseline of commercial terms for development and broadcast licence agreements and cover key areas such as licencing conditions, licence terms, rights, time frame and administration.

August 22-23, 2014

APTN partnered with Aboriginal Music Week to add two big nights of music to the festival in Winnipeg’s Old Market Square called Indigenous Music Without Borders.

July 20-27, 2014

APTN Broadcasted the Opening Ceremonies of the North American Indigenous Games and provided daily updates on the events as part of the APTN National News.

July 15-17, 2014

APTN provided coverage of the Annual General Assembly of the AFN in Halifax.

June 19-23, 2014

APTN played host to the World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference (WITBC) 2014, a biennial international Indigenous media event established by the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (WITBN). As a result, the network will take on the chairmanship and lead the organization during the next two years of its evolution.

June 21, 2014

More than 425,000 people across Canada turned into the LIVE broadcast of the 8th annual Aboriginal Day Live concert, which doubles historical ratings, making it the highest rated APTN-produced show to date. The concerts were broadcast LIVE on APTN and APTN HD from Winnipeg and Halifax. In addition to enjoying Aboriginal Day Live via the television and online broadcast, Canadians also turned in via the radio waves. The three and half hour concert was broadcast on seven (7) Aboriginal radio stations for a total reach of more than 800,000 listeners.

June 19, 2014

APTN National News’ Bill Scott garnered an award in the Best Videography category for the story Sundance at the 2014 World Indigenous Journalism Awards in Winnipeg

May 2014

APTN received a nod from Winnipeg’s advertising industry by taking home a Signature Award in the Self Promotion category for our Where We Connect campaign.

May 9, 2014

APTN broadcast the 21st Annual Indspire Awards.

March 2014

APTN partnered with MusiCounts, a program that helps to keep music alive in schools across Canada. APTN contributed $10,000 to the program and MusiCounts matched that amount. Grants were awarded to two schools through this partnership, Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School in Eskasoni, NS and the Mi’kmawey School in Potlotek First Nation, NS. Each received $10,000 for the purpose of equipping their school music programs.

March 27-30, 2014

APTN provided coverage of the Truth and Reconciliation National Event in Edmonton.

March 15-22, 2014

APTN provided extensive coverage of The Arctic Winter Games in Alaska.

February 5, 2014

APTN sponsored the Aboriginal Album of the Year Award at the 2014 Juno Awards.

January 2014

In early 2014, the network was mentioned as a contributing factor to Winnipeg being shortlisted as one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year worldwide by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).

In early 2014, APTN National News launched a home-based bureau in North West River, Labrador and opened a similar bureau in Toronto, Ontario this past summer. Both bureaus have been highly successful in their first few months of operation. This is in part of our commitment to better connect our Peoples, our communities and Canadians in regions that have been underserved.


December 2013

APTN was recognized with The Learning Partnership Canada’s Outstanding Employer Award for its commitment to young people after its success this year in the Take Our Kids to Work program.

December 5 2013

APTN Director of Human Resources, John Stott attained his Certified Mentor Practitioner International Certification for Mentoring designation. Mr. Stott is only the second person in the world to achieve this designation.

October 2013

APTN partnered with CN for a Manitoba-wide educational school tour focusing on the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.

September 2013

APTN was acclaimed for the second year in a row as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.

For the sixth consecutive year, APTN was placed on the list of Manitoba’s Top Employers.

August 2013

APTN’s broadcast licence was renewed by the CRTC for a five-year term. The decision recognized APTN’s unique role and exceptional contribution to Canada through sharing award-winning news and programming with all Canadians.

July 19, 2013

APTN National News featured a special report: Who has had the Bell of Batoche? This exclusive story is a decades-old mystery, finally solved by APTN Investigates own Todd Lamirande who had been working on the story since 2005.

June 22, 2013

APTN hosted its 7th Annual Aboriginal day Live and Celebration, on location at The Forks in Winnipeg, MB and Iqaluit, NU! New this year, Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration Flag Contest celebrated with a National winner and a regional winner from Nunavut.

March 2013

APTN’s own, Jorge Barrera is the recipient of the 2012 J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year Award for his outstanding, multi-platform reporting on the Idle No More movement.


December 21

APTN Investigates Executive Producer, Paul Barnsley and Senior Researcher Writer, Kathleen Martens received the Amnesty Canada Media Award for Online Presentations. Their story exposed a Calgary law firm who exploited vulnerable members of First Nations in their effort to obtain a settlement for residential school abuse.

November 19

APTN earns Top Manitoba Employer Honour for the 5th Consecutive Year. This special distinction is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The special designation recognizes the Manitoba employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

October 10

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) has made it onto the list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The national award recognizes employers that lead in their industries by providing exceptional workplaces for their employees. The nomination process evaluates everything from employee communications, community involvement, work atmosphere, benefits, training and development.

June 23

APTN is hosting its 6th annual Aboriginal Day Live and Celebration, on location at The Forks in Winnipeg and the First Nations University of Canada in Regina.


APTN National News reporters Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson win investigative journalism award in the “Open Television” (less than five minutes) category for their story “Water Exploitation – Bruce Carson.” The award was presented at the Canadian Association of Journalists’ Awards Gala in Toronto.


APTN National News team’s Rob Smith received the “World Indigenous Journalist Honour” at the 2012 World Indigenous Journalist Awards in Norway. Smith won for his story “Journey Home,” about the return of the Nisga’a People to their homeland. Jorge Barrera, Ken Jackson, Paul Barnsley and Mark Blackburn obtained a “World Indigenous Journalist Special Recognition” for the story “Water Exploitation – Bruce Carson.”

APTN was the only Canadian television broadcaster to provide extensive coverage of the 2012 Arctic Winter Games happening March 4 to 10 from Whitehorse, Yukon.


APTN National News provides special coverage of historic Crown-First Nations Gathering in Ottawa.



APTN recognized as one of the top 25 employers in Manitoba for the fourth consecutive year. The announcement, which was made in the Winnipeg Free Press, was part of the annual Canada’s Top Employers survey done by Toronto-based Mediacorp Canada Inc.

September 1

APTN celebrates its 12th anniversary.

June 18

APTN hosts fifth annual Aboriginal Day Live concert live and online at The Forks, Winnipeg, Manitoba. With an attendance of over 30,000 the historical Forks site is once again a great gathering place for Aboriginal Peoples.


APTN approves a new business plan developed and focused on youth as a primary target audience. This new plan, supporting the new strategic plan, will be the basis of APTN’s CRTC licence renewal strategy and includes a proposal for a new channel in Aboriginal languages only.


APTN develops a strategic plan that focuses the network on becoming a true multimedia company with a strong emphasis on youth as a target demographic.


December 16

APTN reporter Tina House and the APTN Investigates team win the 2010 Amnesty International Canada Human Rights Journalism Award for their report on Missing Women. The award celebrates journalistic accomplishments in bringing public awareness of human rights violations.

September 1

APTN celebrates its 11th anniversary.

June 20

APTN hosts its fourth annual Aboriginal Day Live celebration from dual venues in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Ottawa, Ontario. Headline performers include Chantal Kreviazuk, Jana Mashonee and Kinnie Starr.

March 8-11

APTN National News premieres Perspectives on the Environment, a week dedicated to environmental issues affecting communities across Canada.

March 3

APTN announces the 2010 launch of APTN First Tracks. Through this annual initiative, up to five Canadian Aboriginal musicians or musical groups will be chosen to have a music video produced from a song that is featured on a current CD or soon-to-be released CD.

February 22

APTN adds select programming to website offering complete seasons and episodes of select programs for online viewing at, with plans to add over 30 additional series and specials to its online library.

February 16

APTN launches myAPTN Insiders, an exciting new online research initiative that will assist APTN in collecting surveyed information while offering members exciting chances to win a variety of prizes.

February 12

APTN hits the airwaves as the world’s first Aboriginal Official Broadcaster of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games (February 12th – 28th), broadcasting 10 hours of daily coverage throughout the Games in eight Aboriginal languages, French and English. APTN was one of 12 television networks within Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, which also consisted of 19 official radio stations, a national print publication and two dedicated websites. Together, the Consortium provided Canadians with an unprecedented 4,800 hours of multilingual, multi-platform coverage of the games.

February 11

APTN National News begins broadcasts in a new 30-minute format, seven days a week during the course of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games (February 12th – 28th).

February 8

APTN launches its high definition (HD) channel on Compton Communications in the communities of Port Perry and Uxbridge, Ontario. Compton Communications is a member of the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance. APTN HD carries 17 hours per week of distinctive true HD programming.

January 14

APTN launches HD channel on Videotron, serving communities in Quebec. APTN HD carries 17 hours per week of distinctive true HD programming.


November 5

APTN hosts Rising Stars concert event in Winnipeg. Rising Stars is an opportunity for emerging Aboriginal artists from across North America to showcase their music to vital industry connections during Aboriginal Music Week.

November 3

APTN launches HD channel on Cogeco in Ontario. APTN HD carries 17 hours per week of distinctive true HD programming.

November 2

APTN recognized as one of the top 25 employers in Manitoba. The announcement, which was made in the Winnipeg Free Press, was part of the annual Canada’s Top Employers survey done by Toronto-based Mediacorp Canada Inc.

October 14

APTN, in partnership with Animiki See Digital Production launches Digital Nations; a website featuring 75 short films and vignettes showcasing Aboriginal art, culture and history

September 30

APTN launches HD channel on Citywest Cable in the cities of Terrace and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Citywest Cable is a member of the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance. APTN HD carries 17 hours per week of distinctive true HD programming.

September 11

APTN News and Current Affairs premieres two original current affairs shows hosted by Cheryl McKenzie: In Focus and APTN Investigates. In Focus will provide in-depth analysis to reveal the “story behind the story,” while APTN Investigates will take viewers beyond the headlines and closed doors to uncover the truth behind some of the most controversial news stories affecting Aboriginal Peoples today.

September 1

APTN celebrates its 10th anniversary. A 90-minute HD television special is produced to celebrate APTN’s extraordinary achievements since its inception. Made up of three 30-minute episodes, highlights of APTN’s 10 year history are examined, as well the direction the network is heading..

July 21-23

APTN National News airs special coverage of the Assembly of First Nations General Assembly and election of National Chief in Calgary, Alberta.

June 20

APTN hosts its third annual Aboriginal Day Live celebration from dual venues in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Whitehorse, Yukon. Headline performers include Buffy Sainte-Marie, Crystal Shawanda, Kinnie Starr and Eagle & Hawk.

May 21

APTN, in partnership with Telefilm Canada, launches the second edition of its Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program. Launched in 2008, the program aims to encourage and support Aboriginal filmmakers to develop original script material that will be attractive to producers, financiers and other film industry representatives in the marketplace.

May 13

APTN serves as sponsor and broadcaster of the Rise Again 2009 Red Cross Manitoba Flood Relief Concert, a fundraiser in aid of Manitoba flood victims.

May 4

APTN launches HD channel on SaskTel in Saskatchewan. APTN HD carries 17 hours per week of distinctive true HD programming.

April 14

APTN launches its HD channel on MTS HDTV in Manitoba. APTN HD carries 17 hours per week of distinctive true HD programming.

March 25

APTN airs a special two-hour season finale of Contact, focusing on Aboriginal post-secondary education. The finale, broadcast live from the First Nations University of Canada in Regina, Saskatchewan, marked the end of the long-running news and current affairs show which began in 2000.

March 2

APTN launches refresh of network including on-air, online and news production components.

January 13

APTN named official broadcaster of the 2010 Olympic Games as a member of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, providing live coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games with 10 hours of daily coverage in a mix of Aboriginal, French and English languages in HD format.


October 14

APTN recognized as one of the top 20 employers in Manitoba. The announcement, which was made in the Winnipeg Free Press, was part of the annual Canada’s Top Employers survey done by Toronto-based Mediacorp Canada Inc.

June 21

APTN hosts second annual Aboriginal Day Live concert, broadcast nationally from two stages at The Forks, Winnipeg, Manitoba and in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

April 1

APTN launches HD channel on Bell ExpressVu. APTN HD carries 17 hours per week of distinctive true HD programming.



APTN launches Northern Distribution replacement program. This will see the old analog over-the-air (OTA) towers replaced by satellite dishes and cable connections to all the homes in the north currently served by OTA transmitters.


APTN, in association with Canadian Heritage, launches website showcasing Aboriginal culture, history, people, gifts, innovation, creativity and languages through video content that includes the APTN collection of vignettes, as well as user-generated video, audio, text and image content.

June 21

APTN hosts the inaugural Aboriginal Day Live concert in the park, broadcast nationally from network headquarters in Winnipeg.

APTN installs two giant outdoor LCD screens on the exterior of its Winnipeg headquarters.


AWARD APTN Camera Editor/Operator wins National Cinematography Award.


October 2

APTN launches third broadcast feed – APTN West.


APTN opens news bureau in Iqaluit, Nunavut


APTN opens news bureau in Edmonton, Alberta.


APTN opens news bureau in Vancouver, British Columbia.


AWARD AWARD APTN Acting Director of Marketing receives Canadian Women in Communications mentorship award.



APTN re-launches a new and improved interactive website drawing in 34,000 unique visitors a month.

August 31

CRTC grants seven-year licence renewal to APTN.


NOMINATION APTN National News host nominated for YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction award.

APTN is a finalist for Best Website juried by Radio and Television News Directors Association.


AWARD APTN awarded Employer of the Year by Canadian Women in Communications.

AWARD APTN National News director awarded Order of Canada.



NOMINATION APTN nominated for a Canadian Association of Broadcasters award.

AWARD APTN National News director wins a Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award.


APTN launches news bureau in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

September 1

APTN celebrates its five-year anniversary.

July 12

The CRTC renders its decision on Public Notice CRTC 2004-46 against imposing channel placement.


APTN National News hosts two historic all-party debates and launches an interactive news component of the APTN website in conjunction with federal election coverage.


AWARD APTN receives two awards from the Canadian Ethnic Journalists and Writers Club.


AWARD APTN wins an Advertising Association of Winnipeg Signature Award.


APTN and Rogers OMNI Television sign a cultural alliance.



APTN National News airs coverage for the National President of the Métis National Council.

APTN National News provides coverage of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami elections.


APTN launches news bureau in Montreal, Quebec.


APTN National News airs live coverage of the 2003 Assembly of First Nations elections for National Chief and contributes content to a multitude of national broadcasters.

January 6

APTN launches a news bureau in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.


November 4

APTN Board of Directors announce the selection of a new Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jean LaRose, original member of the APTN Advisory Committee to establish APTN.

October 28

APTN launches daily news program, APTN National News, with the first Aboriginal television journalism team in Canada and the world.

APTN launches third season with 14 new shows and begins a full 24-hour broadcast day.

October 16

APTN provides comments in response to Public Notice CRTC 2002-49 Call for Comments on the channel placement of services whose distribution has been required pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act.

July 28 to August 4

APTN, as National Host Broadcaster for the 2002 North American Indigenous Games, airs one-hour live coverage daily of the largest gathering of Aboriginal youth athletes in North America. APTN airs 2.5 hours of exclusive, live, 13-camera mobile coverage of opening ceremonies.


August 15

APTN appears at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and presents a submission entitled “Towards a Truer Mirror” in response to the terms of reference (The State of the Canadian Broadcasting System) issued in May 2001.


APTN InVision News sweeps the Native American Journalists Native Media Awards with four First Place awards in Buffalo, New York, USA.

January 5

CRTC issues Decision 2001-01 to amend licence to reduce APTN Canadian content requirements from 90% to 70%, still 10% higher than CBC. APTN exceeds Canadian content at a consistent average of over 80%.


November 27

APTN InVision News airs live coverage of Canada’s national elections from an Aboriginal perspective from news bureaus in Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, and Winnipeg.

October 2

APTN launches second season with 20 new programs in three strands; APTN Entertainment, APTN Perspectives, and APTN Kids, chosen from over 1,000 proposals by the Aboriginal independent production sector.

July 12

APTN InVision News broadcasts live coverage of the Assembly of First Nations elections from Ottawa.


APTN opens Ottawa News Bureau located in the Press Building on Sparks Street.

April 16

APTN launches InVision News, the first national television news program that airs two days a week.

March 30

APTN launches Contact, the first live television national call-in current affairs program about Aboriginal issues in Canada.


September 1

APTN is launched nationally to over nine million homes via cable television, direct-to-home and wireless service viewers.

February 22

CRTC grants a broadcast licence to APTN.



Television Northern Canada (TVNC) appears at a CRTC public hearing to defend and discuss the application. Twenty individuals also present interventions in support of TVNC.


TVNC receives more than 300 letters of support from all regions of Canada.


The TVNC application becomes a public document available for viewing. TVNC begins to gather letters of support for APTN.


TVNC submits an application to the CRTC for a broadcast licence for APTN. This application contains full details on programming schedule, financial projections, technical specifications, marketing studies and structure.


TVNC establishes an Advisory Group of southern Aboriginal Peoples involved in the media to assist the TVNC Board of Directors in meeting the needs and aspirations of southern Aboriginal producers. Members are: Gary Farmer, Alanis Obomsawin, Roman Bittman, Jim Compton, Barb Cranmer, John Kim Bell, Ghislain Picard and Jean LaRose.


In Public Notice CRTC 1998-8 the CRTC recognizes TVNC as “a unique and significant undertaking” and that a national Aboriginal channel should be “widely available throughout Canada in order to serve the diverse needs of the various Aboriginal communities, as well as other Canadians.” The Commission also states it would consider any application by TVNC designed to achieve these objectives.


TVNC conducts an Angus Reid survey that finds two out of three Canadians support the idea of a national Aboriginal TV network, even if it would mean displacing a currently offered service.



TVNC representatives attend the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Annual General Assembly where the AFN unanimously passes a resolution supporting TVNC efforts to establish APTN.


TVNC appears before the CRTC hearings into third national networks and contends that Aboriginal broadcasting should be considered alongside English and French as vital broadcasting services.


TVNC Board of Directors votes to move towards the establishment of a national Aboriginal television network.


Inaugural launch of TVNC.


CRTC licenses TVNC.

The new Broadcasting Act recognizes the significance of Aboriginal peoples within Canadian society.


Minister of Communications announces support for a northern Aboriginal network to be known as TVNC.


Northern Aboriginal communications societies, the CBC and the Government of the Northwest Territories meet to discuss the future of television in the North.


The Task Force on Broadcasting Policy (Caplan-Sauvageau Report) recommends a satellite transponder be dedicated to servicing northern communities.


CRTC releases its Northern Native Broadcasting policy statement. This policy establishes certain short-term measures to ensure Aboriginal broadcasters have access to existing northern distribution systems, but it also emphasizes that a dedicated northern transponder would be required to handle the volume of programming.


Government of Canada announces the Northern Broadcasting Policy and the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program. Public funds are allocated for the production of radio and television programs by 13 Native communications societies across the north.


The CRTC licenses CANCOM to deliver a range of southern programming into northern and remote communities. As a quid pro quo, CANCOM is required to provide assistance to northern Aboriginal broadcasters.


The CRTC establishes the Committee on Extension of Service to Northern and Remote Communities (the Therrien Committee). The subsequent report stressed the urgent need for special measures to allow Aboriginal Peoples to preserve their languages and foster their culture through various broadcasting initiatives.


The Anik B Experiments: Inuit organizations in Nunavut and Northern Quebec participate in pilot projects to test communications satellites in applications such as TV broadcasting, community communications, tele-education and tele-health.